Anstey Hill Recreation Park VKFF-1683

The weather on Easter Saturday (15th April 2017) was warm and sunny, so I decided in the afternoon to undertake a park activation.  I had a look at the list of parks I have previously activated, and chose the Anstey Hill Recreation Park VKFF-1683.  This was to be a unique park for me as an activator.  Anstey Hill is located about 16 km to the north east of Adelaide.

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Map showing the location of the Anstey Hill Recreation Park, north east of Adelaide.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

To get to the park it was a 48 km drive for me, through the towns of Lobethal and Cudlee Creek and then along Gorge Road, Paracombe Roaad and onto Range Road South.

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Aerial shot of the park, looking to the west out towards Gulf St Vincent and across the north-eastern and northern suburbs of Adelaide.  Image courtesy of Google maps.

Anstey Hill Recreation Park was established in 1989 and comprises 362 hectares of steep gullies, creek lines with some terrific views of the city of Adelaide.  It was dedicated as park in response to public demand that the State Government protect the land from development.  The Anstey Hill summit which is located within the park is 371 metres above sea level.

Anstey Hill was named after George Alexander Anstey (1814-1895), a South Australian pastoral and horticultural pioneer.  He was born in London and emigrated to Australia in 1827 at age 13.  In 1840 Anstey purchased two sections of land at Highercombe and commenced to establish his estate which he named after his father’s birthplace in Somerset England.  His property which contained vineyards, orchards and extensive botanical gardens, was in the vicinity of the current Highercombe Gold Club which is located just over the crest of the range east of the Anstey Hill Recreation Park.

georgeanstey

George Alexander Anstey

About 290 native flora species have been recorded in Anstey Hill.  The western end of the park is dominated by Pink Gums, while the eastern end is dominated by the Box Tree, a species which has rarely been rpeserved in Adelaide.  A number of plants which are now rare on the Adelaide plains are found in the park.  This includes Leamon beauty-heads, Pussy-tails, Dwarf Hakea, Silky guinea-flower and Black Rapier sedge.  The steep areas of the park support native pine, Drooping Sheaok and Pink Gums.  Understorey species include Kangaroo thorn, Rock Grass-tree, Sticky Hop-bush, and Heath Tea-tree.  Manna Gums which are found mostly in the east of the park are home to koalas.  Over 39 species of native orchids have been recorded in Anstey Hill, including the King Spider-orchid and Wax-lip orchid.

Over 145 species of native birds have been recorded in the park, including the Superb Fairy Wren.

Native animals found in the park include Western Grey kangaroos, echidnas, koalas, and Brush-tailed possums.  Up to 35 species of reptiles and amphibians call the park home including Brown Tree frogs, Bearded Dragons, and the rarely seen Cunninghams Skink.

Prior to activating, I parked at gate 13 and went for a 1 km walk to the old Newmans nursery ruins.  The walk is downhill all the way.  As it was a warm day, the climb back up to the carpark was not as easy.

DSC_6354

The Newmans Nursery was established in 1854 by Carl and Margaretha Neumann and was once the largest nursery in the southern hemisphere.  In 1912, the nursery waas devastated by floods and as a result never really recovered.  It was used as a dairy from 1932 and from 1935 assets from the buildings were salvaged and the property was used for sheep grazing.  The 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfire destroyed the remaining buildings.  Some of the Newman family established the current day Newmans Nursery on North East Road.

Today, only ruins of the nursery remain.  It is well worth a visit.  For more information on the nursery please see….

http://www.newmansnursery.com.au/about/history/

I set up just to the south of gate 16 on Range Road South.

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Aerial shot of the park showing my operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

There was a ladder here allowing access to the park over the barbed wire fence.

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It was a warm day, around 26 deg C, so I set up underneath the shade of a gum tree.  I ran my normal set up for this activation comprising the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts, and the 80/40/20m linked dipole.  It was only up at 6 metres inverted vee, as the first section of my squid pole had split during my recent visit to Victoria.  I asked if the frequency was in use and Dennis VK2HHA came back to advise that the frequency was clear.  Dennis was number one in the log.  My fourth contact was with Gerard VK2IO who was activating SOTA peak Mount Banks VK2/ CT-032 which is located within the Blue Mountains National Park VKFF-0041.

Sadly, during my sixth QSO, I started to experience deliberate QRM.  It consisted of replaying a recorded message from VK3FVKI re his experimental antenna tests.  I strongly suspect I know where this is coming from and I made a recording of the interference which I have provided to ACMA.  This is the same interference which the 7130 DX Net has been experiencing of late.  And I heard the same culprit deliberately QRMing a VK/USA contact later in the evening.

Fortunately the culprit only stuck around for about 6 contacts and it was back to a completely quiet frequency, with no man made noise.  Contact number 12 was another Park to Park, with Rob VK4FFAB who was activating the Great Sandy National Park VKFF- 0216.  About 12 contacts later I was called by Phil VK6ADF/p who was activating the Beedelup National Park VKFF-0021 in Western Australia.  Phil was quite low down, only 3/1, but we managed to exchange signal reports.

Two QSOs later I logged John VK5BJE/3 who was activating SOTA peak West of England Fire tower VK3/ VW-16 located in the Kara Kara National Park VKFF-0269.  John had a beautiful strong 5/9 signal.

I continued to log a steady flow of callers.  About 12 contacts later I logged Rob VK4FFAB who had now moved into the Tuchekoi Conservation Park VKFF-1667, and shortly after Anthony VK3VAK/p who was in the Gunbower National Park VKFF-0740.  Then later in the activation I was called by John VK6NU who was portable on SOTA peak Mount Randall in the Monadnocks Conservation Park VKFF-1459.

I logged a total of 83 contacts on 40m from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, and VK7.  I was pleased to log Adrian VK2FNAD.  I was Adrian’s first contact on HF since he gained his Foundation call.

I then moved to 14.310 on the 20m band where my first contact was with Phil VK6ADF who was portable in the Beedelup National Park VKFF-0021, and then John VK6NU/p on SOTA peak Mount Randall VK6/ SW-039 &Monadnocks Conservation Park VKFF-1459.  I logged 11 stations on 20m from VK5, VK6, and Croatia.  Just 2 DX stations worked: Ozren 9A7W and Sasa 9A3NM.

I then headed to 3.610 on the 40m band.  It was now approaching 5.30 p.m. and the sun was starting to set.  My first contact on 80m was with Ivan VK5HS in the Riverland who was booming in, 5/9 plus.  I logged a total of 13 stations on 80m from VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5.  This included Toby VK3PNF who was portable in the Murray Sunset National Park VKFF-0373, Keith VK5OQ who was portable at Mount Bryan East, and Rob VK5TS who was mobile on Googs Track near Ceduna on the far West Coast.

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Although there are signs that dogs must be on a leash, there were numerous people walking their dogs in the park off leash, during my activation.  One of the two Golden Retrievers in the photo below, jumped up on me almost knocking my table over, while the other grabbed hold of the fallen limb that was holding down one of the ends of the dipole, almost bringing the squid pole crashing down.  Not surprising though, as in all the activations I have done over the years, I have hardly seen a park ranger.

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It was now almost dark and headed back to 40m for one last hooray.  The band was very busy with lots of North American and South East Asian stations.  I eventually found 7.136 clear and called CQ which was immediately answered by Hauke VK1HW with a massive 5/9 plus signal.  I logged just a further 10 stations on 40m, with the deliberate QRM culprit returning to make a nuisance of himself.  Yes, it’s a he.  Identity withheld at this time.

I had a total of 107 contacts in the log.  An amazing afternoon/evening in the park.

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I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2HHA
  2. VK7AN
  3. VK3HOT
  4. VK2IO/p (SOTA Mount Banks VK2/ CT-032 & Blue Mountains National Park VKFF-0041)
  5. VK7CW
  6. VK3KMH
  7. VK3RU
  8. VK3CWF
  9. VK3SFG
  10. VK3MRG/p
  11. VK3PAT
  12. VK4FFAB/p (Great Sandy National Park VKFF-0216)
  13. VK5HYZ
  14. VK3SQ
  15. VK2SVN
  16. VK2NP
  17. VK1AT
  18. VK2FGJW/3
  19. VK2BGL
  20. VK5FMWW/3
  21. VK3STU
  22. VK3HPG
  23. VK3PF
  24. VK6ADF/p (Beedelup National Park VKFF-0021)
  25. VK2KYO
  26. VK5BJE/3 (SOTA VK3/ VW-016 & Kara Kara National Park VKFF-0269)
  27. VK3FHCT
  28. VK1RZ
  29. VK1MTS
  30. VK2JDR
  31. VK5FMAZ
  32. VK3ZMD
  33. VK4NH
  34. VK7FPLT/8
  35. VK3TKK/m
  36. VK2YW
  37. VK2VW
  38. VK4FFAB/p (Tuchekoi Conservation Park VKFF-1667)
  39. VK2XSE/p
  40. VK2QK
  41. VK4HNS/p
  42. VK2WOW
  43. VK3VAK/p (Gunbower National Park VKFF-0740)
  44. VK5FDWB
  45. VK1DI
  46. VK2FNAD
  47. VK5YX
  48. VK7ALB
  49. VK3MBW
  50. VK3TZE/m
  51. VK3GGG
  52. VK3PMG
  53. VK5BB
  54. VK3FOTO/m
  55. VK4ATH
  56. VK3VIN
  57. VK4PDX
  58. VK3FSPG
  59. VK3MPR
  60. VK3ANL
  61. VK3VEF
  62. VK3FRAB
  63. VK3VFR
  64. VK2FRKO
  65. VK3CBP
  66. VK3ELH
  67. VK2ARL
  68. VK4FARR
  69. VK6FSEA
  70. VK6NU/p (SOTA Mount Randall VK6/ SW-039 &Monadnocks Conservation Park VKFF-1459)
  71. VK6AY
  72. VK3PI
  73. VK1HW
  74. VK6MAC/m
  75. VK4SMA
  76. VK6LGF
  77. VK4TJ
  78. VK5KLD
  79. VK4FW
  80. VK6NTE
  81. VK6BEC
  82. VK5FPAC
  83. VK2EIR

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1.  VK6ADF/p (Beedelup National Park VKFF-0021)
  2. VK6NU/p (SOTA Mount Randall VK6/ SW-039 &Monadnocks Conservation Park VKFF-1459)
  3. VK6MSC/p
  4. 9A7W
  5. VK4SMA
  6. 9A3NM
  7. VK6AY
  8. VK6XN
  9. VK6NTE
  10. VK5GR
  11. VK6RZ

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5HS
  2. VK2EME/p
  3. VK3PNF/p (Murray Sunset National Park VKFF-0373)
  4. VK4FW
  5. VK5FANA
  6. VK5OQ
  7. VK3ANL
  8. VK5TS/m
  9. VK3CAH
  10. VK5FDEC
  11. VK3FSLG
  12. VK3SQ
  13. VK4SMA

References.

National Parks South Australia, ‘Anstey Hill Recreation Park’ brochure

Tea Tree Gully & District Historical Society, 2017, <http://ttghistoricalsociety.org.au/history/ansteys-hill/&gt;, viewed 17th April 2017

Walking SA, 2017, <https://www.walkingsa.org.au/walk/find-a-place-to-walk/anstey-hill-loop/&gt;, viewed 17th APril 2017

Mount Monster Conservation Park 5CP-149 & VKFF-0800

After packing up at Mount Buangor I headed in to Stawell and caught up with Mick VK3GGG at his home.  Mick served me up a nice pastie and a very welcome hot cup of coffee.  We chatted for about 45 minutes and I had a look at Mick’s shack.  I then hit the road and started heading west towards the Victorian/South Australian State border.  After speaking on the phone with my wife Marija, I decided to call in to the Mount Monster Conservation Park 5CP-149 & VKFF-0800.  Mount Monster is situated about 240 km south east of Adelaide, and about 13 km south of the town of Keith.

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Map showing the location of the Mount Monster Conservation Park to the south east of Adelaide.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

I last activated Mount Monster in October 2016, with Andrew VK6AS, on our road trip to VK3.  On that occasion I made a total of 18 contacts, falling well short of the required 44 QSOs to qualify the park for the global World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

For more information on that activation, please have a look at my previous post…..

https://vk5pas.org/2016/10/13/a-trip-to-the-south-east-and-mount-monster/

I also activated Mount Monster back in November 2014, but this was prior to the park being placed in the WWFF Directory.  That particular activation was for the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award.

https://vk5pas.org/2014/11/29/mount-monster-conservation-park/

The park is well signposted from the Riddoch Highway.

I accessed the park via Mount Monster Road and set up in the main carpark area, where the walking trail leads to the Mount Monster summit.

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Aerial shot of the park showing my operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

Mount Monster Conservation Park is about 93 hectares in size and was dedicated as a Conservation Park in September 1976 as a gift from three surrounding land owners, including the Buddle and Ellis families in memory of pioneers Malcolm and Mercy Crooks of ‘Maroona’. The park is dominated by steep rocky outcrops separated by narrow, deep gullies, producing a wide range of gradients and a number of sheer cliff faces. These rocky outcrops are dominated by an unusual granite, found in only one other location in South Australia. The park includes the Mount Monster summit, known as Joyce’s Plateau, named in honour of Joyce Buddle. Although only having a low profile, the summit dominates the countryside for many kilometres.

Prior to European settlement the area around Keith was part of the lands occupied by the Ngarranjeri aboriginal people.  Within the park is the old Gold Escort Route.  This is the famous route which brought gold into South Australia from the Victorian goldfields during the 1850’s.  In fact, between March 1852 and December 1853, a total of 528 509 ounces of gold were brought into South Australia from the Victorian gold fields.

About 176 different plant species have been identified in the park, 30 of those are orchids.  Some of these, including the Cradle of Incense, and the Monarto Mint Bush, are considered endangered nationally.  Numerous mammals can be located in the park including kangaroos and echidnas.  The park is also home to a large variety of birdlife, including red rumped parrots (I saw numerous) and honeyeaters (again I saw numerous feeding on the flowering natives).

The agricultural land surrounding Mount Monster is recognised as one of the major Lucerne seed producing areas in Australia.  During the summer period, the fields are stocked with beehives for the pollination of the crops.

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Aerial shot showing the park and the surround countryside, with the town of Keith in the background.  Image courtesy of Google maps.

Prior to getting into the park I had contacted Adrian VK5FANA who had kindly spotted me.  It was fitting then, that Adrian was my first contact at Mount Monster, with an excellent 5/9 signal.  Park regular Rick VK4RF then called in, also 5/9, followed by another park regular Peter VK3PF who was also 5/9.  The 40m band appeared to be in excellent condition.

I was keen to qualify the park and get back on the road, so I was pleased to have a steady flow of callers.  Propagation around South Australia was brief.  Contact number ten qualifying the park for VKFF was with Nev, followed soon after by my lovely wife Marija VK5FMAZ.  Contact number 14 was with Charlie VK5KDK who started off at 5/9, but within a few minutes had almost vanished.  This was followed by a call from Peter VK5KX who was also initially strong, but also faded with the QSB.

I worked a total of 30 stations on 40m and then QSYd to 14.310 on the 20m band.  There I worked Gavin VK3MLU, followed by Steve VK3MPR and then Phil VK2HPN.  I then logged my first DX for the activation, with Tadashi JA1VRY.  I logged a further 5 stations on 20m including Hideto JO7RLF and Minoru JH1BXR.

I then moved to 3.610 on the 80m band where I logged a total of 11 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5.

With 50 contacts in the log, it was time to get back on the road, as I still had a 2 hour drive to get home.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA
  2. VK4RF
  3. VK4HA
  4. VK3PF
  5. VK3TKK/m
  6. VK4SMA
  7. VK2SVN
  8. VK4FFAB
  9. VK3FSLG
  10. VK5WG
  11. VK7JON
  12. VK5FMAZ
  13. VK3EY/2
  14. VK5KDK
  15. VK5KX
  16. VK3TFD
  17. VK3MCD
  18. VK3OHM
  19. VK6LGF
  20. VK2QA
  21. VK3KRH
  22. VK7ZGK
  23. VK2XZ
  24. VK3FSPG
  25. VK3MPR
  26. VK3ALA/7
  27. VK3MLU
  28. VK4TJ
  29. VK4/AC8WN
  30. VK4/VE6XT

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK3MLU
  2. VK3MPR
  3. VK2HPN
  4. JA1VRY
  5. VK2IO
  6. JO7RLF
  7. JH1BXR
  8. VK6ZDJ
  9. VK3HSB

I worked the following stations on 90m SSB:-

  1. VK3GGG
  2. VK3PMG
  3. VK4HNS
  4. VK3SQ
  5. VK2IO
  6. VK4FW
  7. VK5HS/m
  8. VK5FANA
  9. VK4ARW
  10. VK5PE/m
  11. VK3MAB

I stopped off at the roadhouse at Tintinara for a steak sandwich.  You always know you are going to have a good meal when you see a lot of trucks parked outside.

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References.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources, `997, ‘Aberdour and Mount Monster Conservation Parks, Desert Camp Conservation Reserve and Poocher Swamp Game Reserve Management Plans’.

Friends of Scott Creek Conservation Park, 2014, <www.users.on.net.au> viewed 24th November 2014.

Friends of the Upper South East Parks Volunteers Working for Conservation, ‘The Gwen Ellis Walking Trail, Mount Monster Conservation Park’.

Sydney Morning Herald, 2014, <http://www.smh.com.au/news/South-Australia/Keith/2005/02/17/1108500204330.html&gt;, viewed 29th November 2014

Mount Buangor State Park VKFF-0766

On Monday morning (10th April 2017) I left a very cold Ballarat….6 degrees C and drizzle…..and headed west on the Western Highway.  I had one planned activation for the day, that being the Mount Buangor State Park, VKFF-0766, which is located about 192 km west of Melbourne, and 30 km east of the town of Ararat.

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Map showing the location of Mount Buangor State Park.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

On the way I stopped off at the historic town of Beaufort for a sausage roll and a nice hot cup of coffee from the bakery.  Beaufort has a rich history, as gold was discovered here in 1852, and again in 1854 at nearby Fiery Creek.  The population of the gold fields reportedly reached about 100,000 people at its height in the late 1850’s and produced about 450,000 ounces of gold over a 2 year period.  Today, Beaufort’s population is around 1,1100 people.  There are many historic buildings in the town.

I continued on westward bound, until I reached the turn off for the Mount Buangor State Park, which is well signposted on the Western Highway.  The summit itself was shrouded in cloud.  I have climbed the summit back in 2013.  For information on that activation, please see my previous post at…..

https://vk5pas.org/2013/09/14/mount-buangor-vk3-vs-003/

Although I have activated the summit, this was before the park came onto the list for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program, so this was to be a unique park for me.  I was hoping to get 44 contacts to qualify the park.

I travelled out along Ferntree Gully Road and stopped to have a look at a memorial plaque in a paddock on the western side of the road.  It commemorates the Jess family from Ireland who settled in the area in the 1860’s.

I soon reached the entrance to the park and continued on until I reached the Middle Creek camp ground area.

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Mount Buangor State Park was established in October 1989 and covers an area of 2,400 hectares.  The local Beeripmo balug (Aboriginal people) belonged to the larger Djab Wurrung language speaking community and they knew the forest as ‘Beereep-Beereep’ meaning ‘wild mount’.

The park and nearby forest protect diverse ecosystems alive with more than 130 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects.  Of the 324 known plant species there are 119 species that are of significance.  Spring wildflowers abound.

A range of animals and birds can be found during daylight such as Eastern Grek kangaroos, koalas, echidnas, Swamp wallabies, Red-necked wallabies, gliders, bats, Wedge-tailed Eagles, Crimson Rosellas and kookaburra’s.

The Middle Creek camping area is set in a eucalyptus forest with creek flats, waterfalls and spectacular views of the surrounding countryside including the summit, Mount Buangor which rises to 987 metres above sea level.  The summit was formally known as Flagstaff Hill which originated from a rock cairn and flagpole that is reported to have been erected by Major Thomas Mitchell during his exploration of the area in the 1830’s.

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Map showing my operating spot in the park.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

As it was a bleak morning I set up in ‘Charlie’s Hut’ which is dedicated to Charles ‘Charlie’ Whittaker.  He was born in Warnambool in 1921 and grew up in the Ararat district.  He passed away in 2008.  His love of the Middle Creek area is honoured, with the shelter named after him.

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The Middle Creek campground area

I was set up and ready to go just after 2355 UTC (10.00 a.m. Victorian local time).  It was a chilly morning, with the temperature being 8 deg C.  There was an open fireplace in the shelter, which I was very tempted to light.  I called CQ on 7.144 and this was answered by Rod VK7FRJG who had a terrific signal with his home brew Moxon beam.  I was pleasantly surprised to log Greg VK5ZGY next, who was portable in the Mount Remarkable National Park VKFF-0360.  Greg also had a strong 5/9 signal.  Next up was Ivan VK5HS who has become quite a regular park hunter, followed by Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula.

Contact number 10, qualifying the park for VKFF, was with VK4WID in Queensland, being operated by John VK4TJ.  During contact number 13, with Rick VK4RF, KA1PM from the USA came onto the frequency and started calling CQ.  He was about 5/5 to me, but sadly he could not hear my signal, and I suspect could not hear the VK’s calling me, who were running much higher power than me.

After a relatively slow start, callers started to pick up and I reached contact number 44, wit Paul VK5FUZZ, just under 90 minutes into the activation.  I went on to work a total of 59 stations on 40m from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7.  This included Damien VK5FDEC who was running QRP 2.5 watts (5/5 sent and 5/8 received), and Lou VK3AQZ who was running QRP 5 watts with a home brew transceiver (5/8 sent and 5/9 received).

I then moved off to 3.610 on the 80m band where I logged a total of 8 stations.  All VK3’s bar Greg VK5GJ: VK3SQ, VK3GGG, VK3PMG, VK3FLAK, VK5GJ, VK3KAI, & VK3FSLG.  Despite it being late morning, Greg VK5GJ was coming in very well, 5/7, from the Adelaide Hills.

I then tried my luck on 14.310 on the 20m band, calling CQ.  This was answered by John ZL1BYZ in New Zealand who was a good 5/9 signal.  Mike VK4MY and Alex VK4TE followed.

I was freezing, I had a total of 70 contacts in the log, and another park qualified.  Mick VK3GGG had dinner in the oven for me and a hot cup of coffee waiting at Stawell.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK7FRJG
  2. VK5ZGY/p (Mount Remarkable National Park VKFF-0360)
  3. VK5HS
  4. VK5FANA
  5. VK2GKA
  6. VK2IO
  7. VK4TJ
  8. VK4/ AC8WN
  9. VK4/VE6XT
  10. VK4WID
  11. VK2VW
  12. VK5MRT
  13. VK4RF
  14. VK4HA
  15. VK5BJE
  16. VK3PF
  17. VK4AAC/p
  18. VK2DSG
  19. VK7PRN
  20. VK5HCF
  21. VK2NZ
  22. VK5NFT/m
  23. VK2DLF
  24. VK3QB
  25. VK5FDEC
  26. VK2NWB
  27. VK5WA
  28. VK2EXA
  29. VK1AT
  30. VK2CJC
  31. VK5DJ
  32. VK3HBG
  33. VK5WG
  34. VK5KLV
  35. VK5FCLK
  36. VK3OHM
  37. VK3IF
  38. VK3SQ
  39. VK2EME
  40. VK7PAL
  41. VK4HNS/p
  42. VK3FLJD
  43. VK3VIN
  44. VK5FUZZ
  45. VK2HHA
  46. VK5GI
  47. VK3GGG
  48. VK3PMG
  49. VK2SK
  50. VK5FCHM

References.

Parks Victoria, 2017, ‘Mount Buangor State Park’ brochure.

Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaufort,_Victoria&gt;, viewed 17th April 2017