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.


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.


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….

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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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

Tea Tree Gully & District Historical Society, 2017, <;, viewed 17th April 2017

Walking SA, 2017, <;, viewed 17th APril 2017

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