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.
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…..
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.
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.
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.
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:-
I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 90m SSB:-
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.
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>, viewed 29th November 2014