After leaving Nixons Mill at Hahndorf, I made the short journey to the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park 5CP-104 & VKFF-0781. The park is situated about 17 km east of Adelaide, in the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’.
I have activated Kenneth Stirling under my own call, five times previously. For more information on those activations, please see my previous posts…..
Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park is quite a unique park in that it consists of four autonomous sections:
- Wotton Scrub
- Filsell Hill
- White Scrub
- Burdett Scrub
The total size of Kenneth Stirling is 253 ha, comprising mostly stringybark forest with some gum woodland. The park was established in 1985 with the purchase of two sections of land, Filsell Hill at Forest Range and Wotton’s Scrub at Carey Gully. Further land adjoining Filsell Hill was subsequently purchased with a bequest from Miss Anne Steer. In 1986 White’s Scrub was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Vern White, whilst in 1989 the Burdett family donated the northern most section.
The park is named in honour of Kenneth George Stirling. Although I have spoken about Mr. Stirling in my previous posts, he is well worth highlighting again, as he was certainly an outstanding individual. Some time ago when researching the park I spoke with Graham Churchett, who knew Kenneth Stirling. This is what Graham had to say:
“The Environment Committee was a sub committee of the Town and Country Planning Association composed of the following:
Ron Caldicot, Dr John Coulter, David Strahle, Alwin Clements, Ray Holliday, Miss Erdley, Dr Peter Guldhurst, Ken Stirling, Ralph Middenway, Elise and Gordon Gardner and myself.
This committee was active across a broad spectrum of planning and environmental issues but it was not until money was given anonymously to the committee, and we employed Ron Caldicot as a Project Director, that some monumental changes occurred.
At the time the State Planning Authority was headed by Stewart Heart and sitting on the authority were developers and others who naturally pushed through every approval to further line their pockets at the expense of the environment and common good. The committee pressured the government and Ron was appointed to the Authority and in a short time the rules were changed to exclude those with vested interests.
With the help of the Natural History Society we brought about the protection of the wedge tail eagle, and Improved planning laws.
In May 1980 tragedy occurred. David Strahle, a gentle, dedicated man and one who worked for a better world suddenly died due to a massive heart attack. We were all stunned, he was only in his 45th year.
In 1973 we were again shocked when Ken Stirling died from a heart attack when jogging by the uni bridge. He was only 38.
Ken, and all of us for that matter, were appalled at the scarring taking place in the north Flinders by EX Oil and Ken knew more of what was going on as he was employed by two of Australia’s largest mining companies before joining Poseidon’s associate, Samin Ltd, in 1969.
It was when Poseidon shares went through the roof that Ken became a millionaire and in 1972 Ken resigned from the mining industry and sought a position in the Public Service with the Department for the Environment. A series of applications were rebuffed and some were not even answered and he was bitter at this.
While waiting for something to turn up he gave unpaid service to the Birdwood Mill Museum.
His benefactions were not known to the Public service and his intense interest in conservation not realised.
Those who examined his application may have noted with disapproval his association with the mining industry. The irony of it is that but for the mining boom, the entire conservation cause in South Australia would not have prospered without Ken’s personal service and financial help.
It was only after his death we found out that Ken had given money to a variety of organisations and in particular, for Ron’s full time employment as a director, $100.000 was given to set up Radio 5UV University radio employing Keith Conlon. $50,000 was given to State Archives, $200,000 to the Australian Conservation Foundation for the acquisition and establishment of a national park. This park is now rightly known as the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park.
Through Ron we achieved so much and it was then that I came to the earnest belief that if the conservation movement was to make any meaningful headway in this cockeyed world, we had to employ key people full time.
I was privileged to have known Ron, David and Ken as friends, all be it that our time together with regard to David and Ken was short. I was saddened to hear the other day that Ron, a man I knew with a mind as sharp as a tack and a gentle manner but one who would stand his ground with great conviction, was now in a home suffering severe dementure.
What can I say other than they are fondly remembered.”
Below is part of what the Advertiser columnist, Stewart Cockburn said of Ken Stirling upon his death…..
“Ken Stirling was the son of a railway man. He wanted to be a boundary rider on an outback station and, for a while, he became a multimillionaire. He made his money in the mining boom, and gave most of it away. Only since he died, have the benefactions of this humble, intensely private man become known outside his family and a small circle of friends and associates.”
The park has an active Friends of Kenneth Stirling group. Their site can be located at…..
On my way to the park I spoke with VK5ALM who were activating the Dunn Mill at Mount Barker. They had a nice signal into the mobile. Once arriving at the park I set up in my normal operating spot, in the Wotton Scrub section of the park, off Gum Flat Road.
I headed for 7.144 and asked if the frequency was in use. Joe VK3YSP was waiting there for me and was number one in the log. This was followed by Julie VK3FOWL, Geoff VK3SQ, and then Peter VK3HSB. It didn’t take long for the pile up to ensue, with contact number 50 in the log after being on air for about 40 minutes. All signals were very good. I also had a European park activator on the frequency as well, who sadly could not hear me.
After logging a total of 56 stations from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7, and New Zealand, I headed to the 20m band. I tuned to my normal operating frequency of 14.310 and heard Rick VK4RF working Mike 2E0YYY/p on a SOTA peak in the United Kingdom. Unfortunately I could not hear Mike on this occasion. I moved up to 14.315 and called CQ, and was soon called by Rick VK4RF who had tracked me down.
I logged a total of 8 stations on 20m. This included VK5ALM at the Dunn Mill at Mount Barker. Only one DX station was logged, that being Gerard F1BLL in France. Sadly, the long path propagation to Europe was virtually non existant.
I then moved back to 7.144 where I logged a further 27 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7, USA, and New Zealand. I was very pleased to give Martin VK3FMJP and Chris VK5SA their 5th contact with VK5WOW, thus qualifying them for the special 2017 WIA AGM/Convention Award. And I was extremely happy to log Mark AF6TC in the USA, who was booming in at 5/9 +.
To finish off the activation I headed off to 3.610 on the 80m band. It was now 5.30 p.m. local time and starting to get dark. It was also now getting very cold. The temperature had dropped down to 7 deg C. I logged a total of 16 stations on 80m from VK2, VK3, VK5, and VK7. And I made it three stations that had worked VK5WOW a total of 5 times, with Allen VK3ARH being logged.
I needed to head home as I had my mother in law and sister in law coming up for tea. Otherwise I would have continued on logging a few more stations. I had a total of 107 stations in the log.
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-
- VK5ALM/p (Dunn Mill, Mount Barker, S.A.)
I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-
Friends of Parks, 2017, <http://www.friendsofparkssa.org.au/members-directory/friends-of-kenneth-stirling>, viewed 15th May 2017