Sturt Gorge Recreation Park VKFF-1750

Today (Sunday 23rd July 2017) Marija VK5FMAZ and I activated the Sturt Gorge Recreation Park VKFF-1750.  The park is located about 13 km south of Adelaide.

It was quite a miserable day compared to the day before which was bright and sunny.  But despite the rather gloomy weather, we decided to head out.  We had attended a friend’s house the night before for dinner for an event called ‘The Longest Table’, the Hospital Research Foundation’s annual cancer fundraiser.  I had indulged in more than a bit of red wine, so I figured some fresh air would be of benefit to me

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Sturt Gorge Recreation Park.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

The Sturt Gorge Recreation Park is 244 hectares (600 acres) in size and was established on the 4th October 1973.  The park lies between the suburbs of Bellevue Heights and Flagstaff Hill along the Sturt River.


During the 1964, Mr. Robin Millhouse, the Member for Mitcham (later to become the Attorney General of SA) raised the issue in Parliament of acquiring Sturt Gorge for use as a National Park.  In a letter to the Minister of Lands dated 6th August 1964 Millhouse stated:

“The area I have in mind is that below the flood control dam site.  I am sure you would agree that it is most suitable for a National Park”.

Unfortunately no action was taken by the Government, and in January 1966, Millhouse again raised the question with the new Minister of Lands, Mr. J.D. Corcoran.  They both visited the area and later requested action be taken under the Town Planning Act to ensure that no subdividing for housing took place in the area.  Unfortunately no powers exited at the time for this, and several applications to subdivide were received in 1965-1966.

Millhouse then had discussions with the de Rose family who owned the land and found the property was available for sale at the price of 70,000 pounds.  Millhouse conveyed this information to the State Government who replied stating:

“The present Government is unable to contemplate the purchase of the area at this stage”.

In June 1966, Millhouse again raise the matter in Parliament, and in the following month, the de Rose family were approached by land developers and subsequently sold the land.  Millhouse continued to apply pressure, and was supported by a campaign by the Geological Monuments Subcommittee of the S.A. Division of the Geological Society of Australia.  Between 1969 and 1972, the applied pressure appears to have paid off, with the State Government purchasing in pieces the land from the two development companies.  In 1973 the Sturt Gorge was proclaimed as a Recreation Park.


Above:- Robin Millhouse.  Image courtesy of

The park is internationally recognised as an area of conservation and geological significance.  Sturt Gorge conserves the nationally threatened greybox grassy woodland vegetation which was once abundant across southern Australia.  It is the second largest remnant area of grey box open woodland managed by the Department of Environment Water & Natural Resources.  Along the Sturt River there are numerous River Red Gums.  North of the river there are areas of drooping sheaoak woodland over twiggy daisy-bush and sticky hop-bush.  At the western end of the park the habitat is mostly exotic with some native grasses.

The park is also home to a rock formation, known as sturt tillite, that is believed to have been formed from glacial material dropped from ice floating in the ocean that covered South Australia 800 million years ago.

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Above:- Aerial view of the park, in close proximity to Adelaide.  Image courtesy of Google maps

The Sturt River, also known as Warri Parri, carves its way through the park.  The river rises in Upper Sturt and flows through Corromandel Valley, the Sturt Gorge Recereation Park, the southern suburbs of Marion and Morphettville, before meeting the Patawalonga River in Glenelg North, the end of its 27 km course.  It was named after the famous explorer, Captain Charles Sturt.


Above:- Captain Charles Sturt.  Image courtesy of wikipedia.

The Sturt River Flood Control Dam can be located in the park.  It is well worth a look, as there are some great views of the gorge from the 40 metre high dam wall.  But beware, the walk back up to the car park area is quite steep.

Over 115 species of bird have been recorded in the park including Crimson  Rosella, Superb Fairywren, New Holland Honeyeater, Red Wattlebird, Whiteplumed honeyeater, White-browed Babbler, Grey Shrikethrush, Peregrine Falcon, and Sacred Kingfisher.

The park is also home to a large amount of native wildlife including kangaroos and koalas.

For more information on the park, have a look at the Friends of Sturt Gorge website at…..

Marija and I operated from inside gate 20 at the end of Craigburn Road.  We ran the Yaesu FT-857d (set at 10 watts PEP for Marija, and 40 watts for me), and the 80/40/20m linked dipole supported on the 7 m squid pole, inverted vee.

Screen Shot 2017-07-23 at 8.57.16 pm.png

Above:- Map of the Sturt Gorge Recreation Park showing our operating spot.  Map courtesy of National Parks South Australia.

This was to be a unique park for both Marija and I for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  Marija started off the activation and was content in obtaining 10 QSOs, qualifying the park for the VKFF program.  We headed to our nominated operating frequency of 7.144 and found Gerard VK2JNG/p who was activating the Rocky Glen National Park VKFF-1179.  We both logged Gerard, Park to Park, and then headed down to 7.135 where Marija called CQ.  Marija’s second contact was another Park to Park, this time with Peter VK3PF/p in the Glenmaggie Regional Park VKFF-1877.

Marija had soon racked up 10 contacts, thus qualifying the park for VKFF.  Contact number 10 being with Adam VK2YK.  Shortly after we also worked Neil VK4HNS/p who was activating theSpringwood Conservation Park VKFF-1653.  Marija logged a total of 13 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4,, and VK7, before we swapped the mic.

I then called CQ on 7.135, with my first taker being Lee VK2LEE, followed by Ron VK3MRH, and then Dennis VK2HHA.  Contact number 10, with Steve VK7CW, soon followed.  Despite it being a Sunday, there was not the normal flurry of callers.  Band conditions also seemed to be down a little, with quite a bit of QSB on the signals.  But despite this, I logged my 44th contact, a little over an hour into the activation.  Contact number 44 was with Murray VK3MJT.

Whilst I was on air, Marija had a number of chats with interested onlookers, explaining what we were doing and all about the hobby of amateur radio.  Park activating is always a great way of promoting the hobby.

I logged a total of 46 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, and VK7, before we lowered the squid pole, and inserted the 80m links.  I called CQ on 80m with John VK5BJE coming back with a very solid 5/9 + signal.  But sadly John was my only caller on 80m.

The weather was becoming quite threatening, and it was a chilly 13 deg C, so I quickly tried my luck on 14.310 on the 20m band.  Anthony VK6MAC was my first caller there with a good strong 5/8 signal from Western Australia, followed by Fred VK4FE in far north Queensland, and then Hans VK6XN.  Sadly I had to go QRT very quickly with Hans as the heavens opened up.  It was mad dash to pack up the gear and head back to the vehicle.

It was time to head home.  We had both successfully qualified the park for VKFF and I had also achieved 44 QSOs, qualifying the park for the WWFF global program.  And a brand new park to add to our activator list.  Thanks to everyone who called.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2JNG/p (Rocky Glen National Park VKFF-1179)
  2. VK3PF/p (Glenmaggie Regional Park VKFF-1877)
  3. VK3IRM
  4. VK2PKT
  5. VK7NWT
  6. VK3FSPG
  7. VK3MPR
  8. VK3MRH
  9. VK2HH
  10. VK2YK
  11. VK2VW
  12. VK4HNS/p (Springwood Conservation Park VKFF-1653)
  13. VK3KMH

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2JNG/p (Rocky Glen National Park VKFF-1179)
  2. VK3PF/p (Glenmaggie Regional Park VKFF-1877)
  3. VK2LEE
  4. VK3MRH
  5. VK2HHA
  6. VK2YK
  7. VK3FSPG
  8. VK3MPR
  9. VK3SS
  10. VK7CW
  11. VK3ANL
  12. VK3ANP
  13. VK4RZ
  14. VK3SQ
  15. VK7JON
  16. VK3VIN
  17. VK4RF
  18. VK4HA
  19. VK2GZ
  20. VK2GKA/m
  21. VK2FOUZ
  22. VK3IRM
  23. VK2STO
  24. VK3FEVT
  25. VK6MAC
  26. VK2JAZ
  27. VK3CWF
  28. VK3ZPF
  29. VK5ZZ
  30. VK5TR
  31. VK3FRAB
  32. VK4SMA
  33. VK3UH
  34. VK4TJ
  35. VK4HNS/p (Springwood Conservation Park VKFF-1653)
  36. VK3KMH
  37. VK4FFAB
  38. VK5YL
  39. VK2VRC
  40. VK2JNG/m
  41. VK2HPN
  42. VK3HKK
  43. VK2NP
  44. VK3MJT
  45. VK6XN
  46. VK5BJE

I worked the following station on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK6MAC
  2. VK4FE
  3. VK6XN



Birds SA, 2017, <;, viewed 23rd July 2017

Friends of Sturt Gorge, 2017, <;, viewed 23rd July 2017

National Parks South Australia, 2017, <;, viewed 23rd July 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <;, viewed 23rd July 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <;, viewed 23rd July 2017

2 thoughts on “Sturt Gorge Recreation Park VKFF-1750

  1. Hi Chris,

    A park right on Adelaide’s doorstep and yet I had never been there before. We didn’t really get the chance to have a good look around due to the weather. Another park we will need to revisit.

    73 mate,

    Paul VK5PAS.

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