Day three and Holey Plains State Park VKFF-0758

Day three (Monday 6th November 2017) of our trip involved a 306 km drive from New Gisborne on the north western side of Melbourne, to Golden Beach on the coast.  This would take us through the Gippsland region of Victoria.  The region was so named by Polish explorer Pawel Edmund Strzelecki, in honour of the New South Wales Governor, George Gipps, his sponsor.

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Above:- Map showing our route on day three from New Gisborne to Golden Beach.  Map courtesy of Plotaroute.

We left New Gisborne quite early, very pleased with the accomodation, Lavender Cottage, The Mews.  We can highly recommend it.  Marija and I got onto the M79 Freeway and drove into the hustle and bustle of Melbourne.


Above:- View of the city of Melbourne from the passenger seat of our vehicle.

After passing through the Melbourne CBD, we headed to Strictly Ham at Bayswater in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne.  We were at Strictly Ham just as the shop opened up, and dropped off my Yaesu FT-857d to Ross.  A few weeks earlier it had stopped working during an activation at the Coorong National Park.  I have my fingers crossed that it is nothing too sinister.


On the eastern side of Melbourne, once we had got out into the country, Marija and I stopped briefly at a fruit and veg shop and purchased some apples and cherries.  We also phoned Peter VK3PF and arranged to meet him at a coffee shop in Morwell.  It was great to catch up with Peter and get some advice from him about some of our intended activations.


Above:- with Peter VK3PF.

After leaving Peter, Marija and I briefly stopped to have a look at Dredger No. 21 in Morwell.  It was originally built for the Morwell open cut in the 1950’s and was the first bucket-wheel excavator used on site to remove the overburden waste.  It service the mine for almost 40 years between 1955 to 1992, and is certainly an impressive sight.  We then travelled out to the Loy Yang Power Station and open cut area.  The Loy Yang Power Station is a brown coal fired thermal power station which was originally constructed in the 1980’s.  Four giant bucket-wheel excavators operate 24 hours a day in the Loy Yang open cut mine.

Marija and I then continued east on the Princes Highway until we reached the little town of Rosedale, where we stopped briefly to have a look at a monument to commemorate the racehorse, Patrobas, who won the 1915 running of the Melbourne Cup.  Patrobas is the only Gippsland horse to win the cup, who also in the same year, won the Caufield Guineas and the Derby.  This feat has not been repeated since.


We then left Rosedale, travelling south on the Willung Road and then east on the Rosedale-Stradbroke Road, heading to our first intended activation of the day, the Holey Plains State Park VKFF-0758, about 190 km east of Melbourne.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Holey Plains State Park.  Map courtesy of google maps.

The Holey Plains State Park was proclaimed in 1977 and covers an area of 10,460 hectares of mostly Banksia-Eucalpyt open forest and woodlands.  The banksias are certainly very big in size and would be a very impressive sight when in flower.

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The park was formerly part of a squatting run taken up in the 1840’s by the Crooke family.  The family homestead, called ‘Holey Plains’ is to the north of the park.  The homestead earnt its name because the alluvial land along the Latrobe River has many crab holes, unlike the sandy country which makes up the park.   Holey Plains was first reserved as a site for a State Park under the Land Act 1958 (Vic.) in May 1977, following earlier recommendations by the Land Conservation Council (LCC 1972).


Above:- Holey Plains Homestead.  Courtesy of

Graziers frequently burnt the area which is now the park, to promote grass for sheep and cattle.  Bush grazing continued and minor timber cutting occurred until the 1960’s, when large sections of the Holey Plains bushland were converted to pine plantations or agricultural land.  The park is now a remnant of what was once an extensive area of native vegetation.

The park contains over 530 species of native plants and has one of the widest ranges of vegetation types in the Victorian parks system.  About one-fifth of the total number of species of Victorian native flora recorded in the State can be found in the park.  Common Eucalypts include Stringybarks, Peppermints, and Apple Box.  Other common plants include Saw Banksias, Tea-trees, Bush Peas, Wattles, Heaths and about 25 species of native orchids.

A total of 126 bird species, 18 mammal species and 16 species of reptiles and amphibians call the park home, including several threatened species.  Numerous species of frogs can be heard in the many swamps within the park.  Swamp Wallabies, Emus, Koalas, and Echidnas can often be seen, especially on the edge of tracks and firebreaks.  Night life includes Ringtail Possums, Wombats, Owlet-nightjars and Bats.


Above:- An echidna we found in the park

We soon reached the north western corner of the park which was well sign posted.

There are a series of sandy tracks within the park. We travelled along Holey Hill Track which was a bit rough in parts.  But generally passable in a conventional vehicle.


Above:- Holey Hill Track.

We operated from Holey Point, which at 218 metres, is the highest point in the park.

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Above:- Map of the park showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Parks Victoria

There was a wooden table and benches at Holey Hill, but it was so windy that Marija and I decided to choose a slightly more sheltered location.  It was quite a warm day, but there were some very dark clouds in the sky, and there was the threat of rain.

There is a trig point at this location, along with a fire spotting tower.  Vandals had cut the padlock on the fire spotting tower, to no doubt climb to the top.  I decided against climbing the tower as it was clearly marked that climbing the tower was prohibited.

As we had done in previous activations, Marija and I decided to swap the mic until Marija had her 10 QSOs in the log, thus qualifying the park for the VKFF program.  We headed to 7.144 and found Peter VK3TKK/p there, calling CQ from the Lower Glenelg National Park VKFF-0296, with a good 5/7 signal.  Both Marija and I logged Peter, Park to Park, and then headed down to 7.139 where Marija called CQ.  This was answered by Robert VK7VZ/2, followed by Gerard VK2IO, and then John VKJ5BJE.

Next up we were called by Peter VK3TKK/p and both Marija and I were a little confused, as we had already worked Peter.  But as it turned out, Peter had crossed from one side of a track to the other, to now be in the Cobboboonee National Park VKFF-0728.

Within about 20 minutes, Marija and I had 10 contacts in the log.  Our tenth contact being with Les VK5KLV at Port Augusta, about 310 km north of Adelaide.  We had both successfully qualified the park for VKFF.

The 40m band was in quite poor condition, with signals being significantly lower than normal.  I logged a total of 25 stations on 40m before things dried up.  I lowered the squid pole and inserted the 80m links and headed to 3.610 on the 80m band.  I called CQ and this was answered by Mick VK3GGG/VK3PMG, followed by Peter VK3PF, and then Geoff VK3SQ.  I logged a further 3 stations on 80m from Victoria and Tasmania, and then started to experience some small drops of rain.

I then moved to 14.310 on the 20m band where I put out about 5 minutes of CQ calls with no takers at all.  I had 32 contacts in the log, and needed a further 12 to qualify the park for the global WWFF program, so I headed back to 7.139.  I called CQ and this was answered by Karl VK2GKA, followed by Greg VK7FGRA, and then Ron VK3VBI.

Band conditions on 40m were quite poor, but I boxed on and soon had my 44th contact in the log, a QSO with Wayne VK2VRC.  I also spoke with Allen VK3ARH who was activating SOTA peak (un-named summit) VK3/ VT-034.

After 90 minutes in the park it was time to pack up and head off to Golden Beach.  I had 47 contacts in the log, while Marija had 11 contacts logged.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3TKK/p (Lower Glenelg National Park VKFF-0296)
  2. VK7VZ/2
  3. VK2IO
  4. VK5BJE
  5. VK3TKK/p (Cobboboonee National Park VKFF-0728)
  6. VK5PL
  7. VK3FSMT
  8. VK2XXM
  9. VK2GAZ
  10. VK5KLV
  11. VK3ARH (SOTA VK3/ VT-034)

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3TKK/p (Lower Glenelg National Park VKFF-0296)
  2. VK7VZ/2
  3. VK2IO
  4. VK5BJE
  5. VK3TKK/p (Cobboboonee National Park VKFF-0728)
  6. VK5PL
  7. VK3FSMT
  8. VK2XXM
  9. VK2GAZ
  10. VK5KLV
  11. VK7LTD
  12. VK7WH
  13. VK4TJ
  14. VK4/AC8WN
  15. VK4/VE6XT
  16. VK7FAMP
  17. VK4RF
  18. VK4HA
  19. VK3PF
  20. VK2TL
  21. VK2VW
  22. VK3GGG
  23. VK3PMG
  24. VK4NH
  25. VK4DXA
  26. VK2GKA
  27. VK7FGRA
  28. VK3VBI
  29. VK5LSB
  30. VK5HS
  31. VK2AWJ
  32. VK2NEO
  33. VK7MPR
  34. VK1NK
  35. VK3ARH/p (SOTA VK3/ VT-034)
  36. VK3ARL
  37. VK2VRC
  38. VK2TPM
  39. VK3QD
  40. VK2FANT

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3GGG
  2. VK3PMG
  3. VK3PF
  4. VK3SQ
  5. VK7MPR
  6. VK7WH
  7. VK3UH



Latrobe Valley Express, 2017, <>, viewed 22nd November 2017

Monument Australia, 2017, <>, viewed 22nd November 2017

Parks Victoria, 2000, ‘Holey Plains State Park Visitor Guide’.

Parks Victoria, 1998, ‘Holey Plains State Park Management Plan’.

Wikipedia, 2017, <>, viewed 22nd November 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <>, viewed 22nd November 2017

3 thoughts on “Day three and Holey Plains State Park VKFF-0758

  1. Hi Paul
    The map of Holey Plains has a few holes in it: private holdings making for a bit of a patchwork park! But it looks an interesting area and one well worth visiting. I am pleased to be in your log.
    John D

  2. G’day Chris,

    I always enjoy our visits to Melbourne, but I couldn’t live there. On our way home we stayed overnight with some friends who live at Kensington, just a short walk from the Flemington race-course. Had a nice pizza and a few ales at one of their nearby pizza bars.


    Paul VK5PAS

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