The 2017 VKFF Activation Weekend, our first park, the Morgan Conservation Park VKFF-0911

Our first activation for the 2017 VKFF Activation Weekend was on Saturday morning (25th November 2017) and was the Morgan Conservation Park VKFF-0911.  Marija and I have both activated and qualified this park previously, but it is such a lovely spot, that we chose to come back here for the weekend.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Morgan Conservation Park.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

After breakfast we headed down to the Morgan ferry.  To get to the park we needed to cross the Murray River.  It was another beautiful warm and sunny morning.

Just after getting off the ferry on the Morgan-Cadell Road, we soon reached the park boundary which incorporates the Morgan Lagoon, located either side of the road.

The Morgan Conservation Park is about 376 hectares in size and was first gazetted on the 23rd September 1976 to protect the wetlands with a size of 361 hectares.  On the 4th November 1993 the park was expanded with the addition of 11 more hectares.  The park contains River Red Gum, Red Mallee, Erect Mallee Bluebush, Lignum Open Scrub and Tussock Grassland.

About 147 species of native birds have been recorded in the park including Grey Teal, White-faced Heron, Whistling Kite, Australasian Darter, Whistling Kite, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Yellow Rosella, Noisy Miner, Tree Martin, Blue-billed Duck, Black-shouldered Kite, Australasian Bittern, Whiskered Tern, Striped Honeyeater, Apostlebird, and Zebra Finch.

We turned down a dirt track on the southern side of the Morgan-Cadell Road.  The track was obviously dry during our visit and was in good condition.  But it is quite sandy and I would not recommend trying your luck when it is wet in a conventional vehicle.

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Above:- Map showing the Morgan Conservation Park, and our operating spot.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

We followed the track for a short distance and set up alongside of the southern lagoon, only a few metres away from the waters edge.  As it was a warm morning we erected the awning/annexe of the Toyota Hi Lux, and sat underneath its shade in the deck chairs and the fold up table.

Prior to propping on a frequency and calling CQ, Marija and I had a quick tune across the 40m band to see if there were any other park activators out and about.  It was still qite early, about 9.45 a.m. South Australia local time.  We found Gerard VK2JNG/p on 7.150, who was activating the Moore Park Nature Reserve VKFF-1967 in New South Wales.

After logging Gerard we moved down to 7.144 and I started calling CQ.  This was answered by Les VK3FLES, followed by Peter VK3PF/p who was activating SOTA summit VK3/ VT-047 which was in the Avon Wilderness Park VKFF-0942.  There was a lot of bird activity in the park and I was keen to get some photos, so I handed back the mic to Marija who logged Keith VK2PKT and then Angela VK7FAMP/p and her husband Tony VK7LTD/p in the Eaglehawk Bay State Reserve VKFF-1797.  Whilst taking some photos I ran back quickly to log Angela and Tony as well, Park to Park.  Another couple of Park to Parks followed.  This time it was husband and wife team Jonathan VK7JON/p and Helen VK7FOLK/p who were in the Table Cape State Reserve VKFF-1829 in Tasmania.

Marija and I continued to swap the mic, whilst I took photographs.  The band was in good shape and was alive with callers which was great to see.  We worked stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7.  We made the following further Park to Park contacts before the UTC rollover at 10.30 a.m. South Australian time ….

  • Garry VK2GAZ/p in the Blue Mountains National Park VKFF-0041
  • Neil VK4HNS/p in the Sundown National Park VKFF-0471
  • Brett VK3FLCS/p in the Axedale Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2037
  • Marc VK3OHM/p in the Churchill National Park VKFF-0621

After the UTC rollover the constant flow of callers continued.  We made the following Park to Park contacts on 40m after the UTC rollover…..

  • Garry VK2GAZ/p in the Blue Mountains National Park VKFF-0041
  • Brett VK3FLCS/p in the Axedale Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2037
  • Gerard VK2JNG/p in the Moore Park Nature Reserve VKFF-1967
  • Mick VK3PMG/p in the Mount Bolangum Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2147
  • Mick VK3GGG/p in the Mount Bolangum Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2147
  • Neil VK4HNS/p in the Sundown National Park VKFF-0471
  • Nik VK3NLK/p in the Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750

When things slowed down a little we had a tune across the band and worked Ade VK4SOE/p who was activating the Girraween National Park VKFF-0198 in Queensland.

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We then lowered the squid pole and inserted the 80m links and headed to 3.610 where we I worked Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula, John VK5BJE in the Adelaide Hills, and Tony VK5MRT in Strathalbyn.  We alsomade some Park to Park contacts with Mick VK3GGG/VK3PMG in the Mount Bolangum Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2147.  Mick was quite low down to us (3/3), but we made it in the end (thanks to Mick’s patience) exchanging signal reports.

We headed back to 40m and worked Tony VK3XV/p who was activating the Heathcote-Graytown National Park VKFF-0624.  We then propped on 7.144 and called CQ again, where we logged a number of stations including a further 6 Park to Park contacts…..

  • Brett VK3FLCS/p in the Mount Sugarloaf Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2158
  • Peter VK3PF/p in the Swallow Lagoon Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2199
  • Rob VK4AAC/p in the Glasshouse Mountains National Park VKFF-0200
  • Mick VK3PMG/p in the Big Tottington Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2047
  • Mick VK3GGG/p in the Big Tottington Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2047
  • Ian VK1DI/p in the Mount Pleasant Nature Reserve VKFF-1775

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I then put out a CQ call on 14.310 on the 20m band.  I logged a total of 19 stations there, with my first contact being Hans VK6XN, followed by Phil VK6ADF.  I always enjoy logging the Western Australian stations because it is a long haul to get across there.  I worked the following Park to Park contacts on 20m…..

  • VK4AAC/p in the Glasshouse Mountains National Park VKFF-0200
  • Neil VK4HNS/p in the Sundown National Park VKFF-0471
  • Peter VK3PF/p in the Swallow Lagoon Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2199
  • Nik VK3NLK/p in the Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750

We then headed back to 40m and tuned across the band and logged some more Park to Park contacts as follows…..

  • Angela VK7FAMP/p in the Lime Bay State Reserve VKFF-1144
  • Allen VK3ARH/p in the Corindhap Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2070
  • Gerard VK2IO/p on SOTA summit VK2/ CT-032 & Blue Mountains National Park VKFF-0041
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Above:- Aerial shot of the park showing our operating spot, the town of Morgan, and the Murray River.  Courtesy of google maps 

To complete the activation at Morgan, Marija and I decided to try the 15m band.  We were hoping to work some of the Western Australian stations and perhaps some Queensland Foundation operators.  And we were not to be disappointed, with working both.  We also made the following Park to Park contacts on 15m…..

  • Rob VK4AAC/p in the Glasshouse Mountains National Park VKFF-0200
  • Mike VK6MB/p in the Walpole-Normalup Inlets Marine Park VKFF-1456
  • Michael VK6MMB/p in the Walpole-Normalup Inlets Marine Park VKFF-1456
  • Nik VK3NLK/p in the Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750

It was a great way to wrap up the activation.  Marija had 55 contacts on the log, including 33 Park to Park QSOs.  I had 92 contacts in the log, including 38 Park to Park QSOs.  So between us, we had 147 QSOs, including 71 Park to Park contacts.

Whilst in the park I did quite a bit of bird watching (of the feathered kind), and took the photos below…..

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Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB before the UTC rollover:-

  1. VK2JNG/p (Moore Park Nature Reserve VKFF-1967)
  2. VK3PF/p (SOTA VK3/ VT-047 & Avon Wilderness Park VKFF-0942)
  3. VK3DAC
  4. VK2PKT
  5. VK7FAMP/p (Eaglehawk Bay State Reserve VKFF-1797)
  6. VK7LTD/p (Eaglehawk Bay State Reserve VKFF-1797)
  7. VK7JON/p (Table Cape State Reserve VKFF-1829)
  8. VK7FOLK/p (Table Cape State Reserve VKFF-1829)
  9. VK2GAZ/p (Blue Mountains National Park VKFF-0041)
  10. VK2XXM
  11. VK4HNS/p (Sundown National Park VKFF-0471)
  12. VK2IO/m
  13. VK3UH
  14. VK2KNV/m
  15. VK3ZPF
  16. VK3HOT
  17. VK3FLCS/p (Axedale Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2037)
  18. VK4NH
  19. VK4DXA
  20. VK2VW
  21. VK4FDJL
  22. VK3OHM/p (Churchill National Park VKFF-0621)
  23. VK3NLK/m

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB after the UTC rollover:-

  1. VK3FLJD
  2. VK2GAZ/p (Blue Mountains National Park VKFF-0041)
  3. VK5JBH
  4. VK4NHH
  5. VK3SQ
  6. VK2FANT
  7. VK3FLCS
  8. VK2JNG/p (Moore Park Nature Reserve VKFF-1967)
  9. VK3PMG/p (Mount Bolangum Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2147)
  10. VK3GGG/p (Mount Bolangum Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2147)
  11. VK4HNS/p (Sundown National Park VKFF-0471)
  12. VK3NLK/p (Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750)
  13. VK4SOE/p (Girraween National Park VKFF-0198)
  14. VK3XV/p (Heathcote-Graytown National Park VKFF-0624)
  15. VK5WG
  16. VK3FLCS/p (Mount Sugarloaf Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2158)
  17. VK3PF/p (Swallow Lagoon Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2199)
  18. VK4AAC/p (Glasshouse Mountains National Park VKFF-0200)
  19. VK3PMG/p (Big Tottington Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2047)
  20. VK3GGG/p (Big Tottington Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2047)
  21. VK7FAMP/p (Lime Bay State Reserve VKFF-1144)
  22. VK3ARH/p (Corindhap Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2070)
  23. VK2IO/p (SOTA VK2/ CT-032 & Blue Mountains National Park VKFF-0041)

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3PMG/p (Mount Bolangum Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2147)
  2. VK3GGG/p (Mount Bolangum Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2147)

Marija worked the following stations on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK4FDJL
  2. VK6AY
  3. VK4AAC/p (Glasshouse Mountains National Park VKFF-0200)
  4. VK6FSEA
  5. VK6MB/p (Walpole-Normalup Inlets Marine Park VKFF-1456)
  6. VK6MMB/p (Walpole-Normalup Inlets Marine Park VKFF-1456)
  7. VK3NLK/p (Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750)

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB before the UTC rollover:-

  1. VK2JNG/p (Moore Park Nature Reserve VKFF-1967)
  2. VK3FLES
  3. VK3PF/p (SOTA VK3/ VT-047 & Avon Wilderness Park VKFF-0942)
  4. VK7FAMP/p (Eaglehawk Bay State Reserve VKFF-1797)
  5. VK7LTD/p (Eaglehawk Bay State Reserve VKFF-1797)
  6. VK7FOLK/p (Table Cape State Reserve VKFF-1829)
  7. VK7JON/p (Table Cape State Reserve VKFF-1829)
  8. VK4HNS/p (Sundown National Park VKFF-0471)
  9. VK2GAZ/p (Blue Mountains National Park VKFF-0041)
  10. VK2YA/p (Blue Mountains National Park VKFF-0041)
  11. VK1WAT/2 (Blue Mountains National Park VKFF-0041)
  12. VK3FLCS/p (Axedale Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2037)
  13. VK3OHM/p (Churchill National Park VKFF-0621)

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB after the UTC rollover:-

  1. VK3FLCS/p (Axedale Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2037)
  2. VK2HHA
  3. VK2JNG/p (Moore Park Nature Reserve VKFF-1967)
  4. VK3PMG/p (Mount Bolangum Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2147)
  5. VK3GGG/p (Mount Bolangum Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2147)
  6. VK4RF
  7. VK4HA
  8. VK2YK
  9. VK4HNS/p (Sundown National Park VKFF-0471)
  10. VK3SQ
  11. VK2UH
  12. VK3NLK/p (Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750)
  13. VK4SOE/p (Girraween National Park VKFF-0198)
  14. VK3XV/p (Heathcote-Graytown National Park VKFF-0624)
  15. VK3RW
  16. VK5GJ
  17. VK5GI
  18. VK5WG
  19. VK2WG
  20. VK2YW
  21. VK3UH
  22. VK3MB
  23. VK2NP/p
  24. VK5FANA
  25. VK3BBB
  26. VK2DSG
  27. VK3MRH
  28. VK3FLCS/p (Mount Sugarloaf Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2158)
  29. VK3PF/p (Swallow Lagoon Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2199)
  30. VK5HS
  31. VK5ATN
  32. VK4AAC/p (Glasshouse Mountains National Park VKFF-0200)
  33. VK5KLV
  34. VK3YSP
  35. VK3PMG/p (Big Tottington Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2047)
  36. VK3GGG/p (Big Tottington Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2047)
  37. VK5MRT
  38. VK5IS
  39. VK5KBJ
  40. VK5NRG
  41. VK5BJE
  42. VK3KIX
  43. VK7FGRA
  44. VK7DW
  45. VK6XN
  46. VK1DI/p (Mount Pleasant Nature Reserve VKFF-1775)
  47. VK7FAMP/p (Lime Bay State Reserve VKFF-1144)
  48. VK3ARH/p (Corindhap Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2070)
  49. VK2IO/p (SOTA VK2/ CT-032 & Blue Mountains National Park VKFF-0041)

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA
  2. VK5BJE
  3. VK3PMG/p (Mount Bolangum Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2147)
  4. VK3GGG/p (Mount Bolangum Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2147)
  5. VK5MRT

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK6XN
  2. VK6ADF
  3. VK4AAC/p (Glasshouse Mountains National Park VKFF-0200)
  4. VK2XXM
  5. VK4RF
  6. VK4HA
  7. VK4HNS/p (Sundown National Park VKFF-0471)
  8. VK4GSF
  9. VK3PF/p (Swallow Lagoon Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2199)
  10. VK4TJ
  11. VK2MNM
  12. VK6NI
  13. VK3SQ
  14. VK7PLR
  15. VK3DAC
  16. VK3NLK/p (Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750)
  17. VK3MAB
  18. VK6EA
  19. VK2GKA

I worked the following stations on 15m SSB:-

  • VK4AAC/p (Glasshouse Mountains National Park VKFF-0200)
  • VK4FDJL
  • VK6MB/p (Walpole-Normalup Inlets Marine Park VKFF-1456)
  • VK6MMB/p (Walpole-Normalup Inlets Marine Park VKFF-1456)
  • VK3NLK/p (Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750)
  • VK6AY

 

References.

Birds SA, 2017, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/morgan-conservation-park/>, viewed 3rd December 2017

Some sightseeing, a winery, and then the Hogwash Bend Conservation Park VKFF-0892

After packing up at the Brookfield Conservation Park, Marija and I drove a little further east until we reached the small town of Blanchetown, located on the mighty Murray River.  Blanchetown is about 130 km north east of Adelaide and was once an important riverbank terminal where goods were loaded and offloaded from the various paddlesteamers which travelled the length of the river.  The town was surveyed back in 1855 and was one of the first river settlements in the Colony of South Australia.  It was named by Governor Sir Richard Graves McDonnell after his wife, Lady Blanche McDonnell.

Blanchetown is home to Lock and Weir 1, which was completed in 1922, and was the first on the Murray River system.  It was originally consturcted to provide year-round river navigation for commercial cargo boats and for irrigation diversions by pumping or gravity.   On the downward side of the lock, there were dozens of pelicans, all waiting for fish to spill over the lock.

We then drove out of Blanchetown on the Murraylands Road, which is partially bituminised and partially dirt (in good condition).  We passed the little settlement of Roonka, which is where the Roonka Conservation Park is located.  This park has never been activated previously and from what I have read access may not be allowed due to aboriginal skeletons having been found at Roonka.  I will have to do a bit of research and see whether I may be able to activate this park in the near future.

We soon reached the town of Morgan which is situated about 165 km north east of Adelaide.  It is located on what is referred to as the ‘Great Bend’, the ‘Great Elbow’, or the ‘North-west bend’, where the Murray makes a significant 90 degree turn.

Morgan was once one of the busiest river ports in South Australia.  The town was proclaimed in 1878 and was named at that time after Sir William Morgan, then Chief Secretary, and later Premier of South Australia.  At its peak, Morgan was the second busiest port in South Australia (behind only Port Adelaide), with six trains a day carrying freight from the Murray to the sea at Port Adelaide.   Over the years as road transport improved, the river transport declined.  In 1969, the the railway to Morgan finally closed.

Marija and I made a visit to the Tourist Information Centre and then took a short walk to the wharf to have a look at the railway museum, which unfortunately was closed.

We then sat on the banks of the Murray and had some lunch.  The waterfront was alive with Corellas, most of which were taking shade in the gum trees.  It was a very warm day.

There is a lot to see in Morgan, particularly if you are a history buff.  Marija and I took some time out to have a look at some of the sights and then headed to the Morgan Museum.

The Morgan Museum is located in the historic Landseer building in Railway Terrace.  It is well worth a visit and contains a great collection of historical items.  The building itself dates back to 1878 and was built by the shipping firm A.H. Landseer and acted as a Merchants, Commission and Shipping Agents building.

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We then booked in to our motel, the Morgan Colonial Motel, which we can highly recommend.

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It was now early afternoon and Marija and I decided to head to the Caudo Vineyard at Cadell.  We headed out of Morgan on the Goyder Highway, named after the South Australian Government Surveyor George Goyder, and then took the ferry across the Murray River to Cadell.

Cadell was surveyed in 1919, and was named in 1920 after Captain Francis Cadell, a pioneer of steam powered navigation on the Murray River.

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We soon reached the Caudo Vineyard which is surrounded by beautiful lawned grounds.

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The winery is situated on the banks of the Murray River, and during our visit a houseboat had moored at the winery, with the occupants enjoying some of the wines at Caudo.  The winery is located on what was known as Watchow’s Landing, named after Herman and Emma Watchow, early pioneers of the area.

We sat in one of the booths and enjoyed a cheese platter and a few beverages.  You can endulge in some of Caudo’s Shiraz, Temranillo, or Rose.  But one of Caudo’s specialties is Sangria.  Sangria is of Spannish and Portuguese origin and is a punch, traditionally consisting of red wine and chopped fruit, often with other ingredients such as orange juice or brandy.  As it was a warm afternoon, it was an ideal day to enjoy a few Sangrias.  We highly recommend a visit to Caudo Vineyard if you are in the Cadell area.

We then decided to take the short drive down the end of Hogwash Road, to activate the Hogwash Bend Conservation Park VKFF-0892.  Although both Marija and I had activated the park previously, we decided that a quick activation was a good idea as we still had a bit of time up our sleeve before dinner.

The park was gazetted in 2012 and is about 286 hectares in size.

The park was acquired by the South Australian State Government and the Australian Federal Government under the National Reserve System program to protect the largest breeding colony of Regent Parrots in South Australia.  There are thought to be only 300 breeding pairs of Regent parrots along the Murray.  And in Hogwash Bend, around 50 pairs use the ideal breeding habitat of mature river red gums, nesting sites and large areas of mature mallee scrubland.  Hogwash Bend plays an important role in the bird’s future which is listed as vulnerable at both State and National level.

There is an excellent website dedicated to Regent parrots which can be found at…..

http://regentparrot.org

If you travel to this park, please ensure that you are within the boundaries.  You will find a park sign on the right hand side as you travel down Hogwash Road towards the river.  But the sandy camping area is not part of the park.  You need to go to the scrub to the east of the camping area.

The 40m band was very noisy, with loud static crashes, but despite that the band was full of activity.  I couldn’t get on to 7.144, so I started calling CQ on 7.138, whilst Marija spotted me on parksnpeaks.  My first caller was Keith VK2PKT in Parkes with a strong 5/9 signal.  This was followed by Rob VK2QR, Mick VK3GGG/VK3PMG, and then Andrew VK7DW.  Contact number 10 was with Rob VK7VZ/2 who politely asked if I could shift frequency as he was about to have a sked into Europe.  So after a bit of a chat with Rob I headed to 7.150.

I logged a further 14 stations on 40m, from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5 and VK7 before heading to 3.610 on the 80m band.  There I logged Ivan VK5HS at nearby Renmark who was very strong, followed by Max VK3HMS/5.   To complete the activation I went to 20m where I logged 4 stations, from VK4, VK6, and VK7.

Although it was a warm afternoon, it was very stormy and very humid.  In fact we had a band of showers go through the area during the activation which resulted in me having to hide underneath the bothy bag for a while.

IMG_0844

Above:- Seeking shelter underneath the bothy bag.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2PKT
  2. VK2QR
  3. VK3GGG
  4. VK3PMG
  5. VK7DW
  6. VK3OHM
  7. VK3PF
  8. VK2YW
  9. VK5KLV
  10. VK7VZ/2
  11. VK2JNG
  12. VK5FANA
  13. VK5YX
  14. VK5BJE
  15. VK3ZPF
  16. VK7JON
  17. VK3NBL
  18. VK4PDX
  19. VK2IO/m
  20. VK5NRG
  21. VK4RF
  22. VK4HA
  23. VK3NLK/m
  24. VK5HS

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5HS
  2. VK3HMS/5

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK7JON
  2. VK4NH
  3. VK4DXA
  4. VK6GLX

After packing up Marija and I drove back into Cadell and took a short drive out  of town on Dalzell Road and did a bit of bird spotting/photography.  There is a bird hide here which allows you to get up relatively close to the birds in the Cadell Basin, near the Murray.

We then took the ferry back over the Murray from Cadell.  Some years ago there was significant debate about this particular ferry over the Murray River closing.  In the Riverland region of South Australia, ferries operate in the townships of Cadell, Morgan, Swan Reach, Walker Flat, Purnong and Mannum.

Our next stop was the Bryan Creek historical lookout.  It forms part of the ‘Disappearance of Henry Bryan Trail’.  There are some brilliant views here to be enjoyed of the Murray.  The story of Henry Bryan is a very interesting one.  Henry Bryan was the youngest son of Reverend Guy Bryan of Woodham-Walter, Essex England, and house guest of the Governor of South Australia Lt. Col. George Gawler.  He was part of the 1939 expedition led by Governor Gawler and the famous explorer Captain Charles Sturt to explore land along the Murray River upsteam and overland from the great North West Bend.  Bryan disappeared during this ill fated journey and his body has never been recovered.  Interestingly his horse made its way all the way back to Adelaide, with its hoofs having grown to enormous length.

For more info on this story, please have a look at…..

http://www.murrayriver.com.au/morgan/mt-bryan-expedition/

As we drove back into Morgan I logged on 14.310 from the mobile, Phil VK6ADF/p who was activating the Coomallo Nature Reserve VKFF-1849.  Once we got back to Morgan we went to the Commercial Hotel for tea.  This is one of two hotels that are in the town.  The meal was average.

DSC_1631

After tea we took the short drive up to the lookout to enjoy a great view of the town of Morgan, and then headed back to the motel room.

DSC_1633

 

 

References.

Caudo Vineyards, 2017, <https://caudovineyard.com.au/about-us/>, viewed 3rd December 2017

Discover Murray River, 2017, <http://www.murrayriver.com.au/blanchetown/>, viewed 3rd December 2017

Discover Murray River, 2017, <http://www.murrayriver.com.au/morgan/>, viewed 3rd December 2017

Discover Murray River, 2017, <http://www.murrayriver.com.au/morgan/mt-bryan-expedition/>, viewed 3rd December 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morgan,_South_Australia>, viewed 3rd December 2017

Our trip to Morgan and a quick activation at Brookfield Conservation Park VKFF-0822

The 2017 VKFF Activation took place on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th November 2017.   This annual event is very popular and is all about promoting the World Wide Flora & Fauna (WWFF) program down here in Australia.  Marija and I had planned to activate 4 parks in the Riverland region around the Morgan area, and we had booked in to stay at Morgan for 2 nights.

Marija took the Friday (24th November 2017) off work, and I was on holidays, so we headed up to Morgan on Friday morning.  There are a few ways for us to get to Morgan from our home in the Adelaide Hills, but we chose to take the Birdwood, Sedan, Blanchetown route.

After travelling through Mount Pleasant we started heading down the hills towards the Angas Valley.  There are some nice views to be enjoyed as you head down the Angas Valley Road.  The Angas Valley was once a small settlement back in the late 1800’s of Prussian settlers.

We then travelled north through the town of Cambrai along the Ridley Road until we reached the small town of Sedan, about 110 km north east of Adelaide.  Sedan is located about half way between the Barossa Valley and Swan Reach on the River Murray.  The town was proclaimed in 1870 and was named Sedan by one of the first settlers, J.W. Pfeiffer, after a town in France in honor of the great Prussian (German) victory in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870.

There are a number of historic buildings located in the town, and we took the time to have a bit of a drive around the town admiring these, and taking a few photographs.

Here is a link to an excellent website which tells the story of the history of Sedan…..

http://www.sedan.sa.au/town-history/

We continued on to Annadale, located at the corner of Ridley Road and the Sturt Highway.  There are some pepper trees here which was the site of the Annadlae Hotel and Cafe, known as ‘Halfway House’ which operated from 1876-1957.  There is also an installation here, which I suspect has something to do with aircraft, which has a very nice dipole system.  I admired the two towers and wished I had them in my backyard.

We then drove east on the Sturt Highway and soon reached the  southern boundary of the Brookfield Conservation Park, VKFF-0822 which borders the Highway.  I have activated and qualified this park previously, but Marija had not activated the park.  So we decided to call into the park for a quick activation.

Brookfield is located about 130 km north east of Adelaide, and about 15 km west of the town of Blanchetown.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Brookfield Conservation Park.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

The Brookfield Conservation Park is a large park, consisting of 5,515 hectares.  It is managed by Conservation Volunteers Australia.  Some areas of the park are restricted to the public and permission to enter those areas is required.  The public section of the park is open from 7.00 a.m. until sunset, 7 days a week.

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Above:- a map of the park showing the public and restricted areas.  Courtesy of National Parks SA.

Various vegetation can be found in Brookfield Conservation Park.  On the ridge in the northern section of the park, and extending north into the adjacent area, ridge-fruited mallee, red mallee and narrow-leaved mallee dominate over porcupine grass and sparse bitter saltbush.  The northwestern corner of the park is dominated by yorrell open mallee over sparse bitter saltbush and pearl bluebush.

In the southeastern section of the park the understorey consists of a large expanse of regenerating pearl bluebush.  Central areas of the park are covered by low woodland and tall shrubland typically dominated by sheep bush and sugarwood in varying densities.  Dryland tea-tree is often found around claypans.  The understorey is characterised by Australian boxthorn, bullock bush, caustic weed  and heron’s bill.

The history of the park is very interesting.  Dr. Peter Crowcroft, the former Director of the South Australian Museum, and the then Director of the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago in the USA, initiated moves to purchase land for the conservation of the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat.  The land which is now the park was originally a large sheep station known as Glen Leslie Station.  In 1971 the Chicaho Zoological Society purchased the station and renamed the property as the Brookfield Zoo Wombat Reserve.

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In 1977, due to rising finanical costs, the Reserve was gifted to the South Australian State Government.  In August 1977 the then Department for the Environment assumed financial and managerial responsibility for the reserve and on the 6th July 1978 the reserve was proclaimed as the Brookfield Conservation Park.

The Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat is one of three species of wombat found in Australia, and is the smallest of all three species.  It can be found from the eastern Nullabor Plain to the New South Wales border region. Among the oldest southern hairy-nosed wombats ever documented were a male and a female from Brookfield Zoo.  Their names were Carver, which lived to be 34, and his mother, Vicky, which lived to be 24

 

Other native animals found in the park include the Fat-tailed Dunnart, Common Dunnart, Red Kangaroo, and Western Grey Kangaroo.  About 141 species of native bird have been recorded in the park including Crested Pigeon, Brown Treecreeper, Purple-backed Fairywren, Splendid Fairywren, Southern Whiteface, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, and Australian Magpie.

Below is a photograph of the old Glen Leslie Homestead which can be found in the park.  There are eco-tourism ventures which take people out to Brookfield for wombat monitoring, with the homestead providing accomodation.

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During our visit to the park there was plenty of evidence of wombat activity, with lots of burrows.  Wombats are excellent diggers, with their burrows measuing from 3 to 30 metres in length and up to 3.5 metres deep.

Marija and I entered the park through the closed (but unlocked gate) off the Sturt Highway.  There is a dirt track here which leads through the park, which is in good condition.

Marija and I drove a short distance down the track and set up alongside of the information board, which offered some shade from the heat of the day.  It was only mid morning, but it was already quite warm.

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Above:- Map showing our operating spot in the park.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

I spotted Marija on parksnpeaks and sent out a few SMS messages, whilst Marija called CQ on 7.144.  Her first station in the log was John VK5BJE who was 5/9 plus into Brookfield.  John reciprocated with a 5/9 for Marija.  This was followed by Marc VK3OHM who was also 5/9 plus, followed by park regular Rick VK4RF/VK4HA.

But it was really hard going, with very few callers.  It took Marija 25 minutes to get 10 contacts in the log.  That being a contact with Hans VK5YX from the southern suburbs of Adelaide who was 5/9 plus.  Marija logged 2 further stations, Adrian VK5FANA and Nick VK3ANL, before we decided it was time to pack up and head off to Morgan.

Marija had qualified the park for the VKFF program, with 12 contacts, albeit under very difficult conditions.

As it had been so slow going for Marija, I had sent out a few SMS messages to some of the park ‘die-hards’ to advise that Marija was on 7.144.  One of those was Jonathan VK7JON, who had advised he was mobile and that he was on 10m.  So on our way out of the park I tuned across the 10m band but could not hear anyone.  I decided to put out a few CQ calls from the mobile on 28.490 on the 10m band, and this was answered by Rick VK2RR who was a good 5/7.  I then tried 7.144 from the vehicle and logged Tony VK5MRT, Barry VK5KBJ and Ivan VK5HS, before reaching the boundary of the park.  It was great to get a few contacts from the mobile, particularly the contact on 10m.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE
  2. VK3OHM
  3. VK4RF
  4. VK4HA
  5. VK3NLK
  6. VK5KKT
  7. VK5HS
  8. VK2HHA
  9. VK5KBJ
  10. VK5YX
  11. VK5FANA
  12. VK3ANL

I worked the following station on 10m SSB (from the mobile):-

  1. VK2RR

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB (from the mobile):-

  1. VK5MRT
  2. VK5KBJ
  3. VK5HS

 

References.

Birds SA, 2017, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/brookfield-conservation-park/>, viewed 2nd December 2017

Flinders Ranges Research, 2017, <https://www.southaustralianhistory.com.au/angasvalley.htm>, viewed 3rd December 2017

National Parks South Australia, 2017, <https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/find-a-park/Browse_by_region/Murray_River/brookfield-conservation-park>, viewed 2nd December 2017

Sedan Progress Association, 2017, <http://www.sedan.sa.au/town-history/>, viewed 2nd December 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_hairy-nosed_wombat>, viewed 3rd December 2017

Wombat Information Centre, 2017, <http://www.wombania.com/wombats/wombat-burrows.htm>, viewed 3rd December 2017