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.
We then booked in to our motel, the Morgan Colonial Motel, which we can highly recommend.
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.
We soon reached the Caudo Vineyard which is surrounded by beautiful lawned grounds.
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…..
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.
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-
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…..
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.
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.
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