Aberdour Conservation Park 5CP-001 and VKFF-0994

Last Friday (8th June 2018) Marija VK5FMAZ and I had an early start from home, heading to the south east of South Australia.  Our intended destination was Mount Gambier, to attend the South East Radio Group’s annual convention.

Marija and I had hoped to activate some parks over the weekend, but had not made any firm plans and had not added any alerts on parksnpeaks, as we were not sure what the weather was going to do.

We left home at around 8.30 a.m. and had a 400 km drive ahead of us, taking us through the Murray Mallee and on to the beautiful Coonawarra wine growing region.

Screen Shot 2018-06-14 at 9.01.49 pm.png

Above:- Map showing our route to Mount Gambier.  Map courtesy of Plot a route.

Our first stop was the little town of Cookes Plains.  Don’t blink as you will miss it.  There isn’t much here, but I had never detoured off the highway into Cookes Plains previously, so we decided to have a sneak peak.  It was named after pastoralists James and Archie Cooke and was originally a private subdivision.  Cooke Plains boundaries now also include the former government town of Bedford which was surveyed in August 1871 and declared ceased to exist on 28 April 1960.

There is a beautiful old hall in Cookes Plains, along with a monument to commemorate the construction of the first patented concrete filled railway wheel stone roller, used to break down rough limestone ground into arable cropping land.

We then stopped off at our usual coffee stop, the Coonalpyn Silo Cafe.  I enjoyed a hot cup of coffee and an egg and bacon roll.  We were soon on the road again, travelling through Culburra, Tintinara and on to Keith.  We then turned off the Dukes Highway, onto the Riddoch Highway.  The highway is named after John Riddoch, the first white settler landholder and vigneron in Coonawarra.

As we drove south we decided to activate the Aberdour Conservation Park VKFF-0994 which is situated about 35 km south of Keith, on the corner of Cannawigara Road and Nankivell Road.

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 6.33.42 pm

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

I had activated the Aberdour Conservation Park back in June 2016 but had to cut the activation short because of poor weather, and had only got 28 contacts in the log.  So although having qualified the park for VKFF, I was 16 QSOs short of the required 44 to qualify the park for the global WWFF program.  So I was hoping to pick up those during this activation to qualify the park.

Aberdour Conservation Park is about 145 hectares in size and comprised Hundred of Willalooka, Sections 7 and 80.  Section 7 comprises 131 hectares of native bush.  While the southern section of the park, Section 80 comprises 14 hectares of native bush.

The park name is derived from Aberdour Homestead which is located to the west of the conservation park on the east side of the Riddoch Highway.

The park is dominated by three main landforms: Coastal Mallee; Yellow Mallee; and Pink Gum.  The endangered Jumping Jack Wattle can be found in the park.

The Nankivell family made a gift of 131 hectares and this was proclaimed as a park on the 28th February 1991.   The remaining 14 hectares was added on 16th February 2006. This smaller section was previously a Stone Reserve under the control of the Tatiara District Council.

There has been extensive clearing of the land surrounding the park for farming purposes.  The park preserves an area of remnant vegetation typical of undulating dune and limestone country.


Above:- Cleared farming land on the western side of the park.

Birds SA have recorded a total of 7 native species of bird in the park including Galah, Red-rumped Parrot, Superb Fairywren, New Holland Honeyeater, Red Wattlebird, Purple-gaped Honeyeater, Cockatiel, Purple-backed Fairywren, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Striated Thornbill, and Black-faced Cuckooshrike.

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Above:- Aerial shot showing the Aberdour Conservation Park.  The red star indicates our operating spot.  Image courtesy of google maps

Marija and I drove down Cannawigara Road from the Riddoch Highway and we soon reached the south western corner of the park.  There is a park sign at this location and a 4WD track which travels south-north, following the western boundary of the park.


Above:- at the south western corner of the park.

We continued along Cannawigara Road and then turned left onto Nankivell Road following the eastern boundary of the park.  We then turned left onto the 4WD track which follows the northern boundary of the park, and found a clearing and set up there.  We ran the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the park showing our operating spot in the northern section of the park.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

I kicked off the activation by calling CQ on 7.144 which was answered by Brett VK2VW who kindly spotted me on parksnpeaks.  Within 13 minutes I had 10 contacts in the log, with contact number 10 being Peter VK3PF.


I logged a total of 28 contacts on 40m before Marija and I decided to try 80m.  Band conditions on 40m had been quite good, with contacts logged from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK7.  Clearly there was no close in propagation, with no South Australian stations logged.

I logged 4 stations on 3.610 on 80m, from VK2 and VK3.  This included a Park to Park contact with Gerard VK2IO/p on SOTA peak VK2/ MN-216 in the Booti Booti National Park VKFF-0046.


Marija then jumped into the operators seat and logged 5 stations on 80m including a Park to Park with Gerard VK2IO/p.  Despite conditions being quite good on 80m and some self spots on parksnpeaks we had no further callers on 80m.

We then headed back to 40m where Marija called CQ on 7.144, logging 5 stations from VK2, VK3, VK5 & VK7.  Marija had now qualified the park for the VKFF program, with contact number 10 being with Jonathan VK7JON.

I then put out some calls on 14.310 on the 20m band, which was answered by Scott VK4CZ, and then Gerard VK2IO/p for another Park to Park.  But they were my only 2 callers.

It was now approaching 12.15 p.m. and we still had a way to go to get to Mount Gambier, so we packed up and hit the road once again.


We had a little surprise during the activation, with a visit from Alan VK5ZLT, who it turns out owns the land on the northern side of the park.  Alan had said he had heard someone calling CQ and had followed our voices from his property to our operating spot.


Above:- with Alan VK5ZLT

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3UH
  2. VK2VW
  3. VK5FANA
  4. VK2HHA
  5. VK7JON

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO/p (SOTA VK2/ MN-216 & Booti Booti National Park VKFF-0046)
  2. VK3GGG/p
  3. VK3PMG/p
  4. VK5GJ
  5. VK3SQ

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2VW
  2. VK4CZ
  3. VK2XSE/m
  4. VK2KNV/m
  5. VK7JON
  6. VK2LEE
  7. VK2HHA
  8. VK7OT
  9. VK1AT
  10. VK3PF
  11. VK2PKT
  12. VK3ANL
  13. VK1FTRK
  14. VK4TJ
  15. VK4/AC8WN
  16. VK4/VE6XT
  17. VK3ARH
  18. VK7FGRA
  19. VK4FE
  20. Vk2VK
  21. VK2ZVG
  22. VK4KX
  23. VK4UMS
  24. VK3SQ
  25. VK2MTC
  26. VK3CM
  27. VK2RP/m
  28. VK2BDR/m

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3GGG/p
  2. VK3PMG/p
  3. VK3SQ
  4. VK2IO/p (SOTA VK2/ MN-216 & Booti Booti National Park VKFF-0046)

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4CZ
  2. VK2IO/p (SOTA VK2/ MN-216 & Booti Booti National Park VKFF-0046)




Birds SA, 2018, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/aberdour-conservation-park/>, viewed 12th June 2018

Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 1997, ‘Aberouder Conservation Park Management Plan’

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aberdour_Conservation_Park>, viewed 12th June 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooke_Plains,_South_Australia>, viewed 13th June 2018

4 thoughts on “Aberdour Conservation Park 5CP-001 and VKFF-0994

  1. Hi Paul
    There are some generous benefactors/philanthropists in the State. So many parks have been gifted to the people of the State by private persons and groups. You have come across quite a few of these in your travels. I enjoyed the post and what a surprise getting a visitor out in the back blocks!
    John D

  2. Hi John,

    Yes thankfully there are those out there who have an appreciation for conservation. Otherwise many of these parks may have been turned into paddock.

    It was quite funny the circumstances bumping into Allan.


    Paul VK5PAS.

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