Yesterday I travelled down to the south east of South Australia, near the South Australia (VK5) and Victoria (VK3) State border, and activated a total of 5 parks. They were all new ones for me as an activator in both the VK5 Parks Award and WWFF. In all it was around a 550 km round trip from my home.
My first park for the day was to be the Custon Conservation Park 5CP-051 & VKFF-1024, which is located about 297 km south east of Adelaide and about 25 km south east of the town of Bordertown. It is located about 4 km from the State border.
I was unable to find any information on this park on the internet. The Department for Environment and Water (DEWNR) website does not have any information on the park and records that there is no Park Management Plan for Custon.
The park takes its name from the little town of Custon, about 8 km from the town of Wolseley. Custon was proclaimed on the 8th December 1881 and was named by Governor Jervois after Rev William A. Purey-Cust, the elder son of the Dean of York, who married his daughter, Lucy Caroline. Prior to the proclamation of the town the local railway station was known as ‘University Blocks’. The Custon School opened in 1919 and closed in 1956.
The park is located at the corner of Bangham Road and Pier Point Road.
Custon is quite a small park and contains Gum forest. The vegetation is quite sparse in some parts of the park.
The park is surrounded by cleared farming land. The next nearest park is the Pine Hill Soak Conservation Park, located about 14 km to the south.
I left home at about 6.30 a.m. and headed south east along the South Eastern Freeway and out onto the Dukes Highway (the main highway between Adelaide & Melbourne). My first stop was in the little town of Coonalpyn, an aboriginal word meaning ‘Barren Woman’. I called in to the Silo Cafe for a coffee and a bacon & egg sandwich. I took the time to admire the artwork on the silos, which I have seen many times before. The murals were completed in early 2017 by artist Guido van Helten and feature local Coonalpyn Primary School children.
After reaching the town of Bordertown, I travelled south out of the town along the Frances Road. I stopped briefly to have a look at the historic Wiese’s Horse Dip. It was built in 1931 by local landholders using timber from nearby bulloak trees. Its main function was to control a parasitic itch in working Clydesdale horses. This malady caused great discomfort to the Clydesdale horses manes and tailes, so much so that they used to rub constantly against fences and so cause damage to many fence lines. Horses were walking into the dip, and due to the horses’ size, the operators bucketed and sponged the solution over the horses to complete the task. The dip was used until the outbreak of World War II and the eventual decline of the Clydesdale working horse.
I soon reached the Custon Conservation Park which was well signposted in the north western corner.
As I arrived at the park I noticed a Black Shouldered Kite sitting up in a tree. He/she was kind enough to sit there for a while, whilst I took a few photographs.
This Australian Shellduck was also observed in the park.
I drove south along Bangham Road, following the western boundary of the park, and found that the fence had fallen over near the south western corner. So I pulled off the road and set up just inside the fenceline. There was a nice break in the scrub here as well, with plenty of room to string out the 20/40/80m linked dipole.
First in the log for the activation was Gerard VK2JNG on 7.144, followed by Geoff VK3SQ, Deryck VK4FDJL, and then Neil VK4HNS. Despite it being a week day, there was a steady flow of callers, and within 7 minutes I had contact number 10 in the log (John VK4TJ), thus qualifying the park for VKFF.
I logged 18 contacts before things slowed down and I headed off to the 80m band. There were very few VK3’s and VK5’s logged on 40m and I suspected I was a little too close for both on 40m. So I was hoping for a few Victorian and South Australian contacts on 80. First in the log on 3.610 was Peter VK3PF, followed by David VK5PL in the Barossa Valley, and then Mick VK3GGG in western Victoria. All had strong 5/9 signals and reciprocated with 5/9 for me.
I logged 8 stations on 80m from VK2, VK3 & VK5. Sadly despite the band conditions being very good on that band, callers dried up quickly. So I moved to 14.310 on the 20m band where I logged 12 stations from VK2, VK3 and VK4.
To complete the activation I moved back to 40m where I logged a further 10 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK6. It was great to log Hans VK6XN all the way on the other side of Australia. I also had a Park to Park contact with Gerard VK2JNG/p in the Bullala National Park VKFF-0580.
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
- VK2JNG/p (Bullala National Park VKFF-0580)
I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-
State Library South Australia, 2018, <http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/digitalpubs/placenamesofsouthaustralia/>, viewed 11th July 2018
Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coonalpyn,_South_Australia>, viewed 11th July 2018