Manya Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2377

Marija and I made a fairly early start on Friday morning (9th November 2018), after a 14 hour shift for me at work the night before.  We were on the road by about 8.00 a.m. and had around a 255 km trip ahead of us to Murrayville in north western Victoria.  We had booked in to the Murrayville caravan park for 2 nights.

We travelled along the South Eastern Freeway and over the Murray River at Murray Bridge and on to Tailem Bend along the Dukes Highway.  We turned off at Tailem Bend on to the Mallee Highway.  This is the way to get to Sydney.


Our first stop for the day was the little town of Sherlock, about 32 km east of Tailem Bend.  The town was proclaimed on 8th August 1907, and is named after The Hundred of Sherlock, which was proclaimed in 1899 and named by Lieutenant-Governor Way after one of Governor Buxton’s friends..  The Sherlock School was opened in 1911 in the Baptist Church and closed in 1970.  This was the first stone building erected along the Pinnaroo railway line.  The Sherlock railway station was opened in January 1913.  It was a busy place, acting as a service point for the town of Karoonda and surrounds.

We travelled a short distance down the road and reached the town of Peake, which takes its name from the Hundred of Peake, named in honour of Archibald Henry Peake (1897-1920), three times Premier of South Australia.  Peake was proclaimed on 8th August 1907.  Its school opened in 1909 and closed in 1964.  The town was located along the railway line, and by 1909 the town was ‘the refreshment station and there was always a rush for the pie stall just along the line’.

There are a number of historic buildings in Peake, and there is a historic walk that can be undertaken.  A brochure entitled ‘Welcome to the historic settlement of Peake’ can be picked up in the town, and will guide you around the streets.

An interesting site to see here in Peake is Polly’s Well.  It was sunk in 1877 by John Whyte, an early pioneer of the district.  It was an important watering point, as in the early years of the district, there were no bituminised roads and air conditioned motor vehicles.  It took an average of 8 long days to travel between Tailem Bend and Pinnaroo by bullock wagon.

We continued east along the Mallee Highway, passing the little towns of Jabuk and Geranium, and then reached the town of Lameroo, which is about 40 km west of the State border.  The town is primarily a service town for the surrounding rural areas, growing grain and sheep.


Above:- the Main Street of Lameroo.

In the late 1850’s land was taken up in the area on pastoral lease. The area was known as Wow Wow Plain back in those days.  A well was sunk in 1884.  The well measuring 7 feet by 4 feet in section, and 254 feet deep, served both locals and travellers with water for personal use and stock supplies.   The land was surveyed in 1894, and the initial survey of Wow Wow Plain gave each block some natural open land to start cultivating.  The town was named Lameroo in 1904 at the suggestion of J.M. Johnston who had worked on the Overland Telegraph Line and heard the word in Darwin, as the name of the Lameroo Beach.  He liked the sound of Lameroo, and the town was thus named.

We stopped off briefly to have a look at the site of the old Wow Wow Well.

We then drove out of town about 3 km to have a look at Byrne Homestead, an old pug and pine settlers hut built in 1898.

We continued on our journey along the Mallee Highway and soon reached the town of Pinnaroo.  The town’s name is derived from the Ngarkat aboriginal language wored ‘pinaru’, the tribal name for the district and many relate to Ngautngaut, an ancestral being who played a big role in the mythology of the Ngarkat people.

We took the time to have a look through the Pinnaroo Museum, which can be located at the Visitor Centre.  The museum contains an excellent display of printing presses, restored tractors and engines, and other memorabillia.  It is well worth a look.

Of course, I found a few radio related articles in the museum, including a morse key.


And a range of early radios.  Very interesting.

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Not long after leaving Pinnaroo, we reached the South Australia/Victoria State border.


Our first planned park activation was the Manya Nature Conservation Reserve, VKFF-2377.

Screen Shot 2018-11-12 at 8.23.02 pm.png

Above:- Map showing the location of the Manya Nature Conservation Reserve in north western Victoria.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

The Manya Nature Conservation Reserve is about 4.62 km2 in size and is a typical mallee park.  It is in close proximity to the South Australian/Victoria State border, about 9 km north of the town of Panitya in Victoria.  The place name Manya is derived from the local Aboriginal word meaning “the hand”.  The park is referred to in the 2016 CAPAD data as a Flora Reserve and Nature Conservation Reserve.  It is not to be confused with the Manya Bushland Reserve which is located to the north west of the park.

After crossing the State border, we travelled east to the little town of Panitya and then travelled north on the Panitya North Road.  The northern boundary of the park is located at the corner of Panitya North Road and Wheeler Road.  We found a track prior to this junction, which travelled into the park.  After travelling a few hundred metres along the track we found a cleared area, with just enough room to stretch out the linked dipole, but only just.

Screen Shot 2018-11-12 at 8.22.44 pm.png

Above:- Aerial shot of the park showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

On our way into the park we worked Tony (VK3XV) VK3WI/p from our mobile, who was activating the Brisbane Ranges National Park VKFF-0055.

We had no internet coverage in the park, so we were unable to self spot on parksnpeaks and/or Facebook.  After setting up, I kicked off the activation, with a Park to Park with Tony VK3WI/p.  Marija also logged Tony.  We then tuned across the band and logged Ade VK4SOE/p & VK4COA/p on 7.140, who was activating the Sundown National Park VKFF-0471.  We then moved down to 7.135 and I started calling CQ.  First in the log there was Peter VK3PF, followed by Peter VK3TKK/p who was in the Dandenong Ranges National Park VKFF-0132.

I had planned on just getting my 10 contacts to qualify the park for the VKFF program, and not sticking around to get 44 QSOs.  We had hoped to activate 3 more parks, so we were a bit pressed for time.  It was quite slow going, but after about 20 minutes, I had contact number 10 in the log.  I logged 15 stations before swapping the mic with Marija.   My contacts were into VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5, and included Tony VK5TT who was pedestrian mobile walking his dog and operating remote, and David VK5PL/p who was in the Wiljani Conservation Park VKFF-1159.

Marija was also keen to get her 10 and for us to move on.  Marija called CQ and this was answered by Peter VK3PF, followed by Allan VK3ALN/p and then Geoff VK3SQ.  Marija logged a total of 13 stations from VK2, VK3, VK5 and VK7.

We then moved down to 80m and Marija called CQ on 3.610.  First in the log was John VK5BJE who was an excellent 5/9 signal, followed by David VK5PL in the WIljani Conservation Park, and then Tony VK3WI mobile.

To complete the activation I called CQ on 14.310, but was competing with the Over the Horizon Radar which was very loud.  I logged Ray VK4NH and then Michael VK6TU.  But the radar had become too annoying, so I headed down to 14.260 and called CQ which was answered by Andrei ZL1TM, and then Neil VK4HNS.

Marija and I had 38 contacts in the log between us, along with

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3WI/p (Brisbane Ranges National Park VKFF-0055)
  2. VK4SOE/p (Sundown National Park VKFF-0471)
  3. VK4COA/p (Sundown National Park VKFF-0471)
  4. VK3PF
  5. VK3KAI
  6. VK3ALN/p
  7. VK3SQ
  8. VK5KLV
  9. VK3ANL
  10. VK7EK
  11. VK2VN
  12. VK5TT/p
  13. VK3AAT/p

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE
  2. VK5PL/p (Wiljani Conservation Park VKFF-1159)
  3. VK3WI/m

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3WI/p (Brisbane Ranges National Park VKFF-0055)
  2. VK4SOE/p (Sundown National Park VKFF-0471)
  3. VK4COA/p (Sundown National Park VKFF-0471)
  4. VK3PF
  5. VK3TKK/p (Dandenong Ranges National Park VKFF-0132)
  6. VK5FANA
  7. VK5TT/p
  8. VK5PL/p (Wiljani Conservation Park VKFF-1159)
  9. VK3SQ
  10. VK4TJ
  11. VK4/AC8WN
  12. VK4/VE6XT
  13. VK3ADX
  14. VK2IO/m
  15. VK5KLV

I worked the following station on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE

I worked the following station on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4NH
  2. VK4DXA
  3. ZL4TY/VK4
  4. VK6TU
  5. ZL1TM
  6. VK4HNS



Discover Murray, 2018, <>, viewed 12th November 2018

Discover Murray, 2018, <>, viewed 12th November 2018

Discover Murray, 2018, <>, viewed 12th November 2018

State Library South Australia, 2018, <>, viewed 12th November 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <,_Victoria>, viewed 12th November 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <,_South_Australia>, viewed 12th November 2018

Wikpedia, 2018, <,_South_Australia>, viewed 12th November 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <,_South_Australia>, viewed 12th November 2018

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