Our third park for the day (Friday 9th November 2018) was the Boinka Flora Reserve VKFF-2270. The park is located about 39 km east of Murrayville on the Mallee Highway, and about 500 km north west of Melbourne.
This was to be another unique park for both Marija and I, and the very first time that the park had been activated for World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF).
The Boinka Flora Reserve can be located on the northern and southern side of the Mallee Highway, at the little town of Boinka. Don’t blink, as there is not much here. The name Boinka means “flat black beetle” in the language of the aboriginal people of Lake Hindmarsh.
The town of Boinka was established in the early 1910’s, with the Post Office opening on 15th July 1912 when a regular mail service was provided by the opening of the railway from Ouyen to Murrayville a month earlier. Town blocks became available for sale in 1912, with the average price at Boinka being £48.45.
Sadly, as is the case with many towns that Marija and I have visited, with the closing of the railway, came the death of Boinka as a town. The town once boasted a grocers shop, blacksmith, boarding house and coffee palace. The very first store was operated from tent where groceries were sold.
We stopped in briefly to take a look at the old Boinka State School which is listed by Heritage Victoria. The school operated from 1913-1979. Unfortunately we could not get inside the school, but were able to peer in through the windows. The old school, which is now the community centre, contains the original school desks and a photo display.
The park itself is relatively small, being about 1.41 km2. The Boinka Flora Reserve is listed within the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act of 1988 as being one of only two places in Victoria where Pale Myoporum, an erect shrub of up to 2 metres in height (widespread in South Australia), is known to grow indigenously outside of that location.
As we drove into the park I spoke with Tommy VK2IR who was operating portable on Windang Island, south of Wollongong. Tommy was running just 5 watts, and had a beautiful 5/9 signal into the mobile. Some photos of Tommy’s operation are below.
Marija and I found a clearing in the scrub and set up underneath the shade of some gum trees. We ran the Yaesu FT-857d for this activation, set at 10 watts PEP for Marija, and 40 watts for me. Our antenna was the 20/40/80m linked dipole, inverted vee, 7 metres at the apex.
Prior to calling CQ I tuned across the 40m band and logged Ade VK4SOE/p who was in the Sundown National Park VKFF-0471. Ade had an excellent 5/9 signal to north western Victoria from Queensland.
It was starting to get late in the afternoon, and the band was opening up to Europe, so it was quite hard finding a clear frequency. I eventually proppped on 7.170 and called CQ. First in the log there was Simon VK2JAZ, followed by Peter VK2UXO with his normal booming signal, and then John VK4TJ.
The 40m band was in good condition, although it was interesting to note that we worked very few Victorian stations and no South Australian stations. I suspect we were a little too close for the propagation to be working for the closer in stations. I logged a total of 17 stations on 40m from VK1, VK2, VK3 and VK4, before swapping the mic with Marija.
Marija was keen to get her 10 contacts to qualify the park for the VKFF program, and then hand back the mic. And it didn’t take her long to do that. Within 6 minutes, Marija had contact number 10 in the log, with a QSO with George VK4GSF.
We then lowered the squid pole and inserted the links for the 80m band. I called CQ on 80m and this was answered by Peter VK3PF with an excellent 5/9 signal. George VK4GSF followed, then Adrian VK5FANA, and finally David VK3FDZE.
To complete the activation I called CQ on 14.310 on the 20m band, where I logged George VK4GSF, for a third band, and then Mark VK4SMA.
It was now a little after 6.00 p.m. local time and Marija and I were getting hungry, so we packed up, with a total of 36 stations in the log between the 2 of us. We will need to come back here to get our 44 contacts. Hopefully we were able to give a few hunters a brand new park.
Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
- VK4SOE/p (Sundown National Park VKFF-0471)
I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-
As we drove back to Murrayville, we stopped briefly to have a look at the lone grave just off the Mallee Highway near Cowangie. The grave is the resting place of a railway worker who died in 1913.
We headed back to the cabin to freshen up and then headed off to the Murrayville Hotel for a meal.
Thanks to everyone who called us on day one of our trip.
Mallee Highway Touring Route, 2018, <http://www.malleehighway.com.au/html/boinka.html>, viewed 14th November 2018
Protected Planet, 2018, <https://www.protectedplanet.net/boinka-f-r-nature-conservation-reserve>, viewed 14th November 2018
Victorian Places, 2018, <https://www.victorianplaces.com.au/boinka>, viewed 14th November 2018
Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boinka,_Victoria>, viewed 14th November 2018