Spring Creek Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2193

After leaving Costerfield, Marija and I continued east on the Heathcote-Nagambie Road, until we reached the Graytown-Rushworth Road.  We turned left here, heading for the Spring Creek Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2193.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Spring Creek Nature Conservation Reserve.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet

The Spring Creek Nature Conservation Reserve (NCR) is located within the Heathcote Graytown National Park, so if you intend to activate this park, you will need to ensure that you are within the boundaries of the Reserve.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Spring Creek NCR, surrounded by the Heathcote-Graytown National Park.  Map courtesy of google maps.

The Spring Creek NCR is about 401 hectares in size.  It includes the former Rushworth-Heathcote State Forest, the Mount Black Flora Reserve, and other Crown land.  The park takes its name from Spring Creek, an intermittent stream which rises from the Mount Black area and flows south through the reserve, and eventually into the Goulburn River.

Together with the Heathcote Graytown National Park, and the adjacent forestsed area, the Spring Creek Nature Conservation Reserve form the most extensive tract of Box-Ironbark forest in Victoria.  It is one of only six known Victorian localities in which the endangered Crimson Spider-orchid occurs.

The forest protects critical habitat for a number of rare species including the Powerful Owl, Swift Parrot, Brush-tailed Phascogale and Bibrons Toadlet (images below courtesy of Wikipedia).

We travelled a few hundred metres down Bailieston Road, to ensure that we were inside the park boundaries.  There were no signs for the park.


We pulled up on the side of the road.  Again, for this activation I operated from the vehicle, as we were a little short of time.  Equipment used was the Icom IC-7000, 100 watts and the Codan 930 antenna.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the Spring Creek NCR, showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

I used 7.150 again for this activation, asking if the frequency was in use before I called CQ.  VK7VDL came back to me to advise that the frequency was clear, and as a result he was first in the log.  This was followed by Ray VK4NH, Danny VK5DW, and then Nick VK3ANL.  Contact number 10 came 7 minutes into the activation, with a QSO with Scott VK4CZ.

I worked a further 5 stations before going QRT and heading off to the next park.  I had qualified the park for VKFF, with 15 contacts in the log.  Again, as we were pressed for time, Marija did not activate Spring Creek.


I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK7VDL
  2. VK4NH
  3. VK4DXA
  4. ZL4TY/VK4
  5. VK5DW
  6. VK3ANL
  7. VK5FANA
  8. VK3ALN/p
  9. VK2YK
  10. VK4CZ
  11. VK5LA
  12. VK2MZ
  13. VK2PEZ
  14. VK2ZEP
  15. VK5FMWW




Parks Victoria, 2008, ‘Heathcote-Graytown National Park and Spring Creek Nature Conservation Reserve Management Plan’.

Costerfield Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2071

After leaving Mount Ida, Marija and I travelled east on the Heathcote-North Costerfield Road, and into the little town of Costerfield, a former gold mining locality.

In 1861 there were a number of discoveries of gold and antimony in the area.  I had never heard of antimony until now.  Antimony is a lustrous silvery, bluish white solid that is very brittle and has a flaky texture.  Antimony alloys are also used in batteries, low friction metals, type metal and cable sheathing, among other products. Antimony compounds are used to make flame-proofing materials, paints, ceramic enamels, glass and pottery. The ancient Egyptians used antimony, in the form of stibnite, for black eye make-up.


Above:- Antimony.  c/o Wikipedia

The town of Costerfield was named after two of the four discoveries in the area, Peniston and Alan Coster, Edwin Field and Mr. Youle during the 1860’s.  The Costerfield Gold and Antimony Company worked the area for several years, sinking shafts to over 150 metres by 1874.

In 1862, an Anglican school was opened in Costerfield.  In 1875 a government school was opened.   In 1903 the Australian handbook described Costerfield as follows:


At their peak, the Costerfield antimony mines employed about 700 men, and produced 92% of Victoria’s antimony.  The mine was most extensively active for two periods: 1860-1883, and 1904-1925.  Small scale production took place during the period 1934-1950.  Mining continues today, undertaken by Mandalay Resources.

Today, the Costerfield Gold and Antimony Mining Precinct is listed on the Victorian Heritage Database.

We left Costerfield and took the Heathcote-Nagambie Road, and soon reached the Costerfield Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2071, which we decided to activate very quickly from the vehicle.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Costerfield Nature Conservation Reserve.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

The Costerfield Nature Conservation Reserve is about 40 acres in size.  Again, there was very little I could find on this park.  The Parks Victoria website only has a map of the park, and no further information.


We pulled off the main road near Parfrey Road and operated from the vehicle.  For this activation I ran the Icom IC-7000, 100 watts, and the Codan 9350 self tuning antenna on the back of the Toyota Hi Lux.

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Above:- An aerial view of the Costerfield NCR, showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Parks Victoria.

I started calling CQ on 7.150 and Ray VK4NH was the first to make it into the log.  This was followed by Nick VK3ANL, Grant VK2LX, and then Andy VK5LA.  I had the park qualified for VKFF within 6 minutes, with contact number 10 being a QSO with Alan VK3ALN/p at Rye.

I ended up logging a total of 17 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5.


As we were pushed for time, we did not operate on 80m or 20m, and Marija did not activate this park.  It is one which we will have to come back to, to get my 44 QSOs and for Marija to qualify as well.  Thanks to everyone who called during this quick activation from the vehicle.




Encyclopedia Britannica, 2018, <https://www.britannica.com/science/antimony>, viewed 8th December 2018

Mandalay Resources, 2018, <https://www.mandalayresources.com/properties/costerfield/>, viewed 8th December 2018

Victorian Places, 2018, <https://www.victorianplaces.com.au/costerfield>, viewed 8th December 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antimony>, viewed 8th December 2018