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.
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.
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.
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