Our final ‘intended’ activation for day six (Wednesday 21st November 2018), was the Lake Eildon National Park VKFF-0625. The park is located about 148 km (by road) north east of the city of Melbourne. This would be the first time that both Marija and I had activated this park for both the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program, and the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award (KRMNPA).
The Lake Eildon National Park was established on the 4th day of June 1997 and is 27,750 hectares (68,600 acres) in size. It is located in the northern foothills of the Central Highlands of Victoria, and is adjacent to the shores of Lake Eildon.
The land in which the park is located is the home of Taungaurung aboriginal people. But when they inhabited the area, Lake Eildon was not here. It is a man made lake, with construction commencing in 1915. Originally known as Sugarloaf Reservoir, the Eildon Dam and Weir was completed in 1929. The impounded reservoir is known as Lake Eilson. Its capacity is about 377,000 megalitres. The dam wall is about 84.5 metres in height.
In 1957 an area of 2,670 hectares, which consisted of land along the Goulburn and Delatite Rivers was declared as the Fraser National Park. In 1980, an area of 24,000 hectares of State Forest adjacent to Lake Eildon was declared as the Eildon State Park. These two parks were combined in 1997, to form the Lake Eildon National Park.
About 34 species of native animals, 89 species of bird, 17 reptiles, 10 amphibians, and three freshwater fish are known to frequent the park. This includes the threatened species of the Brush-tailed Phascogale and the Spotted Tree Frog. During out visit we encountered a number of Sulphur Crested Cockatoos and King Parrots (see below).
Before activating the park, Marija and I drove in to the little town of Eildon, which is set on the banks of the Goulburn River and adjacent to Lake Eildon. The name of the town, the lake, and the park, is taken from Eildon Station, a pastoral run of about 25,000 hectares which was taken up in 1846 by Mr and Mrs Archibald Thom. The name was chosen due to the area reminding them of Mrs Thom’s birthplace of the Eildon Hills near Abbortsford in Scotland.
We took a drive out along Embankment Road which follows the southern edge of the lake and takes you past the spillway. There is a monument here with a number of plaques recognising the ‘skill and labour of the men of many occupations who made possible the building of this great dam’.
We then drove our of Eildon on the Jerusalem Creek Road and soon reached the Lake Eildon National Park.
We headed to Foggs/Mount Pinniger Lookout which is 543 metres above sea level and offers some nice views of nearby Eildon, and Lake Eildon. It is named after Wilkinson Pinniger, a surveyor involved in the Victorian Geodetic Survey completed in 1858. During the late 1950’s the lookout was renamed as Foggs Lookout, after James D. Fogg, Project manager for UTAH Constructions during the building of the Big Eildon Dam.
We set up and I kicked off the activation with a contact with Compton VK2HRX, followed by Ken VK2HBO, and then Peter VK3PF. I soon had my 10 contacts in the log, with a QSO with Steve VK5KSW on the Yorke Peninsula.
Marija then jumped on the mic, with her first contact being a QSO with Angela VK7FAMP, followed by Andrew VK2PEZ and then Andrew VK2UH.
I then looked at Google maps and realised we may not be inside the park which set off the alarm bells. Although other maps, and various websites indicated we were, and some assurances from certain amateurs, we decided to be absolutely sure, and packed up and moved to another location. We stopped occasionally to admire the magnificent views of Lake Eildon.
We drove a short distance down the road to the Jerusalem Creek campground area and continued our radio activities. Sorry to anyone if we went off air in a hurry. We just wanted to make sure we were within the park boundaries.
Marija soon qualified the park with 10 contacts and ended up with a total of 13 contacts in the log from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5 and New Zealand.
It was getting quite late, with the local time approaching 6.30 p.m. and the 40m band was opening up very nicely. So it didn’t take me long to get my 44 contacts, to qualify the park for the global WWFF program. Contact number 44 was John VK4TJ.
Whilst I was on air Marija went for a short walk down to the water’s edge from the campground. There is a marina here where a number of houseboats are moored.
So with the park qualified it was time to pack up and head into Eildon for a bite to eat. It was now 7.15 p.m. and we were keen to get to the local pub which had been recommended to us by an amateur during our activation.
Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
Sadly when we got back into Eildon we discovered that the Golden Trout Hotel was closed. For a tourist town like this, Marija and I were very surprised to find very few options for food. So it was off to the local take away for a steak sandwich, which was very nice indeed.
Directly outside the shop is the ‘Earl of Eildon’ statue, which is designed so that tourists can sit at the feet of the Earl and have their photograph taken. We couldn’t resist.
Artworkz Lookouts, 2018, <http://www.esplash.me/pdf/etbook_district_lookouts.pdf>, viewed 17th December 2018
Lake Eildon Tourism, 2018, <https://www.lakeeildon.com/history-of-lake-eildon/>, viewed 17th December 2018
Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eildon_Dam>, viewed 16th December 2018
Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Eildon_National_Park>, viewed 16th December 2018