Day twelve was now upon us (Tuesday 27th November 2018) and it was time for us to travel from Williamstown to Geelong. It was just a short 66 km drive, but we had planned a few things to do during the day, so the short drive down the road was most welcome compared to a few hours on the road.
We kicked off the day with an activation of the Jawbone Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2339. This is not to be confused with the Jawbone Marine Sanctuary, which currently does not qualify for VKFF/WWFF. The park is located at Williamstown, about 15 km by road from the Melbourne Central Business District. The park takes its name from a small promontory known as ‘The Jawbone’.
The Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve consists of 50 acres of wetlands, open grasslands, a saltmarsh, and a mangrove area. It is located alongside the Jawbone Marine Sanctuary, a 30 hectare area, which is the closest marine protected area to the Melbourne Central Business District.
The eastern boundary of the park starts near the Williamstown High School on Bayview Street, with the north western boundary near the rear of the Quest Apartments and Maddox Road.
The map below shows the adjacent Jawbone Marine Sanctuary.
This was once a highly degraded site, but it has been transformed into a haven for wildlife and a place of enjoyment for the community. A large area of the reserve was once a rifle range which was established in 1877 and later named after Major C.E. Merrett, a member of the Australian Shooting team of 1912. The range was a training ground for soldiers and later used by police and civillians. In 1956 for the Melbourne Olympic Games, the range was used as the rifle shooting venue. It was closed in 1990 due to the sale of land for a housing estate.
The park provides an ideal habitat for up to 120 species of birds, including ducks, coots, moorhens, cormorants, grebes, swans, herons, stilts, spoonbills and pelicans. Some of those birds that call the park home feature in the photos below which I took in the park.
We drove down to Bayview Street near the Williamstown High School. We then walked about 50 metres along the Bay Trail until we reached the eastern boundary of the park, where we climbed a metal railing fence, and set up. We ran the Yaesu FT-897 and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.
This area of the park faces out towards Jawbone Bay and the large Port Philllip Bay.
The Bay Trail was very busy with walkers, joggers and cyclists, and we received a number of interesting looks during the activation.
We had made quite an early start, so we were set up and ready to go by just after 9.00 a.m. local time. I called CQ on 7.144 after Marija had placed a spot for me on parksnpeaks. James VK2HFC was to be number one in the log, followed by Peter VK3TKK mobile, and then Gerard VK2IO. It was a weekday and it was quite slow going, but within 13 minutes I had qualified the park for VKFF, with a QSO with John VK4/AC8WN.
I then swapped the mic with Marija so she could qualify the park. Marija’s first contact was with John VK4TJ, followed by James VK2HFC, and then Alan VK3ALN. But with the power lowered down to just 10 watts PEP for Marija, it was much harder going.
So it was down to 3.610 on the 80m band, with 5 contacts in the log for Marija, and another 5 to go. Marija logged just 2 stations on 80m, Geoff Vk3SQ and Ken VK2KYO. We lowered the squid pole again and removed the 80m links and it was back to 7.144 for Marija. Contact number 10 came soon after, with a QSO with John VK7FJFD. Marija logged a further 3 stations before I gave 80m one final go. I logged just the 1 station, Peter VK3PF.
We then decided to call it quits and packed up, with both of us qualifying the park for the VKFF program.
Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
I worked the following station on 80m SSB:-
At the end of the activation we had a quick look (through the fence) at Fort Gellibrand, which was built in 1855 during the Crimean War to guard against a possible Russian invasion.
Opposite is the site of Gellibrands Bluestone Quarry, which commenced in 1838. It supplied ballast to weigh down empty ships on their return journey. Ballast was also supplied to the railways for lining tracks. Other than ballast, bluestone blocks cut from the quarry were used to construct many of the first piers and buildings in Williamstown and Melbourne.
We then drove in to the historic heart of Williamstown. It was named William’s Town in 1837 after King William IV, the English monarch. There are numerous heritage buildings and sites in Williamstown.
We took a walk along the waterfront where you can get excellent vies of the City of Melbourne, Port Phillip Bay, and the mouth of the Yarra River.
Moored at Gem Pier is HMAS Castlemaine, a World War Two mine sweeper which was built at the local shipyards. It is now used as a Maritime Museum.
We stopped for some morning tea at one of the local cafes, and then headed to the RAAF Museum at Point Cook.
Parks Victoria, 2018, <https://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/jawbone-f.f.r.>, viewed 20th December 2018
Parks Victoria, 2013, ‘Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve Visitor Guide’
Wild Melbourne, 2018, <http://wildmelbourne.org/bush-beats/jawbone-flora-and-fauna-reserve>, viewed 20th December 2018