It was day fourteen (Thursday 29th November 2018) and time for us to leave Geelong and head to Hamilton in western Victoria. This involved a drive of about 234 km, with a number of intended park activations along the way.
After leaving the motel we headed to ‘GMHBA’ Stadium, otherwise known as Kardinia Park, which is the home to the AFL footy club Geelong. I have been to the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and the Docklands Stadium, but I had never seen Kardinia Park, except on television.
We then stopped off to have a look at St Mary of the Angels Parish Church in Geelong. In 1846 the foundations for a stone church were laid on the present site of the cathedral. In 1854 the foundation stone of the current church was laid and in 1872 St Mary of the Angels was officially opened by Bishop Goold.
The church has the tallest bluestone spire in Australia at 150 feet and it has the 4th tallest no cathedral spire in Australia. It is the tallest building in Geelong.
We then headed down to the Corio Bay foreshore at Geelong, where there was some sort of car rally taking place. We stopped off at one of the cafes for a cooked breakfast.
We then headed out of Geelong on the Western Highway. Our next intended stop was to be the Inverleigh Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2336, which is about 30 km west of Geelong.
On the way out of Geelong we stopped to have a look at the silo art on the former Geelong Cement Works site. The artwork on the silos is the work of a street artist known as Rone, who has worked in London, New York and Berlin. The three images are those of Corrina Eccles, a descendent of the queen of the Wadawurrung and traditional owner, Cor Horsten, who has had a 35-year career at the Geelong Cement Works, and Kelly Cartwright, a dual Paralympic gold medal-winner.
Sadly, we could not find a viewing spot close to the silos. They appeared to be fenced off. The track leading towards the silos was littered with rubbish and used syringes/needles, so we viewed the silos at a distance.
We drove in to the town of Inverleigh and then along Common Road, passing the local golf club. We then took Links Track and drove into the park.
The Inverleigh Nature Conservation Reserve is about 1,050 hectares in size and contains remnant grassy woodland. The reserve is surrounded by farmland and provides a living example of the landscape that existed in the dry southern inland areas prior to European settlement.
The park contains 507 species of native flora and fauna, representing 37% of all species recorded in the Victorian Volcanic Plains Bioregion. During spring the park is alive with wildflowers and nearly 50 species of native orchids.
Native animals that call the park home include the Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Black Wallaby, Koala and Echidna. More than 130 species of birds can be found in the park including the Eastern Rosella, White-browned Woodswallow, Diamond Firetail, Wedge-tailed Eagle and Australian Owlet-nightjar.
We had the park all to ourselves, and there was plenty of room here to string out the 20/40/80m linked dipole. We set up right alongside of the information board on Links Track.
Prior to calling CQ I booked in quickly to a net on 7.095 and worked the net control Ron VK3AHR. I then moved up to 7.144 and started calling CQ. Rod VK7FRJG came back to my call, followed by Ivan VK5HS, Peter VK3TKK mobile, and then Hans VK5YX. The 40m band appeared to be in good shape, with most signals being very strong. I logged a total of 15 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5.
Marija then took charge of the microphone and started calling CQ. First in the log for Marija was Geoff VK3SQ, followed by Nev VK5WG, Dennis VK2HHA and Peter VK3PF. It took Marija just 8 minutes to qualify the park for VKFF. Marija’s 10th contact was with Ken VK2KYO.
I was keen to try to get my 44 QSOs and qualify the park for the global WWFF program, so once Marija had qualifed the park for VKFF, I jumped back onto the mic and called CQ on 3.610 on the 80m band. Geoff VK3SQ was first in the log. Ivan VK5HS then gave me a call, but despite being able to hear Ivan well, he was struggling with me, and we were unable to successfully exchange signal reports, so it was a negative contact. I then logged Peter VK3PF and Dennis VK2HHA.
With 18 contacts in the log, it was time to try 20m. I called CQ on 14.310 and logged John VK4TJ, along with his USA and Canadian calls. I then moved back to 40m where I logged a total of 10 further stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5. But the callers soon dried up, so we packed up.
Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-
We drove in to the town of Inverleigh for some morning tea. We also had a look at the historic Inverleigh Hotel, a magnificent bluestone building which was built in 1856.
We also had a look at Lawsons Tree. William Lawson, who is credited with the beginning of the township of Inverleigh which was originally called Lawsons. He set up home under what is now known as Lawsons Tree. By 1842 he had opened the Horeshoe Inn, just across the track and opposite the site of the present day hotel.
St Marys Catholic Parish Geelong, 2018, <http://www.stmarysgeelong.com.au/history.html>, viewed 22nd December 2018
Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Mary_of_the_Angels_Basilica,_Geelong>, viewed 22nd December 2018