Ferries McDonald Conservation Park 5CP-067 and VKFF-0881

On Sunday 28th July 2019 I decided to do another quick park activation before heading off to work on afternoon shift.  I chose the Ferries McDonald Conservation Park 5CP-067 & VKFF-0881.

This is another park I have activated and qualified many times before, so this activation would count towards the Boomerang Award.

Ferries McDonald is located about 71 km south-east of Adelaide and about 20 km southwest of the town of Murray Bridge.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Ferries McDonald Conservation Park.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

I travelled east along the South Eastern Freeway and took the Monarto exit and then travelled south on the Ferries McDonald Road.  I travelled passed the Monarto Conservation Park and soon was bisecting the park.  I then turned left onto Chauncey’s Line Road.

Chauncey’s Line Road was surveyed in 1854 for the Government by civil engineer William Snell Chauncey (1820-1878).  It commenced at Hahndorf and proceeded to Wellington on the Murray River.  The road was planned for anticipated trade between the River Murray and Adelaide.  The official designation of the proposed road was ‘The South Eastern Road, Hahndorf to the Wellington Ferry’ but it is frequently referred to in records as ‘Chauncey’s Line’.   Chauncey had arrived in South Australia in 1840 aboard the Appoline and surveyed the Adelaide-Port Adelaide railway in 1848.

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Above:- William Snell Chauncey.  Image c/o Wikipedia

Eventually, a road and a railway bridge were built at Murray Bridge and the use of the historic ferry at Wellington decreased.  This effectively saw Chauncey’s line sink into obscurity and the Woodchester locality becoming a quiet backwater.

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Above:- Chaunceys Line Road

The Ferries McDonald Conservation Park is about 880 hectares in size and consists of dense mallee habitat.  During spring the park is alive with native orchids.  The park contains numerous sandy ridges forming part of the Murray Plains.  They provide evidence that this area was once part of the ocean bed.

The park is home to a variety of rare and endangered plant species.  Resin Wattle is a compact, resinous spreading shrub that grows up to 2 metres in height with bright yellow flowers. It is endemic to South Australia and is only found in a few locations across the state including three populations in Ferries McDonald.

 

The park was once part of a vast area of mallee bushland which was cleared for farming during the late 1800s.  Fortunately, a few rocky outcrops were unsuitable for farming and were preserved in their original state.  In January 1938, an area of 1,600 acres was gazetted under the Animals and Birds Protection Act, as a closed area for birds and animals, thus creating the first reserve in South Australian specifically for mallee fauna.  A total of 233 acres were made available by Robert Sweet McDonald of ‘Preamimma’, Monarto, 583 acres made available by Mr. G Lemmey of Two Well, whilst a further 779 acres allocated by the State.  It was initially known as Chauncey’s Line Scrub.

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Above:- Plaque in the park

An addition to the park was made in 1953 from a bequest from James Ferries, thus creating the Ferries-McDonald Conservation Park.

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Above:- Obituary of James Ferries from the Southern Argus, 1951.  c/o Trove.

Birds SA have recorded about 89 species of bird in the park including Galah, Variegated Fairywren, Weebill, Southern Scrub-Robin, Australian Magpie, Australian Golden Whistler, Grey Shrike-thrush, Spotted Nightjar, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Chestnut-rumped Hornbill, White-browed Scrubwren, and White-winged Triller.

A focus within the park has been the protection of the Malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata), a native bird species that originally inhabited much of the natural mallee environment. Malleefowl are easy prey for common predators such as foxes and feral cats and are now only found at a handful of sites across Australia, including Ferries McDonald.

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Above:- Cleared farming land on the eastern side of the park.

I set up in my normal spot in the southeastern corner of the park.  There is a carpark at this location.  I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts, and the 20/40/80 m linked dipole for this activation.

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Above:- An aerial view of the Ferries McDonald Conservation Park showing my operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

I called CQ on 7.144 and this was answered by Rod VK3OB who was mobile and had a strong 5/8-9 signal.  This was followed by Rob VK4SYD, Cliff VK2NP, and then Ian VK5CZ/p who was activating the Hopkins Creek Conservation Park VKFF-0893 in the Mid North of South Australia.

A few QSOs later I had another two Park to Park contacts in the log.  The first was with Gerard VK2IO/8 who was activating SOTA summit VK8/ AL-100 in the West McDonnell Ranges National Park VKFF-0532.  And then Ian VK1DI/2 who was in the Broken Head Nature Reserve VKFF-1898.

The 40m band was very unstable and there was lots of fading on most signals, but this did not deter callers as on occasions I had quite a little pileup going.

I logged a total of 39 stations before a visitor arrived at the park.  It was Steve, a member of the Friends of the Parks who was there to take photos of native orchids.  As it turned out Steve follows my blog.  He is not an amateur radio operator.

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After having a quick chat with Steve I got back to the radio and logged a further 9 stations on 40m.  Contact number 44 was with Adam VK2YK.  I also snared another Park to Park, with Mike VK6MB/3 who was activating the Waitchie Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2469.

With 48 contacts in the log on 40m I headed down to the 80m band and started calling CQ on 3.610.  First in the log was John VK5BJE, followed by Ivan VK5HS mobile 3 at Birchip, and Adrian VK5FANA.  I logged a total of 7 stations on 80m from VK2, VK3, and VK5.  This included my wife Marija VK5FMAZ.

I then moved to the 20m band and called CQ on 14.310.  John VK7XX was first to call with a 5/5 signal with lots of fading.  John was struggling to hear me and gave me a 3/1 signal report.  I then logged Greg VK4VXX mobile, followed by Alan VK4XAC, and Mike VK6TX mobile.  In total, I logged 10 stations on 20m from VK2, VK4, VK6, VK7, and New Zealand.

To complete the activation I moved back to the 40m band.  Prior to calling CQ I tuned across the band and logged Ian VK1DI/2 who had moved into another park, the Cape Byron State Conservation Area VKFF-1295.

I then moved down to 7.139 and called CQ.  Deryck VK4FDJL/8 was the first to give me a shout, followed by Lee VK2LEE, and then Ross VK7ALH.  I logged a further 4 stations before it was time to call it quits for the day and head home for a shower and some lunch and off to work.

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For this activation, I made a total of 73 contacts which included 5 Park to Park contacts.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3OB/m
  2. VK4SYD
  3. VK2NP
  4. VK5CZ/p (Hopkins Creek Conservation Park VKFF-0893)
  5. VK5FLEA
  6. VK3ARH
  7. VK2IO/8 (SOTA VK8/ AL-100 & West McDonnell Ranges National Park VKFF-0532)
  8. VK1DI/2 (Broken Head Nature Reserve VKFF-1898)
  9. VK3PF
  10. VK3IH/m
  11. VK3AFW
  12. VK3SQ
  13. VK2PKT
  14. VK3JM
  15. VK4RF
  16. VK4HA
  17. VK2HHA
  18. VK2ADB
  19. VK4CZ
  20. VK3MPR
  21. VK7FRJG
  22. VK3NXT
  23. VK2KJJ
  24. VK3CLR/m
  25. VK3MAB
  26. VK2UXO
  27. VK3FPSR/m
  28. VK4TJ
  29. VK4/AC8WN
  30. VK4/VE6XT
  31. VK4AZZ/m
  32. VK3SX
  33. VK2KYO
  34. VK7FJFD
  35. VK2SLB
  36. VK3LTL
  37. VK3FT
  38. VK3MKE
  39. VK3FIAN
  40. VK7QP/m
  41. VK3HN
  42. VK2WR
  43. VK7ME
  44. VK2YK
  45. VK6MB/3 (Waitchie Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2469)
  46. VK2VW
  47. VK2EZT
  48. VK3OHM
  49. VK1DI/2 (Cape Byron State Conservation Area VKFF-1295)
  50. VK4FDJL/8
  51. VK2LEE
  52. VK7ALH
  53. VK3ZPF
  54. VK3ANL
  55. VK7LH
  56. VK3RW

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE
  2. VK5HS/3
  3. VK5FANA
  4. VK5LA
  5. VK5FMAZ
  6. VK3SQ
  7. VK2NSS

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK7XX
  2. VK4VXX/m
  3. VK4/AG7WB/m
  4. VK4XAC
  5. VK6TX/m
  6. VK2HOT
  7. ZL1TM
  8. VK6XN
  9. VK4CZ
  10. VK6GLX

 

References.

Birds SA, 2019, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/ferries-mcdonald-conservation-park/>, viewed 29th July 2019

National Parks and Wildlife Service, 2019, <https://www.parks.sa.gov.au/find-a-park/Browse_by_region/Fleurieu_Peninsula/ferries-mcdonald-conservation-park>, viewed 29th July 2019

State Library South Australia, 2019, <http://www.slsa.ha.sa.gov.au/manning/pn/c/c6.htm>, viewed 29th July 2019

State Library South Australia, 2019, <http://www.slsa.ha.sa.gov.au/digitalpubs/placenamesofsouthaustralia/W.pdf>, viewed 29th July 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferries_McDonald_Conservation_Park>, viewed 29th July 2019

Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park 5CP-104 and VKFF-0781

On Saturday 27th July 2019 I was on afternoon shift at work so I decided to head out to activate the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park 5CP-104 & VKFF-0781 before I headed off to work.

I have activated and qualified this park previously, to this activation was to go towards the Boomerang Award.

The Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park is located about 17 km east of Adelaide in the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

The Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park consists of four autonomous sections: Wotton Scrub, Filsell Hill, White Scrub, and Burdett Scrub.  The largest section being Filsell Hill.

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Above:- Map showing the four sections of the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

The park is about 253 hectares in size and protects valuable remnant eucalypt vegetation.  The park habitat includes Messmate Stringybark, Bracken, Heaths, Pea-flowers, Guinea-flowers, and Wattles.  There is a 4.7 loop walking circuit in the park.  More details on that can be found on the Walking SA website.

The park is named in honour of Kenneth George Stirling, who was an accountant and benefactor.  He died suddenly in 1973, of heart disease, aged just 38.  Stirling earnt considerable wealth due to shareholding in mining interests, and apparently, this paper value embarrassed him.  According to his wife, ‘he believed he hadn’t earned the money the mining boom brought him’ and ‘his main concern was to use it for the good of the community’.  He was a member of the Nature Conservation Society of South Australia and other organisations and over the years made several anonymous gifts including $200,000 to the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) to establish national parks in South Australia. The money he gave to the A.C.F. helped to establish national parks at Montacute and Mount Scott, both near Adelaide, and in the extension of existing reserves at Scott Creek, in the Mount Lofty Ranges, and Warrenben, on Yorke Peninsula.  In 1990 the State government acquired land in the Adelaide Hills for the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park.

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Above:- Kenneth George Stirling.

I set up in the Wotton Scrub section of the park which is 82 hectares in size.  Access is via Gum Flat Road.  There is a carpark at the northwestern corner of the park.  There is also a nice cleared fire access track with plenty of room to string out a dipole.

I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts output and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the Wotton’s Scrub section of the park, showing my operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

Once I turned the transceiver on it was already set to 7.144.  I asked if the frequency was in use and Peter VK3PF came back to me to advise it was free.  So Peter was once again first in the log, followed by Geoff VK3SQ, Wade VK1MIC/2, and then Peter VK2KNV.

Contact number 8 was a Park to Park contact with Gerard VK2IO/8 who was activating the Kuyynba Conservation Reserve VKFF-1243 in the Northern Territory.

Although I have activated and qualified Kenneth Stirling many times previously, it is always nice to get 10 contacts (the threshold required to qualify the park for the VKFF program) and 44 contacts (to qualify the park for the global WWFF program).  And for this activation, I soon reached the 10 QSO level after 8 minutes in the park, with a QSO with Ken VK2KYO.

As it was a weekend, I had a steady flow of callers from across Australia.  This included another Park to Park, this time with Ade VK4SOE/p who was in the Sundown National Park VKFF-0471.  I logged a total of 30 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5 and VK8.  This included Alexi VK3FAXI.  I was Alexi’s first HF contact.

I had logged just three local VK5 stations on 40m: Ian VK5CZ in the Clare Valley, John VK5BJE at Scott Creek in the Adelaide Hills and Marija VK5FMAZ at Mount Barker in the Adelaide Hills.  It was clear that my signal for John and Marija was via ground wave.  Ian’s signal up in the Clare Valley about 150 km away was quite low down, but as we both had low noise floors we were able to copy each other very well.

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I then lowered the squid pole and inserted the links for the 80m band and headed to 3.610.  I asked if the frequency was in use and this was responded to by John VK5BJE to let me know that he was waiting for me for a second band.  John was a beautiful strong signal.  This was followed by Andy VK5LA and Danny VK5DW with equally strong signals from the Riverland region of South Australia.

This was followed by my third Park to Park for the activation, a contact with Mike VK6MB/3 who was activating the Passage Camp Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2173.  My good wife Marija VK5FMAZ followed Mike.

With 8 stations in the log on 80m and 38 contacts in total for the activation, I headed off to the 20m band.  I called CQ on 14.310 and this was answered by Andrei ZL1TM in New Zealand, followed by John VK4TJ.

I now had just 2 contacts to go to get to the 44, so once callers had dried up on 20m I headed back to 40m.  I tuned across the band and worked Neil VK4HNS/p who was in the Mount Barney National Park VKFF-0338, and then Ian VK1DI/2 who was activating the Whian Whian State Conservation Area VKFF-1394.  I then logged Rob VK4AAC/2 who was in the Murray Valley Regional Park VKFF-1785.

I then headed down to 7.133 and called CQ.  This was answered by Peter VK3ZPF and then followed by VK2RSB.  Initially, I thought I had copied this callsign incorrectly as this appeared to be a repeater callsign, but the caller repeated it.  However I was not able to get a name, so I suspect this may have been a bogus call.

I logged a further 4 stations on 40m and was about to pack up when I saw a spot pop up on parksnpeaks for Rob VK4AAC/2 on 80m in VKFF-1785.  So it was down with the squid pole and in with the links, and another Park to Park logged with Rob on a second band.

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I had 54 contacts in the log including 9 Park to Park QSOs.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK3SQ
  3. VK1MIC/2
  4. VK2MNV
  5. VK2BAI
  6. VK4RF
  7. VK4HA
  8. VK2IO/8 (Kuyynba Conservation Reserve VKFF-1243)
  9. VK2VW
  10. VK2KYO
  11. VK2HHA
  12. VK4SYD
  13. VK2PKT
  14. VK3LAJ
  15. VK2NP
  16. VK3ZNK
  17. VK2KJJ
  18. VK3HN
  19. VK3UH
  20. VK3FLEZ
  21. VK3FAXI
  22. VK4FDJL/m
  23. VK5CZ
  24. VK3ANL
  25. VK3AFB
  26. VK5BJE
  27. VK4SOE/p (Sundown National Park VKFF-0471)
  28. VK2YK
  29. VK5FMAZ
  30. VK2FPAR
  31. VK4HNS/p (Mount Barney National Park VKFF-0338)
  32. VK1DI/2 (Whian Whian State Conservation Area VKFF-1394)
  33. VK4AAC/2 (Murray Valley Regional Park VKFF-1785)
  34. VK2VH (Murray Valley Regional Park VKFF-1785)
  35. VK3ZPF
  36. Vk2RSB
  37. VK7ALH
  38. VK1HW
  39. VK3GL
  40. VK3EIR

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE
  2. VK5LA
  3. VK5DW
  4. VK6MB/3 (Passage Camp Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2173)
  5. VK5FMAZ
  6. VK5FANA
  7. VK5HS
  8. VK5CZ
  9. VK4AAC/2 (Murray Valley Regional Park VKFF-1785)
  10. VK2VH (Murray Valley Regional Park VKFF-1785)

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. ZL1TM
  2. VK4TJ
  3. VK4/AC8WN
  4. VK4/VE6XT

 

 

References.

Birds SA, 2019, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/kenneth-stirling-conservation-park-wotton-scrub/>, viewed 29th July 2019.

Friends of Parks, 2019, <http://www.friendsofparkssa.org.au/members-directory/friends-of-kenneth-stirling>, viewed 29th July 2019