Hardings Springs Conservation Reserve VKFF-1714

Our final intended park activation for our 2 days away was the Hardings Springs Conservation Reserve VKFF-1714.  This was the first time that Marija and I had activated the park.

The park is located about 35 km by road north of Bordertown and about 260 km southeast of the city of Adelaide.

Screen Shot 2019-08-07 at 12.39.25 pm.png

Above:- Map showing the location of the Hardings Springs Conservation Reserve.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

To get to the park we travelled northwest on the Dukes Highway and turned right onto the Ngarkat Highway and headed north towards Pinnaroo.  The Highway takes its name from the Ngarkat (Ngargad) who were an indigenous Australian people of the state of South Australia, now believed to be extinct.

The park is located about 24 km north of the Dukes Highway and Ngarkat Highway junction.  The park is well signposted.

The Hardings Springs Conservation Reserve is 7 hectares in size and is located on the western side of the Ngarkat Highway in the locality of Sherwood.  The park was established on the 24th day of April 1997.  It takes its name from the natural soak or spring located in the park.

The area was originally part of the ‘Tatiara Station’.  The park was named after William Harding (ca.1824-1874), an early pastoralist.  Hardings Springs was first used by surveyors in the late 1800s.  It was then called ‘175 Mile Camp’ referring to its distance from Adelaide.

In about 1909 Fred Lampert took up land around the soak and farmed it until about 1928 when falling wheat prices made is unviable.  Lampert planted the tall sugar gums in 1911 as a narrow gateway to his property for a horse and cart.  The water in the soak provided enough water for domestic use, a modest vegetable garden and for two horses each day, all carried by bucket.  Today the soak is usually dry, the water level probably lowered by the roots of the trees,


Above:- William HARDING.  Image courtesy of Wikitree

The park has an active Friends of the Parks group.  An information board can be found in the park, along with a nature trail to the natural soak located in the park, a picnic table, and also a bird hide.  A brochure can be found in the park pointing out interesting spots along the walking trail.

Numerous native birds can be found in the park including Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Shy Heath-wren, White-browned Babbler, Rufous Whistler, Misstleoebird, Red Wattlebird, Eastern Rosella, and Brown Falcon.  Some of the birds I spotted during our visit can be seen in the photographs below.

We parked in the carpark off the Ngarkat Highway and set up just inside the park boundary.  Again we ran the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation

Screen Shot 2019-08-07 at 12.37.15 pm.png

Above:- An aerial view of the Hardings Springs Conservation Reserve showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

We had no internet coverage in the park so we were unable to self spot.  I started calling CQ on 7.139 and this was answered by Greg VK2GJC, followed by Kevin VK2HMV.  Matt VK1MA then called in and was kind enough to spot me on parksnpeaks.  As a result, a number of the regular park hunters then called in.

Within ten minutes I had qualified the park, with contact number ten being with Andrei ZL1TM in New Zealand.

I logged a total of 16 stations on 40m from VK1, VK2, VK4, VK7, and New Zealand.  This included Rob VK4SYD/p who was activating the Kurwongbah Nature Reserve VKFF-2868.


After logging Rob VK4SYD and bagging the park for VKFF, Marija jumped into the operator’s chair and also spoke with Rob whilst I went for a bit of walk through the park.  Next in the log for Marija was Cliff VK2NP who spotted Marija on parksnpeaks, followed by Robert VK2XXL and then Ray VK4NH.

It only took 7 minutes for Marija to qualify the park for VKFF.  Contact number 10 was a QSO with Greg VK4VXX/p who was activating the Albinia National Park VKFF-0661.

When I came back from my short walk Marija was very quick to point out that she had worked Max IK1GPG in Italy.  This was Marija’s first-ever contact into Italy.


We then moved down to the 80m band and I started calling CQ on 3.615.  First in the log was John VK5BJE, followed by Ian VK5CZ/p who was activating the Mimbara Conservation Park VKFF-1060.  Marija also logged Ian for a Park to Park.

I logged a total of 7 stations on 80m including a further Park to Park, with Brett VK3FLCS/p who was activating the Whroo Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2229.  Marija also jumped in to get the Park to Park with Brett.

I then moved up to the 20m band.  Mark VK4SMA had spotted me on parksnpeaks to advise that I would be on this frequency.  I logged Anthony VK6MAC, Andrei ZL1TM, and Paul VK2HDX/4 who was on Cape York in Far North Queensland.

I now had 29 QSOs in the log and required a few more to get to my 44.  I moved back to 7.144 on 40m and logged a further 19 stations.  Contact number 44 was a QSO with Murray VK4MWB.  I also logged Andrew VK1AD/p who activating SOTA peak Mount Stromlo VK1/ AC-043, looking for some European Summit to Summit contacts.

It was now 4.30 p.m. and we still had more than a 2-hour drive to get home, so we packed up and hit the road.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4SYD/p (Kurwongbah Nature Reserve VKFF-2868)
  2. VK2NP
  3. VK2XXL
  4. VK4NH
  5. VK4DXA
  6. ZL4TY/VK4
  7. VK4SMA
  8. VK2GJC
  9. IK1GPG
  10. VK4VXX (Albinia National Park VKFF-0661)

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5CZ/p (Mimbara Conservation Park VKFF-1060)
  2. VK3FLCS/p (Whroo Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2229)

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2GJC
  2. VK2HMV
  3. VK1MA
  4. VK1AT
  5. VK2RSB
  6. VK7OT
  7. VK2RU/4
  8. VK2IPK
  9. VK7OR
  10. ZL1TM
  11. VK4NH
  12. VK4DXA
  13. ZL4TY/VK4
  14. VK2NP
  15. VK4SMA
  16. VK4SYD/p (Kurwongbah Nature Reserve VKFF-2868)
  17. VK4VXX/p (Albinia National Park VKFF-0661)
  18. VK7KW
  19. VK2FABE
  20. VK2QM
  21. VK2LEE
  22. VK2LX
  23. VK7TU
  24. VK1AD/p (SOTA VK1/ AC-043)
  25. VK4CZ
  26. VK2YK
  27. VK2IO/5
  28. Vk2ISO
  29. VK2VW
  30. VK4PDX
  31. VK4TJ
  32. VK4/AC8WN
  33. VK4/VE6XT
  34. VK4MWB
  35. VK4RF
  36. VK4HA
  37. VK4HNS
  38. VK3UH

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE
  2. VK5CZ/p (Mimbara Conservation Park VKFF-1060)
  3. VK3PF
  4. VK5PL
  5. VK5FANA
  6. VK3FLCS/p (Whroo Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2229)
  7. VK3SQ

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK6MAC
  2. ZL1TM
  3. VK2HDX/4

It soon started to get dark and we enjoyed a magnificent sunset as we headed west along the Dukes Highway.

On the way home, we stopped off at the Riverside Hotel at Tailem Bend.  It is always a great meal here and a regular watering hole for Marija and me.


We arrived home about 45 minutes after leaving Tailem Bend.  It had been a great 2 days away.  We had activated a total of eight (8) parks and made a total of 518 QSOs on 20, 40, & 80m SSB into VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7, New Zealand, Italy, & the Canary Islands.  This included 35 Park to Park contacts.  Seven of the eight parks were first time activations.




Bordertown Field Naturalists, ‘Harding Springs Nature Track’ brochure

State Library South Australia, 2019, <http://www.slsa.ha.sa.gov.au/digitalpubs/placenamesofsouthaustralia/H.pdf>, viewed 7th August 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservation_reserves_of_South_Australia>, viewed 7th August 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ngarkat>, viewed 7th August 2019

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