Ridley Conservation Park VKFF-0932

Our second park for the 2019 VKFF Team Championship was the Ridley Conservation Park VKFF-0932.  The park is located about 121 km (by road) north-east of the city of Adelaide.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Ridley Conservation Park northeast of Adelaide.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

After packing up at Swan Reach we travelled east back along the Stott Highway and then turned right onto Murraylands Road and headed south.  We stopped off briefly at the Marks Landing lookout.  There are some great views here of the Murray River across to the town of Swan Reach.

The Ridley Conservation Park is about 414 hectares in size.  It is a long narrow park measuring 10 km in length and 400 metres in width.  The park consists of two major vegetation formations:

  • 35% – Open scrub of Red Mallee and yorell with Murray Pine and areas of shrubland dominated by Hop bush.
  • 65% – Low open woodland of Native Apricot and false sandalwood, with an understorey of spear-grass and ephemeral herbs.

The park was part of the Travelling Stock Reserve which ran for about 5-10 km parallel to the Murray River.  This part of the reserve linked the stock market of Burra in the north of South Australia, with Murray Bridge to the south.

During 1966 when the land was being resumed and purchased for the purpose of national parks, the Land Board proposed that portions of the Travelling Stock Reserve be retained and dedicated as a Wildlife Reserve.  The park was first proclaimed as the Ridley National Parks Reserve on the 30th day of May 1968.  It was re-proclaimed on the 27th day of April 1972, as the Ridley Conservation Park.

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Above:- An aerial view of the Ridley Conservation Park.  Image courtesy of Google maps.

Birds SA have recorded about 109 species of bird in the park includingWhite-winged Chough, Galah, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Grey Shrike-thrush, Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Brown Treecreeper, Southern Whiteface, Little Eagle, White-winged Fairywren, Regent Parrot, Striped Honeyeater, and Yellow Thornbill.

The park was originally set aside to conserve native vegetation and bird habitats, but in addition, the open areas of the park include a number of warrens of the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat.  Other native animals found in the park include echidna and Western Grey kangaroos.

During our visit to the park, we observed one wombat, who was very quick on his/her feet but did stay still long enough for me to get some photographs (see below).

DSC_5857

We drove a short distance off the road into the park off Murraylands Road and set up under the shade of some vegetation.  We ran the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.

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Above:- Map of the Ridley Conservation Park showing our operating spot.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

The 40m band was very busy due to the CQ WW Contest and it was very hard to find a clear frequency.  Compounding issues was the 5/9 plus static crashes due to storm activity around Australia.  I found 7.115 clear and started calling CQ.  First in the log was Ron VK3APP, followed by park regular Rob VK2VH, and then Peter VK3ZPF who is another VKFF devotee.

This was followed by Gerard VK2IO/p who was activating the Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361.  Marija also logged Gerard for a Park to Park contact.  Five contacts later and we were called by Alan VK2MG/p who was also in the Munmorah State Conservation Area.

I logged a total of 12 stations on 40m, with conditions being quite poor.  I then swapped the mic with Marija.

DSC_5835

Marija called CQ and this was answered by Rob VK2VH, followed by Adam VK2YK, and then Peter VK3PF.  Marija had quite a steady flow of callers which was very pleasing.  We also logged further Park to Park contacts with Rob VK4SYD/p and Scott VK4CZ/p who were activating the Samford Conservation Park VKFF-1639, and Deryck VK4FDJL/6 who was in the Frankland (South) National Park VKFF-0653.

Marija logged a total of 18 stations on 40m, before handing the mic back to me,  I called CQ on 7.115, but only managed 2 further callers, Steve VK3YW and Craig VK2KDP.  The contest interference became so bad that we decided to head down to 80m.

DSC_5838

Together, we logged a total of 10 contacts on 80m into VK3 and VK5.  This included a Park to Park contact with Mike VK6MB/5 who was activating the Franklin Harbor Marine Park VKFF-1709 on the Eyre Peninsula.

I decided to have one last go on 40m.  But I was to be very disappointed, with just one contact logged, that being with Lee VK2LEE.  The contest QRM and the static crashes proved to be the winner.

We then packed up and headed off to our final park for the day, the Marne Valley Conservation Park.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO/p (Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361)
  2. VK2MG/p (Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361)
  3. VK2VH
  4. VK4AAC/2
  5. VK2YK
  6. VK3PF
  7. VK3PR
  8. VK1JH
  9. VK2LX
  10. VK4NH
  11. VK4DXA
  12. ZL4TY/VK4
  13. VK4SYD/p (Samford Conservation ParkVKFF-1639)
  14. VK4CZ/p (Samford Conservation ParkVKFF-1639)
  15. VK2LUV
  16. VK4FDJL/6 (Frankland (South) National Park VKFF-0653)
  17. VK2FAAY
  18. VK3MAB

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK6MB/5 (Franklin Harbor Marine Park VKFF-1709)
  2. VK3BBB
  3. VK5FANA
  4. VK3NBL

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3APP
  2. VK2VH
  3. VK4AAC/2
  4. VK3ZPF
  5. VK2IO/p (Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361)
  6. VK3CQC
  7. VK7PSJ
  8. VK3PF
  9. VK7JON
  10. VK2MG/p (Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361)
  11. VK3MCK
  12. VK2YK
  13. VK4CZ/p (Samford Conservation ParkVKFF-1639)
  14. VK4SYD/p (Samford Conservation ParkVKFF-1639)
  15. VK4FDJL/6 (Frankland (South) National Park VKFF-0653)
  16. VK3YW
  17. VK2KDP
  18. VK2LEE

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5PL
  2. VK5BJE
  3. VK6MB/5 (Franklin Harbor Marine Park VKFF-1709)
  4. VK2DJH/4
  5. VK3BBB
  6. VK5FANA

We drove west on the Black Hill Road and took a short detour into Shell Hill Reserve.  We have been here before, but it is a very interesting place.  Shell Hill is a deposit of oyster shells believed to be the only shell deposit of its type in the Southern Hemisphere.  It was originally part of a shallow sea which occupied the Murray River Basin millions of years ago.

During the early 1930s, a company called Ellis & Clarke realised the value of the shell as a fertiliser and work commenced on a crushing plant in the gully below the deposit.  A 50-metre long chute fed the plant from the shell deposit.  The crushed shell contained a high percentage of lime and was used in agricultural pursuits.  Sir  Thomas Playford, the South Australian Premier used a significant quantity for his orchards in the Adelaide Hills.  The plant ceased operation in 1946.

 

 

 

References.

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

Discover Mrray Mallee, 2019, <http://www.murrayriver.com.au/swan-reach/shell-hill/>, viewed 29th October 2019

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