Dunstans Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2310

Each year in November, a special activation weekend is held for the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award (KRMNPA).  The KRMNPA has existed since the 1970s and was originally known as the Victorian National Parks Award.  A driving force behind the park’s award was the late Keith Vidmore Roget, VK3YQ, who had served on the WIA Victorian Division Council as the President, Secretary and Treasurer.   Roget died in 1981 and following his death, his widow Jean agreed that it was fitting that the park’s award be renamed in his memory and to honour his contribution.

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Above:- One of the original Victorian National Parks Award certificates.  Image c/o Amateur Radio Victoria.

Marija and I had planned to support the 2019 KRMNPA event, which we do each year.  We headed to north-western Victoria to activate the Murray Sunset National Park and the Wyperfeld National Park.  Whilst away we also planned to activate a number of Flora Reserves for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  Many of these would be first-time activations for VKFF/WWFF.  We had booked to stay at the Murrayville Caravan Park for 2 nights.

We left home at about 6.30 a.m. local time on Saturday morning (9th November 2019) and headed east along the South Eastern Freeway to Murray Bridge.  Along the way we joined the Mid South Coast Amateur Radio Net which was run by John VK2NJP.  Marija and I then travelled east along the Dukes Highway to Tailem Bend where we stopped briefly for a coffee and an egg & bacon roll.  We then drove east along the Mallee Highway joining the BRL Riverland Net on 7.115.

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Above:- Map showing our route to Murrayville.  Map courtesy of Google maps.

Our next stop was the little town of Geranium on the Mallee Highway.  Geranium’s history dates back to 1906 when the State Government sank a bore in the locality.  The town takes its name from the wild geraniums which grow in abundance in the area.

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Sadly this is another town which has suffered as a result of the closure of the railway.   The railway was the lifeline of Geranium and other towns in the Mallee area of South Australia.  Everything came or went via the railway.  Incoming were the supplies for the local businesses, farm machinery and fertiliser.  Outgoing was cream, eggs, grain, and stock.  The line opened in 1906 and was closed in 2015.  Passenger service to Geranium was closed in 1964.  In later years the line was only used to transport grain.  You can view some history of the railway down by the silos along the old line.

Whilst in Geranium we also had a look at the old Geranium Bore.  The windmill commemorates the original bore which was constructed in the 2-acre site of the 10 acre ‘Water Reserve’ in March 1906.  A short walk away from the windmill is an old Table Top Trolley which dates back to 1921.

I mentioned above, ‘the Mallee’.  The Mallee is an area in the semi-arid areas of north-western Victoria and north-eastern South Australia.  It takes its name from the Mallee, a growth habitat of certain eucalypt species that grow with multiple stems spring from an underground lignotuber.

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Above:- The Mallee region highlighted in yellow.  Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

We continued east and stopped briefly in Pinnaroo to top up some diesel in the Toyota Hil Lux and to have a quick look at the Pinnaroo Animal Park & Bird Aviary.  The park contains Red Kangaroos, Western Grey kangaroos, emus, and numerous other parrots and cockatoos and is well worth a visit.

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After leaving Pinnaroo we soon reached the South Australian-Victorian State Border.  We stopped briefly for a photograph and continued east into Victoria.

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We arrived in Murrayville and booked into the Murrayville Caravan Park in a self-contained cabin.  We have stayed here before and can highly recommend it.

After offloading some gear we headed east on the Mallee Highway to our first park of the day, the Dunstans Flora Reserve VKFF-2310.

This would be a first-time activation of this park for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Dunstans Flora Reserve in north-western Victoria.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

The maps we were in possession of, including Google maps, show that this park is called Dunstans Nature Conservation Reserve or the Dunstans Flora and Fauna Reserve.  But this was thrown into confusion when we visited the park as Marija found a park sign which read ‘Bunstans Flora and Fauna Reserve’.  To confuse matters more, the park is located on Bunstun Road.  The Parks Victoria website and Protected Planet shows that the park is called Dunstans Flora and Fauna Reserve.

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Above:- An aerial shot of the Dunstans Flora and Fauna Reserve.  Image courtesy of Google maps.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to find out much information about this park on the internet.  The Parks Victoria website link is ‘dead’ as are most of their links.

Protected Planet shows that the park was established in 1985 and is 313 acres in size.  It is typical dry mallee countryside.

Just before reaching the little town of Linga, we turned off the Mallee Highway onto Lockett Road and travelled north.  We then turned left on Bunstun Road.  We found a small clearing in amongst the scrub on Bunstun Road and set up our station which comprised the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole.

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Above:- An aerial shot of the park showing our opeating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

I kicked off the activation by making contact with Rob VK4AAC/3 who was activating the Warby Ovens National Park VKFF-0742 in north-eastern Victoria.  Rob had a strong 5/9 signal.  I then tuned down the band and made contact with Brett VK3FLCS/p who was in the Barmah National Park VKFF-0739.

With two Park to Park contacts to commence the activation, I moved down to 7.130 and started calling CQ while Marija placed a spot up for me on parksnpeaks.  Ray VK4NH in Queensland was first to call in with a good 5/6 signal.  This was followed by Adrian VK5FANA, and then Shane VK2LUV/p in the Werekata State Conservation Area VKFF-1391.  Peter VK3PF/p then gave me a shout from SOTA peak VK3/ VE-093 & Burrowa Pine Mountain National Park VKFF-0069.  This was followed by Mike VK6MB/p in the Powalup Nature Reserve VKFF-2840, Andrew VK1DA/p at SOTA peak Black Mountain VK1/ AC-042 & Black Mountain Nature Reserve VKFF-0834, and then Alan VK3ALN/p who was activating the Point Nepean National Park VKFF-0628.

I had ten contacts in the log (including seven Park to Park contacts) and had qualified the park for VKFF, so I swapped the mic with Marija.

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Marija’s first contact was with Alan VK3ALN/p in the Point Nepean National Park VKFF-0628.  Next was Geoff VK3SQ, followed by Steve VK3MPR and Neil VK4HNS.  Just 6 minutes into the activation and Marija had her 10 contacts in the log and had qualified the park for VKFF.

Marija logged a total of 29 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4 and VK5.  Other than her Park to Park contact with Alan, Marija also logged Peter VK3PF/p Park to Park from the Burrowa Pine Mountain National Park VKFF-0069.

I then jumped back into the operator’s chair and logged a further 33 stations on 40m including the following Park to Park contacts:-

  • Ian VK5CZ/p – Charleston Conservation Park VKFF-0777
  • Norm VK3XCI/p – Hattah Kulkyne National Park VKFF-0231
  • Gerard VK2IO/p – Scheyville National Park VKFF-0444
  • Rob VK2VH/3 – Warby Ovens National Park VKFF-0742

Contact number 44, qualifying the park for me for WWFF, was with Craig VK2FFLL.

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We were hopeful that Marija might be able to get her 44 QSOs and qualify the park for the global WWFF program, so Marija jumped back into the hot seat and called CQ on 7.130.

Marija logged a further 7 stations and now had 36 contacts in the log.  We lowered the squid pole and inserted the links for the 80m band and then headed to 3.610.  First, in the log, there was Norm VK3XCI/p who was in the Hattah Kulkyne National Park VKFF-0231, followed by John VK5BJE, Ivan VK5HS, and then Rob VK4AAC/3 who was activating the Warby Ovens National Park VKFF-0742.

With callers having completely dried up and Marija just 1 short of her 44, I took a drive a km or so down the road and gave Marija her 44th contact from my mobile.  Adrian VK5FANA then called in to make it number 45.

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Before heading off to our next park I decided to try the 20m band.  I had seen a post on Facebook from Stuie VK8NSB in Darwin to say that he would be waiting on 14.310.  I headed there and logged Stuie who was a good 5/6 signal.  This was followed by Jason VK6YTS, Rob VK4SYD, Murray VK4MWB, and Scott VK4CZ with a very strong 5/9 signal.

We were in the throws of packing up when we saw on parksnpeaks that Alan VK2MG/p was in a park on 7.150.  So we re-hoisted the squid pole and logged Alan Park to Park from Bunyaville Conservation Park VKFF-1493.

It was time to pack up and head off to our next park.  Between us, we had 94 QSOs in the log, including 21 Park to Park contacts

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3ALN/p (Point Nepean National Park VKFF-0628)
  2. VK3SQ
  3. VK3MPR
  4. VK4HNS
  5. VK2KYO
  6. VK2EXA
  7. VK5FANA
  8. VK4NH
  9. VK4DXA
  10. ZL4TY/VK4
  11. VK2LX
  12. VK2YK
  13. VK3VIN
  14. VK5KC
  15. VK3PF/p (SOTA VK3/ VE-093 & Burrowa Pine Mountain National Park VKFF-0069)
  16. VK2LEF
  17. VK5TR
  18. VK5BAR
  19. VK6BW
  20. VK5TW
  21. VK5BJE
  22. VK5TBC
  23. VK5KLD
  24. VK5TAW
  25. VK5NRG
  26. VK5VCR
  27. VK5PL
  28. VK5KLV
  29. VK2IO/p (Scheyville National Park VKFF-0444)
  30. VK3WAC/m
  31. VK5BMC
  32. VK3SX
  33. VK3FLCS
  34. VK2PKT
  35. VK3MCK
  36. VK5CZ/p (Charleston Conservation Park VKFF-0777)
  37. VK2MG/p (Bunyaville Conservation Park VKFF-1493)

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3XCI/p (Hattah Kulkyne National Park VKFF-0231)
  2. VK5BJE
  3. VK5HS
  4. VK4AAC/3 (Warby Ovens National Park VKFF-0742)
  5. VK2VH/3 (Warby Ovens National Park VKFF-0742)
  6. VK5PAS/3
  7. VK5FANA

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1.  VK4AAC/3 (Warby Ovens National Park VKFF-0742)
  2. VK3FLCS/p (Barmah National Park VKFF-0739)
  3. VK4NH
  4. VK4DXA
  5. ZL4TY/VK4
  6. VK5FANA
  7. VK2LUV/p (Werekata State Conservation Area VKFF-1391)
  8. VK3PF/p (SOTA VK3/ VE-093 & Burrowa Pine Mountain National Park VKFF-0069)
  9. VK6MB/p (Powalup Nature Reserve VKFF-2840)
  10. VK1DA/p (SOTA Black Mountain VK1/ AC-042 & Black Mountain Nature Reserve VKFF-0834)
  11. VK3ALN/p (Point Nepean National Park VKFF-0628)
  12. VK5KLD
  13. VK5KLV
  14. VK2EXA
  15. VK3XPT
  16. VK3JAP
  17. VK5CZ/p (Charleston Conservation Park VKFF-0777)
  18. VK3VIN
  19. VK3XCI/p (Hattah Kulkyne National Park VKFF-0231)
  20. VK5BJE
  21. VK2KYO
  22. VK3PI
  23. VK3ZSJ
  24. VK2VW
  25. VK3SQ
  26. VK2FSDU
  27. VK7EI
  28. VK4HNS
  29. VK4SYD
  30. VK2IO/p (Scheyville National Park VKFF-0444)
  31. VK2AWS
  32. VK3VKT/m
  33. VK3WAC/m
  34. VK5LTD/p
  35. VK5WG
  36. VK4CZ
  37. VK3SX
  38. VK3IC
  39. VK2VH/3 (Warby Ovens National Park VKFF-0742)
  40. VK5VBR
  41. VK3GMC
  42. VK3PGK
  43. VK5BMC
  44. VK2FFLL
  45. VK2MG/p (Bunyaville Conservation Park VKFF-1493)

I logged the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK8NSB
  2. VK6YTS
  3. VK4SYD
  4. VK4MWB
  5. VK4CZ

 

 

References.

Amateur Radio Victoria, 2019, <https://www.amateurradio.com.au/awards>, viewed 12th November 2019.

Discover Murray Mallee, 2019, <http://www.malleehighway.com.au/html/geranium.html>, viewed 12th November 2019

Protected Planet, 2019, <https://www.protectedplanet.net/dunstans-f-f-r-nature-conservation-reserve>, viewed 12th November 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mallee_(Victoria)>, viewed 12th November 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mallee_(habit)>, viewed 12th November 2019

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