Our final park for our trip away was the Kiata Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2347. The park is located about 361 km northwest of the city of Melbourne and 14km east of the town of Nhill.
Again this was to be another unique park activation for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.
The park is located just south of the town of Kiata. The name Kiata is believed to have derived from an Aboriginal word describing summer heat. Much of the Kiata area was taken up for farm selections during the early 1870s. The township of Kiata was surveyed in 1876. In 1879 the Kiata West school was opened, and in 1881 the Kiata East school was opened. In 1884 an Anglican church was opened. The railway line was opened in 1887, and later there was a hotel, a store and a blacksmith.
In 1903 Kiata was described in the Australian handbook:
Today Kiata is just a small settlement. The former Little Desert Hotel is now closed, while the school closed way back in 1968.
The park can be located just to the south of the town of Kiata on the southern side of the Western Highway, the main highway between Adelaide and Melbourne.
The park is about 197 acres in size and conserves a small area of remnant bushland which was previously widespread in western Victoria prior to the area being cleared for farming by European settlers.
The park was alive with Rainbow Bee Eaters during our visit. A number were quite happy to sit up on branches just a short distance from where we were operating.
We accessed the park via Kiata South Road. We took a 4WD dirt track near the cemetery. We ran the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.
We only had a short time in Kiata, so I was hoping to whiz through the contacts as quickly as possible. I called CQ on 7.140 and this was answered by Peter VK3PF who gave me his other two calls so I could reach the 10 and 44 QSOs quicker. This was followed by Ivan VK5HS, Rob VK2VH, and then Ron VK3AHR.
Contact number ten came in just 5 minutes with a contact with John VK5NJ. I logged a total of 28 contacts on 40m before Marija jumped into the operator’s chair.
Marija’s first contact was with Adrian VK5FANA, followed by Ian VK5CZ/m, John VK5NJ, and then Ray VK4NH. Marija’s tenth contact was with Peter VK3KAI. Marija logged 15 contacts and had qualified the park for VKFF, so took control of the mic once again.
I logged a further 12 contacts on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK5, and VK7. I now had 40 contacts in the log and was just 4 QSOs short of the target of 44. I moved to the 20m band and logged 5 stations from VK2 and VK7. My 44th contact was with Adam VK6GA/2.
Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-
We packed up and headed into the town of Nhill and went to the Australian Pinball Museum.
The museum features pinball machines from a wide range of eras.
Some of the classic machines include Kiss (1979), Playboy (2002), and Star Wars (2017).
The museum also features original pinball advertising memorabilia such as original advertising flyers, posters, and promotional products.
Below are a few videos I took in the museum.
We continued west and into the little town of Keith. It was just a little before 6.00 p.m. local time and we planned on having a meal at the local pub, so we had a bit of time to have a look around the town. One of the interesting sights in a landrover on a pole.
During the 1940s, the CSIRO found prosperity in the area. With the addition of trace elements, the area became a very productive area. The AMP Society funded the clearing of land to set up farming establishments. There is also a display telling the story of the AMP Land Development Scheme.
We had a look at Pilmore Park where you can find a memorial for Andy Caldecott who was an off-road motorcycle racer. He was born in Keith in 1964 and died in 2006 from a neck injury sustained in a crash in the Dakar Rally.
In the park, you can also see a Centurion army tank which spent the majority of its working life in the 1st Armoured Regiment and also saw service in Vietnam from late 1969.
We enjoyed a beautiful meal at the Keith Hotel. I had kangaroo which was cooked to perfection, while Marija had salmon.
We continued west and stopped briefly at Culburra which was once a thriving self-supporting township. Today very little remains, but there is a very interesting information board in the town which tells the story of the town.
We arrived home at around 9.00 p.m.
THANK YOU to everyone who called us during our 4 days away. We had a lot of fun.
Victorian Places, 2019, <https://www.victorianplaces.com.au/kiata>, viewed 10th December 2019
Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Caldecott>, viewed 10th December 2019
Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith,_South_Australia>, viewed 10th December 2019