Ferries McDonald Conservation Park VKFF-0881

Our second park on Saturday 24th October 2020, for the 2020 VKFF Team Championship was the Ferries McDonald Conservation Park VKFF-0881.

The park is located about 75 km south-east of Adelaide, and about 20 km south-west of the town of Murray Bridge.

Above:- Map showing the location of the Ferries McDonald Conservation Park. Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

The Ferries McDonald Conservation Park is about 880 hectares in size and is dense mallee scrub.

Above:- An aerial shot on the park looking towards Lake Alexandrina and the Southern Ocean. Image courtesy of Google maps

On the 28th day of July 1938 the area was gazetted as a Closed Area for Birds and Animals, creating the first reserve specifically for mallee fauna. The area was named after Robert Sweet McDonald, the donor of much of the land. In 1953 there was an addition to the park with monies from a bequest from James Ferries, thus creating the Ferries-McDonald Reserve.

The area was previously known as Chauncey’s Line Scrub, named after William Snell Chauncey, an English civil engineer responsible for a number of important engineering works including the first steam railway opened in Australia.

Above:- Willian Snell CHAUNCEY. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

The park can be accessed either be Ferries McDonald Road (which dissects the park) or Chaunceys Line Road. There is a carpark in the south-eastern corner of the park on Chaunceys Line Road.

There is a walking trail in the park. It is a 2.4 km loop which takes about 45 minutes. More information can be found on the Walking SA website at….

https://www.walkingsa.org.au/walk/find-a-place-to-walk/park/ferries-mcdonald-conservation-park/

The park preserves an important piece of mallee and is surrounded by cleared farming land.

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

The endangered Malleefowl can also be found in the park. The Malleefowl is a stocky ground-dwelling Australian bird about the size of a domestic chicken. 

Zoos South Australia have previously been given permission to collect Malleefowl eggs from the park, with a view to producing a breeding population of Malleefowl which can be released to mallee area within the local region.

Above:- Malleefowl. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

We parked our vehicle in the carpark in the south-eastern section of the park and set up in a clearing in amongst the scrub. We ran the Yaesu FT-857nd and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.

Above:- An aerial shot of the park showing our operating spot. Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

Marija and I were saddened to hear strength 9 static crashes when we turned on the radio. They had really picked up from the morning. Our first station in the log was Rob VK2VH – VK4AAC/2, followed by a couple of Park to Park contacts with Ash VK3FASH/p and Peter VK3ZPF/p who were in the Sassafras Creek Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2187 as the team ‘Father and Son’.

Marija and I swapped the mic during this activation, so we decided to stick to the 10 watts PEP due to Marija’s Foundation licence. This made it a little more difficult, with some stations struggling to hear us through the very loud static crashes.

We ended up logging 41 stations on 40m before heading to the 80m band. That included a few more Park to Park contacts:

  • Tony VK3YV/p in the Baw Baw National Park VKFF-0020 – ‘Masked Activators’
  • Bryan VK3LF/p in the Baw Baw National Park VKFF-0020 – ‘Masked Activators’
  • Alan VK2MG/p in the Munmorah State Conservation Area – ‘QRParktivators’
  • Gerard VK2IO/p in the Munmorah State Conservation Area – ‘QRParktivators’

We also logged special event station VI110WIA being run by Gerald VK2HBG.

We were very pleased to hear very little noise on 80m when we moved to that band. First in the log on 80m was Jim VK3UFO, followed by Ian VK5CZ, and then Sue VK5AYL.

Between us, Marija and I logged a total of 48 stations on 80m from VK3 and VK5. This included a Park to Park contact each with Adam VK2YK/5 who was activating the Watts Gully Native Forest Reserve VKFF-2886.

To conclude the activation, we moved back to the 40m band, but sadly the static crashes had become even louder and we logged just 2 stations: Peter VK3ZPF and Nick VK3ANL.

We were about to pack up when I saw a spot on parksnpeaks for Hans VK6XN who was activating a park in Western Australia. We lowered the squid pole and headed to 14.310 where we found Hans calling CQ with a great signal from Kings Park Botanical Gardens VKFF-2980.

Marija and I ended up logging a total of 91 stations on 40m SSB and 80m SSB. This included a total of 43 contacts on 40m and a total of 48 contacts on 80m. In amongst this we logged 14 Park to Park contacts.

I made 1 Park to Park contact on 20, but this did not count towards our tally as it was on 20m and we had entered into the 40 & 80m category of the Team Championship.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2VH
  2. VK4AAC/2
  3. VK3FASH/p (Sassafras Creek Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2187)
  4. VK3ZPF/p (Sassafras Creek Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2187)
  5. VK3YV/p (Baw Baw National Park VKFF-0020)
  6. VK3LF/p (Baw Baw National Park VKFF-0020)
  7. VK2MG/p (Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361)
  8. VK2IO/p (Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361)
  9. VK2PKT
  10. VK2KYO
  11. VK2EXA
  12. VK3MPR
  13. VK3PF
  14. VK2WWV
  15. VK2PEZ
  16. VK3EJ
  17. VK5HAA
  18. VK3ECH
  19. VK3SS

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3UFO
  2. VK5CZ
  3. VK5AYL
  4. VK5UW
  5. VK5LA
  6. VK5IR
  7. VK5ATN
  8. VK5TFN
  9. VK5KKT
  10. VK2YK/p (Watts Gully Native Forest Reserve VKFF-2886)
  11. VK5PET
  12. VK5FANA
  13. VK5YX
  14. VK5NNT
  15. VK5MJC
  16. VK5YL
  17. VK5HS
  18. VK3SX
  19. VK3BBB
  20. VK2CCP/3
  21. VK3HAQ
  22. VK5IS
  23. VK5WE
  24. VK3ARH
  25. VK3HRA

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2VH
  2. VK4AAC/2
  3. VK3FASH/p (Sassafras Creek Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2187)
  4. VK3ZPF/p (Sassafras Creek Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2187)
  5. VK3YV/p (Baw Baw National Park VKFF-0020)
  6. VK3PF
  7. VK2EXA
  8. VK3LF/p (Baw Baw National Park VKFF-0020)
  9. VK2KYO
  10. VK2WWV
  11. VK2PEZ
  12. VK2MG/p (Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361)
  13. VK3MPR
  14. VK2IO/p (Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361)
  15. VK2PKT
  16. VK3SS
  17. VK3GB/m
  18. VK3CM
  19. VK3EJ
  20. VK3ZK
  21. VI110WIA
  22. VK2HBG
  23. VK3ZPF
  24. VK3ANL

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3UFO
  2. VK5CZ
  3. VK5AYL
  4. VK5UW
  5. VK5LA
  6. VK5TR
  7. VK5ATN
  8. VK5TFN
  9. VK5KKT
  10. VK2YK/5 (Watts Gully Native Forest Reserve VKFF-2886)
  11. VK5NNT
  12. VK5YX
  13. VK5FANA
  14. VK5MJC
  15. VK5PET
  16. VK5YL
  17. VK5HS
  18. VK3SX
  19. VK3BBB
  20. VK2CCP/3
  21. VK3HAQ
  22. VK5IS
  23. VK5WE

I worked the following station on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK6XN/p (Kings Park Botanical Gardens VKFF-2980)

At the end of the activation we headed back home through the historic area of Hartley which was settled from about 1853. The town was named after Reverend Hartley Williams and once boasted a Methodist church, a post office, a school, and a creamery. Very little now remains, however there is a very interesting information board on Chaunceys Line Road.

References.

Birds SA, 2020, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/ferries-mcdonald-conservation-park/>, viewed 2nd November 2020

National Parks and Wildlife Service, 2020, <https://www.parks.sa.gov.au/find-a-park/Browse_by_region/Fleurieu_Peninsula/ferries-mcdonald-conservation-park>, viewed 31st October 2020.

State Library SA, 2020, <https://manning.collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/pn/h/h2.htm>, viewed 2nd November 2020

Walking SA, 2020, <https://www.walkingsa.org.au/walk/find-a-place-to-walk/park/ferries-mcdonald-conservation-park/>, viewed 2nd November 2020.

Wikipedia, 2020, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Snell_Chauncy>, viewed 2nd November 2020

Wikipedia, 2020, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hartley,_South_Australia>, viewed 2nd November 2020.

2 thoughts on “Ferries McDonald Conservation Park VKFF-0881

  1. Thanks Paul,

    Good to see Ferries McDonald CP active.

    Dianne and I get up there from time to time from our new digs at Goolwa.

    Still setting up the remote site at nearby Nurragi.

    How is the AHARS Web site progressing?

    Is it time to start stirring the pot to get the linked Adelaide repeaters web page published?

    Let me know if you want some help with that.

    73s

    Nifty

    VK5XD

    • Hi Nev,

      I have activated Ferries McDonald Conservation Park many times. I had always hoped to see a Malleefowl there, but that hasn’t happened yet. I have only ever seen them in one park, and that was Mount Boothby. It was quite a thrill.

      There are all sorts of dramas with the AHARS website. I have a guy working on it for me.

      Re the repeater page, just send me what needs to go on the page and I will fix it.

      Hopefully, the website will be up and going with no glitches soon.

      73,

      Paul VK5PAS

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