Day three and the Meringur Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2383.

It was now day three of our holiday (8th April 2021). Our destination for today was Mildura in Victoria, a drive of about 137 km from Renmark. Our plan was to active three parks and do some sightseeing along the way. Our first planned park activation for the day was to be the Meringur Flora Reserve VKFF-2383 which is located about 88 km west of Mildura in north-western Victoria.

Above:- Map showing the location of the Meringur Flora Reserve. Map c/o Protected Planet.

Marija and I had breakfast in the motel room and then headed down to the Renmark riverfront. Renmark is a very beautiful town and we enjoyed the views of the mighty Murray River.

We had a quick look at the old paddle steamer Industry which is moored at Renmark. It was built at Goolwa in 1911 and used initially for the de-snagging of the Murray River to keep it clear for the paddle steamer trade. By the late 1960s the Industry had become obsolete and became a floating static museum. Between 1990 and 1995 the vessel was restored and recommissioned as a historic passenger vessel.

Also on the riverfront is the majestic Renmark Hotel which was was established as the first British Empire community-owned hotel in 1897.

We then headed across the Murray River to the little town of Paringa. The town of Paringa was laid out in 1917, however it has its roots from the property called Paringa which was established by Daniel Cudmore who had arrived in 1837 South Australia Australia with his wife and son from Tasmania. He was bequeathed property in Ireland and after selling it he used the proceeds to buy land and by 1858 he had acquired a property called Paringa.

There are various sources re the origin of the word Paringa. One is that the name is taken from that of a large waterhole opposite the original homestead and means ‘whirlpool’. Other sources suggest it means ;land near or about the river’, while another source states if means ‘place at the river’.

We had a look at the Black Stump at Paringa. The 600 year old River Red Gum root stump had hung over a clay bank on the River Murray and had fallen into the river during the 1917 flood. It was considered a navigational hazard and permission was granted from the authorities to relocate the stump.

Marija and I then stopped to have a look at the Paringa silo’s which are now part of the Silo Art craze around Australia. The artwork features four prominent people with local connections and is the work of artist Jack Fran. One of those people featured is Renmark born riverboat Captain pearl Wallace who was Australia’s first female riverboat captain. Also featured is David Jones who was better known as ‘Possum’.

Marija and I then headed east out of Paringa on the Sturt Highway and we soon reached the fruit fly roadblock at Yamba near the South Australia/Victoria State border. When travelling west into South Australia it is a mandatory stop at the checkpoint. It is a biosecurity checkpoint as fruit is not permitted to be carried into South Australia. This is to preserve the state’s fruit-fly-free status and has operated since 1957. Also at this location is a large advertisement for Dunlop in the shape of a vehicle tyre.

A little further along we stopped briefly at the South Australia/Victoria state border.

Once in Victoria we continued east along the Sturt Highway, passing the Murray Sunset National Park. We then turned right onto the Meringur North Road and headed south towards the little town of Meringur which we soon reached. It is located about 35 km east of the South Australian State border.

The name Meringur is thought to have been derived from an Aboriginal word describing a grey kangaroo. Meringur is located in the Millewa region of north-western Victoria. The Millewa is a very successful grain growing area and produces some of Australia’s highest quality hard grain.

The railway passing through Meringur opened in 1925 and had facilities to handle passengers, sheep and grain. The Meringur Post Office was opened the following year on the 2nd day of February 1926. By the 1930s Meringur had an open air theatre, sports teams, a country rcae track, and a golf club. In 1988 the railway line was closed.

After having a quick look around the little town of Meringur, we then headed to the Meringur Flora Reserve which consists of various sections of scrub around the town of Meringur.

Above:- An aerial view of the Meringur Flora Reserve. Image c/o Protected Planet.

The Meringur Flora Reserve is about 0.97 km² in size and contains a small block of relict semi-arid woodland.

During our visit to the park we observed a bit of birdlife including White-winger Choughs and Apostlebirds. Both are highly social birds and are always seen in family groups.

We set up in a small clearing on the Meringur North Road. We ran the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole (inverted vee) for this activation. We were set up and ready to go by about 2320 UTC. This was to be a first time activation of this park for Marija and myself. This would be the third activation for the park over the years. Nick VK3ANL activated the park in June 2020 logging 39 QSOs, and Mike VK6MB activated the park in September 2019 logging 45 QSOs.

First in the log for me was Peter VK3PF, followed by Rob VK2VH/VK4AAC, followed by Daryl VK3AWA, and then Ray VK4NH. Within 7 minutes I had contact number 10 in the log, a QSO with Robert VK2RK. The park had been qualified for the VKFF program.

I went on to log a total of 31 stations on 40m from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5, before callers dried up. This included a Park to Park contact with Peter VK3TKK/p who was in the Boxwood Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2053. Marija also logged Peter.

Marija then jumped into the operator’s chair. First up for Marija was Hans VK5YX in the southern suburbs of Adelaide with an excellent 5/9 signal, followed by David VK3DJC in Portland, and then Mark VK3PI in Melbourne. Marija’s 10th contact was with Barry VK5KBJ who was mobile with an excellent 5.9 signal.

Marija boxed on and logged a total of 40 contacts on 40m before callers slowed. She was just 4 short of the 44 contacts required to qualify the park for the global WWFF program. This included a Park to Park with Marty VK4KC/p who was in the Good Night Scrub National Park VKFF-0206.

I then picked up the microphone again, hoping to push on and get 44 QSOs. Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula was first to call me this time around, followed by Ross VK7ALH and then Marty VK4KC/p in the Good Night Scrub National Park VKFF-0206.

Contact number 44 soon came, with a QSO with Ivan VK5HS in the Riverland. All up I logged 48 contacts on 40m, before handing the mic back to Marija so she could pick up her final 4 and get 44 in the log. We decided to try 80m, so we lowered the squid pole and inserted the links for that band.

Marija then called CQ on 3.610 and this was answered by Ivan VK5HS, followed by Hans VK5YX, Adrian VK5FANA, and then Craig VK3CRG who became Marija’s 44th QSO.

To conclude the activation I called CQ on 14.244 on the 20m band. First in the log was another Park to Park with Marty VK4KC in Good Night Scrub, followed by Dave VK4VCE, and finally Rob VK4HAT.

It was time for us to pack up and head off. We had 95 QSOs in the log, including 3 Park to Park contacts.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3TKK/p (Boxwood Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2053)
  2. VK5YX
  3. VK3DJC
  4. VK3PI
  5. VK5CZ
  6. VK5MJC
  7. VK3AHR
  8. VK3PF
  9. VK3MKE
  10. VK5KBJ/m
  11. VK4NH
  12. VK4DXA
  13. ZL4TY/VK4
  14. VK4HNS
  15. VK2HHA
  16. VK3AWA
  17. VK3MAB
  18. VK4FDJL
  19. VK3EJ
  20. VK3ZD/p
  21. VK3SRC
  22. VK3YSP
  23. VK3FOWL
  24. VK2KMI
  25. VK5FANA
  26. VK2IO
  27. VK5FB
  28. VK3PF
  29. VK4KC/p (Good Night Scrub National Park VKFF-0206)
  30. VK5HS
  31. VK3MCK
  32. VK2VW
  33. VK2HFI
  34. VK2VK
  35. VK4VCE
  36. VK3WTX
  37. VK2XTC/p
  38. VK3OF
  39. VK3BBB
  40. VK2CCP

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5HS
  2. VK5YX
  3. VK5FANA
  4. VK3CRG

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK2VH
  3. VK4AAC/2
  4. VK3AWA
  5. VK4NH
  6. VK4DXA
  7. ZL4TY/VK4
  8. VK3TKK/p (Boxwood Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2053)
  9. VK3ARH
  10. VK2RK
  11. VK1DI
  12. VK3SQ
  13. VK2IO
  14. VK4HAT
  15. VK3KTT
  16. VK3PI
  17. VK3MCK
  18. VK4HMI
  19. VK3EJ
  20. VK4BXX
  21. VK4/NN3Z
  22. VK5CZ
  23. VK3HBG
  24. VK4FDJL
  25. VK2HHA
  26. VK4HNS
  27. VK3CU
  28. VK5KBJ/m
  29. VK3MAB
  30. VK3GB
  31. VK3APS
  32. VK5FANA
  33. VK7ALH
  34. VK4KC/p (Good Night Scrub National Park VKFF-0206)
  35. VK3MKE
  36. VK3OF
  37. VK3SQ
  38. VK2DG
  39. VK4NH
  40. V K4DXA
  41. ZL4TY/VK4
  42. VK3KBC
  43. VK2LX
  44. VK5HS
  45. VK3CRG
  46. VK5HW
  47. VK5WE
  48. VK5YX

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4KC/p (Good Night Scrub National Park VKFF-0206)
  2. VK4VCE
  3. VK4HAT

Time was pushing on, so we packed up and headed to the Millewa Pioneer Park at Meringur which has a very impressive collection of old Mallee buildings. This is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area and is only a gold coin donation. The park was established in 1986 and is run by a voluntary committee.

We even spotted some old radios during our visit to the Pioneer Park.

References.

  1. A Compendium of Place Names of South Australia, 2021, <https://published.collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/placenamesofsouthaustralia/>, viewed 28th April 2021
  2. ABC, 2021, <https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-02-24/brush-with-fame-for-riverland-characters-on-paringa-silo-art/13183836>, viewed 28th April 2021
  3. Discover Murray, 2021, <http://www.murrayriver.com.au/meringur/millewa-pioneer-park/>, viewed 28th April 2021
  4. Protected Planet, 2021, <https://www.protectedplanet.net/314742>, viewed 28th April 2021
  5. Renmark Hotel, 2021, <https://www.renmarkhotel.com.au/about/>, viewed 28th April 2021.
  6. Victorian Places Names, 2021, <https://www.victorianplaces.com.au/meringur>, viewed 28th April 2021
  7. Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamba,_South_Australia>, viewed 28th April 2021
  8. Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meringur>, viewed 28th April 2021

2 thoughts on “Day three and the Meringur Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2383.

    • Hi Chris,

      It is always nice to visit a ‘new’ park. There are that many that I have activated over and over again.

      The Millewa Pioneer Park was an added bonus for the day. A really interesting place.

      73 mate,

      Paul VK5PAS.

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