Mallanbool Flora Reserve VKFF-2375

After packing up at Yarrara, we headed to our third and final park for the day, the Mallanbool Flora Reserve VKFF-2375. The park is located about 81 km west of Mildura in north-western Victoria.

This was to be the first time that Mallanbool had been activated for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

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

The Parks Victoria website has little, if any information on this park on their website. Mallanbool is about 5.16 km² in size and is a small park of Causuarina crisata (Belah) which is surrounded by cleared farming land.

Above:- An aerial view of the Mallanbool Flora Reserve VKFF-2375. Image c/o Protected Planet.

Mallanbool is an aboriginal word meaning ‘a reedy swamp’. eBird have recorded about 68 species of native bird in the park including Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoo, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Red-backed Kingfisher, Rainbow Bee-eater, and Australian Kestrel.

We accessed the park via Sutherland Road off Carwarp Road. There are two signs at the intersection indicating the park.

The first contact in the log for us was a Park to Park QSO with Daryl VK3AWA/p who was activating the Sale Common Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2431.

I then moved down to 7.135 and started calling CQ. This was answered by regular park hunters Geoff VK3SQ, Peter VK3PF, and then Rob VK2VH. Contact number 10, qualifying the park for me for VKFF, was a QSO with Rob VK4HAT.

However, compared to the two previous activations, hunters at this park were few and far between, despite it being a brand new park for WWFF. I logged 18 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5, before handing it over to Marija.

Marija was just intent on getting her 10 contacts to qualify for VKFF and she did that in about 4 minutes, with contacts into VK2, VK4, and VK5.

With Marija having the park under her belt, we lowered the squid pole and removed the links for the 20m section of the antenna and headed to 14.310 where I called CQ. Just 4 contacts were logged there, all from VK4.

I was really starting to think that I would not get 44 contacts from this park. I headed to 80m where I logged 8 stations from VK3 and VK5, including a Park to Park with Peter VK3TKK/p who was activating the Gemmill Swamp Wildlife Reserve VKFF-2318.

I now had 31 contacts in the log and I headed back to 40m hoping to pick up another 13 QSOs. Fortunately I made it across the line, logging a further 18 stations. Contact number 44 was with Peter VK3GV.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB

  1. VK3AWA/p (Sale Common Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2431)
  2. VK5FANA
  3. VK2VH
  4. VK4AAC/2
  5. VK4NH
  6. VK4DXA
  7. ZL4TY/VK4
  8. VK4PDX
  9. VK5PL
  10. VK5CZ
  11. VK2HHA

Marija worked the following station on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3TKK/p (Gemmill Swamp WIldlife Reserve VKFF-2318)

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3AWA/p (Sale Common Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2431)
  2. VK3SQ
  3. VK3PF
  4. VK2VH
  5. VK4AAC/2
  6. VK5FANA
  7. VK2IO
  8. VK3TKK/m
  9. VK2HHA
  10. VK4HAT
  11. VK4NH
  12. VK4DXA
  13. ZL4TY/VK4
  14. VK4FDJL
  15. VK4FFAB
  16. KJ7AVC/VK4
  17. VK5CZ
  18. VK3PI
  19. VK5IS
  20. VK3ZPF
  21. VK5GY
  22. VK1DI
  23. VK3EJ
  24. VK5EE
  25. VK3YV
  26. VK3TNL
  27. VK5AA
  28. VK2ACK
  29. VK5TA
  30. VK3KAI
  31. VK3GV
  32. VK2EXA
  33. VK3SRC
  34. VK4BXX
  35. VK4/NN3Z
  36. VK2NP

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4NH
  2. VK4DXA
  3. ZL4TY/VK4
  4. VK4HAT
  5. KJ7AVC/VK4

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5AYL
  2. VK3BBB
  3. VK2CCP
  4. VK5LA
  5. VK5DW
  6. VK3TKK/p (Gemmill Swamp WIldlife Reserve VKFF-2318)
  7. VK5CZ
  8. VK5IS

After packing up we headed back into the little town of Werrimul which has a population of about 112 people. Werrimul is an aboriginal word believed to mean ‘Eagle’. The main industry in Werrimull is the harvesting of garins including wheat, barley, and oats. The area also has a strong sheep and cattle industry. 

The Millewa region was opened up to farming in the 1920s. By 1923 the railway had reached Werrimul, with the opening of the Werrimul Post office on 24th June 1924. Much of the Werrimul area was a Soldier Settlement. The Soldier Settlement Scheme or Soldiers Settlement Scheme, was the settlement of land throughout parts of Australia by returning discharged soldiers under schemes administered by the state governments after the First and Second World Wars.

We stopped to have a look a the old Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church which was opened in 1934. It is built of local limestone to a design that copies the Romanesque Churches in Italy. The church is registered as a Heritage building by the National Trust.

We also had a look at the old horse trough in Werrimul. George Bills was a wealthy animal lover who died in 1927. He left the money in his will to construct over 500 similar horse troughs throughout Australia.

The story of George Bills is a very interesting one.

George Bills was born in Brighton, England in 1859 and emigrated to New Zealand in 1859. In 1873 they emigrated to Australia and settled in Echuca. In 1882 he opened a bird dealers shop in Brisbane. By 1884 he had married and moved to Sydney, where he went into business with his brothers manufacturing innerspring mattresses.

George became a life member of the RSPCA in 1924. George and his wife had no children, and following the death of George in 1927, a Trust Fund was established, believed to be about £70-80,000. One of the purposes of the trust, as set out in George Bills’ will, was to:

“..construct and erect and pay for horse troughs wherever they may be of the opinion that such horse troughs are desirable for the relief of horses and other dumb animals either in Australasia, in the British Islands or in any other part of the world subject to the consent of the proper authorities being obtained.”

Each horse trough cost £13 plus transport and installation, with the majority of the troughs were installed in Victoria and New South Wales between 1930 and 1939. An amazing man.

Above:- George Bills. Photo c/o http://www.skiptonaustralia.org/

We then headed into Mildura and booked into our accomodation, the Quest Apartments.

After freshening up we headed down the street for something to eat. We then headed back to our apartment. It had been another fun day of sightseeing and park activating.

References.

  1. Aboriginal Flora and Fauna Names of Victoria, 2001; Wesson; S
  2. eBird, 2021, <https://ebird.org/hotspot/L3107791/media>, viewed 30th April 2021
  3. Discover Murray, 2021, <http://www.murrayriver.com.au/werrimull>, viewed 29th April 2021
  4. Protected Planet, 2021, <https://www.protectedplanet.net/314740>, viewed 30th April 2021.
  5. Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Werrimull>, viewed 29th April 2021
  6. Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soldier_settlement_(Australia)>, viewed 29th April 2021
  7. Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bills_horse_troughs>, viewed 29th April 2021
  8. Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casuarina_cristata>, viewed 30th April 2021

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