Day seven and the Yatpool Flora Reserve VKFF-2501

Today was day seven of our trip (12th April 2021) and after 2 days of lots of radio we decided to spend most of the day sightseeing in and around Mildura in north-western Victoria. We also had a commitment in the evening at the home of Cam VK2DG.

We again headed down the street to get breakfast and then drove across the Murray River into New South Wales and visited the Australian Inland Botanic Gardens at Mourquong. This is the southern hemisphere’s first semi-arid botanical gardens and was established in 1989.

We could have spent hours here, but we needed to be back in Mildura at about 10.00 a.m. for a cruise along the Murray River. There is a lot to see at the Botanicl Gardens.

We undertook one walk in the park, The Nature Trail. This little area of native shrubs, bushes, and trees was absolutely alive with birdlife. I spent quite a bit of time here taking snaps, some of which can be seen below.

Another interesting spot in the park which looked at was the Sturt Desert Pea bed. Swainsona formosa, or the Sturt Desert Pea is South Australia’s floral emblem. It is famous for its distinctive blood-red leaf-like flowers. The common name of the plant is named in honour of explorer Charles Sturt who recorded seeing large quantities of the flowers while exploring central Australia during 1844. The scientific name honours the naturalist Isaac Swainson

One of the Botanic Garden staff pointed us to an area behind a large bush where there were pink Sturt Desert Pea growing.

We also visited the rose garden which contains over 1,600 rose bushes.

It was then back across the Murray and back into the State of Victoria. We had a Murray River cruise booked aboard the historic PS Rothbury which was built in 1881 at Gunbower in Victoria. It was constructed as a large and powerful two boat and was used to tow barges for the wool and logging trade.

More information on the Rothbury can be found at ……

It was an absolutely glorious sunny day and an excellent way to spend 2 hours, cruising downstream long the Murray.

Part of the cruise took us through Lock 11. We had seen a number of the locks along the Murray during our trip, but it was incredibly interesting to pass through one and see how they work.

The Murray River is Australia’s longest river at 2,508 km. The Murray rises in the Australian Alps and meanders northwest across Australia’s inland plains and forms the State Border between New South Wales and Victoria. It then flows into South Australia before emptying into the Great Australian Bight near Goolwa South.

The cruise along the river took us passed some pretty impressive homes.

And there was plenty of birdlife.

Once we arrived back on dry land we headed into Mildura city central and grabbed a bite to eat. I could not get through all of my meal.

After lunch we visited the magnificent Rio Vista historic house which was first occupied by William Benjamin (W.B.) Chaffey and his family in 1892. W.B. Chaffey was a Canadian engineer and irrigiation planner who with his older brother George Chaffey developed the town of Mildura.

The name of the house Rio Vista is Spanish meaning ‘River View’. The house was designed as a large family home in domestic Queen Anne style and remained a family home until the 1950s. It was built during the height of the Chaffey’s success, however the Chaffey Brothers Ltd Company went into liquidation in December 1895. The Chaffeys suffered financial ruin and this resulted in Rio Vista falling into a state of disrepair.

W.B. Chaffey lived in the house until his death in 1926. His second wife Heather ‘Hattie’ lived in the house until her death in 1950 at which time the house was purchased by the Mildura City Council for conversion into an art gallery.

Much of the original decor has been restored to its original condition.

We then visited the Mildura Station Homestead. The building on the site is a recreation of the Mildura Homestead which was constructed by brothers Hugh and Bushby Jamieson about 1850.

The area now known as Mildura was first settled on the 1st day of March 1847 when Francis Jenkins swam 900 cattle and 10 horses across the Murray River from New South Wales to the site of the Mildura Station Homestead. Jenkins believed he had settled in South Australia and he travelled to Adelaide ro register his selection. Meanwhile the Jamiesons obtained Departuring Licence for leasehold from Melbourne and named the property ‘Yerre Yerre. In 1858 the name was changed to Mildura.

There were some great views of the Murray River from the Homestead and we were able to see the Rothbury cruise passed on her afternoon journey down the river.

We then travelled south out of Mildura on the Calder Highway and headed to the Yatpool Flora Reserve VKFF-2501 for our one and only park activation of the day.

Yatpool is located about 19 km south of Mildura and about 523 km north-west of the city of Melbourne.

Above:- Map showing the location of the Yatpool Flora Reserve in north-western Victoria. Map c/o Protected Planet

The Yatpool Flora Reserve is about 0.33 km² in size and was established in 2006. The park is located on the eastern side of the Calder Highway and either side of Yatpool West Road.

Above:- The Yatpool Flora Reserve, just off the Calder Highway. Map c/o Protected Planet.

The park was well signposted and found without any difficulty. Make sure you are in the correct section of scrub. The Yatpool Tank Bushland Reserve is located opposite on the eastern side of the Calder Highway.

Yatpool is a piece of remnant mallee scrub. The land surrounding the park has been cleared for agricultural purposes.

This was to be a first time activation of this park by myself and Marija. The park had been previously activated on four occasions by Nick VK3ANL, Mike VK6MB, Liz VK2XSE, and Peter VK2KNV.

Once we had set up we headed to 7.144 and found Nik VK3ZK/p calling CQ from the Cape Liptrap Coastal Park VKFF-0745. We each logged Nik for a Park to Park contact and then moved up the band to 7.152 where I called CQ. Adrian VK5FANA was the first to respond with an excellent 5/9 signal. Contact number 10 was with Marty VK4KC in Queensland.

I pushed on and logged a total of 54 stations. Contact number 44 was with Glen VK4HMI. Contacts were made to VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK7, and New Zealand. This included two Park to Park QSOs: Ben VK2AGB/p in the Brisbane Waters National Park VKFF-0056; and Stuart VK3UAO/p in the Lerderderg State Park VKFF-0763.

I had qualified the park for both VKFF and the global WWF program, so it was Marija’s turn to jump into the operator’s chair. Marija soon had 10 contacts in the log, with QSO number 10 being with Greg VK4BXX.

Marija soon developed a mini pile-up and within quick time she had 44 contacts in the log, qualifying the park for the global WWFF program. Contact number 44 was with Colin VK3ZLT.

We finished off the activation with some quick calls on 3.610 on the 80m band. Just one contact was logged there, but an excellent one, a Park to Park with John VK5HAA/p in the Simpson Conservation Park VKFF-1098 on Kangaroo Island.

We were pushing a bit for time, so we packed up and headed back to Mildura. We had a total of 101 QSOs in the log, including 9 Park to Park contacts.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3ZK/p (Cape Liptrap Coastal Park VKFF-0745)
  2. VK3UAO/p (Lerderderg State Park VKFF-0763)
  3. VK4KC
  4. VK4MAD
  5. VK4DOG
  6. VK3PF
  7. VK5FANA
  8. VK3MCK
  9. VK4BXX
  10. VK4/NN3Z
  11. VK7QP
  12. VK2PET/5
  13. VK5CZ/m
  14. VK3LF
  15. VK4HNS
  16. VK3EJ
  17. VK3FI
  18. VK5FDMG
  19. VK4KLA
  20. VK4FDJL
  21. VK5HAA/p (SImpson Conservation Park VKFF-1098)
  22. VK5VGC
  23. VK3MPR
  24. VK2VOO
  25. VK3CWF
  26. VK2VH
  27. VK4AAC/2
  28. VK3MTT
  29. VK5WG
  30. VK5YX
  31. ZL4NVW
  32. VK2AGB/p (Brisbane Waters National Park VKFF-0056)
  33. VK3BBB
  34. VK2CCP
  35. VK5IS
  36. VK5HMB
  37. VK7JFD
  38. VK5KLV
  39. VK3ACZ
  40. VK5PTL
  41. VK7MFI
  42. VK5NRG
  43. VK3TKK/m
  44. VK3ZLT

Marija worked the following station on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5HAA/p (Simpson Conservation Park VKFF-1098)

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3ZK/p (Cape Liptrap Coastal Park VKFF-0745)
  2. VK5FANA
  3. VK7QP
  4. VK3CWF
  5. VK2VH
  6. VK4AAC/2
  7. VK3EJ
  8. VK3BBB
  9. VK2CCP
  10. VK4KC
  11. VK4MAD
  12. VK4DOG
  13. VK2QK
  14. VK4HAT
  15. VK2IO/m
  16. VK3PF
  17. VK3DEM
  18. VK3SRC
  19. VK4FDJL
  20. VK5FDMG
  21. VK3AWA
  22. VK2AGB/p (Brisbane Waters National Park VKFF-0056)
  23. VK2DG
  24. VK7DM
  25. VK5LA
  26. VK3UAO/p (Lerderderg State Park VKFF-0763)
  27. ZL1TM
  28. VK3ANL
  29. VK3AHR
  30. VK2HMV
  31. VK3MPR
  32. VK3LF
  33. VK5BW
  34. VK4KLA
  35. VK2PKT
  36. VK1MIC
  37. VK2PET/5
  38. VK5HRZ
  39. VK5CZ/m
  40. VK3LK
  41. VK5VST
  42. VK2LEE
  43. VK5JP
  44. VK4HMI
  45. VK2PBC
  46. VK100AF
  47. VK4BXX
  48. VK4/NN3Z
  49. VK1DI
  50. VK2AIF
  51. VK2XXL
  52. VK2HRX
  53. VK7ZGK
  54. VK2ABS
  55. VK5HAA/p (Simpson Conservation Park VKFF-1098)

I worked the following station on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5HAA/p (Simpson Conservation Park VKFF-1098)

We freshened up at our apartment and then headed out to the home of Cam VK2DG and enjoyed a really enjoyable evening with Cam and his wife, also Greg VK3MTV and his partner. This was a really great catch up. Cam even convinced Marija into buying a Yaesu FTDX101MP. Well done Cam!


  1. Protected Planet, 2021, <>, viewed 8th May 2021
  2. Wikipedia, 2021, <>, viewed 7th May 2021
  3. Wikipedia, 2021, <>, viewed 7th May 2021
  4. Wikipedia, 2021, <>, viewed 7th May 2021

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