After packing up at the Merbein South Flora Reserve, Marija and I headed over the Murray River and into New South Wales. We travelled south along the Sturt Highway and soon reached Trentham Estate Winery. The winery has been operating since 1988 and has grown from a 30 tonne crush to today’s ability to handle 5,000 tonnes of premium fruit each vintage.
It was a beautiful sunny day and we enjoyed a glass of red and a platter with cheese, meats, dips and various other condiments. I could have easily stayed there and had a few more glasses of wine, but I knew I had to drive.
The winery is located right alongside of the Murray River and we enjoyed some great views of the mighty Murray while we enjoyed our wine and platter.
We then continued along the Sturt Highway and detoured off to have a look at Bottle Bend, a sharp bend in the Murray River.
We then continued south on the Sturt Highway and turned off onto Tapalin Mail Road, and then took a 4WD track into the Kemendok National Par VKFF-1174.
This was to be a first activation of the park by Marija and myself. The park had been activated on two previous occasions: Nick VK3ANL and Mike VK6MB in 2019.
The Kemendok National Park is located on the far west of New South Wales, about 40km south-east of Buronga and about 36 km north-west of Euston. The western boundary of Kemendok is defined by the Murray River (the State border between New South Wales and Victoria).
The Kemendok National Park is 9,794 hectares in size and was established on the 1st day of July 2010. Prior to this it was known as the Mallee Cliffs State Forest, dedicated way back in 1922 for the purposes of timber production and other uses including apiary and grazing.
The area which is now the park was back in 1851 known as the Bengallow Run, a 12,432 hectare run which had a capacity of 4,000 sheep and was leased to John McKinlay. By 1879 the Bengallow Run was part of the Tapalin Pastoral Holding which comprised 13 runs. The Tapalin Homestead was located in the southern section of the park and today this area is referred to as The Mulberries. Nil remains of the buildings, however three mulberry trees can still be found, along with a grave which is believed to be that of a farm labourer.
By 1884 there were two homestead leases on the Murray River including Bengallow Station homestead which was owned by John Grace.
The Kemendok National Park surrounds the Kemendok Nature Reserve which was gazetted in 1988. Limited access is allowed to the Reserve. Adjacent to the eastern boundary of Kemedok is a 8,190 hectare privately managed conservation reserve.
Across the river in Victoria are Hattah-Kulkyne National Park, Murray-Kulkyne Park, River Murray Reserve and Karadoc Nature Conservation Reserve.
The Kemendok National Park contains significant vegetation which is otherwise poorly represented around Australia. This includes River Red Gum-Black Box Woodland, and Chenopod-Mallee Shrubland. Some of the River Red Gums are 20 metres in height.
The park is home to numerous native animal species and birds. This includes the eastern subspecies of the Regent Parrot which is listed as threatened at both State and National level. Other birds found in the park include White-bellied Sea Eagle, Major Mitchell Cockatoo, Black-eared Miner, Rufous Field-wren, Little Eagle, and Gilberts Whistler.
Prior to propping on a frequency and calling CQ, Marija and I logged a Park to Park contact with Daryl VK3AWA/p who was activating The Lakes National Park VKFF-0484.
We then moved down the 40m band to 7.115 and I started calling CQ. This was answered by Ray VK3NBL, followed by Mal VK5MJ and then Cam VK2DG. Contact number ten for me was with Chris VK2NAP/p who was in the Booderee National Park VKFF-0043.
Band conditions on 40m were excellent and it only took me about 45 minutes and I had 44 contacts in the log. Contact number 44 was with Mike VK3ZMD in Melbourne.
With 45 contacts in the log I swapped operator positions with Marija.
Marija soon had her own pile-up to deal with. Marija’s 10th contact was with Ray VK4DXA, and within 35 minutes Marija had qualified the park for the global WWFF program. Contact number 44 was with Graham VK7ZGK. Marija logged a further 2 stations and then handed the mic back to me. Marija’s contacts were into VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7.
I called CQ on 14.310 and this was answered by Marty VK4KC. Sadly the Over the Horizon Radar was present on 20m again and was strength 9 plus. It certainly made things very difficult at times. I logged a total of 9 stations on 20m from VK4 and New Zealand.
To conclude the activation I called CQ on 3.610 on the 80m band where I logged a total of 8 stations from VK3, VK4, and VK5.
This had been a particular good activation with a total of 115 QSOs in the log between the two of us.
Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
- VK3AWA/p (The Lakes National Park VKFF-0484)
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
- VK3AWA/p (The Lakes National Park VKFF-0484)
- VK2NAP/p (Booderee National Park VKFF-0043)
I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-
Rather than heading back to the highway we took the dirt back roads which at times was slow due to stock crossing the road.
We then drove into Robinvale on the Victorian/New South Wales border and booked into our accomodation, the Robinvale Motel. That evening we enjoyed a beautiful meal at the motel’s restaurant.
Kemendok National Park Plan of Management, 202, NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service.
NSW NPWS, 2021, <https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/kemendok-national-park>, viewed 8th May 2021
Trentham Estate, 2021, <https://trenthamestate.com.au/the-winery>, viewed 8th May 2021