Day nine and the Kemendok National Park VKFF-1174

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).

Above:- Map showing the location of the Kemendok National Park. Map c/o Protected Planet.

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.

Above:- Newspaper article re the death of John Grace, from the Freeman’s Journal (Sydney) Sat 17 Aug 1901. Image c/o Trove

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.

Above:- An aerial shot of the Kemendok National Park. Image c/o Protected Planet

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:-

  1. VK3AWA/p (The Lakes National Park VKFF-0484)
  2. VK2HRX
  3. VK3PF
  4. VK5TOM
  5. VK5FANA
  6. VK5HS
  7. VK3EJ
  8. VK5WG
  9. VK4NH
  10. VK4DXA
  11. ZL4TY/VK4
  12. VK2VH
  13. VK4AAC/2
  14. VK3TJK
  15. VK3SQ
  16. VK3PI
  17. VK2EAC
  18. VK3GL/p
  19. VK3MPR
  20. VK3LL
  21. VK4KLA
  22. VK4HNS
  23. VK3GB
  24. VK2NMZ
  25. VK3BBB
  26. VK2CCP
  27. VK4HAT
  28. VK5JP
  29. VK5VC
  30. VK4KC
  31. VK4MAD
  32. VK4DOG
  33. VK5BMC
  34. VK3SRC
  35. VK2DG
  36. VK2PKT
  37. VK2KMI
  38. VK5MJ
  39. VK3MKE
  40. VK3NFS
  41. VK5MSA
  42. VK3AJK
  43. VK5KLV
  44. VK7ZGK
  45. VK3ZPF
  46. VK5LB

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3AWA/p (The Lakes National Park VKFF-0484)
  2. VK3NBL
  3. VK5MJ
  4. VK2DG
  5. VK5TOM
  6. VK3CWF
  7. VK3PF
  8. VK5GY
  9. VK5HS
  10. VK2NAP/p (Booderee National Park VKFF-0043)
  11. VK5MRE
  12. VK5PL
  13. VK3BBB
  14. VK5RK
  15. VK4FDJL
  16. VK5WG
  17. VK3XCI
  18. VK5BMC
  19. VK2IO
  20. VK4NH
  21. VK4DXA
  22. ZL4TY/VK4
  23. VK4HMI
  24. VK2VH
  25. VK4AAC/2
  26. VK5FDMG
  27. VK5FANA
  28. VK3DAC
  29. VK3SQ
  30. VK3PI
  31. VK7ME
  32. VK7QP
  33. VK3GYH
  34. VK3TJK
  35. VK3MPR
  36. VK7EE
  37. VK2KYO
  38. VK3HY
  39. VK1DI
  40. VK4KC
  41. VK4MAD
  42. VK4DOG
  43. VK3FRC
  44. VK3ZMD
  45. VK2EAC
  46. VK5LB
  47. ZL1TM
  48. VK5MSA
  49. VK3ZPF
  50. VK2STG/m
  51. VK3UH
  52. VK3YV

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4KC
  2. VK4MAD
  3. VK4DOG
  4. VK4BXX
  5. VK4/NN3Z
  6. VK4HB
  7. VK4PHD
  8. ZL4NVW
  9. VK4HAT

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK3MCK
  3. VK5FANA
  4. VK4NH
  5. VK4DXA
  6. ZL4TY/VK4
  7. VK3ARH
  8. VK3HRA

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, <>, viewed 8th May 2021

Trentham Estate, 2021, <>, viewed 8th May 2021

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