While we were still at the Passage Camp Nature Conservation Reserve we discussed what park we would next activate. We decided to head over the State border from Victoria into New South Wales and activate the Yanga National Park VKFF-2249. I had previously activated this park back in 2015.
This was going to be a 100 km drive for us and there were a lot of other parks close by, but Yanga was such an interesting place and I really wanted to show Marija the old Yanga Shearing Shed, and possibly visit the old homestead.
We travelled south on the Murray Valley Highway until we reached the little town of Tooleybuc on the State border and the Murray River.
Although we had been here before, we stopped briefly to have a look at the old Tooleybuc Bridgkeepers Cottage which was built in 1924.
Tooleybuc is the home to a historic bridge which crosses the Murray. It was built in 1925 and was designed to rise to let paddle steamers through. In 1974 the paddle steamer Pevensey collided with the bridge.
We then headed north-east on Yanga Way until we reached the junction with the Sturt Highway. We turned right and turned off shortly afterwards and entered the Yanga National Park.
We soon reached Yanga Homestead which was constructed in the 1860’s. It is built in two parts, the main homestead and the kitchen wing, using drop log and Red Gum slab techniques. It was once surrounded by gardens including ornamental and vegetable plantings. Yanga was a large pastoral station at this time.
Pressed metal ceilings remaining from updates during the 1920’s. Much of the current interior design harks back to the wool boom of the 1950’s.
There are some beautiful gardens adjacent to the homestead featuring roses and cottage type plants and flowers.
Nearby is Yanga Lake which is 1,246 hectares in size. It has a maximum depth of 5 metres and holds abut 55,000 megalitres of water which is equivalent to 22,000 Olympic swimming pools. The lake is 24 kilometres around the perimeter. It consists of two connected sub-basins forming what was referred to in the nineteenth century as a ‘spectacle’ lake, shaped like a pair of eye glasses. Current scientific information suggests the lake was formed around 128,000 years ago.
Below are two short videos on Yanga Homestead.
We then headed out to the Yanga Woolshed section of the Yanga National Park which can be reached via Windomal Road which runs off the Sturt Highway.
Maps drawn in 1851 show a woolshed on the western side of Tala Lake and another at the very northern end of what is now Yanga National Park. The current site, an outstation of W.C. Wentworth’s ‘Tala’ Run, named Mamanga, is shown as having only huts and a stock yard. It is likely that a woolshed was added in the late 1850s to take advantage of paddle steamer transport to take the wool to market. The site would have been chose because it is where red ground, which is normally above flood level, meets the river at a point where there is deep water suitable for the location of a wharf.
The Yanga woolshed was once the largest, most modern woolshed in the district, and housed 3,000 sheep and provided work for up to 40 shearers at a time.
This is an incredibly interesting place and we spent quite a bit of time here exploring the woolshed and its surrounds. You can take a self guided tour and read about the woolshed’s incredible history on the the various interpretive boards and you can listen to some interesting tales on the audio guides located throughout the woolshed. It really gives you a feel for what it must have been like in a 19th century woolshed.
The last shearing at Yanga took place on the 10th and 11th November 2005.
We then drove to the nearby Mamanga campground and set up our little portable station for an activation of the Yanga National Park.
Yanga is a large park of about 35,359 hectares and was established on the 28th day of February 2007. It has a frontage of about 170km on the Murrumbidgee River, the second longest river in Australia. The River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) forests in the park are part of the third-largest contiguous stand of river red gum forest in Australia.
The creation of the National Park followed the purchase of Yanga Pastoral Station, a 160-year-old sheep station held under freehold title in November 2005. In its later years, Yanga Station also carried cattle and supported dryland cropping and red gum harvesting for commercial timber.
In 2010 additions were made to the National Park which included the former Kieeta State Forest (617 hectares) and about 140 hectares from the neighbouring Kieeta Station, a working sheep property held under freehold title.
We were fortunate that there were very few people in the campground, and we got a very nice spot right alongside of the Murrumbidgee River.
As it was late in the afternoon, the 40m band was very busy with VK, ZL, Europe, and North America. It was quite difficult to find a clear spot. I ended up settling on 7.185 and called CQ which was answered by keen park activator and hunter Marty VK4KC. Band conditions were excellent and it did not take long for a mini pile-up to commence.
Contact number ten was with Peter VK2UXO who had a very big signal.
Within a very quick 25 minutes I had contact number 44 in the log, a QSO with Peter VK3ACZ. With 49 QSOs in the log from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK7, and New Zealand, I swapped the mic with Marija. Contacts included a Park to Park with Stuart VK3UAO/p who was activating the High Camp Flora Reserve VKFF-2330.
Marija took up where I left off with quite a pile up and it only took here 4 minutes to get her 10th contact in the log, a QSO with Ray ZL4TY/VK4.
Marija logged a total of 20 QSOs before I jumped back into the operator’s chair and logged another 4 stations on 40m.
It was getting quite late, so I had a quick listen on the 80m band where I logged 14 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5.
We had a total of 87 QSOs in the log.
Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
- VK3UAO/p (High Camp Flora Reserve VKFF-2330)
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
- VK3UAO/p (High Camp Flora Reserve VKFF-2330)
I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-
After packing up we headed into the town of Balranald where we stopped off to get some hot chips to contain our hunger. We an 82 km drive back to Robinvale along the Sturt Highway. Once back our motel we ordered a meal to be delivered to our room from the motel’s restaurant.
It had been another fun packed day.
National Parks NSW, 2021, <https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/historic-buildings-places/yanga-woolshed?p=1&pdfprint=true>, viewed 11th May 2021
Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tooleybuc>, viewed 11th May 2021
Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yanga_National_Park>, viewed 11th May 2021