Day twelve and the Lakes Powell and Carpul Wildlife Reserve VKFF-2365

It was now day twelve (Saturday 17th April 2021) and our planned final day of the trip. We planned on doing two park activations on the way home, and had a list of possible parks, but hadn’t decided on which ones.

After breakfast at one of the local cafes consisting of a bacon & egg roll and coffee, we had a bit of a drive around Robinvale.

Robinvale is the sister town with Villers-Bretonneux in France. This proud link dates back to the First World War when Lieutenant George Robin Cuttle was killed in air combat over Caix, near the village of Villers-Bretonneux in France. Cuttle was the son of Robinvale’s founding family, Herbert and Margaret Cuttle. In memory of their son, the Cuttle’s renamed their new settlement on the Murray, Robinvale (vale Robin).

Above:- Lt George Robin Cuttle. Image c/o robinvalewarmemorial.com.au

The town of Robinvale and Villers-Bretonneux are of similar size and they both rely on horticulture as their principle ecomonic income.

In the main square/park of Robinvale you can find Caix Square and the Robinvale Memorial Arch and the Villers Bretonneux Walk. The arch was opened in 1985 by Madame Huguette Pillon. The bell which can be found at the top of the arch is from the Victoria College at Villers-Bretonneaux. It was presented to the people of Robinvale at the ‘twinning’ ceremony in Villers-Bretonneaux  on the 5th May 1984.  

We then visited the Robinvale Regional War Memorial. What an amazing spot for such a little town. The park features a magnificent ‘Rising Sun’, various information boards, a Howitzer, and the propellor from a de Havilland A4 DHC Caribou.

There is an excellent website which contains numerous photos and video on the creation of the War Memorial. It can be found at…..

https://www.robinvalewarmemorial.com.au/robinvale-euston-war-memorial-park/

We then visited the Big Windmill, which is reported to be the largest windmill in the southern hemisphere. It was originally owned by the State Rivers & Water Supply Commission and was used to supply water to Robinvale. In 1961 it was purchased by William ‘Bill’ McGinty when no longer required by the Water Supply Commission. McGinty intended constructing a motel on the site, however approval was not gained. He donated the windmill to the Robinvale and District Lions Club in 1989.

Our next stop was the historic ‘Robinswood’ homestead at Robinvale. In 1919 Herbert ‘Bert’ Cuttle and his wife Margaret brought the square mile of freehold of Bum Bang Station. The Cuttles envisages a township and had architects plan for a town and also their retirement home, here on the site of Bum Bang Station. On the 23rd day of October 1924, the township blocks were sold by auction and the town of Robinvale received its name. In 1926, Robinswood was built and the pioneers of Robinvale, Herbert and Margate Cuttle, resided here until their deaths.

We then drove a short distance to have a look at ‘The Cut’. It is located in Victorian waters and forms Bum Bang Island by linking two closely located points of the Murray River. The Cut used to go dry regularly before the Lock, located downstream was completed in 1936.

Bert Cuttle ran sheep on Bum Bang Island and one of his workers would drive across in a T-model Ford when it was dry. Cuttle bought a launch and two barges from the Lock clearing sale, which were used to put sheep on and off the island. During the 1939 flood, one barge broke away and it ended up on the New South Wales corner.

The Cut was also a good place for spearing Murray Crayfish at night with the use of a kerosene lantern, which would attract the Crayfish and make them easily identifiable.

Several swimmers have drowned at The Cut due to strong currents caused by a drop in water levels from about 1.2 metres at the exit of The Cut to 9 metres in the Murray River.

Our next little stop was the old Span Life bridge at Robinvale. The bridge was part of the complex of bridges for the crossing of the Murray River and the flood plains between Robinvale and east of Euston.

We then drove over the river and into New South Wales to have a look at the historic Euston courthouse. Gazetted for a court of petty sessions at the new town of Euston in 1853, the courthouse was not built until 30 years later. It was designed as a police residence with office, courtroom and single man’s room with an enclosed exercise yard with netted roof and a two celled iron lock up stable. Several aboriginal people assisted the white police officers. Court continued to be held here at least monthly for about 130 years until economics advised its closure.

We then drove to our first park activation of the day, the Lakes Powell and Carpul Wildlife Reserve VKFF-2365. The park is located about 18km south-east of Robinvale.

This was to be a first time activation of the park by myself and Marija. Mike VK6MB activated the park previously in 2019.

Above:- Map showing the location of the Lakes Powell & Carpul Wildlife Reserve. Map c/o Protected Planet.

The park is about in 7.24 km² size and was established in 2002.

Above:- The borders of the Lakes Powell and Carpul Wildlife Reserve. Image c/o Protected Planet.

As the name suggests, the park contains two lakes, Lake Powell and Lake Carpul. They were both dry as a bone during our visit. When the lakes are full, over 60 species of native birds can be found at the park including Black Swans and Rainbow Bee Eaters.

During our visit to the park we had a Pied Butcherbird who propped himself/herself in a nearby branch and sang for most of our activation.

We drove a short distance into the park and set up in a clearing in amongst the scrub. As this was a relatively warm morning with a bit of sunshine through the clouds, we put out the solar panel to top up the battery.

We were set up at about 2330 UTC so we could take advantage of 30 minutes before the UTC rollover. Marija put a spot up for me on parksnpeaks and I called CQ on 7.144. First in the log was Peter VK3PF, with lots of QSB. This was followed by Deryck VK4FDJL who was activating the Millstream Falls National Park VKFF-0315.

Unfortunately callers were very few and far between and after many minutes of calling CQ and with just 5 contacts in the log, I swapped the mic with Marija. This was not looking like it was going to be a memorable park activation.

Marija then called CQ on 7.144 and this was answered by Peter VK3PF, followed by Andrei ZL1TM in New Zealand, and then Kimberly VK2KMI.

Marija logged just 5 stations on 40m as well and callers completely dried up, so we lowered the squid pole hoping that the 80m band might prove a little more fruitful.

Marija logged 6 stations on 80m from VK3 and VK5, with her 10th contact being a QSO with Adam VK5GA. I logged 12 contacts on 80m, with my 10th QSO being with Peter VK3KAI.

I then headed to 20m and called CQ on 14.310 for about 5 minutes but had absolutely no takers. So feeling a little disappointed, I headed back to 7.144 on the 80m band, not really expecting to get many callers.

To my surprise, the number of park hunters picked up and I started to feel it was possible to push on and get 44 contacts.

It took me about 70 minutes, but contact number 44 finally came, a contact with Peter VK3KAI. Thanks Peter for your second callsign, it was greatly appreciated in what was a difficult activation.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4FDJL (Millstream Falls National Park VKFF-0315)
  2. VK3PF
  3. ZL1TM
  4. VK2KMI
  5. VK3UH

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK3KAI
  3. VK5HS
  4. VK2YK/5
  5. VK5GA
  6. VK5IS

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB before the UTC rollover:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK4FDJL/p (Millstream Falls National Park VKFF-0315)
  3. VK2MET
  4. VK2iO
  5. VK7ZGK

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB before the UTC rollover:-

  1. VK5IS
  2. VK2YK/5
  3. VK5GA
  4. VK3PF
  5. VK3KAI
  6. VK5HS
  7. VK5FANA

I worked the following stations on 80m after the UTC rollover:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK3KAI
  3. VK5BJE
  4. VK3PI
  5. VK3MCK

I worked the following stations on 40m after the UTC rollover:-

  1. VK2VW
  2. VK2HFI
  3. VK3UH
  4. VK3FIMD
  5. VK1AD
  6. VK2KMI
  7. VK1DI
  8. VK2PKT
  9. VK2IO
  10. VK4SMA
  11. VK4HMI
  12. VK4BXX
  13. VK4/NN3Z
  14. VK2LEE
  15. VK5IS
  16. VK7QP
  17. VK3KV/m
  18. VK3MPR
  19. VK6XN
  20. VK4CZ
  21. Vk3SC
  22. VK3MDC
  23. VK2LAT
  24. VK2LX
  25. VK3NCR
  26. VK3PF
  27. VK3KAI
  28. VK2HHA

References.

Monuments Australia, 2021, <https://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/conflict/ww1/display/33286-robinvale-memorial-arch-(villers-bretonneux-walk)/photo/2>, viewed 13th May 2021.

Robinvale Euston Visitor Centre, 2021, <https://www.robinvaleeuston.com/villers-bretonneux/>, viewed 13th May 2021.

Robinvale Euston Visitor Centre, 2021, <https://www.robinvaleeuston.com/windmill/>, viewed 13th May 2021.

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