Tailem Bend VK-WRN5 – Silos On The Air

My fourth silo for the day was Tailem Bend VK-WRN5. Tailem Bend is located about 96 km south-east of the city of Adelaide.

Above:- Map showing the location of Tailem Bend. Map c/o Google maps

The town of Tailem Bend is located on the cliffs above the east bank of the Murray River. There are various theories on the origin of the towns name which was once written as “Tail’em Bend”. Some claim that the words are a corruption of the Ngarrindjeri aboriginal word “thelim” meaning “bend”, which is associated with the sharp bend that the Murray River makes at Tailem Bend. Others claim that original Ngarrindjeri inhabitants called this part of the river ‘Thelum Ki’ which means bent water.

In 1884 a railway gang who were constructing the railway line east to Victoria. set up camp among some native pine trees, naming the site ‘Pine Camp’. From this time onwards the twonship commenced to grow. By 1887 the town had been proclaimed.

Major industries in the Tailem Bend area include pig farming, dairying, grain growing, hay exporting, and olives. Tailem Bend is also the home to The Bend Motorsport Park and Old Tailem Town, a pioneer village.

Large operational grain silos can be found on the western side of town on the northern side of the Princes Highway. This is where former railway branch lines into the Murray Mallee region join the main Adelaide-Melbourne line. The silos are run by Viterra.

The last two branches were the Pinnaroo railway line and the Loxton railway line via Karoonda. The Loxton line was originally one of five branch lines from the Barmera railway line and was the last to remain in service. It ran north-east from Tailem Bend to the grain silos at Loxton in the Riverland region. It was the only branch to be converted to standard gauge (along with the separate Pinnaroo line) when the main line was converted from broad gauge. However the lines remained as light rail and ballast with low speed limits, and they were only used for collection of bulk grain, as the speed limits are too low to be practical for transport of time-sensitive freight. The last grain train left the silos on the 20th day of June 2015, marking the closure of the line.

At the time. Viterra Group commercial manager Andrew Hannon said that road transport was more cost effective than rail.

The Tailem Bend silos is one of Viterra’s most significant silos in South Australia.

In 2014 it was reported by Viterra eastern region operations manager Jack Tansley that “during peak harvest periods the Tailem Bend site receives more than 16,000 tonnes of grain a day and is now in the process of out-turning the grain which includes trains running, on average, every second day from the site with road out-turns occurring daily.”

On the 30th day of November 2020 the Tailem Bend silos broke its daily receival record when 17,475 tonnes of grain was delivered in a single day.

I operated from the side of Princes Highway, directly opposite the silos. First in the log was Gerard VK2IO/p who was operating portable in the Springwood Conservation Park VKFF-1653. I then moved up to 7.150 and called CQ. This was answered by Peter VK3PF, and then Marc VK3OHM. I had qualified another silo.

I was then called by Stuart VK3UAO who was activating the You Yangs Regional Park VKFF-0982, followed by Roly ZL1BQD in New Zealand.

I logged a total of 10 stations on 40m before callers dried up. I then moved to 80m where I logged Marija VK5MAZ and John VK5BJE.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO/p (Springwood Conservation Park VKFF-1653)
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK3OHM
  4. VK3UAO/p (You Yangs Regional Park VKFF-0982)
  5. ZL1BQD
  6. VK5MAZ
  7. VK2VW
  8. VK2GAZ
  9. VK3SQ
  10. VK2MET

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5MAZ
  2. VK5BJE


  1. Murray Valley Standard, 2021, <https://www.murrayvalleystandard.com.au/story/2259474/new-ways-for-busy-tailem-bend-silo/>, viewed 14th July 2021.
  2. Murray Valley Standard, 2021, <https://www.murrayvalleystandard.com.au/story/3094164/end-of-line-for-murraylands-mallee-grain-trains/>, viewed 14th July 2021.
  3. Murray Bridge News, 2021, <https://www.murraybridge.news/p/records-fall-at-monarto-south-tailem>, viewed 14th July 2021.
  4. Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tailem_Bend,_South_Australia>, viewed 14th July 2021.
  5. Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loxton_railway_line>, viewed 14th July 2021.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s