Jabuk silo VK-JBK5, Silos On The Air

My sixth silo for the day was the Jabuk silo VK-JBK5. Jabuk is a tiny town situated about 157km south-east of the city of Adelaide.

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

After leaving Peake I continued east on the Mallee Highway for about 12km and soon reached the little town of Jabuk which is located just south of the Highway.

Jabuk, pronounced ‘jay-buck’ was formerly known as Marmon Jabuk until the 20th day of February 1941. The town was laid out in 1909 by William. E. Cross, a blacksmith of East Wellington. European pastoralists occupied the Jabuk area during the 1870’s and 1890s

Above:- the South Australian Govt Gazette showing the name change in 1941. Image c/o Wikipedia

The name of the town appears to be derived from the nearby Marmon Jabuk Range which has an elevation of just 91 metres. The town also sits on the Marmon-Jabuk fault line. However the actual origin of that name is unclear. There are reports that it may be an Afghan word by a cameleer. Others state that it is from a local aboriginal word.

An article appeared in The Register (Adelaide) on Friday 2nd July 1909 (see below). It was suggested in the article that the name was ‘supposed to be Afghan in origin, but, possibly, a corruption of memorjabuk, the name
of an outstation owned by Mr Mathewson in 1866.”

An Editor’s note says that:

“The origin of the name was investigated when the articles on nomenclature were running through The Register and no satisfactory solution was arrived at beyond the fact that the appellation is a native one.”

Above:- from The Register, 2/7/1909. Image c/o Trove

Another article appeared in the Chronicle (Adelaide) on Saturday 3rd June 1911 which said:-

“Marmon Jabuk…….The name according to local residents, was bestowed upon a low mallee range to the south of the line because an Afghan was found dead there”.

Other reports state that ‘memorjabuk’, mentioned above, is believed to have been corrupted
from ‘marmadjabuk’, applied by Aborigines to an inland range of sand dunes extending from the River Murray,
south-east through the Hundreds of Hooper, Sherlock, Peake and Price.

This range was an old shoreline in the Pleistocene ice age. About 10 km north east of Tailem Bend, on the northern side of the Marmon Jabuk Range, was a place called mamondjabak. David Unaipon (b. 1872. d. 1967), an aboriginal preacher, author and inventor stated that the word means ‘father of fire’. The Marmon Jabuk Range is well known for its numerous fires started by storms and lightning strikers. This would account for the name given by the aborignals.

Other records say that ‘jabuk’ is believed to be aboriginal for ‘bullock’.

The sandy and stony nature of the roads in the Jabuk area made travelling difficult, so farmers signed a petition for a siding to be established on the new railway line constructed in 1906.

Above:- Just the sign of the Jabuk railway station remains today

An extract from South Australian Railways Weekly Notices on the 27th day of April 1908 said:

“The siding at the above place is now complete and open for passenger, parcels, goods, and livestock traffic
under the usual conditions attaching to sidings without resident staff. It is 112 miles 30 chains from
Adelaide, and trains will stop there when required. In computing charges 37 miles must be added to the Tailem Bend mileage. The station number for Marmanjabuk is 147.”

During the 1910-1911 season, a total of 6.600 bags of wheat were delivered, weighed and stacked in the rail yard. Large gonolas with a 600 bag capacity freighted the bags to Adelaide.

Above:- the old Jabuk railway station. Images c/o Trove.

The first Institute in Jabuk was built in 1910 for community functions, including school and church. The first major function was a Strawberry fete. An article in the Chronicle (Adelaide) dated Saturday 3rd June 1911 said:-

“The hall is a credit to the settlers, and is found invaluable as a schoolhouse. It was put into use as such a month or so ago, when the Education Department sent up a teacher, Mrs. Jones. How badly her presence was needed is disclosed by the statement that there are now 17 children on the roll, and some of them are 9 and 10 years of age. The schoolmistress is looking forward to the time when the advance of the district will warrant the construction of a school and an attached dwelling”.

Above: Article from the Chronicle, 3/6/1911. Image c/o Trove

A larger Institute was built to cater for the growing needs of the community and the foundation stone was laid on the 9th day of April 1930.

In 1936 the Jabuk State School was built by the Department of Education. The school closed in 1964, with students being transferred to Geranium Area School.

During the 1950s, with booming wool prices, farmers experienced a new wave of affluence. The Jakub sheep sales were recognised for good prices on the day of auction. The yards were situated opposite the Memorial Gates in the railway yard.

Above:- the old Jabuk General store and Post office on left, Savings Bank on right. Image c/o Trove

Today in Jabuk you can view an information board on Ampton Terrace. A number of historic buildings remain in Jabuk. You can also view the Jabuk Memorial Gates which were officialy opened on the 27th day of April 1958 to honour those who enlisted in World War I and World War II.

The silo at Jabuk is an old fertiliser silo. It is located alongside of the old railway line on Ampton Terrace on the southern side of the town.

I set up alongside of the old railway line and called CQ on 7.155. This was answered by Brett VK2VW who I had logged at all silos up to this point. Next in the log was VK3BWV, followed by Peter VK3PF. I had qualified another silo.

I logged a total of 15 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK5, and VK7. This included Stuart who was activating the Teesdale Sheoak Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2206, and Dean VK3KXR who was in the You Yangs Regional Park VKFF-0982.

When callers dried up I headed to 80m and logged Marija Vk5MAZ and Adrian VK5FANA.

Unfortunately I had issues with tuning the antenna on 20m so I did not operate on that band.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2VW
  2. VK3BWV/p
  3. VK3PF
  4. VK5WG
  5. VK5KLV
  6. VK3OHM
  7. VK7ME
  8. VK3UAO/p (Teesdale Sheoak Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2206)
  9. VK3KXR/p (You Yangs Regional Park VKFF-0982)
  10. VK3AWA
  11. VK2GAZ
  12. VK5MAZ
  13. VK3SQ
  14. VK5FANA
  15. VK2MOP

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5MAZ
  2. VK5FANA


  1. A Compendium of the Places Names of South Australia, 2021, <https://published.collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/placenamesofsouthaustralia/>, viewed 14th July 2021.
  2. Kloeden; A & P, Heritage if the Murray Mallee, 1998.
  3. Mallee Highway Touring Route, 2021, <http://www.malleehighway.com.au/html/jabuk.html>, viewed 14th July 2021.
  4. Mapcarta, 2021, <https://mapcarta.com/>, viewed 15th July 2021.
  5. Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jabuk,_South_Australia>, viewed 14th July 2021.

2 thoughts on “Jabuk silo VK-JBK5, Silos On The Air

    • Hi Chris,

      The end of the railway spelt the death of many of these little towns which is a great tragedy. Many of these towns have a lot of history if you are prepared to travel off the highway for a look.


      Paul VK5PAS.

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