Pinnaroo silos VK-PNO5, Silos On The Air

The next silos for me were the Pinnaroo silos VK-NO5. Pinnaroo is located about 241 km south-east of the city of Adelaide.

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

Pinnaroo is a major centre for the surrounding wheat, barley, sheep, and mixed farming area. The area was first settled in 1868 when the ‘Pinnaroo Run’ was established by William Butcher. Wool was carted over rough tracks either to the Murray River or to Kingston in the south-east of South Australia.

In 1885, the Commissioner of Crow Lands, Mr. Playford, and the Surveyor-General, Mr. G.W. Goyder, explored the countryside around Pinnaroo and a decision was made to open the land for agricultural settlement. In 1892, several Hundreds were surveyed. The Hundred of Pinnnaroo was proclaimed on the 4th day of January 1894. A Correspondent reported:-

“If it has proved a failure to the wealthy why ask the poor farmer to go there.”

In 1903, a Mr. H.M. Martin of Stonyfell described the Pinnaroo area as follows:-

“The whole of the 80 miles from Coonalpyn was silent, sombre and depressing. A great portion of the tracks was over heavy sandhills and gullies, relieved here and there by abandoned sheep stations. The stock had all been removed – such as had not died long before, and the empty huts and weed-grown sheep yards made the plain a sort of abomination od desolation. The hills and gullies were alike clothed with dark-coloured, unvarying, more or less worthless scrub, the pine trees and mallee being crooked and misshapen. Here and there a few sheoaks made a welcome change, but the dense scrub, without any lights and shadows, gave one the impression of a vast level plain. Fifty six years ago I inspected the Pinnaroo country and found it a worthless desert of white sand and drift. In 1865 I was again there to witness a few sheep starving to death…It is to be hoped that the Legislative COuncil will quash this extremely undesirable measure’.”

However there was a more favourable report in The Chronicle (Adelaide) on the 2nd day of July 1904, suggesting a ‘favourable report of the land for wheat-growing’.

Above:- from The Chronicle, 2/7/1904. Image c/o Trove

The town of Pinnaroo was proclaimed on the 17th day of November 1904. The Pinnaroo school opened in 1906.

At the 2016 Australian Census, the locality of Pinnaroo had a population of 712 of which 547 lived in and around its town centre.

There are various theories on the origin of the name Pinnaroo. It is believed that the name derives from the aboriginal word ‘pinaru’, a Ngarkat tribal name for the district. Others suggest it is a corruption of the aboriginal word ‘peintaru’ meaning ‘limestone’. While others suggest it is an aboriginal word meaning ‘big men’.

The video below which I found on You Tube will give you a good feel of Pinnaroo (there is no sound on the video).

Prior to heading to the silo I visited the Pinnaroo Wildlife Park which is opposite the caravan park on South Terrace. Marija and I have been here previously and always pop in and make a donation to have a look at the various native birds and mammals.

The Pinnaroo railway line ran east from the Adelaide-Melbourne line at Tailem Bend to Pinnaroo. The line continues into Victoria to Ouyen where it joined the Mildura line. The line opened on the 14th day of September 1906 and was extended to the South Australia-Victoria State border on the 29th day of July 1915. In May 1995 it was announced that the line to the west of Pinnaroo would be converted from broad gauge to standard gauge. Work was delayed until 1996 due to a large grain crop. A small part of the line was converted in 1996 but was converted back for the 1997 grain harvest. To continue the journey to Adelaide, the grain was transhipped at Tailem Bend.

On the 2nd day of July 1998 the last broad gauge train ran on the track. The line was reopened on the 25th day of November 1998. Due to the Victorian line remaining as broad gauge, trains could not operate over the entire length of the railway. Pinnaroo was a break of gauge point. Sadly the line closed in July 2015, with Viterra announcing that not more grain would be carried by rail. Ironically, as the South Australian line closed, the Victorian State Government was upgrading its end of the line for regional freight.

The photos below (c/o Trove) show the Pinnaroo line and railway station & yards.

I then headed to the silos which are located on Silo Road on the western side of the town. They are run by Viterra. The Pinnaroo area was subject to a drought between 2016 – 2019. Heavy rain fell in June after the last heavy winter/spring rain fell in September 2016. Local grain farmers were extremely happy.

First in the log was Brett VK2VW, followed by Marija VK5MAZ, and then Ross VK3BEL. I had qualified the silo. I went on to log a total of 12 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK5, and Vk6. It was nice to get Peter VK3ZPF in the log. This was Peter’s first every silo chase. I was also very pleased to speak with John VK6WC all the way over in Western Australia.

I then moved to 3.610 on the 80m band and logged 6 stations from VK5 and New Zealand. I was very pleasantly surprised to log Matt ZL4NVW on 80m.

Time was really marching on, so I packed up and headed to my final silo for the day, just a few km up the Mallee Highway.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2VW
  2. VK5MAZ
  3. VK3BEL
  4. VK3PF
  5. VK3SMW
  6. VK5WG
  7. VK2IO/m
  8. VK2QM
  9. VK3OHM
  10. VK3ZPF
  11. VK2MET
  12. VK6WC

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5MAZ
  2. VK5BJE
  3. ZL4NVW
  4. VK5GY
  5. VK5FANA
  6. VK5AYL


  1. A Compendium of the Place Names of South Australia, 2021, <>, viewed 16th July 2021.
  2. ABC, 2021, <>, viewed 16th July 2021
  3. Mallee Highway Touring Route, 2021, <>, viewed 16th July 2021.
  4. Wikipedia, 2021, <,_South_Australia>, viewed 16th July 2021.
  5. Wikipedia, 2021, <,_South_Australia>, viewed 16th July 2021.
  6. Wikipedia, 2021, <,_South_Australia>, viewed 16th July 2021.

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