Keith silo VK-KTH5

Our fourth silo for the day was in the town of Keith, about 225 km southeast of Adelaide.

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

The area which is now Keith was known as the Ninety Mile Desert. During the mid-1850s, the Keith district consisted of a few scattered shepherd huts along the Victorian goldfield route. James Allen and Patrick Kelly were amongst the first settlers who took up land in July 1851 near Mount Monster on pastoral lease no. 224.

By 1884 the town had been surveyed and was known as Mount Monster Siding, following the construction of the Adelaide to Melbourne railway. It took its name from Mount Monster, a granite hill nearby which was used as a landmark by pioneers travelling east (this is now a Conservation Park).

The town of Keith was proclaimed on the 5th day of September 1889.

The origin of the name is a little unclear to me. Some sources state that Keith was named after the then Governor of South Australia, Algernon Keith-Falconer, Lord Kintore, or Earl of Kintore. His home in Aberdeenshire in Scotland was called Keith Hall. Lord Kintore, the Governor of South Australia.

Above:- Algernon Keith-Falconer. Image c/o Wikipedia

The information board as you come into Keith refers to Lord Keith of Inverare.

The Compendium of the Place Names of South Australia states the town was named Keith after Keith Stirling, the eldest son of Sir Lancelot Stirling who was a local grazier.

When I searched Trove I saw that various articles referred to it as both Kieth and Keith.

I then found this article on Trove from the Border Watch, Mount Gambier, dated Wednesday 11th September 1889, which appears to verify the origin of the name.

Above:- from the Border Watch, Sept 1889. Image c/o Trove

I then found another article on Trove from the Advertiser Adelaide, dated 11th April 1889. It refers to Alergnon Hawkins Thomond Keith Falconer, Ninth Earl of Kintore, and Governor of South Australia. The article states that he is also known as Lord Kintore and holds the titles of Lord Falconer of Halkerton and Lord Keith of Inverurie and Keith Hall in the peerage of Scotland, and Baron Kintore of Kintore, county Aberdeen. Part of the article can be found below.

From the Advertiser, 11th April 1889. Image c/o Trove

The townsfolk of Keith were involved in the maintenance of the railway, and also the production of wool and some cereal grain. However, the problems of wild dogs, rabbits, low soil fertility, contributed to the district growing at a slow rate through the depression of the 1930s and the period of the Second World War. The population of Keith at this time was about 500 people.

Research conducted during the Second World War found that the soil around Keith was deficient in copper and zinc. Application of superphosphate with those trace elements subsequently transformed the desert into pastures of clover and lucerne.

This coincided with the conclusion of World War Two and the return of Australian soldiers to Australian soil. The AMP Land Settlement Scheme was established and private investors commenced purchasing large areas of scrub. As a result, the township of Keith bloomed, with businesses, buildings and homes being established along with sporting and service clubs. By 1952 the population of Keith was 1,100 people.

Above:- Clearing land at Keith. Image c/o State Library SA

As you come into the town from the west there is an information board with details on the history of Keith, and all about Keith today.

We stopped off at the Andy Caldecott Memorial in Keith which was erected ion 2011 to commemorate the life and achievements of one of Australia’s greatest sportsmen. Caldecott was tragically killed in Mauritania in January 2006 during the ninth stage of the world’s 28th gruelling Paris-Dakar Rally. He was born in August 1964 and lived all of his life in Keith.

In close proximity is a 1952 Centurion Tank which was purchased by Glen Simpson from Keith for restoration. The tank spent most of its career with the 1st Armoured Regiment.

A not to miss in Keith is the Landrover on a Pole. During the 1940s when the AMP Society was purchasing land in the Keith district, the Landrover was a regular source of transport in the area known as the Ninety Mile Desert.

Also worth a visit if you are in Keith is the old settlers cottage which is believed to be one of the oldest buildings in Keith. It was built by William Davies in 1894, and is located on Emu Flat Road. It is constructed of local limestone and consists of our small rooms.

We then headed to the silos which are located on Railway Terrace. As this was right in the centre of town and it was very noisy on the bands, we headed to Densley Road and operated from the Keith showgrounds where the noise floor on the bands was much lower.

After Marija had placed a spot for me on parksnpeaks I started calling CQ on 7.150. This was answered by Peter VK3PF, followed by John VK2YW, and then Nev VK5WG. I had my three contacts in the log and I had qualified the silo. I logged a further 4 stations before swapping over with Marija.

Marija’s first contact was with Peter VK3PF, followed by Ray VK4NH, and then Brett VK2VW. Marija logged a further 3 stations before callers dried up.

We then headed to 20m where I logged a total of 5 stations from VK1, VK2, VK4 and New Zealand.

I then moved to the 80m band where I found that we had strength 7-8 noise. I logged just the one station, Ian VK5CZ in the Clare Valley.

With a total of 18 stations in the log, we packed up and headed to our next silo at Wirrega.

Marija made the following contacts on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK4NH
  3. VK2VW
  4. VK2DWP
  5. VK3OHM
  6. VK2PKT

I made the following contacts on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK2YW
  3. VK5WG
  4. VK3OHM
  5. VK2VW
  6. VK2HFI
  7. VK2PKT

I made the following contacts on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK1RF
  2. Vk2NP
  3. VK2IO
  4. VK4NH
  5. ZL4NVW

I made the following contact on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5CZ

References.

  1. A Compendium of the Place Names of South Australia, 2021, <https://published.collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/placenamesofsouthaustralia/>, viewed 2nd December 2021.
  2. South Australia History Network, 2021, <https://explore.history.sa.gov.au/organisation/keith-early-settlers-cottage>, viewed 2nd December 2021.
  3. The Sydney Morning Herald, 2021, <https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/keith-20040208-gdkqjd.html>, viewed 2nd December 2021.
  4. Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith,_South_Australia>, viewed 2nd December 2021

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