Tintinara silo VK-TNA5

Marija and I packed up at Coonalpyn and hit the road once again, and travelled about 28 km and reached our next stop, the town of Tintinara. We had planned on activating the Tintinara silo VK-TNA5.

Tintinara is located on the Dukes Highway about 188 km southeast of Adelaide.

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

Tintinara and the surrounding district is based around the agricultural production of sheep, beef and cropping.

The origin of the name Tintinara is debated. During my research, I discovered a number of options. One of the original settlers, J.H. Boothby in his reminiscences recorded that he had a ‘smart young aborigine’ with a name that sounded like ‘Tin-tin’, and the suffix of ara was added to it. There is an aboriginal word tinyara which means ‘boy’.

Another explanation is that it is derived from tinlinyara, the aboriginal name for stars in Orion’s Belt, described in aboriginal mythology as a number of young men hunting emus, kangaroos and other game on the great celestial plain in the sky.

Above:- An aerial view of Tintinara. Image c/o Google maps.

The Tintinara region was first settled by Europeans during the 1840s who grazed sheep in the area. Not long after, the Tintinara Homestead was built by the brothers Thomas Wilde Boothby (b. 1839. d. 1885) and James Henry Boothby (b. 1841. d. 1920) on their 165 sq. mile lease. They were the sons of Benjamin Boothby, a Judge of the Supreme Court of South Australia, and had emigrated to South Australia in 1853.

In 1865 a 16 stand shearing shed was constructed by the new owners William Harding and George Bunn (we visited the homestead and shearing shed – see below).

The Tintinara Well and the Reedy Well were regular stopping points for Alexander Tolmer’s gold escort team. During the 1850s Victorian Goldrush, a special armed detachment from South Australia provided a Gold Escort for the safe transportation of gold from the Victorian goldfields to Adelaide. The first of these was led by Alexander Tolmer, who later became the Police Commissioner in South Australia.

Above:- Alexander Tolmer. Image c/o Wikipedia

A total of eighteen Gold Escorts were made between 1852 and 1853, transporting 328,502 ounces (9,310 kg) of gold.

Above:- Police Gold Escort leaving Mount Alexander. Image c/o SA Police Facebook page

In 1986, a re-enactment of the Police Gold Escort was conducted as part of the 175th Commemoration program of the South Australia Police.

Above:- Gold Escort re-enactment. Image c/o SA Police Facebook page

In 1868 the Tintinara Post office was opened. The town of Tintinara was proclaimed on the 30th day of August 1906. The Tintinara school was opened in 1907 with 12 students and Miss Maud Jackson as the teacher. The Tintinara Institute opened in 1911. A Congregational Church and a Methodist church were built in 1913.

The Tintinara silos are located on the southern side of the Dukes Highway. It was quite noisy in town, so we drove a little further southeast on the Dukes Highway and set up amongst the trees and alongside of the highway and the railway line.

We ran the Yaesu FT-857, 40 watts, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation. We had strength 4 noise on 40m despite being a few hundred metres out of town.

I called CQ on 7.150 and this was answered by Peter VK3PF, followed by Ross VK3BEL, and then geoff VK3SQ. The silo had been activated. I then spoke with Peter VK3ZPF, Haucke VK1HW mobile, and Michael VK5LN, before swapping the operator’s chair with Marija.

Marija’s first contact was with Ross VK3BEL, followed by Peter VK3PF, and then Ian VK5CZ. Marija logged a further 5 stations before callers dried up.

We then headed to the 20m band where we logged a total of 6 stations, all from VK2.

To wrap up the activation I called CQ on 80m, but we had strength 9 noise and it made operating very difficult. We logged just the one station, John VK5HAA.

We were set up right alongside of the main railway line between Adelaide and Melbourne and at one point had to stop calling CQ as a large freight train passed by us.

During our activation, we had a surprise visit by a local amateur radio operator, Terry VK5TM and his wife.

Marija made the following contacts on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3BEL
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK5CZ
  4. VK5WG
  5. VK5LN
  6. VK3HKV
  7. VK5MSA
  8. VK5COL

Marija made the following contacts on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO
  2. VK2VW
  3. VK2HFI

I made the following contacts on 40m SSB:-

  1. Vk3PF
  2. VK3BEL
  3. VK3SQ
  4. VK3ZPF
  5. VK5HW/m
  6. VK5LN

I made the following contacts on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2VW
  2. VK2HFI
  3. VK2NP

I made the following contact on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5HAA

After packing up at the silo we headed to the Tintinara Visitor Information Centre which has a very distinctive mural painted on it that features a train, and the beef, sheep and wool industries of the district.

You can also find here an impressive D pattern Comet Windmill which stands at 40 feet. The windmill was previously used in the Tintinara district prior to the Murray Pipeline passing through the property.

We then headed out to the Tintinara Homestead and the historic shearing shed. Out the front of the property is a cairn marking the Gold Escort route……

“Along this track Commissioner Alexander Tolmer lead the first of 18 police escorts which under various commanders transported from Mt Alexander Victoria to Adelaide, South Australia, March 1852 to December 1853, 328,509 ozs of gold”

The Tintinara homestead was constructed in 1865. Shortly afterwards it became a post office. For many years it was a stopping point for Tolmer and his gold escort group. The walls of the homestead were once papered with old copies of the Adelaide Chronicle.

Whilst there we realised that this was potentially on private property. We telephoned the Visitor Information Centre but sadly they did not have much information on the homestead other than to tell us it was on private property. On that basis, we decided to leave. We left a note for the owners, who very kindly sent us an SMS message later that day stating they were happy for us to have a look.

We drove a short distance to the Tintinara Woolshed which was built in 1865. I always enjoy looking in old woolsheds as the history is quite amazing. The limestone walls are 80cm thick and the roof timbers are up to 11 metres long. They were carted by bullock drays to the location from Kingston South East.

You can also find a marker here on the Gold Escort Route.

Also located on the property is the headstone of William Harding. The headstone reads:-

Affectionate Remembrance of William. The beloved husband of Mary Harding, who departed this life July 5th 1874. Ages 50 years. Remember your Creator in the days of thy youth’.


  1. A Compendium of the Place Names of South Australia, 2021, <https://published.collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/placenamesofsouthaustralia/>, viewed 2nd December 2021.
  2. Aussie Towns, 2021, <https://www.aussietowns.com.au/town/tintinara-sa>, viewed 2nd December 2021.
  3. Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2021, <https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/boothby-thomas-wilde-3323>, viewed 2nd December 2021.
  4. flickr, 2021, <https://www.flickr.com/photos/82134796@N03/39992634621>, viewed 2nd December 2021.
  5. Tintinara Heart of the Parks, 2021, <https://tintinara.com.au/visit/tintinara-homestead/>, viewed 2nd December 2021.
  6. Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tintinara,_South_Australia>, viewed 2nd December 2021
  7. Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Tolmer>, viewed 2nd December 2021.
  8. Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_Escort>, viewed 2nd December 2021.

One thought on “Tintinara silo VK-TNA5

  1. It was great to catch up with both of you in person.

    I did listen over the weekend to some of your contacts via a couple of SDR’s – your best signal was through VK5ARG KiwiSDR Tarlee

    73 Terry VK5TM

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