On Sunday 23rd October 2022, Andrew VK6AS kindly loaned us his car, so after breakfast Marija and I headed up into the hills on the Toodyay Road. We wanted to have a look around Gidgegannup and also visit the old Newcastle Gaol at Toodyay.
Our first stop was the Toodyay Red Hill Convict Road Station ruins. Sadly we didn’t get to see the ruins through the scrub, but we did get to see many of the wildflowers out in bloom.
The Convict station ruins were once a substantial group of buildings made of mud bricks to house convict work crews. The Newcastle Road, later to become known as the Toodyay Road, was constructed by convicts.
We continued on to the town of Toodyay, about 85 km north-east of Perth. The town was originally known as Newcastle between 1860 to 1910. It is believed that Toodyay is derived from an aboriginal word “Dudja’ meaning ‘mist’. The town was declared a historic town by the National Trust in 1980. The Avon River flows through the town. The world’s longest white-water race is held each year on the Avon River.
We paid a visit to the Newcastle Gaol which was completed in 1864 and used as a state prison until 1909. It is one of only five remaining convict built gaols on Western Australia.
We then visited the old court house which is now used as Shire of Toodyay offices.
We then visited Pelham Reserve and lookout which overlooks the town of Toodyay. The Reserve is about 50 hectares of bushland.
It was time to get some lunch so we headed to the Cola Cafe Museum in Toodyay. The cafe is a 1950’s style Cafe which features a collection of Coca Cola memorabilla.
We then had a look at Connor’s Mill, a steam driven flour mill which was built in 1870 by local builder George Hassel for Dan Connor, a store owner.
Marija and I then drove back into Gidgegannup as we had planned to take a number of amateurs out into the field to activate parks, with Hans VK6XN and Phil VK6ADF. Sadly from around lunchtime the heavens absolutely opened up and it poured down with rain. Along the way we stopped briefly to admire the wildflowers.
As it was so wet and continually raining, we decided to cancel the park activations. The rain had also kept a lot of people away who had planned to meet us on Sunday afternoon. Instead of heading out, Hans and I showed a small group our portable setups.
We then decided to brave the weather and we visited the small but beautiful Noble Falls.
Our next stop was a very wet Lake Leschenaultia which is a former railway dam which is now a recreational lake.
We then drove back into the town of Gidgegannup, whose name originates from an aboriginal Noongar word meaning ‘place where spears are made’.
We then visited the Peter Brock memorial in honour of the motor racing legend. He was killed in 2006 whilst competing in the Targa West rally, about 3 km from the finish of the second stage of the race at Gidgegannup.
The rain had subside slightly, so Marija and I decided to activate the Walyunga National Park VKFF-0516, about 35 km north-east of Perth. The park was established in 1970 and covers an area of about 4,480 acres. Walyunga is an aboriginal word meaning ‘happy place’.
We used Hans end fed antenna and Yaesu FT857 for this activation. However, we had real problems with VSWR and could not operate on the 20m band. The VSWR was alo quite high on 40m, but we ‘boxed on’ and managed to qualify the park for VKFF with 10 contacts.
Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
We then headed back into Perth for a hot shower and headed out for tea with a number of amateurs and their wives.
- Monument Australia, 2022, <https://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/people/sport/display/93139-peter-brock>, viewed 24th November 2022.
- Shire of Toodyay, 2022, <https://www.toodyay.wa.gov.au/council/about-our-shire.aspx>, viewed 24th November 2022.
- Western Australia.com, 2022, <https://www.westernaustralia.com/en/Attraction/Newcastle_Gaol_Museum_Toodyay>, viewed 24th November 2022.
- Wikipedia, 2022, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toodyay,_Western_Australia>, viewed 24th November 2022.
- Wikipedia, 2022, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Leschenaultia>, viewed 24th November 202.