Day six and Tom Gibson Nature Reserve VKFF-1155

Day six (Wednesday 2nd November 2022) of our Tasmania trip was upon us. We were to travel from Launceston to Swansea, a distance of about 137 km.

Above:- Map showing our route from Launceston to Swansea. Map c/o Google maps.

After breakfast we headed to Freelands Lookout, but we were sadly disappointed as trees covered most of the view of Launceston and the Tamar Valley.

We then visited Kings Bridge and the Toll Booth. The original toll house was constructed in 1891 with a contribution box to enter Cataract Gorge introduced by the Launceston City and Suburbs Improvement Association. The intention was to raise funds for further development of Cataract Gorge. Unfortunately most people did not pay and as a result in 1892 the toll become compulsory.

As a novelty and fundraiser, automatic vending machines were placed at the gates. For a penny, one machine would spray lavender scent onto a handkerchief, while another dispensed chocolate.

When the toll to enter Cataract Gorge was removed, so was the toll house….it was demolished. What you see today is a replica.

The first span of the Kings Bridge was completed in 1864. It was originally named the South Esk Bridge and was designed by William Thomas Doyne, a civil engineer from Ireland. The first span was fabricated in Manchester and was transported to Launceston where it was assembled on a pontoon and then floated into position and the lowered on to its abutments on the receding tide. In 1904 the bridge was renamed Kings Bridge in honour of King Edward VII.

The caretakers cottage was originally constructed in 1890 to house a caretaker in preparation for the creation of the Victorian Cliff Grounds. Alexander North, a leading church architect in Launceston at the time as the designer.

We then travelled south on the Midland Highway and into the historic town of Longford which was originally known as Norfolk Plains and then Latour. In 1827 the Latour Hotel was constructed and the town grew up around the hotel. In 1833 the town re re-named Longford.

Numerous significant and historic buildings were constructed in the town between 1830 and 1850. These include Christ Church built in 1839, the Queens Arms Hotel built in 1835, and the former Racecourse Hotel built in 1838,

We enjoyed a magnificent cooked breakfast at JJs Bakery in Longford.

We left Longford and headed to the Symmons Plains Raceway which is about 30 km south of Launceston. Since the closure of the Longford racing circuit, Symmons Plains has been Tasmania’s premier motor racing facility. Unfortunately everything was locked up, but we were able to see the track through some vantage points on the fence line.

We drove a short distance to the Tom Gibson Nature Reserve VKFF-1155 for a park activation for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

Above:- Map of Tasmania showing the location of the Tom Gibson Nature Reserve. Map c/o Google maps.

The Tom Gibson Nature Reserve was proclaimed in 2022. It is located within the Northern Midlands Bioregion which is one of only fifteen areas in Australia which have been identified as a National Biodiversity Hotspot. It is part of ‘Epping Forest’ a large network of reserves on public and private land which supports over 400 hectares of endangered Black Peppermint forest.

Rare plants in the park include Moss Sunray, Tiny Water Milfoil, Tiny Arrowgrass, and Grassland Candles.

Tasmanian Devils and the Tasmanian Bettong can be located in the park.

The park was named after the former owner of the land, Tom Gibson.

We operated from the south eastern corner of the park on Barton Road.

Above:- An aerial view of the park showing our operating spot. Image c/o Google Earth

In about 20 minutes we made a total of 28 QOs.

Marija made the following QSOs on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3AHR
  2. VK2HQ/p (VKFF-0447)
  3. VK2BYF/p (VKFF-0447)
  4. VK2HHA
  5. VK3SQ
  6. VK3VIN
  7. VK3PF
  8. VK3MTT
  9. VK2MET
  10. VK1AO
  11. VK2MOP
  12. ZL1BQD

I made the following QSOs on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3AHR
  2. VK2HQ/p (VKFF-0447)
  3. VK2BYF/p (VKFF-0447)
  4. VK2HHA
  5. VK3SQ
  6. VI3VIN
  7. VK3PF
  8. VK3MTT
  9. VK2MET
  10. VK1AO
  11. VK2MOP

I made the following QSOs on 40m SSB after the UTC rollover:-

  1. ZL1BQD
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK3SQ
  4. VK1MET
  5. VK1AO

Unfortunately we were running a bit short of time so we did not get the opportunity of trying other bands or getting to 44 QSOs for this activation. It is a park we will have to come back to one day in the future.


  1. Legislation Tasmania, 2022, <>, viewed 16th December 2022.
  2. Tasmanian Land Conservancy, 2022, <>, viewed 16th December 2022.
  3. Tasmanian Plants, 2022, <>, viewed 16th December 2022.
  4. Wikipedia, 2022, <,_Tasmania>, viewed 16th December 2022.
  5. Wikipedia, 2022, <>, viewed 16th December 2022.

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