After leaving Alawoona I travelled north on the Karoonda Highway towards Loxton, about 36 km. I travelled through Beitch, a small town proclaimed on the 8th day of June 1916. It takes its name from a well sunk by Mr Vietch in 1882. A school was opened at Veitch in 1919 and closed in 1946.
Next was the little town of Pata which is aboriginal for ‘swamp gum trees’. The town was proclaimed as Muljara on the 18th day of November 1915 and was renamed Pata in 1929. The Pata school opened in 1919 and closed in 1955.
I soon reached Kingston Road and it was evident that I was in the Riverland, as vineyards and fruit orchards were visible.
At the junction of Kingston Road and Karoonda Highway is the National Television Service and the Loxton transmitter station, with a very impressive tower. I would love to have my 5 element yagi on the top of that at home.
A short distance away, near the corner of Karoonda Highway and Pioneer Landing Drive, are two graves. They mark the resting spot of Elisabeth Clara Habel who died in 1898, aged just 3 years, and Barbara Thiele who died in 1900 aged 2 years. They were the children of local Loxton pioneer families.
I headed down towards the Murray River on Pioneer Landing Drive. There were some nice views of the Murray from the top of the road.
At the end of Pioneer Landing Drive is Habel’s Landing which contains a marina with numerous houseboats. The landing is named after pioneer farmer Wilhelm Emil Habel (b. 1856. d. 1926). Habel’s homestead sits high overlooking the Murray.
I then drove into the town of Loxton. The Erawirung aboriginal people occupied the area prior to the Europeans. The first European settler in the area was John Chambers who held a pastoral lease taken out in July 1851.
Loxton was originally known as Loxton’s due to a primitive pine and pug hut built on the banks of the Murray by a boundary rider during the 1880s.
The Loxton Hut school opened in 1902 and closed in 1909. In July 1907 the town of Loxton was surveyed into 40 allotments and was proclaimed on the 29th day of August 1907. At the time of the first sale in November 1907, prices ranged from £6-5-0 to £40-5-0 per block. In 1912 the town was extended by a further 45 allotments. The Loxton school opened in 1914.
Although the water had receded after the Murray River flooding, numerous roads in the area were still closed and various popular areas were still under water.
At Loxton, you can find the Avro Anson Crash memorial. At 11.30 p.m. on the 24th day of September 1943, during the Second World War, a RAAF Avro Anson aircraft crashed on a training flight east of Loxton. Four young airmen died as a result of the accident.
There is also a plaque to commemorate the landing of Lancaster Bomber “G for George’ in Loxton on the Third Victory Tour of Australia during WWII. Flight Sergeant Harry Tickle from Loxton was the flight engineer in charge f the flight to Australia. “G for George’ is now on display at the Canberra War Memorial/Museum.
Above:- Harry Tickle alongside G for George. Image c/o Australian War Memorial
The memorial can be found on Bookpurnong Terrace near the entrance to the Loxton Oval.
Nearby is the memorial to mark the significant role that the railway played in the Loxton area and the Northern Mallee district. There are a number of information boards here containing great detail about the railway.
The Loxton silo is located in the heart of the town on Railway Terrace.
It was quite noisy on the 40m band alongside the silo, so I drove back out to the Loxton oval which was within the 1km activation zone. I had the silo in sight across Bookpurnong Terrace.
Above:- the activation zone at the Loxton silo. Image c/o SiOTA website.
I made the following contacts on 40m SSB:-
I made the following contacts on 20m SSB:-
I made the following contact on 15m SSB:-
With 13 QSOs in the log from the Loxton silo, I then headed to Berri. The Bookpurnong Road was closed so I had to detour the long way via the ferry at Lyrup. The river levels were still high at Lyrup with sheds and other infrastructure clearly underwater.
Once in Berri, I spent a number of enjoyable hours at the home of Mal VK5MJ. Ron VK5MRE also paid a visit. Whilst at Mal’s I picked up the Realistic DX-302 communications receiver.
- A Compendium of the Place Names of South Australia, 2023, <https://published.collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/placenamesofsouthaustralia/>, viewed 2nd February 2023.
- District Council of Waikerie, 2023, <https://www.loxtonwaikerie.sa.gov.au/your-council/about-the-loxton-and-waikerie-council/history-of-the-region>, viewed 2nd February 2023.
- Wikipedia, 2023, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loxton,_South_Australia>, viewed 2nd February 2023.