Waikerie silo VK-WKE5

After leaving Bakara I drove north to Waikerie. Due to the recent Murray River floods, the ferry at Swan Reach was closed. This meant that I had to drive 44 km north to Waikerie and then over the bridge at Blancheown. It was fortuitist though, as I was able to activate the silo at Waikeries for the Silos On The Air (SiOTA) program.

I drove north on New Well Centre Road and then turned right on the Stuart Highway back towards Waikerie. I knew that I was back in the Riverland region of South Australia due to all of the orange orchards.

Waikerie is a rural town in the Riverland region of South Australia about 173 km northeast of the city of Adelaide. It sits on the south bank of the mighty Murray River. Waikerie is known for its citrus growing, stone fruit, and grapes.

The Ngawait aboriginal people inhabited the area prior to European settlement. They called the giant swift moth, “wei kari” meaning “many wings’. It is from this that the town of Waikerie derives its name.

The first European to visit the Waikerie area was the famous explorer Captain Charles Sturt. In late 1929 he rowed a whale boat down the Murrumbidgee River in an attempt to answer the question as to why rivers flowed westward from the Great Dividing Range. On the 14th day of January 1830, he reached the junction with the Murray River. He continued rowing down the Murray River, passing the site of current-day Waikerie. Sturt comments on the ‘grandeur of the cliffs’ in the Waikerie area. Sturt reached Lake Alexandrina on the 9th day of February 1830.

 Above:- Captain Charles Sturt. Image c/o Wikipedia.

By 1880 the Shepherd brothers had settled the land around Waikerie. In 1882 W.T. Shepard established the Waikerie station.

Waikerie commenced as a village settlement in 1894 and was part of a government scheme to open up land along the upper Murray River. Steamers along the Murray brought 281 settlers to the area. The steamers brought the settlers rations of tea, sugar, flour and milk. Waikerie was one of nine such farming communities. Each settler was allotted land, tools, and a horse, including funds for food. The scheme eventually failed and in 1910 land was allotted to the first group of private settlers. They grew oranges, peaches, sultanas and other fruits on irrigated blocks.

Above: the Main Street of Waikerie, 1910. Image c/o State Library SA.

The Waikerie silos are part of the Australian Silo Art Trail and are non-working Viterra silos. They were the fifth silos in South Australia to have silo art/murals painted on them. They were completed in March 2019. South Australian artist Garry Duncan painted one silo with a semi-abstract river landscape. It includes pelicans, ducks, frogs and rain moths. The second silo was painted by Jimmy Dvate from Melbourne. It features a Regent parrot, a yabby and the endangered Murray hardyhead fish.

Exterior enamel paints were used by both artists and the work took 16 weeks to complete, with about 500 litres of paint used.

I set up in the car park right alongside of the silo and made a few contacts, but the noise floor was so high that I decided to move. I found a car park south-east of the silo overlooking the Murray River.

Above:- the activation zone for the Waikerie silo. Image c/o SiOTA website.

There were a number of interpretive signs at this location and some brilliant views of the Murray River.

I made the following contacts on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5MAZ
  2. VK5GY
  3. VK3OHM
  4. VK5FB
  5. VK5FANA
  6. VK3PWG
  7. VK5WY/m

I made the following contacts on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK1AO
  2. VK2MET
  3. VK2IO

I made the following contacts on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK6AV/2
  2. VK1AO
  3. VK2MET
  4. VK4EW
  5. VK7IAN
  6. VK4FSC
  7. VK2ADI
  8. VK2MI
  9. VK3PF

I left Waikerie and headed west on the Sturt Highway and stopped briefly at the town of Blanchetown.

Blanchetown was surveyed in 1855 and on the 27th day of August 1857, the land was offered for sale.

In 1855, Governor MacDonnell was in the area and ‘directed a convenient and beautifully situated rising ground about 5 miles north of Moorundie to be laid out as a township. It is his Excellency’s intention to remove there the quarters of the Native Police and of the Protector of Aborigines, as the houses now inhabited by them are annually subject to inundations.’

The lock at Blanchetown was still submerged due to the Murray River flooding.


  1. A Compendium of the Place Names of South Australia, 2023, <https://published.collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/placenamesofsouthaustralia/>, viewed 14th February 2023.
  2. Aussie Towns, 2023, <https://www.aussietowns.com.au/town/waikerie-sa>, viewed 14th February 2023.
  3. Australian Silo Art Trail, 2023, <https://www.australiansiloarttrail.com/waikerie>, viewed 14th February 2023.
  4. Waikerie, 2023, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waikerie,_South_Australia>, viewed 14th February 2023.

Bakara Conservation Park VKFF-0868

After packing up at Mantung Conservation Park (31st January 2023) I headed to the Bakara Conservation Park VKFF-0868. It was just a short 30 km drive to get to Bakara from Mantung.

The Bakara Conservation Park is located about 205 km northeast of Adelaide.

Above:- Map showing the location of the Bakara Conservation Park. Map c/o Location SA Map Viewer.

The park is located on the southern side of the Stott Highway at the junction of Start Road.

Above:- An aerial shot of the Bakara CP looking southwest towards Adelaide. Image c/o Google maps.

The Stott Highway runs from Angaston in the Barossa Valley, through Sedan and Swan Reach and on to Loxton in the Riverland region of South Australia. In 2008 the highway was named in honour of Tom Cleave Stott (b. 1899. d. 1976) who was a farmer and member of State Parliament from 1933 to 1970. The Stott family farm was at Mindarie in the Murray Mallee.

Above:- Tom Stott (far right) at a “Press v Parliament” cricket match, 1947. Image c/o Wikipedia.

The name Bakara was given by the aboriginal people to a native camp on a track from Swan Reach to Loxton. The word derives from either bakarra meaning ‘hot wind’ or balkara meaning ‘native dove.

In 1864 the Bakara Run was established by W.P. Barker (b. 1845. d. 1914) and D. McLean. The land was originally held by Messrs Lucas and Reid from February 1860. The Hundred of Bakara, County of Albert, was proclaimed on the 15th day of June 1893. The Netherleigh school was opened in 1909 as ‘Bakara’ and was closed in 1935. The Bakara Post Office was closed on the 30th day of June 1979.

The Bakara Conservation Park was proclaimed on the 15th day of May 1986.

Above:- from the SA Govt Gazette, 15 May 1986. Image c/o Wikipedia.

The park comprises land in sections 54 and 55 in the cadastral unit of the Hundred of Bakara. In 1983 the South Australian State Government compulsorily acquired Section 55 and this was proclaimed as the park. Section 54 was added on the 6th day of August 2009. The park currently covers an area of about 2,030 hectares.

The park provides valuable habitat for the Malleefowl.

I drove into the park via one of the tracks off the Stott Highway. It was a hot afternoon so I chose some shade underneath a tree to get out of the sun.

Band conditions on 10m and 15m were very good and this helped me to easily get over the 44 QSO line for the global World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

It was also nice to pick up a couple of Park to Park contacts with Andy VK5LA and Daryl VK3BEZ.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5LA/p (Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2244)
  2. VK5BJE
  3. VK5MAZ
  4. VK7QP
  5. VK5FANA
  6. VK3PF
  7. VK5WU
  8. VK1AO
  9. VK2MET
  10. VK3FABS/p
  11. VK5NIG
  12. VK3MCA
  13. VK4FW
  14. VK8MM

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2VJE
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK2IO
  4. VK4FW
  5. VK8MM
  6. VK3OHM
  7. VK3ZSC
  8. VK3BEZ/p (Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park VKFF-0747)
  9. VK3TXB/m
  10. VK4HRE
  11. VK1AO
  12. VK2MET
  13. VK4EMP
  14. VK4TI
  15. VK3JLS

I worked the following stations on 15m SSB:-\

  1. VK2VJE
  2. VK4FW
  3. VK8MM
  4. VK4EMP
  5. VK4TI
  6. VK3ACZ
  7. VK3PF
  8. VK2IO
  9. VK3EJ
  10. VK3SQ
  11. VK7IAN
  12. VK4TJ
  13. VK1AO
  14. VK2MET
  15. VK4KTW

I worked the following stations on 10m SSB:-

  1. VK2FR
  2. VK3SQ
  3. VK3PF
  4. VK5LA/p (Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2244)
  5. VK1AO
  6. VK2MET
  7. VK2FADV
  8. VK3ZSC
  9. VK2MOE
  10. VK4FW
  11. VK8MM
  12. VK3ACZ
  13. VK2IO
  14. VK2UGB
  15. VK2MOE/m
  16. VK2CPC
  17. VK4HAT
  18. VK4FFAB
  19. VK4EW
  20. VK2XZ/m
  21. VK4TJ
  22. VK7IAN
  23. VK3EJ


  1. A Compendium of the Place Names of South Australia, 2023, <https://published.collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/placenamesofsouthaustralia/>, viewed 13th February 2023.
  2. Wikipedia, 2023, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Stott>, viewed 13th February 2023.
  3. Wikipedia, 2023, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Stott>, viewed 13th February 2023.
  4. Wikipedia, 2023, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakara_Conservation_Park>, viewed 13th February 2023.