After leaving Blanchetown I continued west on the Sturt Highway and soon reached the Brookfield Conservation Park VKFF-0922.
The park is located about 130 km northeast of the city of Adelaide, and about 14km west of Blanchetown.
Above:- Map showing the location of the Brookfield CP. Map c/o Google maps.
Prior to European settlement of the area around Brookfield, the Ngaiawang aboriginal people occupied the area. The Ngaiawang nation consisted of about 388,000 hectares on the Western Murray Plains.
By 1836 the area was settled by Europeans who held pastoral leases with large holdings of sheep. In later years the area was known as Glen Leslie Station with about 1,800 to 2,00 sheep being grazed during good years. Timber was also cut on the station which was used for wood and for charcoal. Today, the charcoal pits and shearing sheds still remain in the park.
During the early 1970s, moves to purchase a reserve for the conservation of the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat were initiated by the Director of the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, Dr William Peter Crowcrof (b. 1922. d. 1996). Crowcroft was the former Director of the South Australian Museum.
Above:- Professor Peter Crowcroft. Image c/o Toronto Public Library.
In 1971, the Chicago Zoological Society purchased Glen Leslie Station, an area of 5,527 hectares. At this time it was named the Brookfield Zoo Wombat Reserve. The Reserve was administered by a committee of management funded by the Chicago Zoological Society, with the former landholder, Mr. Raymond Clifton Dorward, employed as full-time resident warden. One of the aims was:
“to achieve a wombat population of optimum size and structure consistent with the maintenance of an intact habitat.”
Due to rising costs, in 1977 the Chicago Zoological Society gifted Brookfield Zoo Reserve to the Southern Australian State Government. One of the conditions was that ‘the reserve would be proclaimed a Conservation Park‘. In August 1977 the then Department for the Environment assumed financial and managerial responsibility for the reserve. The Brookfield Conservation Park was proclaimed on the 6th day of July 1978.
The video below explains the history of the park.
There is a Restricted Access Zone over the majority of the park with prohibited entry to all except for the relevant authorities. Please ensure that you do not encroach into this area.
Above:- Map of the park showing the Scientific Research areas. Map c/o NPWS SA.
The vegetation in the park comprises on the ridge in the northern section of the park, and extending north into the adjacent area, ridge-fruited mallee, red mallee, and narrow-leaved mallee over porcupine grass and sparse bitter saltbush. The northwestern corner of the park is dominated by yorrell open mallee over sparse bitter saltbush and pearl bluebush. In the southeastern section of the park the understorey consists of a large expanse of regenerating pearl bluebush. The central areas of the park are covered by low woodland and tall shrubland typically dominated by sheep bush and sugarwood. Dryland tea-tree can be found around the claypans in the park. The understorey is characterised by Australian boxthorn, bullock bush, caustic weed, and heron’s bill.
Other than the Southern hairy-nosed Wombat, other native mammals found in the park include the fat-tailed dunnart, common dunnart, red & western grey kangaroos and emus.
Birds SA have recorded about 147 species of bird in the park including the vulnerable malleefowl and the rare stone curlew. Other bird species include Purple-backed Fairywren, Splendid Fairywren, Australian Magpie, Crested Pigeon, Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Brown Treecreeper, Southern Whiteface, and Weebill.
I drove into the park via the entrance off the Sturt Highway and I set up opposite the information board. I ran the Yaesu FT-857, 40 watts, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation. For 15m and 10m, I used the Codan 9350 self-tuning antenna mounted on the rear of the 4WD.
I made the following contacts on 20m SSB:-
I made the following contacts on 15m SSB:-
I made the following contacts on 10m SSB:-
I made the following contacts on 40m SSB:-
With 70 QSOs in the log, it was time to move on to the Cambrai silo for a SiOTA activation.
- Birds SA, 2023, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/brookfield-conservation-park/>, viewed 14th February 2023.
- Department for Environment and Heritage, 2005, Management Plan Brookfield Conservation Park.
- National Parks and Wildlife Service SA, 2023, <https://www.parks.sa.gov.au/parks/brookfield-conservation-park>, viewed 14th February 2023.