1st day in Tassie and Devonport silo VK-DVT7

We arrived in Devonport Tasmania at 6.00 a.m. on Friday 28th October 2022 aboard the Spirit of Tasmania. It had been a relatively smooth crossing and Marija and I slept well. Unfortunately we were greeted by wet and cold weather in Devonport.

After alighting from the Spirit of Tasmania, Marija and I headed to McDonalds for some breakfast and a coffee. We also tried the Visitor Information Centre but it was closed.

We headed out to the Mersey Bluff lighthouse which stands near the mouth of the Mersey River. The lighthouse was constructed in 1889 and has a distinctive vertical red striped day mark.

We also travelled the short distance to Coles Beach and admired the view of the coastline despite it being a wet and blustery day.

Our next stop was the Don River railway museum which is a volunteer run vintage railway and museum located in Don, a suburb of Devonport. The museum opened in 1973 while the trains commenced running in 1976.

We took the short train trip along the eastern bank of the Don River to the junction at Coles Beach, and return.

More info can be found on the Don River railway website at……


As it was such a miserable day we decided for another indoor activity for the day. This time it was the Bass Strait Maritime Centre in Devonport. The museum houses a number of exhibits and displays that relate to Bass Strait, European exploration, shipwrecks and maritime history of Devonport.

We then had a look at the Spirit of the Sea which is a bronze sculpture located at Aikenhead Point, Devonport. The sculpture depicts Neptune holding a trident in his hands.

We then headed out of Devonport to House of Anvers chocolates at Latrobe. Igor Van Gerwen, from Antwerp Belgium started the business in 1986. At that time he converted his home garage into a small kitchen. Needless to say we left with a number of paper bags full of chocolate.


We then visited the Australian Axeman’s Hall of Fame situated at Latrobe. It was here that the first world woodchopping championship was staged in 1891 and the sport was born.  A trophy axe from the 1954 Royal Tour is one of our featured exhibits.

The rain had started to clear a little so we took a quick walk in Bells Parade which is located on the Latrobe Inlet of the Mersey River. It takes its name from Robert Bell, who along with his half brother Henry Bentick, constructed a wharf and a store on the site in 1855.

We also had a look at Sherwood Hall, which was constructed in c. 1850 and was the original colonial home of former convict Thomas Johnson and Dolly Dalrymple Briggs. It is believed to be the oldest house in Latrobe. Johnson was sent to Van Dieman’s Land as a convict, while his wife Briggs is the first known child of an aboriginal and white person.

We then travelled into the town of Latrobe, named after Charles Joseph La Trobe, the administrator of the colony of Tasmania.

We also visited the Darrel Baldock memorial in Latrobe. Baldock aka The Doc, Mr Magic, was a former Australian Rules Football player and politician. He has been accepted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.

We headed back into Devonport and booked into our motel, the Argosy Motor Inn.

We had a little bit of time before heading out for dinner, so we decided to activate the Devonport silo VK-DVT7 for the Silos On The Air (SiOTA) program.

In 2019 the Devonport City Council gave principle support for having murals painted on the silos by Sheffield mural artist Julian Bale. For whatever reason this did not go ahead. In 2013 it was suggested turning the silos into a hotel/motel. This did not go ahead either, but has occurred in Launceston.

The Devonport silos can hold 80,000 tonnes of grain and is run by Tasmanian Stockfeed Services.

We operated from the 4WD for this activation, running the Icom IC7000, 100 watts, and the Codan 9350 antenna. Our operating spot was the park opposite the Argosy Motor Inn.

Above:- Map showing the location of the Devonport silo. Map c/o SioTA website.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3ZPF
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK3GRX
  4. VK3OHM

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3ZPF
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK3GRX
  4. VK3OHM
  5. VK3AMO
  6. VK3ZSC
  7. VK3VIN
  8. VK3ZB
  9. VK3VAR
  10. VK3UAO
  11. VK5VK
  12. VK3ANL

At the conclusion of the activation we headed out for tea at the Argosy and enjoyed a very nice meal.


  1. Australia for Everyone, 2022, <https://www.australiaforeveryone.com.au/files/tasmania_subdomain/latrobe-sherwood-hall.html>, viewed 3rd December 2022.
  2. Don River Railway, 2022, <https://donriverrailway.com.au/about/>, viewed 3rd December 2022.
  3. House of Anvers, 2022, <https://anvers-chocolate.com.au/>, viewed 3rd December 2022.
  4. Lighthouses of Australia Inc, 2022, <https://lighthouses.org.au/tas/mersey-bluff-lighthouse/>, viewed 3rd December 2022.
  5. North West Tasmania, 2022, <https://northwesttasmania.com.au/location/bells-parade-reserve/>, viewed 3rd December 2022.
  6. Wikipedia, 2022, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_River_Railway>, viewed 3rd December 2022.

North Geelong silo VK-NRG3

After leaving Kaniva (27th October 2022), Marija and I continued east on the Western Highway with our next stop being the little town of Beaufort. We stopped to get a coffee and fill up the vehicle with fuel.

Beaufort is about 160 km west of Melbourne. The origin of the name is unclear. Some suggest it was named after the Rear Admiral Francis Beaufort who invented the Beaufort scale for measuring wind velocity, while other believe it may take its name from Beaufort in Wales.

There are a number of historical buildings in Beaufort including the Band rotunda built in 1908, the Beaufort Fire Brigade built in 1911, and the old Beaufort courthouse built in 1864.

We continued on to Geelong and as we were a little early for the ferry we decided to activate the North Geelong silos VK-NRG3 which are located adjacent to the Spirit of Tasmania ferry terminal.

This activation would be for the Silos On The Air (SiOTA) program.

Above:- Map showing the location of the silos. Map c/o SiOTA.

In 1939 the Victorian State Government constructed the Geelong port elevator. Two horizontal grain sheds were constructed in 1950. They had a storage capacity of 500,000 tonnes were constructed. Since 1998 these sheds have been used to store wood chips prior to export and to store 150,000 tonnes of fertiliser. In 1976 an additional grain storage shed was constructed. The Geelong elevator has the ability to handle the export of wheat, barley, oilseeds and pulses with a capacity of 820,000 tonnes.

We operated from the 4WD for this activation, running the Icom IC7000, 100 watts, and the Codan 9350 antenna.

Marija made the following contacts on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK2MET
  3. VK1AO

I made the following contacts on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK2MET
  3. VK1AO
  4. VK2IO
  5. VK3CAT
  6. VK3WTX

We then boarded the Spirit of Tasmania in our 4WD. The ship measures about 212 metres with the ability to carry 1,800 passengers.

We had booked a cabin. The photos below show the cabin and the view of the port of Geelong from the cabin window.

The Spirit of Tasmania has a total of 301 cabins, featuring 12 deluxe cabins, 2 family suites, 120 porthole cabins, and 159 inside cabins.

After dropping off our bags we explored the Spirit of Tasmania and enjoyed some pizza and a few cold beverages at one of the bars.

We still had some daylight as we sailed out of Geelong so we took advantage and enjoyed some views of Port Phillip and then out into Bass Strait.


  1. Spirit of Tasmania, 2022, <https://www.spiritoftasmania.com.au/new-ships>, viewed 2nd December 2022
  2. The Silo Trail, 2022, <https://silotrail.com.au/silo/geelong-victoria/>, viewed 2nd December 2022.

Kanvia 2 silo VK-KNV3

It was bright and early on Thursday 27th October 2022, that Marija and I left home and headed to Geelong in Victoria, where we were to catch the Spirit of Tasmania that evening. We had a 688 km journey ahead of us through southeastern South Australia and western Victoria.

We have driven this route many times before, but took the opportunity again of stopping off at the South Australian – Victoria State border to stretch our legs.

We drove into the town of Kaniva in western Victoria to get some lunch. Kaniva is located about 25 km east of the South Australian-Victoria border and about 414 km west of the city of Melbourne.

In 1845, squatter Heighway Jones discovered the country around the current town of Kaniva. By 1846 he had sheep grazing in the area and by 1851 the Tattyara run was gazetted with the Tattyara homestead being just a few kilometres from the present town of Kaniva. Tattyara was named after the Yyatyalla aboriginal people who inhabited the area. By December 1881 the Budjik Post Office was opened, but it was renamed Kaniva in 1882. The exact meaning of the name Kaniva is unclear. The name may be aboriginal in origin. It is possible that it is derived from Kinninvia in Durham England, or from Cniva who was a third century Gothic chieftain.

Whilst in Kaniva we decided to activate the Kaniva 2 silo VK-KNV3 which can be located in Progress Street. The activation of the silo was for the Silos On The Air (SiOTA) program.

The silo is run by GrainCorp a leading Australian agribusiness which has a 100 year history. Construction of the Kaniva silo commenced in January 1939 and completed in November that year. The silo has a 100 tonne per hour receiving and out loading rate.

Construction on the Kaniva silo began in January 1939 and it was completed in November that same year. Five years earlier in 1934, the Victorian Grain Elevators Board, now known as GrainCorp was established. It was at about this time that a silo construction program commenced along the railway lines in Victoria. This was as a result of large losses of grain due to wet weather, rodents and insects, as prior to the silos, bagged wheat was stacked and stored in the railway yards waiting to be loaded onto rail wagons.

The Kaniva silo is known as a Geelong Concrete Silo. A total of 91 silos of this type of design were constructed in Victoria between 1935 and 1950. This type of silo consists of open topped bins with corrugated galvanised iron roofs. This type of silo was constructed at rail sidings on railway lines intended to serve the Geelong Terminal Elevator. The Kaniva silo had a capacity of taking 2,950 tonnes and received 4,979 tonnes of wheat in the 1939-40 harvest. The silo was in use until 2014. 

The Kaniva 2 silo features silo art which has become incredibly popular in Australia.

The design on the Kaniva 2 silo features the Australian Hobby, a raptor. The silo also has a Plains sun orchid and a salmon/pink sun orchid. The silo art design at Kaniva is a tribute to native flora and fauna found in the nearby Little Desert National Park.  

The video below shows painting of the silo in progress.

The artists for the Kaniva 2 silo were David Lee Pereira, assisted by Jason Parker. A local photographer, Cindy McDonald provided the reference images. About 400 litres of paint were used and the mural took around 200 hours to complete. The silo art at Kaniva was completed in October 2020.

We operated from the vehicle for this activation, running the Icom IC7000, 100 watts, and the Codan 9350 self tuning antenna mounted on the rear of our Toyota Hi Lux 4WD.

Together was made a total of 12 contacts. Unfortunately we only operated on the 40m band as we were pushed for time.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK7XV/p (Walls of Jerusaleum National Park VKFF-0513)
  2. VK2VH
  3. VK4AAC
  4. VK3PF

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2MET
  2. VK1AO
  3. VK2HQ/p (Bomaderry Creek Regional Park VKFF-1779)
  4. VK3PF
  5. VK2SLB
  6. VK7XV/p (Walls of Jerusaleum National Park VKFF-0513)
  7. VK2VH
  8. VK4AAC


  1. Australian Silo Art Trail, 2022, <https://www.australiansiloarttrail.com/Kaniva>, viewed 30th November 2022.
  2. GrainCorp, 2022, <https://www.graincorp.com.au/about-us/>, viewed 30th November 2022.
  3. The Silo Trail, 2022, <https://silotrail.com.au/types-of-silos/geelong-concrete-silo/>, viewed 30th November 2022
  4. Wikipedia, 2022, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaniva>, viewed 30th November 2022.

2022 VKFF Activation Weekend

What a weekend…..the 2022 VKFF Activation Weekend for the Australian chapter of the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

Marija and I activated eight (8) parks.

We made the following QSOs & Park to Park contacts:-

  • 727 QSOs
  • 321 Park to Park contacts

Nixon Skinner Conservation Park VKFF-0923

  • 94 QSOs
  • 61 Park to Park

Myponga Conservation park VKFF-0921

  • 97 QSOs
  • 58 Park to Park

Spring Mount Conservation Park VKFF-0789

  • 96 QSOs
  • 54 Park to Park

Mount Billy Conservation Park VKFF-0912

  • 68 QSOs
  • 18 Park to Park

Kyeema Conservation Park VKFF-0826

  • 130 QSOs
  • 58 Park to Park

Mount Magnificent Conservation Park VKFF-0916

  • 76 QSOs
  • 21 Park to Park

Cox Scrub Conservation Reserve VKFF-1701

  • 96 QSOs
  • 29 Park to Park

Cox Scrub Conservation Park VKFF-0824

  • 70 QSOs
  • 22 Park to Park

We will slowly start adding our logs over the coming weeks.

Thanks to everyone who called us and a big thanks to those who took the time to spot us on parksnpeaks.