Turriff Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2466

Our next intended park for the day was the Turriff Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2466.   This was to be the first time the park had been activated for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

The park is located about 390 km north-west of Melbourne.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Turriff Flora & Fauna Reserve.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

To get to the park we travelled east out of Patchewollock on the Patchewollock-Sea Lake Road.  We soon reached the little town of Speed which was named after William, Harold and Gordon Speed, who settled in the district in 1903.  Speed is the venue of the Mallee Machinery Field Days, first held in 1979. It is run over two days in August and has over 8,000 people attend.  The normal population of the town is only about 100 people.

The Turriff Flora and Fauna Reserve is about 617 acres in size and was established in 1981.  The park takes its name from the locality of Turriff which was settled in 1902.  In 1994 a meteorite with a mass of 0.28 kilograms (0.62 lb) was found in a field near Turriff.

The park is named after the nearby town of Turriff.  In 1901 the first settlers came to the Malle area where the town of Turriff was later named after Mr John Turriff, the Manager of Corrong Station.  There was no permanent water, no telephone, and roads were just sandy tracks.  In 1902-1903 the railway line was constructed through thick mallee scrub from Woomerlang to Nowingi.  The SEC power came in 1964.  In about 1912, 17,000 km of open channel was constructed by horse teams and scoops, which brought water to the are from storage in the Grampians.  This was completed in 1920.  Channels ran once a year to fill dams.

We accessed the park via Roberts Road which runs off the Sunraysia Highway.

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Above:- An aerial view of the Turriff Flora & Fauna Reserve showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

The VK6 guys were still on 7.145, so once again I called CQ on 7.140.  First in the log was Grant VK2LX, followed by Adrian VK5FANA, and then Ray VK4NH.  Once I had ten contacts in the log I swapped the mic with Marija.

DSC_6237

Marija’s first contact was with Steve VK5KSW on the Yorke Peninsula, followed by Peter VK3PF/m, and then Adrian VK5FANA.  It only took Marija about 9 minutes to get her tenth contact which was with Ian VK3VDX.

DSC_6240

I then jumped onto the mic and logged a further two stations on 40m, before moving to the 20m band.  I there logged just the one station, Adam VK2YK.  Marija and I then moved to 80m where we spoke with Liz VK2XSE/p who was activating the Jerilderie Nature Reserve VKFF-1942.  I then moved down to 3.610 and logged Rob VK2VH.

We were a bit pressed for time, so we packed up and headed off to our next park.  We had qualified another new park for VKFF.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5KSW
  2. VK3PF/m
  3. VK5FANA
  4. VK2LEE
  5. VK4NH
  6. VK4DXA
  7. ZL4TY/VK4
  8. VK2VH
  9. VK4AAC/2
  10. VK3VDX
  11. VK2LX

Marija worked the following station on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK2XSE/p (Jerilderie Nature Reserve VKFF-1942)

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2LX
  2. VK5FANA
  3. VK4NH
  4. VK4DXA
  5. ZL4TY/VK4
  6. VK2IO
  7. VK4HNS
  8. VK3PF/m
  9. VK2HGP
  10. VK5KSW
  11. VK2VH
  12. VK4AAC/2

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2YK

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK2XSE/p (Jerilderie Nature Reserve VKFF-1942)
  2. VK2VH
  3. VK4AAC/2

 

References.

Protected Planet, 2019, <https://www.protectedplanet.net/search?q=turriff>, viewed 13th November 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed,_Victoria>, viewed 13th November 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turriff,_Victoria>, viewed 13th November 2019

Yetmans Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2502

It was now Monday 11th November 2019 and our two nights at Murrayville had come to an end.  Our plan for today was to try to activate as many parks as possible and also to fit in quite a bit of sightseeing.  With respect to the parks, we intended just to qualify them for VKFF with 10 contacts, and to come back another day for the 44 QSOs required for WWFF global qualification.

We enjoy our trips to Murrayville.  It is just a little town, but we always find the locals very friendly and the accommodation at the Murrayville Caravan Park is top-notch.

Murrayville was named after John Murray (1851-1916) the Premier of Victoria from 1909-1912.

The town is a shadow of its former self.  Many of the shops in the town’s main street are closed.  In its heyday, it was largest of several settlements west of Ouyen.  In 1933 the town’s population was 603.

The Murrayville Hotel dates back to 1911.  We have always enjoyed our meals there.  The old fruit and vegetable shop which is now the Cobb & Co Cafe is also one of our regular haunts when we visit Murrayville.  At the eastern end of the town, you can view some old rusting army tanks.

Our first park of the day was the Yetmans Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2502, which is located about 440 km north-west of Melbourne.

This was to be only the second time that this park had been activated for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  It was the first time for Marija and I.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Yetmans Flora & Fauna Reserve in north-western Victoria.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

We travelled east on the Mallee Highway and then turned left onto the Hopetoun-Walpeup Road to travel south.  Along the way, I spotted a Wedge-tailed eagle in a gum tree about 300 metres off the road.  The photos below were captured as it was flying off.

The Yetmans Flora and Fauna Reserve is about 593 hectares in size and was established in 1986.  It was clear from the park sign that the authorities have not been out to this park for a long time.

We accessed the park on its northern boundary on Woollards Road.  We found a gap in the scrub with enough room to pull off the road and set up our station.

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Above:- An aerial view of the Yetmans Flora & Fauna Reserve showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

There were a couple of VK6 stations talking on 7.145 so I headed down to 7.140 and called CQ.  Brenton VK3CM came back to my call with a very big 5/9 plus signal.  This was followed by Adam VK2YK and Rod VK7FRJG.

The 40m band was in poor shape and it took me 15 minutes to get 10 contacts in the log, qualifying the park for VKFF.  I logged 11 stations before swapping the mic with Marija.

DSC_6227

Marija called CQ on 7.140 and this was answered by Alan VK3ARH, followed by Lee VK2LEE, and then Adrian VK5FANA.  It took Marija only 6 minutes to get her 10 contacts.  QSO number ten was with Rob VK4AAC/2.  Marija logged a further two stations before handing me back the mic.

I then logged a further 4 stations on 40m before heading down to the 80m band.  Unfortunately, I was only able to log the single station on 80m, that being David VK5PL.   To conclude the activation I moved up to the 20m band where I logged two stations, Lee VK2LEE and Brett VK2VW.

With the park qualified for VKFF, Marija and I packed up and once again hit the road, heading for our next park.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3ARH
  2. VK2LEE
  3. VK5FANA
  4. VK4NH
  5. VK4DXA
  6. ZL4TY/VK4
  7. VK4HNS
  8. VK2YK
  9. VK2VH
  10. Vk4AAC/2
  11. VK3PF/m
  12. VK5CZ

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. Vk3CM
  2. VK2YK
  3. Vk7FRJG
  4. VK5FANA
  5. VK3SQ
  6. VK3VEL
  7. VK2UXO
  8. VK4NH
  9. VK4DXA
  10. ZL4TY/VK4
  11. VK2IO
  12. VK5CZ
  13. VK4HNS
  14. VK2LEE
  15. VK3PF/m

I worked the following station on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5PL

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2LEE
  2. VK2VW

 

References.

Protected Planet, 2019, <https://www.protectedplanet.net/search?q=yetmans>, viewed 13th November 2019

Victorian Places, 2019, <https://www.victorianplaces.com.au/murrayville>, viewed 13th December 2019

Wyperfeld National Park VKFF-0549

Our third and final park for Sunday (10th November 2019) was the Wyperfeld National Park VKFF-0549.  This would be our second Victorian National Park for the 2019 Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award (KRMNPA) Activation Weekend.

The park is located about 450 km north-west of Melbourne and is located in the Mallee district of north-western Victoria.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Wyperfeld National Park in western Victoria.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

We stopped briefly in the town of Patchewollock which is believed to take its name from the corruption of two aboriginal words ‘putje’ meaning ‘plenty’ and ‘wallah’ meaning ‘porcupine grass’.  Thus ‘the place of plenty porcupine grass’.

The town contains some large Mallee Fowl sculptures which are made of corrugated iron.

Patchewollock is also part of the Silo Art Trail.  Brisbane artist Fintan Magee completed the work in 2016.  The work portrays an image of the archetypal Aussie farmer.

You can also view some railway buildings from a bygone era.  The line to Patchewollock was officially opened on the 4th day of May 1925.  Patchewollock Railway Station’s last wheat train departed on the 3rd day of July 1986 and the line closed on the 8th day of December 1986.

The Wyperfeld National Park is the third largest National Park in Victoria.  It is about 357,017 hectares (882,210 acres) in size.  It was declared in 1921 to protect this large piece of mallee, woodland and heathland.

The park’s name comes from the Parish of Wyperfeld.  There have been numerous attempts to discover the origin of the word ‘Wyperfeld’.  It is believed to come from the German ‘Wyper’, a tributary of the Rhine, and ‘Feld’, a field.

The park can be reached:

  • via Patchewollock off the Sunraysia Highway
  • via Hopetoun on the Henty Highway
  • via Underbook on the Mallee Highway
  • via Rainbow from the Western Highway at Dimboola.
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Above:- An aerial view of the Wyperfeld National Park looking north.  Image courtesy of Google maps

Prior to European settlement in the area, the Wotjobaluk aboriginal people regularly travelled along Outlet Creek which snakes its way through the centre of the park, visiting the lakes and swamps.  From the 1860s European settlers followed the same route to establish pastoral runs.

In 1909 a total of 3,900 hectares were reserved by the Victorian State Government following pressure from naturalists.  In 1921 Wyperfeld National Park was proclaimed.  Wyperfeld was Australia’s first Mallee National Park.

About 450 species of native plants can be found in the park.  River Red Gum and Black Box woodlands cover the floodplains of Outlet Creek and its lakes.  Pine-Buloke grows on nearby dunes.  Mallee eucalypts cover most of the eastern section of the park.

Over 200 species of bird have been recorded in the park.  Wyperfeld National Park is nationally recognised as an Important Bird Area.  This is due to the area’s threatened population of Malleefowl and other species of birds including the Mallee Emu-wren.

After leaving Patchewoolock we headed west on Baring Road and then Pine Plains Road.  We soon reached the eastern boundary of the park.

Last year we activated the park from the Casuarina campground.  This year we decided to head to the Snowdrift campground.

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Above:- The Wyperfeld National Park showing our operating spot.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

Snowdrift contains magnificent white sand dunes in a normally flat park.

Marija was keen enough to climb the sand dunes.  There are some great views to be had of the surrounding area from the top.

After setting up Marija and I tuned across the band to see if we could hear any other park activators, but sadly we did not.  In fact, the band was very quiet with very few operators.  But there was a very low down station on 7.145 so I was unable to get onto 7.144.  I found 7.141 clear and started to call CQ.  We were unable to self spot on parksnpeaks as there was absolutely no internet coverage from within the park at our location.

It took around 3 or 4 minutes of CQ calls before the first station came back to my CQ call.  It was Grant VK2LX with a big 5/9 signal.  Grant kindly spotted us on parksnpeaks which resulted in a lot more traffic.  Second in the log was Kieran VK2QK, followed by Graham VK7ZGK, and then a Park to Park with Gerard VK2IO/p who was activating the Dural Nature Reserve VKFF-1926.  Marija also logged Gerard.

I logged a total of 12 stations on 40m before swapping the mic with Marija.

DSC_6114

Marija called CQ on 7.141 and this was answered by Linda VK7QP, followed by Mark VK4SMA, and Scott VK4CZ.  Just 5 minutes later and Marija had contact number ten in the log, with a contact with Dave VK2RP.

Marija went on to work a total of 21 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK7.  This included a further Park to Park, with Peter Vk3ZPF/p who was in the Churchill National Park VKFF-0621.

DSC_6118

Although we have both previously activated and qualified Wyperfeld, it is always nice to get your 10 or 44 contacts during an activation.  Despite the band being in rather a poor shape, I was hoping to get my 44, so I hopped back into the operator’s chair.

I logged a further 33 stations including Park to Park contacts with Alan VK2MG/4 in the Samford Conservation Park VKFF-1639, Peter VK3ZPF/p in the Churchill National Park VKFF-0621, and David VK5DG/3 in the Alfred National Park VKFF-0618.  Contact number 44 was with Andrew VK7DW and came in an hour and twenty minutes into the activation.  Not bad considering the band conditions were poor.

I then moved up to the 20m band where I logged three stations, Mark VK3BSA mobile 6, Jonathan VK7JON and Murray VK4MWB.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO/p (Dural Nature Reserve VKFF-1926)
  2. VK7QP
  3. VK4SMA
  4. VK4CZ
  5. VK4NH
  6. VK4DXA
  7. ZL4TY/VK4
  8. VK3HAY
  9. VK2YK
  10. VK2RP
  11. VK2BDR
  12. VK7JON
  13. VK4MWB
  14. VK4TJ
  15. VK4/AC8WN
  16. VK4/VE6XT
  17. VK4SSN
  18. VK3ZPF/p (Churchill National Park VKFF-0621)
  19. VK2EZT
  20. VK7FOLK
  21. VK3PF/m
  22. VK5DG/3 (Alfred National Park VKFF-0618)

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2LX
  2. VK2QK
  3. VK7ZGK
  4. VK2IO/p (Dural Nature Reserve VKFF-1926)
  5. VK1AT
  6. VK3BSA/5
  7. VK4NH
  8. VK4DXA
  9. ZL4TY/VK4
  10. VK7QP
  11. VK4CZ
  12. VKSMA
  13. VK2MG/4 (Samford Conservation Park VKFF-1639)
  14. VK2PKT
  15. VK7HCK
  16. VK3MPR
  17. VK7JON
  18. VK4FARR
  19. VK5NAW
  20. VK7FJFD
  21. VK2JES
  22. VK2PGB
  23. VK3FADM/1
  24. VK3ZPF/p (Churchill National ParkVKFF-0621)
  25. VK2AD
  26. VK4GSF
  27. VK4MWB
  28. VK3ANL
  29. VK4TJ
  30. VK4/AC8WN
  31. VK4/VE6XT
  32. VK4SSN
  33. VK3BSA/6
  34. VK2LEE
  35. VK2UH
  36. VK2SK
  37. VK7ROY
  38. VK7ME
  39. VK1JH
  40. VK7VZ
  41. VK5DG/3 (Alfred National Park VKFF-0618)
  42. VK4HNS
  43. VK2PAA
  44. VK7DW
  45. VK4PDX

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK3BSA/6
  2. VK7JON
  3. VK4MWB

x

DSC_6199

x

 

References.

Parks Victoria, 2006, Wyperfeld National Park Visitor Guide

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wyperfeld_National_Park>, viewed 13th November 2019

Timberoo Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2456

Our second park for Sunday (10th November 2019) was the Timberoo Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2456.  This was to be only the second time that the park had been activated for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  It was the first time that Marija and I had activated the park.

The park is located about 24 km south-west of the town of Ouyen in north-western Victoria.

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Above:- A map showing the location of the Timberoo Flora and Fauna Reserve in north-western Victoria.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

After leaving Kattyoong Marija and I drove east on the Mallee Highway and into the little town of Walpeup.  The town’s name is derived from an aboriginal word with several meanings including ‘stumpy tailed lizard’ and the other an indigenous acacia.  There isn’t much at Walpeup these days.  However in its heyday in 1920 the town had a population of about 400 people, with a general store, a blacksmith, a butcher, a bank branch, and various other businesses.

The Timberoo Flora & Fauna Reserve is also referred to on maps as the Timberoo Nature Conservation Reserve.  It is a large piece of remnant mallee scrub which is surrounded by cleared farming land.  It is not to be confused with the much smaller Timberoo Bushland Reserve.

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Above:- An aerial view of the Timberoo Flora & Fauna Reserve looking west.  Image courtesy of Google Maps.

The reserve is 3,034 acres in size and was created in 1993.  The reserve contains Walpeup Lake which has no water in it, and due to water no longer being piped into it, will probably remain that way for some time.

We accessed the park via Walpeup Lake Road which runs off the Hopetoun-Walpeup Road.

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Above:- Map showing the Timberoo Flora & Fauna Reserve showing our operating spot.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

After setting up Marija and I had a tune across the 40m band before calling CQ, hoping to track down some other park activators.  Our first contact was with Peter VK3ZPF/p who was activating the Yarra Ranges National Park VKFF-0556.  At the end of our QSO with Les VK5KLV asked us to go up to 7.165.  We moved up the band and logged Les VK5KLV/p who was in the Franklin Harbor Marine Park VKFF-1709.

I then moved down the band to 7.144 and started calling CQ.  First in the log was Lee VK2LEE, followed by Mark VK2EMI, and then Ray VK4NH.  A handful of contacts later I had two more Park to Park contacts in the log: Gerard VK2IO/p who was in the Berowa Valley National Park VKFF-1162, and Shane VK2LUV/p who was activating the Belford National Park VKFF-0023.

DSC_6076

With 21 contacts in the log, I swapped the mic with Marija.  It didn’t take long and Marija had soon qualified the park for VKFF.  Her tenth contact was with Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula.  Marija logged 10 contacts including a Park to Park with Alan VK2MG/4 in the Samford Conservation Park VKFF-1639.

IMG_3345

Marija had now qualified the park for VKFF, so I again jumped into the operator’s chair.  I logged a further 6 stations with band conditions on 40m being very poor.  This included a Park to Park with Alan VK2MG/4 in the Samford Conservation Park VKFF-1639.

With 27 contacts in the log, I moved to the 20m band where I logged a total of 8 stations.  This included a contact with Mark VK3BSA/5 who was mobile on the Nullabor Highway.

I then moved down to the 80m band and logged 5 stations including Park to Park contacts with Peter VK3ZPF/p in the Yarra Ranges National Park VKFF-0556 and Brett VK3FLCS/p in the Terrick Terrick National Park VKFF-0630.

I then moved back to 40m and logged a further 12 stations including a Park to Park with Gerard VK2IO/p in the Dural Nature Reserve VKFF-1926.

DSC_6077.jpg

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3ZPF/p (Yarra Ranges National Park VKFF-0556)
  2. VK5KLV/p (Franklin Harbor Marine Park VKFF-1709)
  3. VK2LUV/p (Belford National Park VKFF-0023)
  4. VK7QP
  5. VK3UH
  6. VK2VW
  7. VK4AAC/2
  8. VK2MG/4 (Samford Conservation Park VKFF-1639)
  9. VK5FANA
  10. VK2IO/p (Dural Nature Reserve VKFF-1926)
  11. VK2UH

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3ZPF/p (Yarra Ranges National Park VKFF-0556)
  2. VK5KLV/p (Franklin Harbor Marine Park VKFF-1709)
  3. VK2LEE
  4. VK2EMI’
  5. VK4NH
  6. VK4DXA
  7. ZL4TY/VK4
  8. VK3DAC
  9. VK2IO/p (Berowa Valley National Park VKFF-1162)
  10. VK2LUV/p (Belford National Park VKFF-0023)
  11. VK3SQ
  12. VK7QP
  13. VK7EK
  14. VK3PF
  15. VK3UH
  16. VK3MPR
  17. VK3HAY
  18. VK4SMA
  19. VK2VH
  20. VK4AAC/2
  21. VK2HBO
  22. VK5FANA
  23. VK2HMV
  24. VK4CZ
  25. VK2AWS
  26. VK3BSA/5
  27. VK2MG/4 (Samford Conservation Park VKFF-1639)
  28. VK2VW
  29. VK7KT
  30. VK1AT
  31. VK4MWB
  32. VK7JJ
  33. VK5TR
  34. VK7FRJG
  35. VK2LX
  36. VK3AQX
  37. VK2IO/p (Dural Nature Reserve VKFF-1926)
  38. VK2UH
  39. VK7JON

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK3BSA/5
  2. VK4CZ
  3. VK4TJ
  4. VK4/AC8WN
  5. VK4/VE6XT
  6. VK4SSN
  7. VK4SMA
  8. VK4MWB

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3ZPF/p (Yarra Ranges National Park VKFF-0556)
  2. VK7QP
  3. VK3FLCS/p (Terrick Terrick National Park VKFF-0630)
  4. VK3SQ
  5. VK5DW

 

 

References.

Victorian Places, 2019, <https://www.victorianplaces.com.au/walpeup>, viewed 13th November 2019

Kattyoong Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2346

It was now day two (Sunday 10th November 2019) of our trip to Victoria for the 2019 KRMNPA Activation Weekend.  Our plan was to activate two Flora & Fauna Reserves for WWFF, and then activate the Wyperfeld National Park for the KRMNPA weekend.

Our first park for the day was the Kattyoong Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2346.  The park is located about 13 km north of the little town of Torrita on the Mallee Highway in north-western Victoria.

This was the first time that the park had been activated.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Kattyoong Flora and Fauna Reserve in north-western Victoria.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

After leaving the cabin at the caravan park we headed to the Cobb & Co Cafe in Murrayville for some breakfast.  Whenever we are in the area we always stop here.  It is good food and good coffee.  The owner is friendly and coincidentally his two sons live in our home town of Mount Barker.

IMG_3343

Above:- Marija enjoying some breakfast at the Cobb and Co Cafe at Murrayville.

We left Murrayville after breakfast and headed east on the Mallee Highway.  Our first stop was the little town of Cowangie.  If you are travelling along the Mallee Highway, take the time to detour into this little town.  Cowangie is the birthplace of motorsport legend Larry Perkins.  He is a former racing driver and V8 Supercar team owner.

DSC_6013

The Cowangie Post Office opened in July 1912 and was originally known as Kow Plains until 1913.  The Post Office closed in 1994, and not much else remains in Cowangie from its heyday.  The nearby Kopw Plains homestead is well worth a visit.  However, we did not do that on this trip as we have visited there previously.

DSC_6019

Above:- an old shop in the main street of Cowangie.

One of the buildings worthwhile having a look at whilst in Cowangie is the old Bush Nursing cottage.  At a meeting of the Cowangie Bush Nursing Centre in August 1917, it was moved that a two-roomed stone cottage be erected so the nurse could live in more comfort and afford privacy to patients.  The cottage was completed in 1918.  The Cowangie Bush Nurse Centre ceased operation in 1924.

Another interesting place is the Cowangie Bakery which opened in 1912.  The bakery closed in 1952 and in 2001 was restored.

We left Cowangie and continued east on the Mallee Highway, stopping briefly to have a look at the lone grave for a railway worker.  The grave which is located in the middle of nowhere is marked on the Mallee Highway.

The highway was quite busy with trucks as this is the main highway between Adelaide and Sydney.

DSC_6022

We then stopped briefly at the small town of Underbool.  The town name is thought to come from the German word underbolt given to it by surveyor Dr Neumayer when he camped there in October 1861.  A post office opened on 15 July 1912 when a regular mail service was provided by the opening of the railway from Ouyen to Murrayville a month earlier.  In 1913 a school and public hall were built, while in 1917 a Bush Nursing Centre was established.  By 1918 there were numerous stores and business in Underbool.

DSC_6023

The Underbool Hotel was built in 1925 and boasted a large formal dining room, public bar, pool room and accommodation.  Sadly it closed in December 2016.

DSC_6028

Above:- The old Undeerbool Hotel.

There are a few things of interest in the town.  One of those being an old mallee scrub roller which was made from a large steam engine boiler with a heavy timber framework attached.  It was used to clear the mallee scrub and was adapted to be used behind a crawler tractor.  It was in use until the early 1960s.

The Pioneer and Early Settler Memorial is in honour of the pioneers of the district.  There is also a replica of the train used by Sailor Salt Co. to transport salt from Lake Becking to the Linga Railway Station in the 1920s.

You can also view Underbool’s police cells that were decommissioned in 2002.

We continued on to the little town of Torrita (don’t blink, you will miss it) and then turned left onto Stones Road and then right onto Cheesmans Road and then left onto Cooke Road.  The park is located at the corner of Cooke Road and Joyce Road.  It is not be confused with the Kattyoong Bushland Reserve which is located nearby.

Screen Shot 2019-11-12 at 6.57.57 pm.png

Above:- An aerial view of Kattyoong Flora & Fauna Reserve, with the Kattyoong Bushland Reserve close by.  Image courtesy of Google maps

The Kattyoong Flora and Fauna Reserve is 39 acres in size and was established in 1990.  It comprises typing mallee scrub.

During our visit to the park, we observed numerous Rainbow Bee Eaters.  They are  a strikingly brilliant bird.  Rainbow bee-eaters mostly eat flying insects, but, as their name implies, they have a real taste for bees.

DSC_6054

Marija and I could not find a suitable access point into the park on Cooke Road.  We did, however, find a 4WD track leading into the park on Joyce Road.  There was plenty of room to string out the 20/40/80m dipole antenna.

Screen Shot 2019-11-12 at 6.59.50 pm.png

Above:- An aerial view of the Kattyoong Flora & Fauna Reserve showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

As this was a Sunday morning, the broadcasts for the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) were in full swing, so I was not able to get onto 7.144.  I found 7.120 clear and started calling CQ.   Ken VK3ALA was first in the log, followed by Tony VK5TT with an exceptionally strong signal, and then Mark VK3PI.

My fourth contact was a Park to Park contact with Peter VK3ZPF/p who was in the Dandenong Ranges National Park VKFF-0132.  Scott VK4CZ became my 10th contact, thus qualifying the park for me for VKFF.   I then logged David VK5DG/3 who was in the Coopcrambra National Park VKFF-0113.

Sadly I started to experience QRM from a VK4 station who came up on frequency, unannounced, and started calling CQ DX.  Despite being told by numerous stations that the frequency was in use, he continued to call CQ DX.  I apologise to anyone who was calling who I missed, as the interference was strong.

I persevered and eventually, he got the message and moved off frequency.  I logged a total of 30 stations including three further Park to Park contacts with Peter VK3PF in the Chiltern Mount Pilot National Park VKFF-0620, and Joe VK3YSP/p & Julie VK3FOWL/p in the Brisbane Ranges National Park VKFF-0055.

I then swapped the mic with Marija.

DSC_6036

Marija’s first contacts were with Joe VK3YSP/p and Julie VK3FOWL/p who were in the Brisbane Ranges National Park VKFF-0055.  John VK7FJFD followed, then Ray VK4NH, and then Linda VK7QP.  Marija’s 10th contact was a Park to Park with Gerard VK2IO/p who was activating the Berowra Valley National Park VKFF-1162.  This was followed by another Park to Park with Tony VK3XV/p who was in the Terrick Terrick National Park VKFF-0630.

Marija logged a total of 26 contacts including two further Park to Park QSOs with Peter VK3PF/p in the Chiltern Mount Pilot National Park VKFF-0620, and David VK5DG/3 in the Coopracamba National Park VKFF-0113.

IMG_3344

I then called CQ once again on 7.120 and logged a further 23 stations including Park to Park contacts with Peter VK3PF/p in the Chiltern Mount Pilot National Park VKFF-0620 (a new contact on a new UTC day), and Gerard VK2IO/p in the Berowra Valley National Park VKFF-1162.

With 53 contacts in the log, I moved to the 20m band and called CQ on 14.310.  I logged a total of 9 stations, all bar one from Queensland.  Brett VK2VW was the exception.

Marija then called CQ on 3.610 for about 5 minutes, but there were no takers.

We packed up and headed off to our next park, the Timberoo Flora and Fauna Reserve.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3FOWL/p (Brisbane Ranges National Park VKFF-0055)
  2. VK3YSP/p (Brisbane Ranges National Park VKFF-0055)
  3. VK7FJFD
  4. VK4NH
  5. VK4DXA
  6. ZL4TY/VK4
  7. VK7QP
  8. VK2PKT
  9. VK5FANA
  10. VK2IO/p (Berowra Valley National Park VKFF-1162)
  11. VK3XV/p (Terrick Terrick National Park VKFF-0630)
  12. VK2VW
  13. VK4TJ
  14. VK4/AC8WN
  15. VK4/VE6XT
  16. VK4SSN
  17. VK4HNS
  18. VK3PF/p (Chiltern Mount Pilot National Park VKFF-0620)
  19. VK4CZ
  20. VK5DG/3 (Coopracamba National Park VKFF-0113)
  21. VK3AN
  22. VK2LEE
  23. VK3AQZ
  24. VK2HHA
  25. VK4SYD
  26. VK3VLY

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3ALA
  2. VK5TT
  3. VK3PI
  4. VK1DI
  5. VK3ZPF/p (Dandenong Ranges National Park VKFF-0132)
  6. VK1BUB
  7. VK2VH
  8. VK4AAC/2
  9. VK7DW
  10. VK4CZ
  11. VK5DG/3 (Coopracamba National Park VKFF-0113)
  12. VK5FANA
  13. VK3MPR
  14. VK3DAC
  15. VK3BSN/5
  16. VK3PF/p (Chiltern Mount Pilot National Park VKFF-0620)
  17. VK2HQ
  18. VK2HBG
  19. VK4NH
  20. VK4DXA
  21. ZL4TY/VK4
  22. VK2XXM
  23. VK3SQ
  24. VK2PKT
  25. VK2MGM
  26. VK4SMA
  27. VK3MAB
  28. VK2LX
  29. VK3YSP/p (Brisbane Ranges National Park VKFF-0055)
  30. VK3FOWL/p (Brisbane Ranges National Park VKFF-0055)
  31. VK2EXA
  32. VK4TJ
  33. VK4/AC8WN
  34. VK4/VE6XT
  35. VK4SSN
  36. VK3AQZ
  37. VK2YW
  38. VK3DBP
  39. VK3ZL/m
  40. VK2LEE
  41. VK7QP
  42. VK2HHA
  43. VK3VIN
  44. VK3AHR
  45. VK3UH
  46. VK4HNS
  47. VK3ANL
  48. VK1MIC
  49. VK5NJ
  50. VK3PF/p (Chiltern Mount Pilot National Park VKFF-0620)
  51. VK3AN
  52. VK2IO/p(Berowra Valley National Park VKFF-1162)
  53. VK3MDH

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2VW
  2. VK4NH
  3. VK4DXA
  4. ZL4TY/VK4
  5. VK4TJ
  6. VK4/AC8WN
  7. VK4/VE6XT
  8. VK4SSN
  9. VK4CZ

 

 

References.

Protected Planet, 2019, <https://www.protectedplanet.net/kattyoong-f-r-nature-conservation-reserve>, viewed 12th November 2019

Victorian Places, 2019, <https://www.victorianplaces.com.au/underbool>, viewed 12th November 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Perkins>, viewed 12th November 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cowangie>, viewed 12th November 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underbool>, viewed 12th November 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow_bee-eater>, viewed 12th November 2019

Murray Sunset National Park VKFF-0373

Our third and final park for Saturday (9th November 2019) was the Murray Sunset National Park VKFF-0373.  This was to be our first park for the 2019 Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award weekend.

The Murray Sunset National Park is located about 500 km north-west of Melbourne.

Screen Shot 2019-11-12 at 3.45.06 pm.png

Above:- Map showing the location of the Murray Sunset National Park in north-western Victoria.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

After leaving Gnarr Flora & Fauna Reserve we drove back into the town of Underbool and headed west on the Mallee Highway until we reached Linga where we took Pink Lakes Road.  We headed north and about 18 km up the road we reached the park.  Pink Lakes Road is dirt but it is suitable for a 2WD vehicle.

On our way to the park, we logged Nik VK3ZK/p and Peter VK3PF/p from our mobile.  Nik was activating the Dandenong Ranges National Park VKFF-0132, while Peter was activating the Mitta Mitta Regional Park VKFF-0974.

DSC_5977

We drove into the park and travelled along Pink Lakes Road passing Lake Hardy.  The lake is made of solid salt and due to the presence of red algae called Dunaliella saline, the lake often gives off a brilliant rosy-pink colour.

DSC_5978

The Murray Sunset National Park is the second-largest National Park in the State of Victoria.  The park is about 633,000-hectare (1,560,000-acre) in size and was proclaimed on the 26th day of April 1979.  The park is located in the north-western corner of Victoria and borders South Australia to the west and the Murray River to the north.  The Sturt Highway passes through the northern section of the park.  The majority of the park is in a remote area between the Sturt Highway and the Mallee Highway, west of the Calder Highway.

Screen Shot 2019-11-12 at 3.37.06 pm.png

Above:- Map of the Murray Sunset National Park.  Map courtesy of Parks Victoria.

The majority of the park lies within the Murray-Sunset, Hattah and Annuello Important Bird Area (IBA), which was identified by BirdLife International due to it containing mallee habitat supporting a number of threatened mallee bird species, including the Mallee-fowl, Black-eared Miner and Mallee Emu-wren.  Over 600 species of plants have been recorded in the park, and 300 species of birds.

We travelled the short distance to the main campground at Lake Crosbie.

Screen Shot 2019-11-12 at 3.37.28 pm.png

Above:- A map of the Pink Lakes area of the park showing our operating spot.  Map courtesy of Parks Victoria.

Although there were a number of caravaners and campers there, our favourite shelter shed was free and was the ideal spot to operate from.  It was a very warm afternoon, so the shelter provided some valuable relief from the afternoon sun.

At the campground, you can find the Kline-loop nature walk which is 4.8 lm in length (takes about 2 hours).  The walk is named after Jim Kline who was a worker who lived and worked in the area during the 1930s and 1940s.  The walk follows the shore of Lake Crosbie and across pine-woodland rises to the picturesque Lake Kenyon.

Prior to calling CQ we tuned across the 40m to see if we could find some other park activators.  We found Nik VK3ZK/p on 7.139 calling CQ from the Dandenong Ranges National Park VKFF-0132.  Unfortunately, he was the only park activator we were able to hear, so I headed up to 7.150 and started calling CQ.

First in the log was Keith VK3MKE, followed by David VK5DWC, and then Linda VK7QP.  The 40m band was in very good condition and it didn’t take long for a mini pile up to commence.  I logged a total of 31 stations in a very short space of time, including the two further Park to Park contacts with Peter VK3PF/p in the Mitta Mitta Regional Park VKFF-0974, and Gerard VK2IO/p in the Cattai National Park VKFF-0092.

As I had qualified the park now for VKFF, I took the opportunity of telling all stations to stand by and swapped the mic with Marija.

DSC_5980

Marija’s first contact was with Peter VK3PF/p in the Mitta Mitta Regional Park VKFF-0974, followed by Mike VK5FMWW, Scott VK4CZ, and then Paul VK3DBP.  It didn’t take long before Marija had ten contacts in the log and the park qualified for VKFF.  Contact number ten was with Greg VK2EXA.

Marija logged a total of 22 stations before handing me back the mic.

DSC_5982

I again called CQ on 7.150 and logged a further 10n stations before callers dried up.  I now had 42 contacts in the log and was just 2 short of the 44 required to qualify the park for the global WWFF program.  I headed over to the 20m band where I logged 3 stations: Scott VK4CZ, Mark VK4SMA, and Murray VK4MWB.

DSC_5981.jpg

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF/p (Mitta Mitta Regional Park VKFF-0974)
  2. VK5FMWW
  3. VK4CZ
  4. VK3DBP
  5. VK2PKT
  6. VK5BW
  7. VK5kLD
  8. VK3MPR
  9. VK5BJE
  10. VK2EXA
  11. VK5ZZ
  12. VK4GSF
  13. VK5FANA
  14. VK5VBR
  15. VK3FCMC
  16. VK4NH
  17. VK4DXA
  18. ZL4TY/VK4
  19. VK7FJFD
  20. VK3PF/m
  21. VK2HPN
  22. VK2YK

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3ZK/p (Dandenong Ranges National Park VKFF-0132)
  2. VK3MKE
  3. VK5DWC
  4. VK7QP
  5. VK3SQ
  6. VK5FANA
  7. VK5TT
  8. VK3PF/p (Mitta Mitta Regional Park VKFF-0974)
  9. VK2IO/p (Cattai National Park VKFF-0092)
  10. VK3DAC
  11. VK3MPR
  12. VK2PKT
  13. VK2HPN
  14. VK5FMWW
  15. VK5BW
  16. VK7KT
  17. VK5KLV
  18. VK4SMA
  19. VK4MWB
  20. VK4NH
  21. VK4DXA
  22. ZL4TY/VK4
  23. VK5FSPJ/m
  24. VK7JON
  25. VK7FRJG
  26. VK4CZ
  27. VK2LX
  28. VK5KLD
  29. VK2HDX
  30. VK2VW
  31. VK1ACE
  32. VK2YK
  33. VK5GA/2
  34. VK6GA/2
  35. VK2LEE
  36. VK7FOLK
  37. VK7FJFD
  38. VK3PF/m
  39. VK3KAI/m
  40. VK3BSA/m
  41. VK2JDS/m
  42. VK4GSF

I worked the following station on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4CZ
  2. VK4SMA
  3. VK4MWB

After packing up Marija and I decided to have a drive along Pioneer Drive.  We have done this before, but it is a very nice drive through the park.

We stopped briefly to have a look at the outdoor salt museum on the eastern side of Lake Crosbie.   There was once a thriving commercial salt industry here, which commenced in 1916 and concluded in 1979 when the area was declared as a State Park.

Lake Crosbie is the largest of four large salt lakes in the Pink Lakes area of the Murray Sunset National Park.

DSC_6002

Above:- Lake Crosbie

We then stopped at Lake Kenyon which was named after A.S. Kenyon who was appointed engineer-in-charge of improvements to the northern Mallee.

A little further along the drive are a number of interpretive signs which detail the history of salt mining within the park.  During the 1920s and 1930s there was a small township at this location for the salt workers and their families.  This included houses, a school, and Otto the cook’s underground house.  Seasonal workers and local farmers also came on foot or by bicycle, horse, or car to work on salt harvesting.  Camels carried sale to the railway at Underbool and Linga.  A short-lived tramway was constructed but later abandoned and replaced by trucks.  Salt was shovelled into bags weighing up to 180 pounds (abt 60 kg) and loaded onto trucks by hand.  Very little remains today.

We then drove back to Murrayville and went out for tea at the local pub.  We then headed back to the caravan park where Marija had an early night.  I stayed up and watched Die Hard for about the 20th time before heading off to bed.

 

 

References.

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murray-Sunset_National_Park>, viewed 12th November 2019

Gnarr Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2324

Our second park for Saturday (9th November 2019) was the Gnarr Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2324.  The park is located about 8 km north of the town of Underbool in north-western Victoria.

This would be a first-time activation of this park for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

Screen Shot 2019-11-12 at 2.04.04 pm.png

Above:- Map showing the location of the Gnarr Flora & Fauna Reserve in western Victoria.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

To access the park we travelled north out of Underbool on Mamengorook Road.  We then turned right onto Rowan Road and then turned left onto an un-named road which headed north to the park.  The road travels through farming properties until you reach the south-eastern corner of the park.

DSC_5974

Above:- the track which follows the eastern boundary of the park.

The Gnarr Flora and Fauna Reserve is shown on some maps as the Gnarr Nature Conservation Reserve.  It is a piece of remnant mallee scrub which is surrounded by cleared farming land.

Screen Shot 2019-11-12 at 2.08.14 pm.png

Above:- An aerial shot of the Gnarr Flora & Fauna Reserve showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Google maps

The park is located just to the south of the very large Murray Mallee National Park.

Screen Shot 2019-11-12 at 2.13.17 pm

Above:- Aerial shot of the Gnarr Flora & Fauna Reserve, looking north.  The very large Murray Sunset National Park is also visible.  Image courtesy of Google maps

The park was established in 1990 and is 301 acres in size.

After setting up I commenced calling CQ on 7.144.  First in the log was Liz VK2XSE, followed by Geoff VK3SQ, and then Mark VK3PI.  This was followed by Peter VK3ZPF/p who was activating the Morwell National Park VKFF-0626.  This was followed by another Park to Park with Rob VK4AAC/3 who was in the Warby Ovens National Park VKFF-0742.

I worked a total of 17 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5 and VK7.  This included a further Park to Park contact with Peter VK3TKK/p who was activating the Organ Pipes National Park VKFF-0627.

DSC_5965

I had qualified the park for VKFF so it was time to swap operating spots with Marija.  Marija commenced calling CQ on 7.144. First in the log was Peter VK3TKK/p in the Organ Pipes National Park VKFF-0627.  This was followed by Dennis VK2HHA and then David VK5DG/3 who was in the Lind National Park VKFF-0287.  A few contacts later Marija spoke with Peter VK3PF/p who was activating SOTA peak VK3/ VE-138 in the Mitta Mitta Flora Reserve VKFF-2400.

Marija logged a total of 18 stations on 40m from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7.

IMG_3342

I then took charge of the mic again in the hope that I could get to my 44 QSOs, required to qualify the park for the global WWFF program.  I logged a further 24 stations including the following Park to Park QSOs:-

  • Nik VK3ZK – Dandenong National Park VKFF-0132
  • Gerard VK2IO/p – Cattai National Park VKFF-0092
  • David VK5DG/3 – Lind National Park VKFF-0287
  • Peter VK3PF/p – Mitta Mitta Flora Reserve VKFF-2400)

I was now just 2 QSOs short of 44, but callers had dried up on 40m, so I headed to the 20m band.

First in the log was Gerard VK2IO/p who was activating the Cattai National Park VKFF-0092.  I then moved up to 14.315 and started calling CQ.  Scott VK4CZ came back to my call with a strong 5/9 signal, followed by Ray VK4NH and then Paul VK2PAA.  I had now qualified the park for WWFF.

I logged a total of 12 stations on 20m from VK2, VK4, VK5 and New Zealand.  To conclude the activation I moved to the 80m band and called CQ on 3.610.  Adrian VK5FANA was first in the log on that band, followed by Peter VK3TKK/p in the Organ Pipes National Park VKFF-0627, followed by John VK5BJE, and finally Geoff VK3SQ.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3TKK/p (Organ Pipes National Park VKFF-0627)
  2. VK2HHA
  3. VK5DG/3 (Lind National Park VKFF-0287)
  4. VK2PKT
  5. VK5FANA
  6. VK7QP
  7. VK3PF/p (SOTA VK3/ VE-138 & Mitta Mitta Flora Reserve VKFF-2400)
  8. VK3UCD
  9. VK5BJE
  10. VK1DI
  11. VK4NH
  12. VK4DXA
  13. ZL4TY/VK4
  14. VK5QD
  15. VK5FSAM
  16. VK5PL
  17. VK4SYD
  18. VK3VIN

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2XSE
  2. VK3SQ
  3. VK3PI
  4. VK3ZPF/p (Morwell National Park VKFF-0626)
  5. VK4AAC/3 (Warby Ovens National Park VKFF-0742)
  6. VK2VH/3 (Warby Ovens National Park VKFF-0742)
  7. VK5FANA
  8. VK4NH
  9. VK4DXA
  10. ZL4TY/VK4
  11. VK4HNS
  12. VK3UCD
  13. VK3MCK
  14. VK3MPR
  15. VK7JON
  16. VK2VW
  17. VK3TKK/p (Organ Pipes National Park VKFF-0627)
  18. VK3VIN
  19. VK3BSA/m
  20. VK3ZK/p (Dandenong National Park VKFF-0132)
  21. VK5KLV
  22. VK3UH
  23. VK3HK
  24. VK7QP
  25. VK2IO/p (Cattai National Park VKFF-0092)
  26. VK2MOP
  27. VK7FRJG
  28. VK4CZ
  29. VK5DG/3 (Lind National Park VKFF-0287)
  30. VK5HS
  31. VK2LEE
  32. VK3FGFG
  33. VK3BCM
  34. VK3PF/p (SOTA VK3/ VE-138 & Mitta Mitta Flora Reserve VKFF-2400)
  35. VK2EXA
  36. VK2PKT
  37. VK5HDW
  38. VK3KRH
  39. VK7LTD
  40. VK5KLD
  41. VK3ARH

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO/p (Cattai National Park VKFF-0092)
  2. VK4CZ
  3. VK4NH
  4. VK4DXA
  5. ZL4TY/VK4
  6. VK2PAA
  7. VK2LEE
  8. VK4HNS
  9. VK5KLV
  10. ZL1TM
  11. VK4SMA
  12. VK4PHD

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA
  2. VK3TKK/p (Organ Pipes National Park VKFF-0627)
  3. VK5BJE
  4. VK3SQ

 

References.

Protected Planet, 2019, <https://www.protectedplanet.net/gnarr-f-r-nature-conservation-reserve>, viewed 12th November 2019