Thursday 14 March 2019
I had been chatting again with my friend from Maffra. It appears that he enjoyed being out in the field with me on Tuesday when I activated Glenmaggie Regional Park. We decided to do a Park activation on the Thursday, with Ross to try getting on air and at least qualifying the target Park for VKFF. Ross has chased me on many occasions, often providing valuable contacts to get me over the line when on a SOTA peak or helping towards the quota for VKFF/WWFF.
Ross arrived a little later than planned, so we headed off a little late. After adding fuel to the car, we headed to Mirboo North and on to Leongatha, where we stopped at a bakery to buy some lunch. We then travelled towards Inverloch to Leongatha South, then west towards Outttrim.
Outtrim Cemetery Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2171
The Reserve has no vehicle access, but pedestrian access is simple. There are some interpretive signs near the pedestrian access gate. Parking is limited. There is a lane beside the east end of the Reserve, with a very pot-holed entrance to the lane. There is space to park a vehicle beside the locked gate to the Reserve and it is simple to climb over the gate and set up inside the Reserve.
Note that located directly opposite the Reserve is the Koorumburra Motorcycle Club motocross track, so you may have lots of motorbike sounds as background noise for your activation. I had checked out this site earlier in the year and had decided to revisit and activate the site on a week-day, when it would be unlikely to have lots of motorbike activity.
The Reserve is just over 5 hectares in area and is divided into two sections. The Northern area is periodically slashed and has thus developed a higher percentage of wildflowers, grass-like plants and orchids. The introduced Watsonia has been a persistent invasive problem. The Southern area is more typical of the Dry Sclerophyll forest found in the foothills of the Strzelecki Range. It is more protected and has a greater diversity but less abundance of flora. It has been subject to invasion by Pittosporum undulatum, and is being monitored to maintain the integrity of the area.
“Outtrim is located in Gippsland, approximately 20 km southwest of Korumburra. The township was first surveyed in 1893, with council records in 1894 showing that three people occupied houses and four others owned shop/dwellings. Following the development of black coal mining operations, Outtrim developed rapidly, and Shire records show that by 1901 the town contained 323 houses and approximately 1,700 inhabitants. Primary School no. 3221 was opened in 1900, and by 1903, 347 students were enrolled.
In 1895 ten acres were allocated for the Outtrim Cemetery. It is believed that 220 individuals were buried in the cemetery, which fell out of use as Outtrim declined in the early 20th century. The last burial is thought to have taken place in 1946.
The township of Outtrim has now virtually disappeared from sight, and the area of the former township has been absorbed into surrounding farmlands.
History of Place
The cemetery site was approved in 1894, and ten acres of crown allotment 25X and 25V of the parish of Kongwak were allocated in 1895. The trustees were elected at a public meeting in the Outtrim hall in 1896.
The first of a total of 220 burials took place on 3 October 1897. It is thought that the last burial took place in 1946.
The site was classified as a Nature conservation reserve in 1984 and has been managed as a nature reserve since that time.”
The last burial occurred on 15 April 1946.
We had nice weather, with some clouds and low to mid 20s temperatures and a gentle breeze for most our time on site.
Ross and I moved the required equipment across the gate. I set up a 12 m squid pole using the gate post as a support. We laid out the ZS6BKW antenna running north-south, as any other orientation would require the antenna being outside the Reserve boundary or more effort to set up support for the squid pole.
I set up a folding table and the usual folding chair near the gate. I soon made some contacts with Ross on VHF and UHF, with Ross outside the Reserve. I then finished hooking up the KX2 to the battery and antenna. On switching on, the KX2, I started to move up the 40 m band towards the VKFF focus frequency of 7.144 MHz. Just prior to reaching the target frequency, I heard a CQ call on 7.140. I soon had Ade VK4SOE/p in the log. I moved up to 7.144 MHz, spotted myself and started calling, but had few responses. After a few minutes, I dropped down to 80 m and started to work a few Gippsland locals plus Geoff VK3SQ.
The sun was out from behind the clouds and was feeling very hot, so Ross and I assembled a shelter that I have which is designed to sit on the rear of a 4WD. We set it up with the “roof end” tied to the top post of the gate/fence. The shelter was not very high, but there was enough room to sit comfortably underneath.
I returned to 40 m, but on CW and spotted. I soon had four calls in the log. I then moved back to 7.144 MHz and worked 11 contacts over the next 45 minutes – it was slow work. Amongst those contacts was Tony VK3XV/5 in Peachna Conservation Park VKFF-1075.
I moved up to 20 m to find OTHR signals high in the band, so spotted on 14.244. I soon had seven calls in the log, including VK4NH and VK4TJ. I then worked John VK4TJ on CW on the same frequency.
I next checked how well the KX2 tuner would match on 30 m – okay was the result, so I spotted on 10.116 MHz CW and worked John VK4TJ again. I then moved to SSB on 10.125 MHz and again worked John and Ray VK4NH.
I moved back to 80 m SSB for several minutes of calling, but only worked Peter VK3FPSR in northern Victoria. Mike VK6MB/3 was in the Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park VKFF-0747, but we could not hear each other, which was strange. We coordinated the attempted contact via mobile phone. Conditions were odd. I decided to give up and to get Ross back on the microphone so that he could qualify. Whilst we were setting up on 40 m, we heard Mike VK6MB/3 weakly. I managed to work Mike with several overs required to complete the contact. I then moved down the band to work Adrian VK5FANA for my final contact and the next contact for Ross. Ross started calling and soon had enough contacts in the log – 10 for VKFF – including a contact with Mike VK6MB/3. We were calling from the Reserve for about 3.5 hours – slow going and hard work at times.
We packed up the station, and I finally remembered to take a snap of Ross operating before we finished packing.
We loaded the gear back into the car and headed back to Churchill before later heading to the local radio club for the weekly gathering.
Thanks to all the callers during the afternoon.