Works Project

The Peake – fencing works

Our most recent Newsletter, July 2008, carried a report detailing the on-ground conservation works carried out by FOMS members at the Peake in the course of our June 2008 field trip, and elsewhere in this Newsletter Simon Lewis has reported on the follow up trip of August 2008 to install State Heritage Branch interpretative signage at the site.

The third and final stage of the works will be carried out shortly with the installation of fencing adjacent to the final two kilometres of the Public Access Route (PAR) to the Peake heritage site. The fencing will prevent uncontrolled vehicle access and camping along the gidgee creek line immediately east of the site. It will also eliminate damaging vehicle access to the nearby cemetery. FOMS has initiated this final stage through the co-operation of two South Australian government agencies – the Department for Environment & Heritage and the Department of Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation – and S Kidman & Co, the pastoral lessees of the Peake. The Government agencies have funded the materials for the fencing and Kidman & Co. will carry out the on-site installation. Up-dated signage provided by the Heritage Branch of DEH will also be installed.

The three stage program of works was developed by FOMS in consultation with the relevant government agencies and Kidman & Co. following the FOMS field trip of 2007. FOMS members on that trip were concerned at the increasing impact of largely uncontrolled visitation on the heritage site and adjacent Freeling Springs and in the wake of that visit FOMS took on a facilitating role to improve the situation, as well as providing voluntary labour for on-site works.

Some visitors familiar with the Peake will regret that camping will no longer be available along the gidgee creek line, but at such a remote site the fencing is the only feasible management option. Alternative camp sites can be found on several drainage lines crossing the Peake PAR and good camping is also available adjacent to the Oodnadatta track near the Peake PAR turn-off.

Signage Installed at the Peake

Colin Harris directs traffic while Jim Lomas lines up for another post-hole
Colin Harris directs traffic while Jim Lomas lines up for another post-hole
Job done. Sue Black and Colin Harris alongside one of the new signs
Job done. Sue Black and Colin Harris alongside one of the new signs

The ruins of the Peake Repeater Station and their surrounds have been a particular focus of attention for FOMS during 2008. In our July newsletter we reported on the work of FOMS members in installing bollards around the car-parking area during the trip in June. Elsewhere in this newsletter, Colin Harris reports on a FOMS initiative to erect protective fencing alongside the access track into the ruins.

In August 2008, FOMS members Sue Black, Colin Harris and Simon Lewis returned to the Peake to install signage at the ruins. The signage has been organised by the State Heritage Branch, Department for Environment and Heritage, and comprises small signs identifying each ruin (repeater station, police station etc) – consistent with similar signage installed previously at the Strangways ruins.

While the bollard-installation trip of June may be remembered by some for its crowbar blisters and sore backs, the installation of the signs was made easier through the generous assistance of S. Kidman’s then managers at the (new) Peake, Jim Lomas and Sarah Amey. Jim dug the holes with a tractor-mounted post-hole digger (following a slow trip up on the tractor from the new Peake) while Sarah proved a dab hand on the end of a shovel. Many thanks to Jim and Sarah for their welcome assistance.

The combination of the bollards, signage and soon-to-be-completed fencing comprises a significant step forward in efforts to conserve the Peake ruins, while also enhancing the experience for visitors.