19°S 138°E Old Herbert Vale – Queensland by Degrees

AT THE POINT

Degree Confluence 19°S 138°E (Google Earth image)
Border track and vermin proof fence shown running north-south several hundred metres west of confluence

Looking NorthLooking East
 
Looking SouthLooking West

Location: Degree Confluence 19°S 138°E is located on the Barkly Tableland. The confluence is approximately 300m east of the Qld-NT border, which is marked by a fence. The degree square receives its name from the property, 'Old Herbert Vale', which is only 7 km north-east of the confluence point. The closest settlement, however, is the town of Camooweal, approximately 100 km SSE of the confluence. Access is via a dirt road that follows the border fence to within 300 m of the confluence. An RGSQ expedition visited the site in May 2008, travelling in 4WD vehicles.

The closest boundary of the huge Lawn Hill National Park is located about 20 km north-east of the confluence; the park also extends into the degree squares to the north and the east (18°S 138°E and 19°S 139°E respectively).

Landscape: The view from the confluence shows a gently undulating surface with an elevation of approximately 250m. The ground surface is largely covered with tussocks of grass, stones and rocks, and some bare soil. Eucalypts (height up to about 8m) grow in the vicnity.

A tributary of George Creek begins near the confluence, before joining with the Gregory River approximately 20 km to the south-east. The Gregory River finally merges with the Nicholson River near Burketown, in Gulf Country. The divide between the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Eyre Basin runs through the southern part of the degree square.

Surface rocks are range from light to dark brown in colour. The geology of the area is given as Late Tertiary-Quaternary black and clayey soil overlying Middle Cambrian Camooweal Dolomite.

Point Photos By: Paul Feeney, Mary Comer

IN THE SQUARE

Climate: The closest representative weather station is at Camooweal Township. It has an elevation of 231 m, and has been recording data since 1891.

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Year

Mean max
(ºC)

37.3

36.2

35.3

33.0

28.9

25.9

25.8

28.3

32.3

35.8

37.5

38.1

32.9

Mean min
(ºC)

24.3

23.7

21.8

18.0

13.4

9.9

8.8

10.9

15.1

19.5

22.3

23.8

17.6

Mean rain
(mm)

99.0

32.4

54.7

14.3

11.1

10.0

5.5

2.9

6.0

14.2

28.8

59.3

398.4

The highest temperature recorded was 46.6°C in December 1990, and the lowest -2.2°C in June 1971. The greatest rainfall recorded in a year was 1003.3 mm in 1974, and the lowest was 100.4 mm in 2001. These and other climate statistics for Camooweal can be found at: Australian Bureau of Meteorology, http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_037010_All.shtml.

Extremes of Nature: The area is subject to some cyclone impact. The database maintained by the Bureau of Meteorology shows that since 1906, 19 cyclones have passed within 200 km of the degree confluence, however only one of these came within 50 km (an unnamed TC in 1953). Even distant cyclones bring with them potentially destructive winds and intense rainfall. Cyclone information for this area and all of Australia can be found at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website, http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/silo/cyclones.cgi.

Cyclone tracks within 200 km of point 1906 to 2006 (Bureau of Meteorology web site)

Extreme heat is also a danger. Records show that the Camooweal Station experiences 155 days annually with temperatures 35°C or warmer, 36 days of which can even reach over 40°C. Such extreme temperatures can cause heat stroke and death if appropriate measures are not taken such as avoiding strenuous physical effort, keeping as cool as possible and drinking lots of water. Heat waves kill more people in Australia than all other natural hazards combined.

Today: There are fewer than five people thought to be living in this degree square.

 

Edited by:  Hayley Freemantle

Point Information By: Jo Grant, and Ken Granger

REFERENCES

Geoscience Australia, NATMAP Raster

Geoscience Australia, Scanned 250 K Geology Maps