AT THE POINT
Degree confluence 19°S 145°E, Google Earth
Location: This confluence point is on the property called Greenvale Station. Getting to the site was on foot 250m from Gregory Developmental Road. The nearest populated place is the town of Greenvale which is about 2.5km to the west. The point lies within the Charters Towers regional Council area.
The Landscape: The Burdekin River is the main drainage catchment for the point. The landscape is large low stony ridges. The elevation is 466m ASL. The soil is a reddish gravely clay based soil derived from the underlying mudstone and siltstone of Ordovician origin (488 to 444 million years). Only some scattered Eucalypts and Acacias can be found at the point which is in the yard of a house. Macropods, birds and termite mounds up to 1m high can be found at this point. The land use is mainly for cattle grazing.
Point information and photos: T Hiller, N O' Connor and J & M Nowill 25/5/2010
WITHIN THE DEGREE SQUARE
The Climate: The climate of the area is classified as being grassland with a winter drought. The nearest Bureau of Meteorology climate station that falls within a similar climate zone is Mt Surprise which is about 120km to the north-west. There are closer climate stations on the coast but they are not representative.
Mount Surprise Township (030036) 1873 to 2009 (elevation 462 m ASL)
The highest temperature ever recorded in Mt Surprise was 42.2oC in November 1965 while the lowest temperature was -2.5oC in June 1963. Rainfalls also vary greatly. The highest total of 1792.7 was recorded in 1974 and the lowest total of 242.0 mm in 1902.
Extremes of Nature: Given the confluence's tropical location, its surrounding area has been subject to numerous cyclones since 1906; although no tropical cyclones have passed within 50 km of the confluence point during this time, some 40 have passed within 200 km. Cyclones with 200km can bring destructive winds and intense rainfall that can lead to flash flooding on steeper country and local inundation. There is also a heightened potential for landslides due to soils on slopes becoming saturated.
Cyclone tracks within 200 km of point 1906 to 2006 (Bureau of Meteorology web site)
The area experiences on average between 20 and 30 thunder days a year. The more severe thunderstorms can produce intense rainfall and localised flash flooding, destructive winds (including tornadoes) and lightning strikes that can spark bushfires if there is sufficient fuel to sustain spread.
Extreme heat is also a serious issue. The climate records for Mt Surprise show that on average (over 21 years of records) the area experiences 59 days a year with temperatures over 35oC and 1 day a year with temperatures over 40oC. 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.
The National Earthquake Database maintained by Geoscience Australia contains one earthquake epicentres within the square and that is a ML 3.5 event located on the eastern boundary of the square about 62km to the north-east. No damage in the area was reported.
The Indigenous Story: Most of the land within the square is the traditional country of the Gugu-Badhum people. The land in the north-west corner is the traditional country of the Agwamin people.
MORE DETAILS WELCOME
European Exploration and Settlement: The first Europeans to pass through or close to this square were with Ludwig Leichhardt in 1844-5. They were followed by Augustus Gregory in 1855-6 and the Jardine brothers (Frank and Alexander) on their epic cattle drive from Bowen to the tip of Cape York in 1864-5. They were followed by fossickers searching for gold, copper and other mineral wealth.
The first major mining operation in the area opened at Greenvale in 1972 when Queensland Nickel began developing a large nickel deposit. The mine was linked to a refinery built at Yabulu, north of Townsville, by a railway line that opened in 1974. The mine eventually closed in 1996 and the railway tracks were removed. One of the enduring landmarks from the heydays of Greenvale is the Three Rivers Hotel which was immortalised in song by Slim Dusty. The song had been written by Stan Coster who had worked as a grader driver on the railway construction project. The original ‘hotel' was actually the construction camp mess hall.
The total population of the degree square at the 2011 national Census was 288, of which 1less than 100 were resident in Greenvale. The remainder are spread across cattle stations and mining exploration camps. At the height of operations at the Greenvale mine the town had a population of around 3000.
Small-scale mining operations continue in the area and exploration of the Lucknow Ridge deposit near Greenvale has revealed promising loads of scandium oxide, an important mineral that is used in solid oxide fuel cells.
Most of the square falls within the Charters Towers Regional Council area. There are small areas of Etheridge Shire on the western side and a tiny section of Tablelands regional Council in the north. There is a minute sliver of Kinrara National Park on the northern boundary.
There are 1109km of public roads in the square including the Gregory Developmental Road and the Kennedy Developmental Road. Most other roads in the square are unsealed. There are also several private networks of roads on pastoral properties and mineral exploration areas. There is a sealed airstrip at Greenvale and several smaller airstrips on rural properties.
Greenvale (Google Earth image)
Climate information: Jo Grant
Edited by: Hayley Freemantle