Location: This confluence point is yet to be visited but the surrounds have. It is located about 1600 m south-east of the Ewan Paluma Road and 740 m north-west of the Running River. The point lies within the Charters Towers Regional Council area and the nearest settlement is Paluma, about 20 km to the east.
The Landscape: The terrain around the point appears to be steep-sided gullies of a creek that flows to the deeply entrenched Running River. Running River is a tributary of the Burdekin River. The underlying geology is tonalite of Ordovician age (490 to 434 million years). The vegetation is an open mid-height eucalypt forest. The landscape is rocky and undulating, with large granite boulders and gravel making up the stream beds.
Point information and photos: Ken Granger, Kallum Jones and Phil Nguyen
WITHIN THE DEGREE SQUARE
The Country: The country in this degree square straddles the Seaview and Paluma Ranges and can be divided into four broad landscape regions - the off-shore continental islands, the coastal plain, the ranges and the Burdekin River catchment.
Orpheus (Goolbodi) Island and Pelorus (Yanooa) Island lie at the eastern edge of the square. Orpheus Island is a narrow and long continental island and has a maximum elevation of around 100 m ASL. Pelorus Island by contrast is roughly circular and has an elevation of 250 m ASL. Both islands are composed of granite of Late Carboniferous age (325 to 298 million years). They are steep sided and have many exposed granite tors across their surfaces. Vegetation on the islands is dry woodlands of Moreton Bay Ash (Corymbia tessellaris) and wattles. Rainforest grows in gullies and sheltered bays, featuring figs and Macaranga. Grasslands also occur in small irregular bands across the islands.
The coastal plain extends the full length of the square and varies in width from less than 5 km in the south to more than 40 km in the north. Elevations range from sea level to less than 100 m ASL. The plain is composed of riverine alluvium of Quaternary age (less than 1.6 million years) deposited by the many streams that flow from the coastal ranges such as the Herbert River, Cattle Creek and Crystal Creek. Much of the native vegetation has been removed to make way for agriculture - mainly sugar cane and pasture.
Coastal plain from McClelland's Lookout at Paluma (KG, 2008)
A steep coastal escarpment forms the eastern edge of the Seaview and Paluma Ranges that run the length of the square. Elevations range up to a little over 1000 m ASL. The ranges are mostly composed of granite of Carboniferous age (354 to 298 million years). Most of the streams that flow directly to the coast are deeply entrenched until they reach the coastal plain and have many waterfalls. Wallaman Falls on Stony Creek, with a drop of 305m, is the tallest single drop waterfall in Australia. Jourama Falls on Waterview Creek is a popular walking and camping area and the much smaller falls on Little Crystal Creek near where the Paluma road crosses the creek is a popular swimming spot. Vegetation ranges from tropical rainforest on the coast-facing slopes to dry eucalypt forests on the western slopes. The headwaters of Crystal Creek have been dammed to provide water supply for the Townsville area. Kallum and Phil found that the streamnear their location held water in holed areas and the beds seemed impermeable. Shaded areas slows the evaporation.
Much of the forest on the coastal side has many species of palms and rattans as well as tall trees such as Hoop Pine (Araucaria cunninghamii). Towards the west, the rainforest gives way to drier open woodland. Stands of Poplar Gum (Eucalyptus platyphylla), bloodwoods (Corymbia spp) and Moreton Bay Ash dominate the canopy with an under storey of Cocky Apple (Planchonia careya) trees and tall grasses.
Fauna in the rainforest includes a rich bird life. Species represented include Victoria's Riflebird, Chowchilla, Macleay's Honeyeater, Noisy Pita and Spotted Catbird. Mammals include Agile Wallaby, Mahogany Glider and Sugar Glider. The Saw-shelled turtle is found in many of the creeks. This turtle is unusual in that it can absorb oxygen from the water through special membranes on its tail, thus giving rise to the popular suggestion that it breathes through its backside! In the dryer woodland birds such as laughing kookaburras, forest kingfishers and a variety of honeyeaters are often seen.
The more undulating landscapes of the Burnett catchment are predominantly composed of granite, the oldest of which is Late Silurian age (425 to 410 million years). The granite is interspersed with mudstone also of Late Silurian age, volcanic rocks of early Carboniferous age (325 to 298 million years) and gneiss of Neoproterozoic age (1000 to 545 million years). This area does have steep and rugged areas but overall its elevation ranges from 550 m to 250 m ASL. Vegetation is predominantly open eucalypt forest.
Climate: The climate within the square ranges from tropical rainforest to subtropical with a distinctly dry winter. The Bureau of Meteorology climate station at Ingham provides representative statistics for the coastal rainforest zone. There are no climate stations in the area to provide statistics for the mountains or the interior.
The highest temperature ever recorded at Ingham was 43.4°C in December 1995 while the lowest temperature was 2.2°C in July 1968. Rainfalls also vary greatly. The highest total of 3423.0 mm was recorded in 1981 and the lowest total of 1105.0 mm in1992. The climate of the ranges is cooler and wetter. Mean annual rainfall at Paluma, for example, is 2558.0 mm. The interior, however, is significantly dryer.
Cyclone tracks that passed within 200 km of the confluence point 1906-2006 (BoM web site)
Several cyclones have had a significant impact on the area prior to 1906. In March 1890, for example, a cyclone that crossed the coast at Cardwell brought strong winds that destroyed the Church of England church. Amongst the more severe impacts since 1906 was the cyclone of 1940 which a police house, a church and 2 hotels were unroofed and badly damaged. The Italian Club laws lifted and carried 90 m down the street. Nearly every building in the town was damaged. Tanks all over town were moved hundreds of metres. In March 1997 TC Justin brought torrential rain and strong winds over a wide area. A lady was killed in a landslide on the Paluma Range and the whole population of Paluma village were evacuated by helicopter until the road could be re-opened.
The Indigenous Story: The land within the degree square was the traditional country of two groups. Along the coast and on the islands the Nyawaygi were the owners, while the inland areas of the Burdekin catchment were home to the Gugu-Badhun people.
MORE INFORMATION WELCOME
European Exploration and Settlement: The First European navigator known to have sailed along the coast of this square was James Cook in HMS Endeavour in 1770. He named several features including Halifax Bay. Further surveys of the coast in this area were undertaken by Charles Jeffreys in HMS Kangaroo in 1815 and Philip Parker King in HMS Mermaid in 1819.
Herbert River Farmers League building Ingham (KG, 2008)
The first group of Italian migrants arrived in Townsville in 1891 and, after having settled in the Ingham district, most sent home for family and friends. The pattern of Italian immigration was now established and, to this day, more than half the population of Ingham is of Italian descent. By 1892 Ingham had a population of 200.
Little Crystal Creek bridge (KG, 2008)
During WW II a radar station was established near Paluma (at McClelland's Lookout) by US forces. This station detected the Japanese air raids against Townsville in July 1942 and provided the garrison there with warning of the raid. The station was taken over by the RAAF in 1943. Paluma was also used as a medical rehabilitation centre until the end of the war.
The total population of the degree square at the 2011 national Census was 12,819. This population has declined over the previous ten years, possibly due to the downturn in the sugar industries and damage to banana crops during several cyclones.
The population of Ingham was 3528 at the 2011 census. Other settlement populations were: Forest Beach 1232; Lucinda 450; and Halifax 430. The remainder are spread across smaller villages and the rural areas with the majority being on the coastal plain.
Ingham is the main service centre for the Herbert River valley and coastal plain. It has a good range of commercial and public services. Its Italian heritage is very evident from the names on local businesses to the Sicilian Monument in the main street and the elaborate tombs in the local cemetery. Sugar is the major industry. One of the interesting features at Ingham is the Tyto Wetland, an area of former cane land that has been returned to its natural form with lagoons, islands and open areas to form a bird sanctuary and breeding site for the endangered Grass Owl (Tyto longimembris).
Ingham (Google Earth image)
Halifax and Lucinda towards the coast also rely on cattle grazing and sugar. The Lucinda sugar terminal and its long jetty enables the export of raw sugar from the local area in ships of up to 40,000 tonnes.
Most of the degree square lies within the Charters Towers regional Council area with the coastal area around Ingham being in Hinchinbrook Shire and the coastal strip south from Mutarnee in Townsville City. There are four national parks in the square: Girringun National Park, Halifax Bay Wetlands National Park, Orpheus Island National Park and Paluma Range National Park. The High Range Military Training Area also occupies a significant area of the square on the western side of the Paluma Range.
Tourism is an important industry within the square. Paluma, for example, has several points of interest and is a favourite spot for the bird watching community. Balgal Beach and Lucinda are popular with 'Grey Nomad' visitors from the more temperate regions during the winter. The resort on Orpheus Island is also a popular holiday destination.
Compilers: Kallum Jones, Phil Nguyen (2014) and Ken Granger, 2009