AT THE POINT
Location: This confluence point is 3.4KM south-east of Escape Creek, 83km north-north-west of Richmond. Escape Creek is a tributary of the Flinders River which flows to the Gulf of Carpentaria. The point lies within Richmond Shire. The point is yet to be visited.
The Landscape: Low open flood plain. The geology at the point is sand and gravel regolith of Quaternary age (less than 1.6 million years). The vegetation is grassland.
Point information and photos:Bruce Urquhart, 2011
WITHIN THE DEGREE SQUARE
The Country: The landscape within the square is dominated by the eroded western escarpment of the Gregory Range and the streams that flow to the Flinders River. The Gregory Range is a plateau of Jurassic age (200 to 146 million years) sandstone that has been eroded by the streams that flow to the Gulf of Carpentaria. The maximum elevation in the square is around 700m ASL in the north-east corner while the lowest elevation is around 150m ASL in the south-west corner.
Away from the Gregory Range the square is composed by a mixture of sandstone, siltstone, alluvial regolith and sand plain of much more recent origin, ranging from Barremian (around 115 million years) and Albian (100 million years) to Pleistocene (2.6 million years) and Quaternary (less than 1.6 million years) age. The floodplains of the various streams are of recent alluvium.
Vegetation across the square is mostly grassland with narrow stands of riparian forest or woodland along the drainage channels. The higher country of the Gregory Range has a cover of mid-height eucalypt woodland.
The Climate: The climate of the square is classified as being grassland with a winter drought in the west and subtropical with a winter drought in the east. The nearest Bureau of Meteorology climate station with relevant data is Richmond Post Office which is 83km to the south-east.
Richmond Post office (030045) 1889-2010 (elevation 211m ASL)
The highest temperature ever recorded at Richmond Post Office was 46.0oC in January 1973 while the lowest temperature was -2.5oC in July 1925. Rainfalls also vary greatly. The highest total of 664.2mm was recorded in 1974 and the lowest total of 63.0mm in 1890.
Extremes of Nature: The area is prone to the impact of tropical cyclones. The national cyclone database maintained by the Bureau of Meteorology shows that 21 cyclones have come within 200km of the confluence point. Of these only one storm, TC Agnes in February 1956 came within 50km of the point. Even distant cyclones can produce destructive winds and bring torrential rains that can cause flooding and the isolation of properties for extended periods.
Cyclone tracks within 200 km of point 1906 to 2006 (Bureau of Meteorology web site)
The area experiences between 25 and 35 thunder days each year. Severe thunderstorms can bring with them destructive winds, intense rainfall that can produce flash flooding, hail and lightning. Lightning can spark bushfires that can spread if fuel conditions are suitable.
Extreme heat is also a danger. Records show that the Richmond experiences an average (over 117 years) of 142 days annually with temperatures 35°C or warmer and 27 days of which can 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.
The National Earthquake Database maintained by Geoscience Australia contains details of no earthquake epicentres within the degree square.
The Indigenous Story: Most of the land within the degree square is the traditional country of the Mbara people.
MORE INFORMATION WELCOME
European Exploration and Settlement: The first European to travel through or close to this area was William Landsborough in 1861-62during the search for Burke and Wills. His reports of good pastural land led to the opening up of the area by pastoralists by 1863.
The total population of the degree square at the 2011 national Census was less than 50 though this apparent decline is probably due to changes in the census collection boundaries.
The land use of the area is dominated by the pastoral industry which is supported by a network of 1107km of public roads and an extensive network of private station roads and tracks. Most stations have their own airstrips.
The square falls mostly within Richmond Sire. A small section of McKinlay Shire is in the north-west corner and a slightly larger section of Croydon Shire is on the northern edge. There are no national parks within the square.
Compiler: Ken Granger 2010
Edited by: Hayley Freemantle
References: various web sites including local governments and Bureau of Meteorology.
EPA 2001: Heritage trails of the Queensland outback, Queensland Environmental Protection Agency, Brisbane.