AT THE POINT
Location: This confluence point is located on Ulcanbah, a family-owned cattle station located just within Charters Towers Regional Council approximately 200 km south of Charters Towers and 150 km north-north-east of Aramac. The site was located accurately with access by 4x4 vehicle and then on foot.
The Landscape: The point is located amid gullies and creeks in the drainage area of Dyllingo Creek at an elevation of about 250 m ASL. Soils are red sandy loams derived from the local geology of Triassic age (251 to 205 million years) sandstone and siltstone. Local vegetation is a mixture of low eucalypts including Coolabah, Iron Bark and various species of Box. Ground cover is a mix of native grasses and Spinifex. Both grey and red kangaroos are present and emus are plentiful. Other birds noted include corellas, galahs and bustards.
Point information and photos: Brian Mealey, June 2008.
WITHIN THE DEGREE SQUARE :
The degree square is divided between Charters Towers Regional Council (north central), Isaac Regional Council (east) and Barcaldine Regional Council (west and south). A small section of Flinders Shire is also located in the north-west corner.
The Country: Dyllingo Creek is the main drainage feature. It starts in the nearby Great Dividing Range, (highest point in the area is about 475m), and eventually runs into the Burdekin System. The Range is crossed about 25 km to the south and west of the station, and is, at this point a series of low rough ridges.
The region is part of what is called Desert Uplands, and represents remnants of ancient plateaus, and comprises plains and low ranges and escarpments. Vegetation: Low open forest, comprising some Eucalypt, along the ridges, Coolabah on the gullies and creeks, Ironbark and Box elsewhere, also Acacia, and Lancewood. The soil is mainly red sandy loam, on the flat areas, and stony/rocky in the higher parts. Grass is mostly Mitchell grass, with a lot of Buffel grass, and some Spinifex along the tablelands and ridges. Cattle grazing is the dominant industry.Lake Galilee and Lake Buchanan are major features in the area's landscape. Lake Galilee has fresh water in the north and salt water in the south and is about 30 km long. Lake Buchanan is a salt lake about 15km long.
The Climate: The climate is classified as being grassland with a winter drought. The nearest climate station is Barcaldine.
Barcaldine (site 036007) 1886-2008 (elevation 267 m ASL)
The highest temperature ever recorded in Barcaldine was 45.1° in ( November 2006) while the lowest temperature was -1.6° in (June & July 1976). Rainfalls also vary greatly. The highest total of 1191mm was recorded in 1950) and the lowest total of 146.0mm in (1946).
Cyclones trcked, BOM
Extremes of Nature: Several ex-tropical cyclones have penetrated into the area. In January 1918 the severe cyclone that crossed the case over Mackay moved through the area producing significant flooding. Widespread flooding also resulted from the movement of another unnamed cyclone in January 1939. That cyclone crossed the coast between Mackay and Rockhampton. Ex-TC Agnes in March 1956 crossed the coast at Townsville and moved over the area again with heavy rain. The most recent cyclone to penetrate to the area was TC Ivor in March 1990. On average the area experiences between 15 and 20 thunder days a year. Severe thunderstorms can bring with them intense rainfall causing local flash flooding, destructive winds (including tornadoes) and lightning that can spark bushfires if there is sufficient fuel for it to spread.The most severe climatic hazards however are drought and heatwave.
The National Earthquake Database maintained by Geoscience Australia records one event epicentre within the degree square. This was a ML 2.8 event on 19 April 1984 that was located about 60 km north-east of the confluence point. This event was too small to cause damage.
The Indigenous Story: The Iningai and Jirandali and their sub tribes Dalleburra and Mootaburra seemed to dominate the district, although there was some overlap of tribal areas. These tribes appear to have lived quite well on the game and birds, as well as fish in the rivers and creeks.(2)
Early explorers reported friendly and helpful interaction with the local people initially, but Landsborough and Walker both had to defend themselves against attack later, Walker's group killed 14 Aborigines in a series of sustained attacks. When settlers started to arrive, relations became strained as the Aborigines realised that that white settlers were intent on encroaching on their habitat. As in other places the local were dispossessed of their lands, often after acrimonious disputes, and eventually relegated to living in fringe camps on the outskirts of Aramac and Muttaburra.(3 )
European Exploration and Settlement: The area north of Aramac was criss-crossed by explorers such as Landsborough(1860), Gregory(1860),Mitchell and Kennedy(1847). Walker's expedition (1861) to search for Burke and Wills also passed through the district and noted Aramac Creek and the Thomson River. Landsborough was so impressed with the district that he lodged a claim for what became Bowen Downs, which became the forerunner of the sheep and wool industry in Central western Queensland. (1)
Buchanan, who was with Landsborough (1862), spoke of 'unwooded downs&ldots;.rich undulating ground&ldots;..slightly wooded with trees and best grasses'. This description fits country to the west of Ulcanbah.(2) There is no evidence of tree clearing in the area near the intersection, but scientists have noted some degradation from grazing and misuse of fire over many years.(4)
The total population of the degree square at the 2011 national Census was notionally less than 50, all of located on rural properties.
Infrastructure is confined to the road network, most of which is unsealed.
Compilers: Brian Mealey with additional material from Ken Granger 2008
Edited by: Hayley Freemantle
Anne Smith, "This El Dorado of Australia" JCU Dept History and Politics, 1994
(1) Chapter 1 (2) Chapter 2 pps 16-18 (3) Chapter 2 pps 21-41
(4) The Desert Uplands ,
Fact Sheet/Land series Qld Govt. Dept Of Natural Resources &Water