AT THE POINT
Location: This confluence point is close to the head of Horse Creek on the south-western slopes of the Pine Mountains and 4 km east of the Marlborough - Sarina Road. It lies within the Isaac Regional Council area. The nearest settlement to the point is Ilbilbie which is 49 km to the north-east. The site has not yet been visited on the ground.
The Landscape: The country around the point appears to be hilly with steeper slopes into the drainage gullies. Elevation at the point is around 250 m ASL. The geology at the point is of volcanic origin being trachyandesite of late Carboniferous age (325 to 298 million years). Vegetation appears to be pasture and land use is probably cattle grazing. Horse Creek flows to Funnel Creek which is a tributary of the Isaac River - part of the Fitzroy catchment.
Point information and photos: Ken Granger and Google Earth, 2009
IN THE DEGREE SQUARE
The Country: The land within the degree square falls into three main landscape forms: the narrow coastal plain; the broken country of the Connors and Broadsound Ranges and their numerous constituent ranges; and the floodplains of the Isaac River and its tributaries such as Funnel Creek. The coastal plain is generally less than 6 or 7 km wide and has an elevation of less than 50 m ASL. There are numerous small estuaries along the coast, most of which are lined by mangroves. Land use on the plain is intensive agriculture with sugar the main crop.
The hill country has elevations ranging up to a peak of 1058 m ASL in the Blue Mountains area of the Connors Range to the north-east of Nebo. Most of the hill country is above 200 m ASL. Most of the ranges are of volcanic origin with the rocks being mainly of Late Carboniferous to Early Permian age (325 to 270 million years). All of the hills have steep sides and deep erosional escarpments. Vegetation is predominantly eucalypt forest with rainforest in the more protected gullies and escarpments. A large proportion of the hills are within State Forests. Most of the lower slopes and narrow valleys have been cleared for agriculture.
The wide flood plain areas slope from north to south and have a general elevation of 100 m ASL. The main drainage systems are Funnel Creek and the Isaac River which flow to the Mackenzie River and then to the Fitzroy River. The lower floodplains are alluvial sediment of Quaternary age (less than 1.6 million years) while the upper plains are mostly sandstone and coal of Middle Eocene age (55 to 34 million years. Most of the native vegetation has been cleared for agriculture of which cattle grazing is the most common form.
The Climate: The climate of the area is classified as subtropical with a moderately dry winter. The closest representative weather station for the coastal area at the St Lawrence Post Office, which is 66 km to the south-east, and has an elevation of 18 m. The station has been collecting data since 1870. Inland areas are likely to be a little warmer and drier.
The highest temperature recorded was 44.0°C in January 1994, and the lowest was 2.2°C in July 1963. The greatest rainfall recorded in a year was 1 976.1 mm in 1956, and the least was 197.7 mm in 1902.
These and other climate statistics for St Lawrence can be found at: Australian Bureau of Meteorology, http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_033065_All.shtml.
Extremes of Nature: The point lies within one of the more active cyclone areas on the Queensland coast. The database maintained by the Bureau of Meteorology shows 42 cyclones have passed within 200 km of the point in the 101 years from 1906-7 to 2006-7. Of these seven passed within 50 km of the point. They were: an unnamed cyclone in December 1917; an unnamed cyclone in February 1943; an unnamed cyclone in March 1950; an unnamed cyclone in March 1955; TC Fiona in February 1971; TC David in January 1976; and TC Paul in January 1980. These cyclones would have produced very high seas that would have caused damage to the coastal areas within the square. They also bring destructive winds and intense rainfall that can produce wide-spread flooding. 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 that passed within 200 km of the confluence point 1906-2006 (BoM web site)
The area experiences around 20 to 25 thunder days each year. Such storms can bring intense rainfall leading to flash flooding. They can also bring strong winds and lightning strikes. Lightning can start bushfires if there is sufficient fuel to sustain a fire.
The area can experience extreme heat throughout some of the year, with St Lawrence having an average of 5 days annually with maximum temperatures equal to or over 35°C. The inland area is likely to have more such days of high temperature. 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 within the degree square. That was a ML 4.5 event on 11 November 1875. This quake was located 55 km west of the confluence point and was felt over a wide area however no damage was reported.
The Indigenous Story: The land within the degree square is divided between the trational country of three main Aboriginal groups: along the coast is Guwinmal country; in the northern inland is Baradha country and in the southern inland is Darumbal country.
MORE INFORMATION WELCOME
European Exploration and Settlement: The first European navigator to map the coastline in the area was James Cook in HMS Endeavour in 1770. He named some prominent features in the area including Cape Palmerston in the north-east corner of the square.
The first European explorer to pass through the area on land was Ludwig Leichhardt in 1845. He followed the Isaac River in the south of the square during his expedition from the Daring Downs to Port Essington. He was followed in 1856 by William Landsborough who named numerous features within the square including Nebo Creek. The area became the main route for settlers moving from Rockhampton to Mackay. In 1862 a store was established at the crossing of Nebo Creek where there was good water and pasture. In 1865 this spot was surveyed and named Fort Cooper but local usage preferred the name of Nebo. Sheep grazing spread across the district with the wool being carted north to Mackay for export. Sheep were eventually replaced by cattle which required much less labour.
MORE INFORMATION WELCOME
The total population of the degree square at the 2011 national Census was 2869.
At the 2011 national census Nebo had a population of 457. Most of the population is concentrated along the coastal plain where the intensive agriculture is found.
The square contains around 2 245 km of public road, again mostly concentrated on the coastal plain. The main northern rail line is also located on the coastal plain. There are several small station airstrips within the square.
The bulk of the square falls within the Isaac Regional Council area with a small section in the north-east corner being in the Mackay Regional Council area. There are three national parks in the square: Cape Palmerston National Park; Dipperu national Park and West Hill National Park. They make up around 27 750 ha of the square.
Compiler: Ken Granger, 2009
Edited by: Hayley Freemantle
various web sites including EPA, local governments, tourist industry and Bureau of Meteorology.