23°S 138°E Cravens Peak – Queensland by Degrees

AT THE POINT

Degree Confluence 23°S 138°E (Google Earth Image)

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n

Looking north

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Looking east

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Looking south

w

Looking west

Location: The site is located on the border between Queensland and the Northern Territory on the southern edge of the Toko Range. It was accessed cross-country from the internal track system of the Cravens Peak station. It is within Boulia Shire.

The Landscape: The local topography is of low undulation ironstone jump-ups interspersed by low sand dunes. It lies on the divide between the headwaters of the Mulligan River and the Field River, both of which drains to the Lake Eyre Basin. The geology of the area is Ordovician siltstones and sandstones. Soils are shallow and sandy with scattered silcrete rubble on the ridge crests.

Vegetation is generally sparse hummock grasses and low Acacia shrubs.

The Red Kangaroo is the largest of the native mammals, however, large herds of feral camels are also found in the area. The area has an exceptional number of smaller native mammals and reptiles. The more obvious bird life is dominated by raptors such as the Wedge-tailed Eagle and parrots including Galahs and Corellas.

The site had until recently been part of a marginal cattle station but is now within an area set aside for nature conservation.

Point information and photos: Paul Feeney and others, 2007 and 2008

WITHIN THE DEGREE SQUARE

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The Country: To the north are the mesas and gorges of the Toko Range with maximum elevations around 290 m. To the east is the Mulligan River which forms the north-western edge of the Channel Country, a significant refuge for the desert fauna of the Simpson Desert. To the south are the Toomba Range and the northern dune fields of the Simpson Desert. The area drains to the Mulligan River Basin, located within the Georgina River catchment of the Queensland section of Lake Eyre Basin.

The Craven Peak property includes several important waterholes and wetlands, and supports an exceptionally rich small mammal and reptile community. Six of these species are threatened with extinction under current trends. As a cattle station it was marginal, as a reserve it is exceptional for small reptiles and mammals and is an important contribution to conservation of the desert fauna ecology of the region.

The Climate: The site has a hot and persistently dry desert climate. The site experiences extreme variations of temperature with ranges from -2°C to 49°C. Rainfall is highly variable and unpredictable, with lengthy periods of drought frequently experienced. The nearest climate station is Boulia Airfield (195 km to the east).

Boulia Airport (site 038003) 1888 - 2007

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Year

Mean max
(ºC)

38.5

37.5

35.4

31.4

26.7

23.3

22.9

25.7

30.1

34.2

37.0

38.6

31.8

Mean min
(ºC)

24.4

23.9

21.7

17.0

12.3

8.8

7.4

9.3

13.4

17.8

21.2

23.3

16.7

Mean rain
(mm)

47.8

51.3

36.0

14.1

13.2

10.5

9.5

6.5

7.0

15.1

21.2

31.8

263.3

The averages, which are based on a lengthy record, conceal the wide range of extremes of both temperature and rainfall events. The highest temperature on record for Boulia was 48.3°C in February 1915; the lowest temperature on record was -1.4°C in August 1906. Rainfall has ranged from a total of 798.6 mm in 1950 to a low of 24.1 mm in 1905.

Cyclone Image BOM

Extremes of Nature: An unnamed tropical cyclone penetrated as far as this square in March 1955 after crossing the coast near Cairns. As a Category 1 storm it would have brought heavy rain and strong winds to the area. Flooding in the main drainage channels can last for weeks following heavy rains such as these.

The area averages between 15 and 20 'thunder days' a year indicating that severe thunderstorms that can produce localised flash flooding and destructive winds are relatively common. Dust storms can also occur.

Following good growth seasons bushfires sparked by lightning can spread over wide areas, especially if driven by dry and hot winds from the interior. The climatic extremes most likely to cause significant harm remain drought and heatwave.

The National Earthquake Database maintained by Geoscience Australia shows one epicentre located within the square. It was a relatively small ML 2.6 event on 16 May 2005 about 13.5 km south-east of the confluence point.

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The Indigenous Story: The Wangkamana are the main tribal and linguistic group of the area. There are numerous cultural heritage sites in the area, including Painted Rock Gorge and some significant petroglyphs are also found in the area.

European Exploration and Settlement: Cravens Peak operated as a leasehold cattle station until 2005 when it was purchased by the Australian Bush Heritage Fund as part of a broader proposal to extend the protection of regional ecosystems within the Mulligan River system.

A survey mark (NM B 300) established by the then Commonwealth Division of National Mapping in 1968 is located close to the point.

Today:

The total population of the degree square at the 2011 national Census was probably less than 20.

MEASURE

1996

2001

2006

2011

Total population

44

23

28

<20

Total males

29

15

13

0

Total females

15

8

15

0

Under 5 years

6

3

0

0

65 years and over

9

3

0

0

Indigenous

3

4

0

0

The nearest settlements are Urandangi (160 km to the north), Boulia (200 km to the east) and Bedourie (210 km to the south-east).

In March-April 2007 The Royal Geographical Society of Queensland conducted a multi-disciplinary Scientific Study at Cravens Peak. Its purpose was to investigate the natural resources of the property; to share results across scientific disciplines during and after the study; and to contribute information to support the development and implementation of conservation management strategies for the reserve. This report is now published. Click here for more information.

Site Summary

Location

On the Queensland - Northern Territory border in Boulia Shire, 200 km west of Boulia

Nearest town

Urandangi

Access

Cross-country from the Cravens Peak internal track system

Terrain

Low undulating ridges and jump ups

Catchment

Channel Country

Geology & soils

Ordovician siltstones and sandstones

Vegetation

Desert hummock grasses and scattered Acacia shrubs

Land use

Former cattle station now a nature conservation area

Climate

Persistently dry desert

Population in degree square

28 at the 2006 census

Infrastructure

Minor station roads only

National Parks

Nil

Compilers: Paul Feeney, Kath Berg and Ken Granger

Edited by: Hayley Freemantle