This is in draft format, more to come.
Location: Degree Confluence 24°S 139°E is in the heart of Channel Country in western Queensland. The confluence is unmarked, and located on the top of a SSE-NNW trending dune, which is part of a small outlying field of dunes on the edge of the Simpson Desert. There is no direct access to the point, although a minor dirt road comes within 5 km to the south. The remaining distance was traversed by 4WD across country. The nearest settlement, Bedourie, approximately 60km to the south-east, gives the square its name. The site was visited by a party of RGSQ members travelling in four 4WD vehicles from Brisbane in May, 2008.
Landscape: Degree Confluence 24°S 139°E lies on a linear dune on the eastern edge of the Simpson Desert. The elevation is approximately 130m. This dune and others nearby have an average height of 14m (Natmap 250K Raster Maps). The ground surface at the point, and also on the inter-dunal corridor is primarily loose sand, with some vegetation such as spinifex and low bushes. The Simpson dunefield is composed of Quaternary aeolian sand (Scanned 250K Geology Maps, Geoscience Australia), and was shaped by the wind into SSE-NNW aligned linear dunes. While the dunes are largely stable and moderately vegetated, exposed parts are subject to wind action.
A salt lake in the Bedourie district
There is no drainage pattern visible at the confluence, but the wider area is part of the Eyre Basin. The closest watercourse to the point is Palliou Creek, approximately 5km to the east. Numerous waterholes and dry lakes are found in the surrounding country.
Point Photo Credits: Paul Feeney
Point Information Prepared By: Jo Grant
IN THE SQUARE
Climate: The closest weather station is at the Bedourie Police Station, which is 62 km south-east of the degree confluence, and has an elevation of 91m.
The highest temperature recorded was 47.0°C in January 2004, and the lowest was 1.6°C in July 2004. The greatest rainfall recorded in a year was 485.1 mm in 2000, and the least was 33.4 mm in 2002. These and other climate statistics for Bedourie can be found at: Australian Bureau of Meteorology, http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_038000_All.shtml
Cyclone tracks within 200 km of the confluence, 1906 to 2006 (Bureau of Meteorology web site)
Extreme heat and drought are also serious issues. Records show that Bedourie experiences 139 days annually with temperatures over 35°C, 49 of which typically reach 40°C or warmer. 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. In addition, with very little rainfall and only 21 days a year on average with any rain, the area is also among the driest in Australia.
Extremes of Nature: The area experiences extreme heat for much of the year, with Bedourie having an average of 139 days annually that have maximum temperatures equal to or over 35°C. The hottest months are December to February, all of which experience on average over 20 days with temperatures equal to or over 35°C. With an extremely low average rainfall and only 21 days a year with any rain, the area is also among the driest in Australia.
Since 1906 there have been no cyclones to pass within 50 km of the degree confluence, but 4 have passed within 200 km (1907, 1918, 1955, 1964) despite its inland location. 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.
Today: The population of the degree square at the 2011 national Census was probably less than 50.
Information: Ken Granger
Edited by: Hayley Freemantle