AT THE POINT
Location: Degree Confluence 24°S 141°E is deep in western Queensland, in the Diamantina National Park, after which the degree square is named. The closest settlement is Bedourie, approximately 162 km to the west-south-west. While the confluence itself is unmarked, a GPS was used to find its exact location (accurate to within a few metres), which is in a drainage gully of the Diamantina River (running north-south). Easiest access was via an old dirt track that came within 3 km to the point, and the remaining distance was across country. The site was visited in the late morning by a party of RGSQ members travelling in four vehicles from Brisbane, in June 2009.
Sand ridges surrounding degree confluence 24S 141E, and Diamantina River to the east (Google Earth Image)
Landscape: The view from the degree confluence shows the largely flat terrain of a small claypan, with an elevation of 91 m. Red sand ridges of the Diamantina National Park (height to 12 m) are visible to the north, west and south. Remnants of old cattle property fences are visible from the point, and a marker (NM B 249) established by the Commonwealth Division of National Mapping in 1968, is located approximately 700 m to the east-south-east. This marker has the same initials and design as others from the same survey in nearby Queensland, including 21°S 138°E, 23°S 138°E, and 25°S 142°E.
Heavy vegetation including trees grow along the line of nearby creeks, and surface material at the point is grass on top cracked sandy soil. Due to the site's location, with surrounding claypans and tributaries of the Diamantina River (the closest watercourse) access is only possible during dry weather. There are also many waterholes in the area. Animals sighted include birds, only one or two kangaroos, and some evidence of feral pigs.
The geology of much of the surrounding country, including along the course of the Diamantina River is Cainozoic Quaternary alluvium. The parallel sand ridges (that run north-west to south-east) are comprised of Cainozoic Quaternary sand of a red colour.
Point Photos: Paul Feeney, Mary Comer
Point Information: Paul Feeney, Jo Grant, Mary Nowill
IN THE DEGREE SQUARE
Climate: The closest representative weather station is at the Bedourie Police Station, which is approximately 160 km west-south-west of the degree confluence, and has an elevation of 91 m. The station has been collecting data since 1932.
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
Extremes of Nature: Despite the area's inland location, it is still subject to the impact of some cyclones. The database maintained by the Bureau of Meteorology shows that 5 cyclones have tracked within 200 km of the confluence since 1906, although none have passed within 50 km. These cyclones bring with them potentially destructive winds and intense rainfall. 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 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.
The population of the degree square at the 20 national Census was less than 50.
Edited by: Hayley Freemantle
Information: Ken Granger
Geoscience Australia, NATMAP Raster
Geoscience Australia, Scanned 250 K Geology Maps