AT THE POINT
Location: Degree Confluence 24S 142E is located in Channel Country, deep in western Queensland, on the working 'Mt Windsor' property after which the Degree Square is named. The closest settlement is Stonehenge, approximately 135 km to the east. The confluence itself was not reached due to dense vegetation, and information was taken at a point approximately 3.9 km to the south-west (24°02' S, 142°59' E). Access was via a dirt road, and the site was visited in the late morning by a party of RGSQ members travelling in four vehicles from Brisbane, in June 2009.
Country surrounding degree confluence 24S 142E, with an arm of Mayne River to the north-west (Google Earth Image)
Landscape: The view from the degree confluence shows the generally flat terrain of a small ridge, with an elevation of 205 m. A property fence is visible to the east, and the most significant feature of the landscape is the dense vegetation, comprised of mulga, gidgee and some eucalypts (height to 3-4 m). There is little grass, and surface material is largely ironstone pebbles and clay. Animals sighted include numerous kangaroos, and there was evidence of feral pigs and camels.
The geology of the much of the surrounding country is Mesozoic Winton Formation sandstone, mudstone, siltstone and coal. Drainage occurs at slightly lower levels of elevation, and the closest watercourse to the point is a tributary of Mayne River to the north-west, which joins the Diamantina, and is part of the Eyre Basin.
Point Photos By: Paul Feeney, Mary Comer
Point Information By: Paul Feeney, Jo Grant, Mary Nowill
IN THE DEGREE SQUARE
Climate: The closest representative weather station is at the Windorah Post Office, which is located 170 km south-east of the confluence, and has an elevation of 126 m. The station has been collecting data since 1887.
The highest temperature recorded was 47.1°C in December 1990, and the lowest was -1.8°C in July 1977. The greatest rainfall recorded in a year was 990.1 mm in 2000, and the least was 66.8 mm in 2002. These and other climate statistics for Windorah can be found at on the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website, http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_038024_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 since 1906 7 cyclones have tracked within 200 km of the confluence, one of which has passed within 50 km (TC Brownyn in January 1972). 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 point 1906 to 2006 (Bureau of Meteorology web site)
Extreme heat and drought are also serious issues. Records show that Windorah experiences 124 days annually with temperatures over 35°C, 36 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 relatively little rainfall and only 36 days a year on average with any rain, the area is also among the driest in Australia.
Today: The population of the degree square at the 2011 national Census was less than 50.
Edited by: Hayley Freemantle
Information: Ken Granger
Geoscience Australia, NATMAP Raster
Geoscience Australia, Scanned 250 K Geology Maps