AT THE POINT
Location: Degree Confluence 24S 143E is on the edge of the Quart Pot Range in central Queensland, after which the degree square is named, and is located on the property, 'Westerton'. The closest settlement is Stonehenge, approximately 49 km to the south-east. While the confluence itself is unmarked, a GPS was used to find the exact location (accurate to within a few metres). Access to the point is via property tracks, except for the last 1.2 km which were travelled on foot. The site was visited in the early afternoon by a party of RGSQ members travelling in four 4WD vehicles from Brisbane in May 2009.
Landscape: Elevation at the degree confluence is 177 m, and the view shows gently undulating terrain, with a low ridge visible to the east. The landscape is also marked with numerous property fences. Surface material is grass on top of soft, sandy soil. The site is surrounded by open gidgee scrub and woodland (height 3-4 m), especially to the south along the line of Trotter Creek. Although 'Westerton' is a cattle property, the only animals sighted at or near the point were birds, kangaroos, and evidence of feral pigs
The geological features of the area of the country around the confluence are Mesozoic Winton Formation mudstone and siltstone, except along nearby eroded creeks, which are characterised by Cainozoic Quaternary alluvium. The closest of these watercourses is Trotter Creek just to the south. All creeks in the area eventually drain into the Thomson River to the east.
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 Longreach Aerodrome, which is located 130 km north-east of the confluence, and has an elevation of 192 m. The station has been collecting data since 1949.
The highest temperature recorded was 47.3°C in January 1990, and the lowest was -2.9°C in July 1982. The greatest rainfall recorded in a year was 1 026.5 mm in 1950, and the least was 106.8 mm in 2002. These and other climate statistics for Longreach can be found at on the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website, http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_036031_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 10 cyclones have tracked within 200 km of the confluence, 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 point 1906 to 2006 (Bureau of Meteorology web site)
Extreme heat and drought are also serious issues. Records show that Longreach experiences 120 days annually with temperatures over 35°C, 23 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.
Today: The population of the degree square at the 2011 national Census was probably less than 50.
The apparent decline in population may reflect changes in the census collection boundaries as well as the downturn in the pastoral industry.
Edited by: Hayley Freemantle
Information: Ken Granger
Geoscience Australia, NATMAP Raster
Geoscience Australia, Scanned 250 K Geology Maps