AT THE POINT
Location: The site is in south-western Queensland, in the heart of Channel Country, and just to the north of the Sturt Stony Desert. There is no direct access to the point, but the Diamantina Developmental Road comes within 3 kilometres to the south. The remaining distance was travelled by 4WD across country. While several grazing properties are found in the area, the nearest settlements are Bedourie and Windorah, which are approximately 170 km distant, to the north-west and east respectively. The site was visited by a party of RGSQ members travelling in four 4WD vehicles from Brisbane in May, 2008.
Sunset at camp near the confluence point
Point Photo Credits: Paul Feeney
Point Information By: Jo Grant
IN THE DEGREE SQUARE
Landscape: The view from the confluence shows flat terrain, with an elevation of approximately 115m. Looking east there is a small rise approximately 10km distant, of about 200m elevation. Scattered tussocks of grass make up the only vegetation visible from the confluence. Primarily, the ground at this point and in other patches in the area, is covered in small to medium-sized black stones, given as ferruginous gravel. Geological features include Cretacious sandstone, with other sediments such as mudstone, siltstone and fossils (Scanned 250K Geology Maps, Geoscience Australia).
The nearest watercourse to the confluence is Toonka Creek, which is less than a kilometre to the north. Toonka and Carbine Creek, from where the degree square takes its name, flow into the Diamantina River to the west, which is a major site of drainage in the nearby area. There are also many waterholes in the surrounding country. The degree square is part of the Lake Eyre Basin.
Climate: The closest representative weather station is at the Bedourie Police Station, which is approximately 170 km north-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 since 1906 4 cyclones have tracked within 200 km of the confluence, only one of which has passed within 50 km (TC Audrey in 1964). 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 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.
Today: The population of the degree square is probably less than 50.
Edited by: Hayley Freemantle