AT THE POINT
Location: This confluence point is located within the Carnarvon National Park at least 7.5 km from the nearest road. It lies within very broken sandstone country at an elevation of approximately 770 m ASL. It lies within Maranoa Regional Council and the nearest town is Rolleston, about 86 km to the north-east.
The Landscape: The area around the point is marked by towering sandstone cliffs up to 75 m in height. It sits at the head of the Maranoa River which drains to Murray-Darling Basin. The sandstone at the point is of Early Jurassic age (200 to 176 million years).
The Central Queensland Sandstone Belt covers an area of approx 82,000square km with 25 separate mountain ranges radiating from the Great Dividing Range. Towering, multi-coloured sandstone cliffs, caves, clear running streams & a variety of soil & vegetation types exist side by side. The coarse-grained sandstones are very crumbly & have weathered to exotic crags, spires, overhangs & caves.
Sandstone formations along the gorge
Point information and photos: Ken Granger, Mary Comer and Google Earth. Additional information by Audrey Johnston
WITHIN THE DEGREE SQUARE
The Country: The landscape of the square is dominated by the Carnarvon Range which forms part of the Great Dividing Range. Elevations along the Carnarvon Range are up to 1232 m ASL at Consuelo Peak; there are several other peaks with elevations over 1100 m ASL across the Range. The lowest elevations are around 200 m ASL along Yellowbelly Creek and Consuelo Creek.
The square is predominantly sandstone country. Ages range from Early Permian (299 to 270 million years) and Middle Triassic (245 to 228 million years) to the north-east of the Range and Early Jurassic (200 to 176 million years) to the south of the Range. The geology of the Carnarvon Range itself is complex. The basement is Early Jurassic sandstone that is overlain by basalt flows of Cainozoic age (less than 66 million years). This cap of harder basalt gives rise to the spectacular erosional escarpments of the Carnarvon National Park.
Drainage to the south of the Range is to the Maranoa and Warrego Rivers which form part of the Murray-Darling catchment. To the north of the Range the flow is to Comet River which is part of the Fitzroy River catchment.
Wallaby drinking hole
The Climate: The climate of the area is classified as sub-tropical with a distinctly dry winter. The Bureau of Meteorology climate station at Rolleston provides representative statistics. It should be noted that temperatures on the elevated country of the Carnarvon Range will be somewhat lower and rainfall higher than at Rolleston.
Rolleston (035059) 1889 to 2010 (elevation 214 m ASL)
The highest temperature ever recorded in Rolleston was 44.5oC in January 1994 while the lowest temperature was -3.0oC in July 1995 and August 1994. Rainfalls also vary greatly. The highest total of 1275.9 mm was recorded in 1950 and the lowest total of 194.0 mm in 1902.
Extremes of Nature: The area is subject to the impact of tropical cyclones. The cyclone database maintained by the Bureau of Meteorology shows that 12 cyclones passed within 200 km of the point in the 101 years between 1906-7 and 2006-7. No cyclone approached to within 50 km of the point. Even distant cyclones can bring destructive winds and intense rainfall that can produce wide-spread flooding.
Cyclone tracks that passed within 200 km of the confluence point 1906-2006 (BoM web site)
Serious riverine flooding is limited in this area given that most streams are well entrenched. Those floods that do occur will, however, have very rapid rises and will have dangerous velocities.
The area experiences around 20 to 25 thunder days each year. Such storms can bring intense rainfall leading to flash flooding. They can also bring strong winds, hail and lightning strikes. Lightning can start bushfires if there is sufficient fuel to sustain a fire.
Bushfires in the rural areas can be difficult to control but are unlikely to do significant damage. Stock and fencing losses are likely.
The area can experience extreme heat throughout some of the year, with Rolleston having an average of 57 days annually with maximum temperatures equal to or over 35°C and 4 days with temperatures of 40oC. 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.
By contrast Emerald also has an average of 14 days a year with temperatures of 2oC or less and 4 days of zero or less.
The National Earthquake Database maintained by Geoscience Australia contains no earthquake epicentres within the degree square.
The Indigenous Story: Most of the land within this square is the traditional country of the Gungabula, Nguri and Bidjara peoples. There are numerous Aboriginal art sites within the area including ochre stencils, rock engravings and freehand paintings include some of the finest Aboriginal rock imagery in Australia. Once a favourite with nomadic tribes the region is rich in human history, aboriginal rock art providing evidence of indigenous connections stretching back at least 19,000 years, while stockyards, fences & paved roads are reminders of non-indigenous history.
Aboriginal rock art is highly significant, depicting their way of life & the mythical Dreamtime.
MORE INFORMATION WELCOME
European Exploration and Settlement: In 1844 Ludwig Leichhardt passed some 100 km to the east of the National Park & called the region ‘ruined Castle Valley'. Major Thomas Mitchell & his party camped at Major Mitchell Springs on 4th July, 1846 at the site they called Pyramids Camp, returning on 5th September to rest after exploring the rugged country to the north & north-east. He gave the name Salvator Rosa to this section of the National Park.
MORE INFORMATION WELCOME
The total population of the degree square at the 2011 national Census was probably less than 50.
The apparent decline in population is probably due to changes to census boundaries rather than an actual decline in population.
There are 905 km of public roads in the square. Some properties also have small airstrips.
The various sections of the Carnarvon National Park total 5,662,000 ha. The square is more or less evenly divided between Maranoa Regional Council in the south and Central Highlands Regional Council in the north. A small section of Murweh Shire is in the west.
Edited by: Hayley Freemantle
Compilers: Ken Granger, 2010
References: various web sites including EPA, local governments, tourist industry and Bureau of Meteorology.
National Parks brochures & tourist literature.