AT THE POINT
Location: The point lies on the waters of Hervey Bay about 18.2 km from the nearest point on Fraser Island and 32 km NNE of the township of Hervey Bay. It lies within the boundaries of the Hervey Bay Marine national Park and is within the boundaries of the area administered by the Fraser Coast Region Council. The site has not been visited.
The Landscape: The waters of Hervey Bay.
The waters of Hervey Bay are famous for its marine mammal population. The Bay is visited each winter (from late July to early October) by migrating humpback whales returning to their Antarctic feeding grounds from the their calving and mating grounds in the tropical waters around the Whitsunday Islands. The Bay also has a significant population of dugong and dolphins.
Point information and Photos: Ken Granger and additional photos and information by Audrey Johnston.
WITHIN THE DEGREE SQUARE
The Country: The land within the degree square is divided between fraser Island - the world's largest sand island - and the low coastal land facing Hervey Bay. Fraser Island is entirely made up of sand of Quaternary age and has a maximum elevation of 234 m at Mt Bowarrady. The sands are carried from the rivers of northern NSW by northward currents and are 'anchored' on the basalts of Tertiary age at Waddy Point. The dunes are then built up by the prevailing south-easterly winds.
Among the features of the Island are the broad ocean beach; high dunes and sand blows (such as the Wongi and Hammerstone Sandblows); perched lakes such as Lake McKenzie and Lake Wabby; high cliffs of banded coloured sands such as Rainbow Gorge and the Cathedrals; and creeks of pure sand-filtered waters such as Wanggoolba Creek and Eli Creek.
The vegetation supported by this sand island ranges from tall rainforest with massive Satinay and Brush Box (Lophostemon confertus), to open forests of Blackbutt (Eucalyptus pilularis); forests of coastal mangroves and wetland Melaleuca; to Banksia-dominated heathlands (mainly Banksia aemula and Banksia robur). Amongst the most interesting plant communities on the Island are the ancient King Ferns that grow in the clear waters of Wanggoolba Creek.The most notable fauna of the Island are dingos (said to be the most pure strain in Australia) and birds, especially raptors such as the Brahminy kite and Osprey.
The mainland coastline is dominated by the estuaries of the Mary River and the Burrum River. The terrain is generally low and frequently interrupted by wetlands or wallum heathland. The shoreline is shallow and wide sand flats are exposed at low tide.
Vegetation along the coastline is dominated by mangroves in the estuaries and coastal She-oak (Casuarina equistefolia) along the foredunes. Wallum dominates the low country behind the frontal dunes and low open forest are found on the higher land. Fauna includes grey kangaroo and swamp wallaby as well as a range of smaller nocturnal marsupials such as sugar gliders. The beaches along the coast are used as nesting sites for loggerhead and green turtles. A large range of birds is also present.
Below are two images taken by A Johnston of Rainbow Beach. Notice the colouring of the rocks.
The Climate: The area has a moist subtropical climate with a relatively dry winter. The nearest climate station with data on the Bureau of Meteorology web site is Maryborough (actually just inside the 26°S 153°E degree square).
Maryborough (site 04126) 1870-2008
Extremes of Nature: The area is very much subject to the impact of cyclones. The database maintained by the Bureau of Meteorology shows that 45 cyclones have tracked within 200 km of the confluence since 1906, and 12 of these 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)
The Indigenous Story: Fraser Island and the immediate mainland coastline was home to the Badtjala (or Butchulla) people. Their name for the Island was K'Gari (meaning 'paradise').
European Exploration and Settlement: Cook sailed past fraser Island but did not recognise it as an island and named the expanse of waters Wide Bay. Fraser Island supported a major forest industry with logging of Satinay, Turpentine and Brush Box particularly important. These hardwoods were exported or provided materials for the local building industry. Some of the streets of London are paved with blocks of Satinay from fraser Island. Sand mining especially in the southern end of the Island became a significant industry in the 1960s. A concerted campaign by local environmentalists eventually brought to an end both logging and sand mining and the inscription of the Island on the World Heritage Register.
The total population of the degree square at the 2011 census was 62,120. Of this total 49,377 were living in Hervey Bay, 1016 in Howard, 585 in Torbanlea and 1063 in Burrum Heads. The high proportion of elderly is a clear reflection of the area’s status as a ‘sea change’ retirement centre.
Edited by: Hayley Freemantle
Compiler: Ken Granger
Rest still to come
Source Documents: Still to come