AT THE POINT
Location: Degree Confluence 26°S 144°E is located in western Queensland in the Grey Range, and on the property ‘Yeenunga'. The closest settlement is Adavale, approximately 60 km to the east. The exact confluence was not reached, and instead data was instead taken at a site approximately 2 km to the west (26°S, 143°58.7'E). Access to the site is via property tracks. The site was visited in the late afternoon by a party of RGSQ members travelling in 4WD vehicles from Brisbane in November 2009.
Landscape: Elevation at the substitute site is 251 m, and the landscape is characterised by a rocky ridge of the Grey Range. Surface material is small to large stones (some gibbers) on top of sandy clay loam. Vegetation consists of some spinifex, and sparse mulga and eucalypts (height 3-4 m). A number of kangaroos and emus were seen in the vicinity. No human features are present at the site, although there is infrastructure of the working cattle property ‘Canaway Downs' in the nearby area, including tracks, fences the homestead, and numerous tanks.
Aside from a drainage gully just to the south of the confluence (as seen above on the Google Earth image), the closest watercourse are the tributaries of the Blue Well Creek just on the edge of the Range (less than 2 km to the west). The wider area is part of the Eyre Basin. The geology of the confluence is red sand and minor gravel of Cainozoic Quaternary age (less than 2.5 million years ago). The eroded courses of creeks are alluvium (sand, silt, clay, soil) of the same age.
Point Photos By: Paul Feeney
Point Information By: Paul Feeney, Jo Grant
IN THE DEGREE SQUARE
Climate: The closest representative weather station is at Quilpie Airport, which is located 73 km to the south-south-east of the confluence, and has an elevation of 200 m. The station has been collecting data since 1917.
The highest temperature ever recorded in Quilpie was 46.5°C in January 1973 while the lowest temperature was -2.3°C in July 1977. The highest total of 919.3 mm was recorded in 1950 and the lowest total of 91.4 mm in 1937. These and other climate statistics for Quilpie can be found on the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website at, http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_045015_All.shtml.
Extremes of Nature: The area is 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, none of which 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 is also a significant issues. Records show that Windorah experiences 98 days annually with temperatures over 35°C, 20 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 total population of the degree square at the 2011 national Census was notionally 400 though this number more correctly represents the total for the whole SA1 that covers an area of 67,413 sq km and covers more than seven degree squares.
Edited by: Hayley Freemantle
Geoscience Australia, NATMAP Raster
Geoscience Australia, Scanned 250 K Geology Maps