AT THE POINT
Location: Degree Confluence 27S 142E is located in south-west Queensland, in Channel Country, on the working property ‘Durham Downs'. The closest settlement is Eromanga, approximately 130 km to the north-east. While the confluence itself is unmarked, a GPS was used to find the exact location (accurate to within a few metres). Access to near the point is via property tracks, and the remainder of the journey was across country. The site was visited in the early afternoon by a party of RGSQ members travelling in 4WD vehicles from Brisbane in November 2009.
Landscape: Elevation at the degree confluence is 80 m, and the landscape is characterised by a flat plain. No human features are present at the site, although nearby there is infrastructure (including roads, irrigation, yards, fences) of the property. Surface material is clay, with some patches of sand, and there is little vegetation at the confluence, aside from sparse clumps of grass and some trees in the distance. Kangaroos were seen at the point, and a flock of swallows nearby. There was also evidence of dogs and cats in the area.
The confluence is located on the Cooper Creek floodplain, in an area which is subject to inundation after rain. The Cooper Creek is the major site of drainage, and is part of the Eyre Basin. The geology of the exact point, and also Cooper Creek is undifferentiated Cainozoic Quaternary (less than 2.5 million years ago) sedimentaries.
Point Photos By: Paul Feeney
Point Information By: Paul Feeney, Jo Grant
IN THE DEGREE SQUARE
Climate: The closest representative weather station is at the Windorah Post Office, which is located approximately 185 km north-north-east of the confluence, and has an elevation of 126 m. The station has been collecting data since 1887.
The highest temperature recorded was 47.1°C in December 1990, and the lowest was -1.8°C in July 1977. The greatest rainfall recorded in a year was 990.1 mm in 2000, and the least was 66.8 mm in 2002. These and other climate statistics for Windorah can be found at on the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website, http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_038024_All.shtml
Extremes of Nature: The area is subject to the impact of some cyclones, despite its inland location. The database maintained by the Bureau of Meteorology shows that since 1906 only 5 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 and drought are also serious issues. Records show that Windorah experiences 124 days annually with temperatures over 35°C, 36 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 relatively little rainfall and only 36 days a year on average with any rain, the area is also among the driest in Australia.
Today: The population of the degree square at the 2011 national Census was less than 50, most of them working on cattle stations or involved in the oil and gas industry. Long periods of drought between 2002 and 2009 reduced cattle numbers significantly.
Edited by: Hayley Freemantle
Geoscience Australia, NATMAP Raster
Geoscience Australia, Scanned 250 K Geology Maps