AT THE POINT
Location: Degree Confluence 27S 144E is located in western Queensland, near the Grey Range, on the property ‘Moble' (after which the degree square is named). The closest settlement is Quilpie, approximately 50 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 within 1.5 km of the point is via property tracks. The site was visited in the mid afternoon by a party of RGSQ members travelling in 4WD vehicles from Brisbane in November 2009.
Landscape: Elevation at the degree confluence is 187 m, and the view shows a predominantly flat terrain, with a low ridge (elevation ~300 m) visible to the south-west. No human features are present at the site, although there is infrastructure (including roads, irrigation) from the working sheep property nearby. Surface material is sand/clay with some small stones, and vegetation is low scrub with sparse mulga trees. Aside from sheep of the property, emus and kangaroos were also sighted near the confluence.
Moble Creek is the closest watercourse (approximately 800 m), and is a significant site of drainage for the area. It eventually flows into the Eyre Basin, via the Bulloo River to the south-east of the confluence. The geology of the exact point is undifferentiated Cainozoic Quaternary (less than 2.5 million years ago) sedimentaries, and the slightly eroded course of Moble Creek is alluvium of the same age, such as sand, silt, clay and gravel.
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 51 km to the north-north-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 only 3 cyclones have tracked within 200 km of the confluence, one of which has passed within 50 km (TC David in January 1976). 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 571, the great majority of whom were living in Quilpie.
The steady decline in population over the past decade is probably due to severe drought conditions that have greatly reduced flocks across the area. The opal mining industry, has also been in decline since the Global Financial Crisis.
Edited by: Hayley Freemantle
Geoscience Australia, NATMAP Raster
Geoscience Australia, Scanned 250 K Geology Maps