AT THE POINT
Location: This confluence point is located 7 km west-south-west of the locality of Dunkeld, on a property named "Mynumie". The point is to the west of the Mitchell to St George Road and is some 57 km south of Mitchell which is the closest town to the point. It was possible to drive to the point using Google Earth and NATMap following tree and fence lines, to an accuracy of +/- 3 metres using GPS. The point is located within the Roma Regional Council local government area.
The Landscape: The country around the point is generally flat with low rises. Local geology is a sand plain of Cainozoic age (less than 66 million years). The non-perennial creeks near the point flow to the area's major drainage catchment which is the Maranoa River. This river parallels the road to the east.
The point falls within a remnant band of low open forest with a predominance of Cypress (Calitris spp), but eucalypts and wattles are also abundant. Much of the vegetation adjacent to the point, however, has recently been cleared for cattle grazing which is the dominant local land use. Apart from the non-perennial creeks in the area, bores and dams have been established by land holders.
Parrots are abundant as are crows, magpies, kookaburras and emus. Red and Grey kangaroos live in the area.
Point information and photos: Keith Hall, 24 September 2008
WITHIN THE DEGREE SQUARE
The Country: The land within the degree square has a gentle fall of leas than one metre per kilometre from north to south. Maximum elevation is around 450 m ASL in the north-west, falling to around 250 m ASL in the south. Topography is generally gentle undulations with the main drainage channels only slightly entrenched. He southern half of the square is composed of sand plain of Cainozoic age as at the confluence point. Apart from a narrow band of alluvial sand and gravel of Quaternary age (less than 1.6 million years) in the flood plain if the Maranoa River, the rest of the square is composed of Wallumbilla Formation mudstone and siltstone of Early Cretaceous age (120 to 100 million years).
The Maranoa River is the major watercourse in the area. The Neil Turner Dam at Mitchell, just to the north of the square, controls the river flow through the degree square and the river often ceases to run in drier seasons. At the time of the visit (September) the river bed at Dunkeld was dry. The river does, however, carry significant flows during the summer storm season. The Maranoa River joins with the Balonne River at Lake Kajarabie (Beardmore Dam) to form part of the Murray-Darling River catchment.
Uncleared land is primarily open woodland with the majority of vegetation being Eucalypt, Cypress or Acacia. The densest vegetation is in the riparian zone of the Maranoa River and its tributaries.
Climate: The climate of the square is classified as being perennially dry grassland. The closest weather station is at the Mitchell Post Office, which is 60 km north of the confluence and has an elevation of 337 m.
The highest temperature recorded was 46.8°C in January 1980, and the lowest was -9.4°C in August 1979. The greatest rainfall recorded in a year was 1 304.4 mm in 1950, and the lowest was 236.4 mm in 1946.
These and other climate statistics for Mitchell can be found at: Australian Bureau of Meteorology, http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_043020_All.shtml.
Extremes of Nature: In spite of being so far inland the area has experienced the impact of at least seven cyclones that passed within 200 km of the confluence point. None, however, approached as close as 50 km from the point. An unnamed cyclone in February 1956 was the closest approach. It formed in the Coral Sea before passing within 100 km of the point and eventually fading out to the south of New Zealand. 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 that passed within 200 km of the point since 1906
Floods in the Maranoa can spread across a wide area though their depth and velocities are typically relatively. They can lead to stock and fencing losses and properties can be isolated for more than a week due to flooded roads.
The area experiences, on average, between 20 and 25 thunder days each year. Severe thunderstorms can bring destructive winds, intense rainfall that can produce flash flooding and lightning. Storms in the dry winter period can spark bushfires if there is sufficient fuel to promote spread.
Bushfires can pose a very significant threat to property and agricultural land as well as fire-sensitive native vegetation such as the rainforests in the gorges. In the late autumn and early summer bushfires can be especially dangerous given that fuels such as grass and forest litter is well cured and strong dry westerly to north-westerly winds are common.
The National Earthquake Database maintained by Geoscience Australia contains no earthquakes within the degree square. The nearest event in the database was magnitude ML 2.6 quake located about 85 km to the south-east on 24 September 1991. No damage was reported from that event.
The Indigenous Story: The main language group in this area were the Mandandarji group. The area included the Maranoa and Balonne Rivers. Little is known of this group however as with so many of the others they were rounded up and moved to government settlements around the turn of the century
MORE INFORMATION WELCOME
European Exploration and Settlement: The first Europeans to pass into the area were probably with Thomas Mitchell in 1846. Mitchell passed through the northern part of the square to the east of the Maranoa River. He was followed in 1847 by Edmund Kennedy who followed north along the western side of the Maranoa River. Settlers began to move into the area in around 1858.
MORE INFORMATION WELCOME
The total population of the degree square at the 2011 national Census was 1120. The reason for the steady increase in population is unclear but may be linked to the increase in exploration of gas and coal seam gas resources.
The population is spread across many rural properties, with a small number living in the small villages such as Muckadilla and Amby on the Warrego Highway in the north, and Dunkeld near the confluence point. These villages have very basic services such as schools and limited commercial outlets.
The Mitchell to St George Road runs the length of the square paralleling the Maranoa River. It is a two lane sealed road for the majority of its 210 km length and joins the Balonne Highway 6 km to the west of St George. The Warrego Highway passes along the northern edge of the square and parallels the western railway line that links Charleville and Cunnamulla to Brisbane.
The main land use across the square is cattle grazing.
The whole square falls within the Roma regional Council area. There are no national parks within the square.
Compilers: Keith Hall, with additional material from Ken Granger, and Jo Grant, 2009
Edited by: Hayley Freemantle
References: various web sites including EPA, local governments, tourist industry and Bureau of Meteorology.