05-Jun-2005 -- I was introduced to the concept of the Degree Confluence by my friend Jeremy Watson when we did 14°S 132°E. Having been sent to work for three months to Tennant Creek which is 1,000 km South of my home in Darwin, I thought I would take the opportunity to visit any confluences in the vicinity whilst I was there. I am an ambulance officer and a three month posting to Tennant Creek is a condition of my employment. Tennant Ck was the site of the last Gold Rush in Australia back in the 1930s. Gold is still mined here commercially. The town has a population of approximately 3,000 of which 70% are indigenous.
The easiest confluence to access was 20°S 134°E. Through my work I was fortunate enough to meet Steve Russell who not only had a GPS at his disposal but also a 4WD (I had neither). Steve, a father of 3, is a geologist who also does casual work as an ambulance officer. Steve was quite enthusiastic about the idea and we eagerly compared ambulance work rosters to find a time when we were both available. Sunday the 5th of June was the day.
We made an early start (6.30) and drove approximately 33km South on the Stuart Highway before heading West along a reasonably well graded track for another 23 km which marked the 134°E Longitude. We parked the vehicle and walked South approximately 1.3km through fairly easy terrain in quite comfortable temperatures to reach the Confluence Point at about 8.00 AM. The country that we walked through was basically desert with sporadic trees and clumps of Spinifex. We visited a waterhole that was marked on the map but it had dried up. At the confluence point we enjoyed a celebratory drink of Gatorade and took the necessary photos before returning to our vehicle. We noticed some termite mounds “under construction” on the way back. What was interesting about these was that the residual soil that the termites deposited had come from below and was noticeably different in colour and texture to the surface soil.
We drove back into town and celebrated with a coffee at Steve’s place!