14-May-2002 -- On May 14, 2002, my colleague Bassett Smith and I were travelling from Perth to the Gullewa gold mine, 70km north of Morawa and around 500km north of Perth. We’d prepared for the trip knowing that we’d pass close by one or more unclaimed confluence points. Not only were we equipped with a GPS and detailed maps, but also (most importantly) with a 4WD – a diesel Toyota LandCruiser personnel carrier.
We headed west on the Greenhead Road from its turnoff from the Great Northern highway a kilometre or so South of the town of Coorow. We turned off the road, through a gate on the southern side, 3.3km from the turnoff - immediately before three high voltage power lines and an eroded creek bed. We followed the track in for several hundred metres and found ourselves in a field that was being mechanically raked prior to sowing. The tractor driver stopped and came over to check on us. Having explained ourselves and showing him the letter of introduction, he introduced himself as Ben Willis and advised us that we were on the property of HF Kau and Co. He said that he didn’t think the owners would have a problem with what we wanted to do – i.e. follow the transmission line south to the point where it ran past the confluence point. Because we were about 500m to the east of the transmission lines, Ben also gave us instructions how drive to them without getting bogged or cutting up the fields.
We headed south-west towards the lines, crossing one broad creek, two salt lakes and two contour banks before finding ourselves under the crackling and fizzing heavy voltage lines.
We traveled southwards a total of 13.2km from the main gate, through five other gates and over 17 VERY boggy sand dunes covered in dense acacia scrub that had (fortunately) been cleared from under the power lines. After the 5th gate we were no longer on private property, having passed into a state-owned Nature Reserve. Arriving at 30°S, we knew the confluence point was only 30 to 40 metres away, on the Western side of the power lines. We parked the Cruiser and pushed our way on foot through the scrub - and there we were! We laughingly took the obligatory photos to all directions of the compass but, as you can see, the 3m tall scrub all looks the same!
Bass and I thoroughly enjoyed this diversion and the simple thrill of “bagging” a degree confluence point and were highly appreciative of the terrain tackling power provided by the diesel LandCruiser. This is one confluence point that should not be attempted without such assistance. We’re both looking forward to bagging a few more remote ones – fortunately our job takes us to way out of the way places!
Perth, Western Australia