13-Oct-2003 -- Surfing around on the DCP Web site one day, I came across an incomplete visit to this confluence, one of the few to sport the enigmatic "no pictures available" icon. The previous visitors had been thwarted by the fact that the confluence is located in an artillery firing range. This reminded me of a dialogue I'd had with Geoff Jamieson a bit over a year before, which ultimately culminated in he and Ian Kelly knocking off the final remaining unvisited land-based confluence in Victoria, at 37°S 145°E, also in a restricted army base.
I too had recently visited a confluence in a sensitive military area in China (unbeknownst to me at the time--see 27°N 110°E), and I thought why not try another? However, this time would be different because I would be on home soil, and knowing in advance that it was a restricted area, I was able to set about obtaining the necessary permission beforehand. My father, a resident of Tasmania, was very helpful in this respect, doing much of the legwork for me.
After making initial telephone contact with the Army at the Anglesea Barracks in Hobart, my father then sent a letter formally requesting permission to visit the confluence:
As advised in my discussion with you on 25 June, I am writing formally to seek permission for a brief visit by my son and me to the Stony Head Range east of Georgetown.
The specific purpose of the visit is to locate, using a hand-held Global Positioning System instrument, the exact point of intersection of latitude line 41°00'S and longitude line 147°00'E. This point is a short distance inland from the coast within the Range area.
My son (Targ Parsons), who is currently working in Hong Kong but will be in Australia during October, is an enthusiastic participant in the "Degree Confluence Project" which provides a challenge to those with an interest in travel and adventure to visit and formally record such whole-number degree intersection points (or "confluences") across the globe. Formal reports of visits are submitted for inclusion in the Project's website at www.confluence.org.
Targ's "tally" so far includes about 50 confluences in China and two in Tasmania, the latter visited in December 2002 (one near Ranelagh, the other in Pirates Bay at Eaglehawk Neck). His reports of all these visits are readily accessible on the website and make interesting reading. A brief description is included of how arrival at the exact points is achieved--some confluences are in strange locations!
A tentative date for the proposed visit by Targ and me at Stony Head is 13 October. This could be confirmed closer to that date if permission is granted, or changed by a few days if necessary to fit in with any specific Army requirements.
Normal website reports include five photographs, one close-up of the GPS unit showing the zero reading and a photograph looking in each of the north, south, east and west directions from the confluence. Should such photographs within the Range not be permitted, their absence from the report would be understood.
I imagine that the Army may require that we be accompanied by an escort while on the Range and this would be welcome because of that person's knowledge of the terrain. If the visit can proceed, I would be grateful for any advice about the best route for approach by road to the Range.
I would be pleased if you were to send me any application forms and advise of any other requirements as soon as convenient.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Dr N R Parsons
In a follow-up telephone conversation on 8 July, my father was informed that the range was booked for battalion exercises from 4 to 24 October, so it would not be possible to visit on 13 October as originally proposed. Instead, a visit date either before or after the exercises was suggested, but it was also stressed that these dates could not be guaranteed because army schedules may change. The officer also said that he would go up to the range himself the following week with a GPS to check that the confluence is in a safe area, and that confluence photos would not reveal anything sensitive.
In a subsequent telephone conversation on 14 August, the disappointing news was relayed to my father that permission to visit the range was regrettably denied, because the confluence is located right in the middle of a large impact area containing unexploded ordnance.
On 20 October, during my visit to Hobart, my father and I paid a courtesy call on the Army at the Anglesea Barracks, thanking the officer concerned for the time he'd taken to assess the possibility of our visiting the confluence, even though it eventually transpired that such a visit was out of the question. It was confirmed that the impact zone is indeed large, covering much of the northern half of the range, and extending all the way to the beach, leaving the closest possible safe approach still several hundred metres short of the confluence. This situation is likely to remain unchanged for quite some time to come.