26-Dec-2003 -- Map: NATMAP SI 5406 - Chowilla
The mid north and the eastern Pastoral Districts of South Australia were hot on Christmas Day, 2003. It was the eve for our planned first attempt at a degree of confluence. Waiting for the televised weather forecast, we agreed we would go providing the forecast maximum temperature for Boxing Day was below 34°C. We were in luck!
Our target was on the border between the Australian states of South Australia and New South Wales. At that point Longitude 141°South is the dividing line between those two States and it is also a local time zone boundary – clocks are adjusted by 30 minutes. All very arbitrary!
We were on the move by 8am in our 4WD. I had calculated that, providing all the tracks were open, we had 270kms to the confluence point.
Initially we passed through open saltbush and bluebush pastoral country. In this area sheep and few cattle run with kangaroos, emus, and feral goats. We saw them all! As we proceeded east, we left the hills and watched as the passing vegetation increased with good clumps of Mallee and Desert Oak. It was sandier now and at times the sand drifts were across the track. We could identify areas where recent summer thunderstorms had occurred – it was greener and the vegetation, healthier.
As we approached the State border area we were uncertain as to how close to the target spot we would be able to reach in our vehicle and we were prepared to walk if necessary. Most bush tracks no longer cross State boundaries and are defined by being well fenced and closed. This boundary was no exception BUT it did have a border gate! We were now within a couple of kilometres of our destination. Containing our excitement we elected to have lunch first before reconnoitring.
As the vegetation is clearer on the New South Wales side we decided to attempt to approach from that side and then track south. Luck was with us and we were able to drive along the border fence as we approached the degree of confluence.
The area is lightly treed (predominantly Mallee) with the border fence cutting a swathe through the bush in a north south direction. The New South Wales (Loch Lilly Homestead) side of the border has been cleared back for approximately 100 metres. However the remaining vegetation appears to be natural bush with the fallen deadwood allowed to lie where it fell. Being still reasonably close to the middle of the day, and with the air temperature still rising, it was very understandable that we saw no wildlife in the vicinity of the confluence.
At the confluence we checked our GPS and the map, took photos, and congratulated ourselves on our achievement; one which we intend to repeat a few more times. We are smitten with the “bug”!