31-Dec-2023 -- Cameron Corner QLD 4492 & NSW 2880
This special confluence has been visited successfully many times in the past since this is a tourist destination despite its relatively remote location. The last time someone posted on DCP was a bit more than 10 years ago and the day we visited was a special day, so here is my report.
The Silver City Highway (B79) of 683 km from Buronga NSW to Warri Gate QLD was sealed entirely by just December 2022. The main section of dirt road we are talking about here is 333 km between Broken Hill and Tibooburra, then 54 km to Queensland border, were completed after 100 years of construction. In the 1920s, travel by cars would take 3 days with multiple bogged times and 8 days if riding camels!
We (I, my wife, my son) decided to go to Cameron Corner for the unique New Year's Eve, where you can celebrate New Year three times in an hour. This peculiar man-made phenomenon was created due to the different in time zones of 3 states where their borders met at Cameron Corner of 29°S 141°E. South Australia uses time zone UTC +9:30 (same as Broken Hill, even though it is a NSW city). New Souths Wales and Queensland both use time zone UTC +10. However, in summertime, NSW changed to UTC +11, and South Australia to UTC +10:30. There you have it, three time zones with one step apart at this ‘’corner’’.
There are other places on Earth, and other corners in Australia that this also happened but as far as I know, the triple boundary points with triple time zones often locates in extremely remote areas with no one around to celebrate. This one is different with Cameron Corner Store, opened in 1990 where you can now buy food, drinks, play golf, stay in a room and watch fireworks at the New Year Party.
After swimming at Broken Hill’s public pool in the morning, we drove smoothly from Broken Hill to Tibooburra in bit more than 3 hours with a 4WD ute. We had lunch at the Family Hotel and checked-in for the room on the opposite side of the street also belonged to the pub. The weather was beautiful at around 33°C which everyone reckons the coolest New Year’s Eve ever (normally around 40-45°C this time of the year).
After a quick nap to recharge for the night, we headed out to Cameron Corner via (obviously named) Cameron Corner Road 142 km. The first left turn at 46 km, then the second left turn at 120 km from town. There is another road if you go straight, 37 km to the Corner. ‘’Obviously’’ everyone picks the 22km road. The first 120 km was not… uhm… too bad but the last 22 km is rough as guts. Ironically, there is a brown traffic sign (for tourists) at the start of The Dunes Scenic Drive: “Tourist drive developed by National Park and Wildlife Service. Speed limit 40 km/h next 22 km” There are a lot of big hills/dunes where you really go up and down, without seeing the other side, the road surface was all corrugated, now we knew why there is the 40 limit! (I still did 60-70 but bumpy). Two hours for the gravel road in Sturt National Park.
We visited the survey marker which was unveiled by the Ministers for Lands from New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia on 6 June 1969 (the plaque said 11th June 1969 though!). The location of the post was determined by surveyor John Brewer Cameron with a zenith telescope and an oval steel wire 2.5 chains long in… 1881! With modern GPS, and using WGS84, I could walk and find the ‘correct’ confluence lying south east of the Dingo Fence, 120 m from the post, on NSW side. The last sunset of the year was slowly disappearing on the horizon.
We waited until midnight while other girls at the store started singing karaoke and all visitors were chatting and drinking. Three new years were celebrated with beautiful fireworks. The store owners even auctioned 3 times the survey post (illegally and jokingly, I supposed) to raise (real) money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service with NSW ($500), SA ($525) and QLD ($802). We drove back to Tibooburra at 1.10 am (NSW time), arrived 3.30 am, without hitting any roo.
This (pretty certainly) is the last confluence visit of 2023 in Australia, if not (possibly) the whole world. Hope that the new year brings peace and happiness for everyone. Happy confluence hunting!