27-Mar-2006 -- We recently returned from a 4 week trip from Brisbane to Central Australia. One of the objectives of the trip was to visit a confluence that had not been visited. In this regard we were lucky to find that there was an unvisited confluence point just west of Thargomindah (NB Spelling mistake of "Thargomindah" on website for this confluence) and about 30km off the highway that we would be travelling on.
We did some research on this location and found that it was located on a property called Orient Station and after some ringing around got hold of a manager on a neighbouring property, the owner of which also owned Orient Station. Contacting the manager of Orient Station directly, proved to be difficult but we were able to gain his approval through the manager of the neighbouring station.
We left Brisbane on our 4 week trip on a Sunday afternoon and drove the 1150km out to Thargomindah all through the Sunday night while the kids slept - this allowed us to make good progress. On Monday morning we arrived at the turnoff to the confluence point and the first thing that struck us about this region was just how bare and desolate it was.
It was clear that this area was suffering badly from the effects of a prolonged drought. The ground was completely devoid of any vegetation. The absence of vegetation revealed a cover of rocks, stones and bull dust. There were a lot of very thirsty looking mulga trees scattered around, particulary along water courses. The land was slightly undulating with numerous little rocky outcrops and hills.
At first we did not believe that there could be any stock in this country but after turning and driving down the station access track we were surprised to find a few cattle scattered about, desperately trying to forage for any feed they could find on the ground or in the trees. We were impressed at the resilience of these beasts as well as that of the humans out here who continued to strive to eke out a lifestyle in this very arid country.
We wondered at the difference good rains would make to this country. We later got an idea of the difference water can make after travelling back home through western Queensland where we were astonished to see how lush and green the country had become after heavy rains 2 weeks earlier. One can only assume that the area around Thargomindah must have been explored and settled at a time of no drought as there would be nothing to entice a settlement the way it looked at the moment.
The track in was a 4WD access road through the property with frequent crossings of dry creek beds and numerous bull dust holes. The absence of any moisture for so long, ensured that there were copious quantities of fine dust waiting to be made air borne by the slightest disturbance. It took us about an hour to travel the 30km along this access road to a point where we where 1.5 km off the confluence point.
On the way, we passed a dam that, surprisingly, was about 30% full of water and was obviously the source of life for this region. Near the dam we saw further, grizzly evidence of the drought with the bones and carcasses of horses and cows strewn about. A stopover to have a walk around quickly revealed how immune flies seemed to be to the drought. Our faces and backs swarmed with flies the moment we stepped out of the vehicles. Constant flapping of the arms and hands in front of the face were not enough to intimidate them from a resting point on our faces. We soon experienced the origins of the term "aussie salute" or "aussie wave" as we tried brush the flies off our faces. It wasn't long before we were clamouring for the sanctuary of an air conditioned vehicle.
Getting to the confluence point itself was no challenge. The openness and flatness of the country enabled us to drive across country, directly to the confluence point. The attached photographs help give an impression of this area and the harsh realities of life on a dry continent.
I'm sure this is one of the more easily accessible confluence points, but none the less, it was an enjoyable experience and start to our holidays.
Many thanks to Sherrylee, Brad, Carolyn and the kids Corbin, Larissa, Boston, Jordan and Semika for "humouring me" on this little trip detour.
Now for another unvisited confluence point ...