05-Apr-2005 -- Having made several successful Degree Confluence Point visits in the Murchison area Neil and I worked on a plan to make another visit in the same area after the worst of the summer heat was over. We were pleased to find that CP 26 deg South 118 deg East had not been visited and as it would be the third in a line on the 26th parallel that I had visited this point, located on Moorarie station North West of Meekatharra, was chosen as our objective.
John and Clare Mahoney of Moorarie Station were contacted to obtain their permission to camp on the station and we arranged to meet them to discuss the best way to access the CP.
We left Perth on Sunday 3rd April 2005 equipped with GPS, maps and camping gear for the leisurely drive on the bitumen to Mt Magnet where we stayed the night. The following day after a look around Mt Magnet, Cue and Meekatharra we left the bitumen and headed for Moorarie Station 124 km North West of Meekatharra on the Carnarvon – Meekatharra Road. We set up camp on the South side of the Murchison River a couple of hundred meters East of the homestead on the opposite bank.
Our camp was near the last remaining water hole on that part of the river and we became a bit apprehensive when the station cattle began to drift in to drink. However apart from the occasional stare we were largely ignored as the cattle wandered past within about 20 meters of our camp.
Neil and I called on John and Clare when they returned home after a days mustering. After explaining the Degree Confluence Project and showing them our objective on a map they were able to work out the best route to take via station tracks to allow us to easily get to Toolbar (wind) Mill which we estimated to be about 3 or 4 kilometres from of the CP. Also there was a possibility of being able to follow an old fence line from the mill to get closer to the CP.
After an interesting couple of hours with John and Clare we returned to our camp equipped with a mud map drawn up by John.
Next morning we awoke to drizzly rain and a blustery wind. This put a slight damper on proceedings but after cooking and eating our bacon and eggs under an umbrella the drizzle eased and the wind dried our tents enough to pack up and get going by 0955.
We turned off the main road 9.5 km south east of the Murchison River then followed station tracks working our way in an east south easterly direction until we came to paddock corner 31.8 km from the main road. From there we followed an old unused graded track south 4.1 km to the disused Toolbar Mill. At this point we were 3.56 km from the Confluence point and 45.4 km by road from Moorarie. After checking the possibility of following the old fence line to get closer it was decided the risk of staking a tyre was too high so the decision was to walk. The temperature was 35 C plus but thankfully overcast so we walked steadily with a couple of rests arriving at the CP at 1155.
The CP is located in flat open country sparsely vegetated by stunted Mulga trees. An interesting feature is that the area surrounding the CP and extending back toward Toolbar Mill for approximately 1.5 km is littered with quartz stones but in the immediate area around the Confluence Point there is far fewer of these stones. From the CP there is a clear view of Trilbar Hill approximately 9.5 km to the East. The GPS recorded an altitude of 432 meters at the CP.
By now the clouds had cleared so after taking the necessary photos Neil and I left the CP for the even hotter walk back to the vehicle. We left the Confluence Point at 1230 and arrived back at Toolbar Mill at 1345.
We left Toolbar at 1400 with the idea of a good shower at Authors Mill which was overflowing on the way out but we were disappointed to find no overflow when we arrived so, hot and dirty, we carried on for a late lunch by the waterhole at Moorarie.
After leaving a note advising John and Clare that we were OK and thanking them for their help we went on to the old Police Station and Lockup at Mt Gould for our next camp.