Our attempt on this confluence began a few months ago when I first heard about the Degree Confluence Project. Checking the map of unvisited confluences within our home state of New South Wales, I was glad to see an unvisited confluence relatively close to the town of Cobar. I have several relatives, both living and deceased, in the town and could immediately see a double reason for a trip out that way.
Christmas 2007 came and went with a road trip to Melbourne and a return route via central NSW, where we witnessed first hand the results of the welcome summer rains. On return home to Newcastle, I noticed that there had been quite a spectacular unsuccessful attempt on the confluence as a result of the same summer rains, and I determined to visit the area as soon as possible.
A careful check of topographical maps of the area indicated that the confluence may have been located within the boundaries of Gidgee Station and I speculatively sent a letter addressed to the Manager. Shortly thereafter I received a telephone call from Gidgee Station and they informed me that they believed that the confluence was probably located on an adjacent station known as “Cudgaree”, for which they kindly supplied contact details. I rewrote and re-addressed my introductory, explanatory letter and once again waited.
Shortly thereafter I received a very welcoming response via email from Lindsay and Margaret of Cudgaree who assured us that we would be welcome to visit this spot on his property, and we arranged to do so in the first week of the April school holidays.
We decided to approach the confluence via Walgett in order to link up with some friends from there who were heading off on a trip to Broken Hill and beyond, and who more importantly own a four wheel drive which we figured would be handy.
From Walgett it was another 400km to the confluence via Brewarrina and Bourke. Beyond Bourke, the 100km west to Louth was mostly a decent unsealed road, and then we turned south at Louth for the final slightly rougher 33km to the Tundulyah mailbox, where we were to leave the road for the last 35km which we had been warned would take at least an hour. It is worth noting at this stage that whilst it had been raining solidly back home in Newcastle since we had left, the skies out here were wide and blue, the soil red and clouds were few.
Lindsay and Margaret had been accurate in their estimate and indeed the last 35km did take an hour as we crawled across washed out creeks, rode up and down over small sandhills and bounced across the occasional stony ridge, all the time surrounded by low scrub. As we paused and pondered the only significant puddle of water along the track in, another car appeared at the rear of our convoy of two and we met the neighbours Keith and Shirley. Keith had been the bloke who had turned up on the quad bike with his grandsons and made first contact with the previous unsuccessful attempt on the confluence when the police and the ambulance had been unwilling to risk crossing the swollen creek. He was curious to find out more about this “confluence mob”.
The puddle proved to be shallow, with a firm base and consequently no real obstacle, and within a relatively short time we arrived at Lindsay and Margaret’s camp adjacent to shed tank. It was late in the day at this stage, and after a few introductions we set up our camp and got the troops fed. After dinner we discussed the confluence around the fire and scheduled our planned visit for the next morning, but first we would have to check on the pig trap, much to the kids delight!
Confluence Day arrived as another clear and sunny day, and whilst there were no pigs in the trap, we all enjoyed riding around the property in the back of Lindsay’s little white paddock basher. Back at camp, we tooled up for the confluence visit and then finally we were off! Our first stop was to a State Survey Mark that the army had set up a few years previous. Why they came all the way out here to do this is anyone’s guess, but given its relatively close proximity to the actual confluence (approx. 2km) I wonder whether their mark is located on a confluence of a different co-ordinate system? The GPS proved that we were still not on our mark so we all hopped back into the car and headed off towards Ground Zero.
The vegetation in the surrounding country was thin enough so that we were able to weave our way through it as we inched slowly towards our target. Small herds of wild goats fled from the sound of us pushing down the woody weed until finally there we were at last. We parked a little way forward of the spot and walked back to accurately locate it, and with a little tooing and froing we were able to achieve “all zeros”.
Our mission accomplished, it was time for a little celebration and then back to Shed Tank. We spent a few more hours with Margaret and Lindsay, and then it was time to tackle the 35km one hour trip back to the Louth Road. Our two car convoy parted ways here, as we headed south to Cobar and the others headed back to Louth and eventually to Broken Hill and beyond.
Many thanks to the Harvey Clan, Margaret and Lindsay and especially the kids.