Sunday, 19 February 2012

By degrees

I can't even remember what I was searching for when I stumbled across the Royal Geographical Society of Queensland's Queensland by Degrees site. And then I spent too much time there. Prompted by the global Degree Confluence Project, Queensland by Degrees aims to summarise the natural, social and cultural histories of each degree square in the state.

There are gems to be found here, even just by clicking at random on the map

From the Lockhardt River (Cape York Peninsula) square:
One of the pioneers of road transport on the Cape is commemorated by a monument outside the Archer River Roadhouse. Thora Daphne 'Toots' Holzheimer was said to have been the first in after the wet season and the last one out at the end of the dry - one of the 'characters' of this remote area.

The plaque on the memorial has the following epitaph:

We have a legend here on the Cape, 
We relied on her to bring our freight. 
When the rain started to ease, 
The dust must fly, 
And Toots was always the first 
To give it a try. 
Over the hills and gullies, 
Her truck started to move, 
With the heat and the flies, 
She always came through. 
She's left us now, 
But her legend lives on. 
So chin up there mate, 
And keep moving on.

Essex Downs in North Central Queensland
The majority of the population live in Richmond which had a population of 554 at the 2006 census. Richmond has a good range of basic services and retail outlets. The Richmond area is rich in fossils and the Richmond Marine Fossil Museum, Kronosaurus Korner, is a popular tourist stop. The replica of the Richmond Pliosaur, a 5 m long marine reptile, is a key attraction.
(And the best known Kronosaurus queenslandicus skeleton is on display at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. Not that there are any hard feelings about it, you understand. From the Australian Museum, Sydney:
The skeleton on display at the MCZ (nicknamed 'Plasterosaurus') is one-third plaster, and liberties have been taken in reconstructing its size. The reconstructed skeleton, although impressive, is 12.8 metres long, about three metres too long. The modeled skeleton took almost thirty years to produce, the original bones having been discovered in 1931.)

Cameron Corner, where the borders of Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia meet:
The corner is named after John Cameron, NSW Geodetic Surveyor, who carried out the survey of the 29th Parallel in 1879-1880...Conditions were very difficult, with flooded rivers and creeks, dense scrub, illness, lack of drinking water, and shortage of grass for the horses in places. Due to a lack of stones at the Corner, it was not possible to build an obelisk. The surveyor placed a post and mound at that point.
Lucky about the post. How cheesed off would you be if you'd done all that work, only to find out you couldn't mark the spot?

And here is 'my' degree square. Somewhat different from the Outback. Still, there's a whole lot of big landscape and open sky to the west and south west that I'd really like to see. Maybe soon.


Bernie H said...

You do find some interesting sites. I took a sneak peek and found it took up an hour of my afternoon. Great stuff!

Snail said...

I was looking at the pics of gibber plains down in the SW and thinking that I'd like to see 'em, but not for long.

The Degree Confluence Project has some interesting images, although not much in the way of local info.