Channel Country: Bedourie

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Comments (10)

Ian Stehbens on March 4, 2010

LOCATION: This aerial photo of the Channel Country in SW Queensland is looking south towards the township of Bedourie. Bedourie is sited on the left (SE) end of the closer long finger. This finger is an ancient sand dune ridge that extends into the occasionally flooded clay plains that are a mesh of braided river channels. They carry flood waters from North West Queensland towards Lake Eyre.

The braided channels make up the expansive course of the Georgina River and its long annabranch, Eyre Creek. The Diamantina Development Road can be clearly seen wending its way towards Bedourie, along the edge of the low plateau country to the west.

The Diamantina Development Road traverses the Channel Country providing a road link for the trucking of cattle into and from the Channel Country. It links to the railhead at the mining city of Mt Isa in the north, to Quilpie railhead for access to Brisbane in the east. The photo was taken from an altitude of 11kms at: 24° 03'S, 139° 35'E.

SCALE: The finger ridge, at the end of which Bedourie is located, extends 11 kms into the clay plain, and the next ridge extends another 13 kms out onto the plain. Together these ridges run towards an area where the Georgina River and Eyre Creek join once again in order to pass through a constriction on the plain. Beyond the restriction that is clearly evident in this photo, the river then spills in to a structural depression that contains a set of lakes and waterholes Lake Machattie and Koolivoo Waterhole. The lakes are evident in the top right corner of the photo.

As I make this entry, the entire clay plains (blue-green in this image) are awash with water. The Georgina is in flood bringing water from the north at the same time as this area has had record 24hr rainfalls this week.

Once the floods receed the lakes and channels will be full and the plains abounding in nutritious grass for cattle, and the low plateaux will also be transformed as the the plants emerge, eventually bursting into vast blankets of colour. The desert is alive. The desert will burst into bloom and the bird and animal populations will explode.

Geerten in Oz on March 4, 2010

This is really phantastic to know. It's not in the news overhere, all the rain. I looked at this country in GE, but this is more realistic! And... the (my) road to Boulia. Thanks


Nick Weall on March 4, 2010

You are to be congratulated and thanked for this splendid series of three Ian ~ in particular for the very informative introduction comments you have taken the trouble to write under every shot ~ So I like the shots and love the text ~ Congratulations Sir ~ all the very best to you from nick

Ian Stehbens on March 4, 2010

Greetings Geerten,

I am very happy to call this 'Geerten's Road to Boulia'. AS I mentioned in an earlier post, it was discovering that you had been on this road that stirred me to upload the set. They had sat dormant in a file for most of a year, because I really wasn't confident that I would be able to locate them accurately on GE - such is the vastness of the interior, as you well know. Added to that, the country changes so much depending on water. Lakes appear and evaporate, the orange turns to red, the yellow to green.

So thank you for the joy of knowing you have been here, and written about it also.

-Next time you pass this way, you will have to walk down to Marduroo Waterhole (billabong), boil the billy, and take a photo for Panoramio!


Ian Stehbens on March 5, 2010

Hello Nick,

Thanks for your appreciation. Having GE available to us has made a world of difference to me. Once images like this were just interesting at the time of the photography, but now they have a life of their own, for I know where they are and exactly what is there. ..not just an interesting pattern out the plane window. Thanks for sharing in this exploration with me... and with Geerten.



Ian Stehbens on March 5, 2010

Hello Geerten and Nick,

Here is a link to my son-in-law's photostream where you can see images of the current floods in St George, SW Queensland, almost as they happen.

Birdsville had its highest on record 24 hr rainfall earlier this week. The entire Sw of Queensland (then the Darling River, with Lake Eyre to fill) is inundated at the moment. The towns of Charleville and Roma are both declared disaster areas.

St George is sitting waiting for the floods to arrive, and they are normally OK, but this flood seems to be going to break all records and so no one is certain just what parts of the town and district will be flooded and how high it will be.

Thanks to Panoramio and Flickr, the Australian press are using Michael's photos in the papers. Two of his photos are in the Brisbane Courier Mail today.


Nick Weall on March 5, 2010

Thanks for the link and extra information ~ Darb my cousin has been having rain for weeks up North West from Mackay and will be crossing this area next year on an epic trip to Western Australia in his trusty Landrover. The water was badly needed though and lets hope it replenishes all the areas that need it ~ it is a harsh tough land ~ Ciao nick

Ian Stehbens on March 5, 2010

Nick, I am sure Darb will thoroughly enjoy his epic. Especially after the current record floods. I wish him well.

My daughter lives in an area that was always regarded as above any flood event, but this flood which should peak Saturday night or Sunday will break all records. The flood risk map produced by the local council indicates that they live just outside - almost on the boundary - of the pink area that is likely to be inundated on present predictions.

They have raised their fridge and freezer and all their furniture. It is sitting on bricks and old tyres, on benches and in the ceiling. The irreplaceable items have been packed ready in case of evacuation.

With the inland floods it is wait and see. Three sub-catchments converge not far north of St George, and 2 of those are in record flood.

This aerial view of the town of St George shows it sitting on the river bank, but it is not until the river rises to 12M that any of the town is affected. My hope is that once the flood is above bank height the vast plain over which it spreads will bear most of any higher flooding. It is a nervous wait.



Geerten in Oz on March 13, 2010

Hello Ian. I have been working on my aireal photo's for days, and I'm happy to say that I, after hours of frustration and then seconds of ultimate joy, have located all but one photo's of my flight from The Alice to Cairns. I have uploaded them to my new account:

more of Geerten


Ian Stehbens on March 13, 2010

I'll be flying to Cairns with you very soon, Geerten. I am glad you have done that!


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  • Uploaded on March 3, 2010
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Ian Stehbens