To repeat what I sent yesterday to those who had initially expressed
interest in an Outback Twitchathon. This is followed by a reasonable
definition of "The Outback".
I have just spoken with Frances Czwalinna (the coordinator of the NSW
twitchathon for those who don't know her) and she is very enthusiastic
about the concept of a one-off Outback Twitchathon and has volunteered to
organise this nationally. I think she will still need support from other
states for contacts of regular twitchathon teams to canvass their interest
etc. I think most regular twitchathon teams won't be interested in this
event but they should be given the opportunity. On the other hand we could
well pick up people who might not normally take part in the annual
twitchathon. Frances is also liaising with BA head office about having
this event sanctioned for tax exemption etc.
I have also contacted the national Year of the Outback organisers, they
will get back to me in a couple of days about having the event put on their
schedule of events.
At this stage it looks like we might already have two teams in NSW, two in
Victoria and one in South Australia. I'm pretty sure we can get teams from
Queensland and the Northern Territory with a bit of coercive persuasion. I
think ten teams is a reasonable goal.
There has been support for dropping the state boundaries and making this a
national event. Could I ask you to define what you think the boundaries of
the "Outback" (whatever this means) are. In NSW I have drawn a line on the
map that joins Walgett, Warren, Condobolin, Rankin Springs, Hay and the
Murray River at about Tooleybuc. I initially thought Swan Hill but this
resulted in a kink in my beautiful line. What do the Victorians think
about this? Hopefully the Victorians and South Australians can agree on a
common point on that border.
I was originally going for a "no frills" twitchathon but Frances informs me
that she has some "little" prizes left over from this years NSW
twitchathon. Don't get too excited!
Timing? How about the weekend of 20-21 July? I have commitments 3-4 and
10-11 August and then plan to holiday in FNQld for 5 weeks after that. It
also means that we are well away from the October twitchathon for those
that will be doubling up.
It has been suggested that we come up with an arbitrary way of defining
"The Outback". I doubt the Year of the Outback organisers have one. One
suggestion is annual rainfall. However, if we adopted the 250mm isohyte as
suggested then we New South Welshmen will have a hell of a long way to go,
the 250mm isohyte more or less running north from Mildura.
I have located an old reference (Arid Lands of Australia, Slatyer & Perry
1969) that shows the accepted limit of "Arid Australia". While the scale
of the map is not helpful it is superimposed on the 1:250 000 map sheets
which will allow more detailed description of this definition when I get
around to looking at them. Essentially this follows the 10" (250mm)
isohyte in SW West Australia, South Australia and Victoria to Mildura. It
then heads northeast to about the 18" (450mm) isohyte at (a guess) Nyngan
and then north to the 30" (yes 30" or 750mm) isohyte south-west of
Townsville. It then follows the 30" isohyte across northern Australia to
the WA coast. The definition of Arid Australia is complex and takes into
account much more than rainfall.
I think this definition is fair enough (it was designed by some far wiser
than we) and is not open to claims of corruption by twitchathoners.
Incidentally, dropping the state boundaries removes any disadvantage that
the Victorians may face. Yes, I know the South Australians would like to
keep them on the other side of the border (we New South Welshmen feel the
same!) but lets be fair about this.
It would be great to get teams from SW Qld, Mount Isa, Alice Springs and
the Kimberley. Any takers?
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