Fabulous Fungi and Other Treats at Denmark Hill, Ipswich

If we collect moments rather than things, these are ours to keep. ”

– Ann Brasco

While pondering this blog post the word “change” sprang to mind. Change can happen gradually, rapidly or not seem to happen at all.

Denmark Hill in Ipswich, near Brisbane has an interesting history. For thousands of years Indigenous people inhabited and cared for the area and the local landscape remained relatively unchanged.

Europeans arrived in the 1800s and within 150 years major transformations had taken place. Coal seams were discovered in the early 1900s at Denmark Hill and a maze of mining tunnels was constructed underneath. The mines operated from 1912 to 1952 after which they were sealed and closed. The area is now a residential suburb and conservation estate where people can exercise, picnic and experience nature.

While the estate only has 2.4 km of easy to moderate walking circuits, it has a few extra features to draw visitors.

The hill has attracted scientific attention due to the large numbers of Triassic fossils discovered during the mining process. There are replica examples and information boards for visitors to view  at a pavilion along the Triassic circuit.

A large water tower gives views of the surrounding city, and mountain ranges.

Denmark Hill Water Tower

Denmark Hill Water Tower

View from Ipswich Water Tower

I enjoyed a sunset from the tower a few years ago and captured a few images of the rapidly changing light conditions.

Sunset Ipswich Water Tower 4

Sunset Ipswich Water Tower

Sunset Ipswich water Tower2

On Quarry Street sits the imposing Gooloowan House, a Victorian mansion built for well-known Ipswich businessman, Benjamin Cribb, in 1864. Apart from some exterior rendering of the brickwork, the building is largely unchanged.

Gooloowan HouseGooloowan House Sign

On my  return at Easter, recent wet weather had transformed the usually dry, rocky bushland into a misty, dripping forest and a mycologist’s delight. Rain brightened tree trunks and created unusual, startling patterns.

Denmark Hill tree patterns

Denmark Hill striped tree

spotty trunk

tree patterns 2

spotty bark

A variety of colourful fungi, some of which I’d never seen before got my heart rate going. Blogging friend, Dayna, once again came to the rescue with help identifying them. We are waiting on more information before I add the species names to the blog. If there are any experts out there who can positively identify them in the meantime, feel free to comment.

orange fungi Denmark Hill



tongue fungus

purple mushrooms

2 purple fungi small

dark purple mushrooms

white fungi on trunk2



brown mushroom

brown fungi

Since my previous visit, the trees have grown considerably, providing more shade to walkers. There was a proliferation of vines climbing over tree trunks as well.

Tree covered in vines Denmark Hill

tree trunk with leaves Denmark Hill

As the forest continues to regenerate, I hope it will provide homes to numerous birds, reptiles and mammals. I haven’t seen many birds on my walks there so far. Here’s a kookaburra that mocked me with laughter from my previous visit. A greedy crow and a few rainbow lorikeets were about this time.

kookaburra Denmark Hill

rainbow lorikeet

There was also the usual warning sign about magpie breeding season.

beware of the magpies Denmark Hill

I found this empty cicada shell on a colourful trunk along with some other insect activity. Apart from the voracious hordes of mosquitoes and a few spiders, I didn’t observe many insects. The area is bordered by housing and I suspect the presence of feral cats has a great impact on the wildlife population. Once again, let me say I appreciate cats. They are amazing predators and great companions. However, they cause devastation to and have contributed to the extinction of many fragile native species in Australia.

cicada and moth

The water-filled quarry was covered in water lilies as usual, but the water dragons I expect to see in such areas were missing.

Water lillies Denmark Hill

Denmark Hill quarry pond

Here I am a few years ago on my visit with my daughter examining the cliff walls at the quarry. From a viewing platform further along, a black line can be seen on the cliff walls, indicating a coal seam.

coal seam

Denmark Hill cliffs

And more pictures of the regenerating bushland…

Denmark Hill forest 2

Denmark Hill trees

Until writing this post I had no idea that the well-known Australian poet, Thomas Shapcott, grew up in the area and wrote a poem titled, Denmark Hill. I can’t share it on my blog due to copyright restrictions but it is worth a read. The place obviously evoked many emotions for him and encompasses the theme of change and how a place can be viewed differently.

Changes, good and bad happen to our landscape. Few things stay the same forever. As this graffiti on the tower wall states, “Such is life.”

such is life

Within a few days these words were painted over. Some things are ephemeral. Other things like our memories and relationships can sometimes last a lifetime.

For more detailed information about the location, history, wildlife, trails and facilities read the council brochure.

64 thoughts on “Fabulous Fungi and Other Treats at Denmark Hill, Ipswich

    • Sorry, Dayna! I thought I had given you all of them. That’s my old brain for you. Feel free to have fun with them! 🙂 Also, if you want to list them all in order for me that might help me. Going back over the twitter messages might be a little confusing for my addled mind. Thanks! 🙂

  1. Addled? Hahaha! I should make proper notes, myself! But mind you – I’m not sure whether I’m right or not. Maybe one of your other followers will tell us 🙂

    • Some of the bloggers who follow me are fungi lovers so it’s possible they might suggest things. I’m starting to get very confused by the process. They are much, much trickier than I first thought! 🙂

      • Ok, so my best GUESSES are (at this point in time, at least):
        1. Two bright orange mushrooms => Cortinarius sinapicolor
        2. Red stinkhorn => Phallus rubicundus
        3. Burnt-looking bracket fungi on tree trunk => Laetiporus portentosus
        4-6. Pink & purple matt/’furry’ caps with slender dark stems =>Marasmius alveolaris
        7. White ball => (Not sure)
        8. White ‘umbrella’ shaped mushroom with brown snottier (umbo) => Leucoagaricus ooliekirrus (various options previously discussed with Jane on Twitter)
        9. Shiny caramel striped mushroom => (Not sure)
        10. Cluster of bracket fungi => Young examples of L. portentosus?

  2. Jane, this is an interesting story. The fungi are beautiful in their shape and colour though I can not help you with their names.
    I like your experience of the trees that has grown taller providing shade for the sun. It fills me with joy when I return to a special place in nature and the area has improved. Sometimes with a little help from humans or more often by itself.
    Thank you for your inspiring words and pictures ❤

    • Hi Hanna,
      I’m glad you appreciate fungi pictures. Not everyone likes them as much as me.
      Yes, it is wonderful to return to a place and find the area has regenerated well. By taking pictures on my walks I am able to compare these changes. It is surprising how much I forget.
      Thank you for reading and for your encouragement and kind comments. I hope you have a lovely week. 🙂

  3. Beautiful post Jane, love the fungi pics and the tree bark, you have a similar love to mine. I love photographing the things that others often do not see, the often unnoticed beauty.

    • Thank you for the lovely comments! I walk more slowly these days, so I tend to notice the little things more. I’ve learnt to slow down and just enjoy my surroundings rather than rush from A to B. There is so much beauty out there to discover and wonder at. Writing a blog has helped in that regard as I am looking for things to share with others. Thank you for reading and commenting. Have a lovely week! 🙂

  4. What a wealth of things to see, I loved the patterns on the bark, the views you took from the water tower and the rainbow lorikeet which I remember fondly from visits to friends in Sydney.

    • Thank you, Susan! On my previous walks at Denmark Hill the bush tended to look a little grey and colourless. The rain brightened up the tree trunks in quite a dramatic way. Rainbow lorikeets often visit my yard, sometimes in large numbers. I’ve been told our Ipswich is a big contrast to Ipswich in England! 🙂

  5. Thank you for another lovely post..I love how this park is right in the centre of town! The vine is unfortunately cat’s claw creeper, a noxious weed. It’s a nasty thing, you can recognise it by the the little 3-pronged ‘claws’ it uses to climb trees.

    • Thanks, Manu! Yes, I wondered what the vine was and thought it was probably a noxious weed. I expect the council will do some cleaning up of it when they have time. The lantana seems to have been controlled since I was there last. It seems one weed goes only to have another takes its place! Yes, it’s handy that Denmark Hill is very close to Ipswich CBD. Thanks for reading and identifying the vine. 🙂

    • Thanks, Paula! I’m glad you enjoyed the fungi and tree trunk pics. It was only a short walk and in the rain, but I really enjoyed it. Well, apart from the hordes of mosquitoes! I hope you’re enjoying the weekend. 🙂

    • Thanks! I’m glad you liked them. I wasn’t expected to find so many, or any actually, so it was a nice surprise. Happy adventuring! 🙂

  6. A beautiful post Jane! I love all the pictures, the details and the colours are stunning. I had no idea there were bright purple (I would almost call them pink!) mushrooms out there. Do you know anything about why it was called Denmark Hill? With reading your introduction on Europeans arriving my guess would be this area having a high danish population 100-ish years ago.

    • Thank you for reading and for the lovely feedback. I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures. That was the first time I had ever seen pink and purple mushrooms! Quite startling, aren’t they?
      I think the name may be a reference to Denmark Hill in the UK. There are quite a few places in Ipswich named after places in the UK. I tried searching for the reason why but could only find out about the UK Denmark Hill which was named after the husband of a royal. There is also an Ipswich in the UK. I was hoping for an exciting reference to Denmark, however my conclusions are that it just seems to be a reference to the the UK. I could be wrong though…I often am! There were a large number of Welsh immigrants who came over and worked in the coal mines in the area. There is still a Welsh soccer club and a Welsh United Church still very active today. My next post may be about an actual castle on another hill in Ipswich that I was surprised to find out about recently which had a Welsh name. Much of it finally blew up in an explosion from underground mining activity. I hope all is well with you. Happy travels. 🙂

      • Thanks for the reply Jane. The naming coming from the immigrants from UK does seem like a likely explanation. Looking forward to the next post:)

    • I’ve been complaining for a while how drab ours are in comparison to the ones I’ve seen in overseas blogs, but over Easter I was surprised by the wonderful collection I saw on two walks. I think the right combination of conditions happened. Most of the time I only see dull grey, brown or white ones here. I went back a week later to try to get more photos for identification purposes and the colourful ones had gone of course. Thank you for reading and commenting. I hope you have some lovely weather for cycling and walking. I have come to expect sudden changes of weather in your part of the world! 🙂

  7. Huge variety of colours in your fungi – I’m guessing that they are all devastatingly poisonous 🙂 The wierd thing with these photos is that the wide angle forest shots could be from the UK, it’s only when one looks at the detail, like the bark colours that it becomes apparent that this is somewhere else entirely! 🙂

    • Hi Rob,
      I have no idea how poisonous most of them are but apparently the red stinkhorn has been used in Chinese medicine. The bright coloured ones do make one think “danger” don’t they! I guess the plain white toadstools and puffballs are pretty poisonous too.
      I agree with you about the forest shots sort of looking like the UK. I was thinking that myself. As you say, the details of the bark tell you it’s Australian though. There is actually a lovely region around Boonah not too far from Ipswich that looks like the rolling hills in the UK until you get up really close and see that the trees are acacias or eucalypts. I will share some in a future post. Often settlers named a place after an area in the UK that it reminded them of. Obviously our climate and the actual species are very different though! I can imagine how harsh some of the conditions would have felt for new arrivals. Thanks for reading and commenting, Rob. Looking forward to more tales of your Dartmoor trip. Thigh deep bogs are not part of my experience. 🙂

  8. Wow! It’s too bad that your area is normally so arid, because the colors in the tree bark and fungi were amazing! The trees must get enough moisture though, from the way they are growing they can’t be lacking for water. It’s good to see such a place be allowed to return to nature, we should do more of that with old abandoned mines and factories.

    • Hi Jerry,
      I think because the hill is so rocky it doesn’t retain a great deal of moisture so tends to look very dry most times I visit. On this occasion I was very lucky as we’d had a few good rainy days and it was actually showering on my walk so it looked unusually colourful. Many of our eucalypts are quite good at growing in low moisture areas though. It is surprisingly how quickly they shoot up! Ipswich has had better rainfall years recently which has helped though. There is another hill that I may be writing about next time that used to have a castle on it owned by a coal king of the area many years ago. The hill has many mine shafts underneath it but the local council has bought it and is planning to turn it into a recreation/forest area for people. It’s going to be tricky though as there are open mine shafts that have yet to be filled. I do think it is wonderful to see the transformation back to a more natural environment. Changes, hey… 🙂
      Thanks for reading and commenting, Jerry. Always lovely to read your response. I hope you get a chance to play with your new camera soon! 🙂

    • I’ve never seen such colourful fungi either! Perhaps I never will again. Going there was a spur of the moment decision. It was showering but cool so I thought I would see if I could add something to my limited album of the place. What a surprise it was to me. I’ve been complaining that we only have dull fungi here. Obviously I just haven’t been in the right place at the right time before! Thanks for reading and commenting. I’m really glad you enjoyed the fungi pictures. They aren’t to everyone’s tastes. 😉

  9. What marvelous mushrooms you have! I read your comment over at Jerry’s blog and you have nothing to complain about the quality of your images.

    • Hi Gunta,
      Thanks for reading and adding your kind thoughts! They are pretty special mushrooms. I hope I get to see more kinds. They were very short-lived. I couldn’t see most of them when I returned some days later. I guess that makes them extra special in that they don’t last very long. I’m glad I was there to take pictures so I could share them and remember them. Thanks for the comment about the quality of the images! This old camera is very kind with macro shots, so I tend to take a lot of those. Landscapes are good on a clear day. I have yet to really learn how to change the settings for tricky shots like waterfalls and moving birds and bad light conditions – even after all these years! Lately, I have been trying to make better use of this camera. Sometimes having something not so expensive can help you to learn to make the best use of what you have and it should make me better at being able to use another camera if/when I upgrade ( I hope). Lately I’ve been enjoying this old one a great deal again though. It was originally my son’s but it seems to now be on permanent loan to me… 😉 Looking forward to seeing more of your beautiful pictures and the interesting quotes! 🙂

  10. I’ve never left the continent of North America but have always been curious about the land “Down Under,” including the islands nearby. You are providing a very nice virtual tour. Excellent descriptions and fantastic photos. The mushrooms – love your names. When I was first learning mycology, my mentor led me out to an area filled with mushrooms. He said his favorites were right over there and over there we went. The ground was littered with tiny brown mushrooms. He asked if I’d dare a guess. I meandered through my brain and found nothing. Okay, I give up. Alex said, LBMs. I blindly accept his word and begin to write this in my notebook. He cracked up laughing. LBM = Litte Brown Mushrooms. Ha Ha. The world of fungi does get confusing. Thousands upon thousands exist. One looking much like another. Hence, the development of noting everything about a single individual right down to the spore sample. Guess what? Still an LBM.
    Interesting history of the area and glad to see nature reclaiming its land!

    • Hi Jude!
      I think you’d enjoy exploring Australia. It’s a diverse continent with the outback, deserts, alpine mountains, wilderness coast, different kinds of rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef. It’s the kind of place that really takes a long time to properly see. I’ve only been to two states myself! New Zealand, nearby is a wonderful country that I hope to visit one day.
      Heheh…I’m glad you found the study of fungi complex/confusing as well. Since finding these examples I know a great deal more about all the details I should have recorded at the time. A mirror to take a photo of the gills without disturbing the mushroom is useful and a ruler to record size would have been useful. We often learn from experience and I certainly have a great deal more to learn. I’m looking forward to it.
      Thanks for reading and adding your own experiences by way. I really appreciate the encouragement and information. 🙂

      • I can’t imagine a day where there is nothing to learn.
        Mushrooms are difficult to get to the details of each find but the hunt is fun and their beauty is amazing.
        The field of Lichenometry is even more so. The “professionals” in this world require powerful microscopes for identifcation of the greater population. I know very few exact names. So, I stick with the family name more often than not. These too are beautiful and fun learn about.
        I love an opportunity to visit Australia. It would be a great expense but worth it. Perhaps, I should start saving a bit of $$ every year toward doing it.

        • I enjoy lichen too and hope one day to have some good field-guides to use.
          Australia is a great place to visit but unfortunately the cost of accommodation and flights is high. I know cycling tourers who have spent most of their time wild camping which saves a great deal of money (WorldBiking blog). I think if you didn’t have much time available, New Zealand would probably be a good alternative as it has an amazing variety of scenery but within a smaller area so you don’t have to spend as much time and money seeing it all. I hope you do get to visit our country one day. I have yet to travel overseas! Have a great week, Jude. 🙂

  11. Fungi really are amazing! I remember the first time I saw a stinkhorn fungi I thought it looked so bizarre. Great photos and a very interesting post Jane.

    • Thanks, Amanda!
      The stinkhorn was one of the few I had seen before. When I got close I understood why it was named that! I have had them in my yard before but usually the head part is covered in brown slimy goo (the spores). Apparently, the one I saw at Denmark Hill had been washed clean by rain. They are amazing looking things. I only saw my first one in our yard when we moved here so it has taken me over 40 years! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for reading and commenting, Amanda. With the cooler weather I am hoping to get out more soon, but it is hard to find more than one day free at a time to travel. I’d love to venture south and do a walk with you but finding a full day free is proving difficult lately. I hope we can co-ordinate something one day. Would be fun. 🙂

    • I’m glad to read that there are positive changes happening, John. Wishing you all the very best with these happenings. Thank you for being an encouragement to me in my blog writing right from the start. Your kind support has been very much appreciated. I have benefited by the wise words on your Brevity blog! Have a wonderful week. 🙂

    • Thanks, Rob! I’m sure your photographic skills would have produced much better images of the fungi! I wish I’d noted more about their description for identification purposes. Perhaps I will never see these again on a hike. Thanks for reading and commenting. I hope you’ve had a chance to get out for some walks/adventure. The weather is turning chilly finally. Great for energetic wanders. Best wishes! 🙂

  12. Hello Jane. Maybe I’m a weirdo, but when I was looking at the fungi color variations, and the interesting patterns and hues of tree bark, I wondered why we see so little of these “nature” colors in the fabrics of our clothing. I love the colors of nature so very much… yet seldom do we see them reflected in our clothing or homes… well, except paint perhaps. I do see some lovely nature-like color swatches for both interior and exterior painting.

    Ok, what is this Magpie sign all about? We do not have them in our region of the US so I’m not familiar with their habits. I’m bracing myself for the explanation… after reading that blog post of yours about all of the creatures that thrive in your backyard, I am prepared for anything! You must be a fearless woman! 🙂

    • Hi Lori!
      I have just checked your blog and there are THREE posts I have missed so I must comment on them. I check my reader meticulously so I don’t know how this happens. I must check my settings. Perhaps I only receive email notifications and they get lost in spam! I feel terrible. Anyway, back to your comments. It is interesting what you wrote about natural hues in clothing. Perhaps it is that the major department stores buy clothing in bulk from companies that find it cheaper to mass produce certain standard ranges? I sometimes see some lovely colours that people wear. I know there have been some designers in Australia who have tried to use our native bush and wildlife colours. Google Jenny Kee and you will see her vibrant designs. My wardrobe is pretty old and has a lot of farm clothes still but occasionally I am given something pretty (usually by my daughter) that has lovely shades of pink and blue. Perhaps getting the right dyes makes an object more expensive? The colours of nature are certainly more diverse and prettier than most things we make ourselves.
      Here in Australia, magpies in suburban areas can become rather territorial during breeding season. If you are riding and walking in their area they may swoop and peck at your face, head and neck, sometimes causing nasty injuries. When I lived on farms and in the bushland, they didn’t exhibit this behaviour. People think it is due to learned behaviour because of the bad interactions with people and then this may get passed onto generations through learned behaviour. Possibly the more aggressively territorial birds are surviving to breed. It does seem to be the result of them being in more populated areas. Perhaps even the food source or exposure to other chemicals in the environment is contributing too. Anyway, there are numerous things people try to protect themselves. Painted eyes or cable ties poking out from bike helmets (like an echidna) and certain coloured clothes are some things but for some magpies nothing seems to work. So magpie breeding season is not so much fun where I live if you are a cyclist or walker! I once had one swoop on me while cycling down a hill. Its claws got stuck in my hair braid and we were both squawking and panicking!
      Thanks for reading and commenting, especially since I have missed reading your posts! When I checked quickly just now I saw the little squirrel babies again. Looking forward to reading in detail, Squirrel Mother! 🙂

    • Thanks Shanda! I just read your blog post and commented before I received your reply. I am thankful I didn’t catch my son’s flu (so far that is!) I did have a really bad case last time and ended up with pneumonia and then anaemia so I remember how horrid it can be. Please take good care of yourself as you are recovering. Accept help as much as possible. Sometimes we mums can try to do too much when we really need time to rest. I hope you are back to good health soon! Thanks so much for your kind feedback. Hugs for your health! 🙂

  13. Gorgeous pictures as always Jane (I particularly loved the pink fungi and the close up of the waterlily), and a real sense of the place. Thanks!

    • Thanks, Matt! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. The pink fungi really took me by surprise. I am so used to drab ones around my place. To see so many colourful ones in one day really excited me. Thanks for reading and commenting. Lovely to hear from you. I really enjoy your entertaining backyard posts! 🙂

    • Thank you for the “wow” comment! That made me smile! I was very lucky to see such a variety of fungi that day. i don’t know if I will ever see such a collection again. Usually they are quite dull coloured. Have a lovely week and keep sharing your beautiful nature photographs. 🙂

    • Yes, it certainly was a surprising day for me. I have complained about the lack of interesting/colourful fungi here for a while. That post has me having to eat my words! Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

    • Thank you! I’m glad you liked the pictures. I do enjoy finding new fungi. Thanks for reading and commenting. Have a great week! 🙂

    • Hi Marina, I’m pleased you share my passion for photos and fungi. Thanks very much for the kind comment. It’s lovely to hear from you. Best wishes. 🙂

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