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.
I enjoyed a sunset from the tower a few years ago and captured a few images of the rapidly changing light conditions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There was also the usual warning sign about magpie breeding season.
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.
The water-filled quarry was covered in water lilies as usual, but the water dragons I expect to see in such areas were missing.
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.
And more pictures of the regenerating bushland…
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.”
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.