31 May 2022
A major visitor upgrade has reactivated a hidden bushland gem in the heart of the Ipswich CBD.
Environment and Sustainability Committee Chairperson Councillor Russell Milligan said about $900,000 of Enviroplan funds had been invested into an upgrade at the Denmark Hill Conservation Reserve.
“The old degraded infrastructure was essentially demolished and replaced with exciting new facilities that celebrate this forested nature reserve,” Cr Milligan said.
“This includes a large disability accessible bridge, a nature-based playground, open grass areas, three shade shelters, barbecue, viewing platforms and upgraded lighting and pathways.”
Division 3 Councillor Andrew Fechner said the upgrade would once again activate this urban bushland area as a place where families can have a picnic and people can take a stroll with their dogs on a lead.
“The fantastic new visitor facilities provide the starting point to explore more than eleven hectares of natural environment in Ipswich Central,” Cr Fechner said.
“Council is planning a series of activations and small events in coming months to entice visitors and groups to enjoy this renewed conservation area – but we encourage everyone to come and explore.”
Division 3 Councillor Marnie Doyle said the site had a strong connection to Traditional Owners and part of the extensive construction project had involved creating cultural totem landscape poles.
“One of the site’s uses was as a high location where Traditional Owners could communicate via smoke signals internally and with others seeking permission to travel through their homelands," Cr Doyle said.
“The totem-style sculpture recognises the connection and importance of this site to Traditional Owners and will be painted in colours reflective of council’s Indigenous Signage Manual.”
Denmark Hill Conservation Reserve has a long and interesting history.
As well as being a site of cultural importance to Traditional Owners it has a prolific history connected to Ipswich’s mining boom.
In 1912 a good coal seem was found and mining started. The coal mine closed about 1950, and the current reserve sits above closed-off mine tunnels and some trails follow the former coal-skip tramway.
In 1890 Denmark Hill gained international fame when insect fossils were found between two seams of coal. Other fossils found on site included ancient cockroaches, beetle, dragonflies and lacewings.
A water reservoir was built on top of Denmark Hill in 1928. During World War II it was painted in camouflage colours as a precaution against air raids. A second reservoir was built in the 1960s. The rooftop observation area is currently closed to the public.
In 1979 Denmark Hill became an environmental park, later termed a conservation park. It is now part of council’s Enviroplan-funded network of conservation estates and reserves.
Many koala families have been spotted over the years, with the reserve featuring a number of gum trees.