Old-time photos give a glimpse of history in Ipswich’s conservation areas

Take a look back at how Ipswich's conservation estates have changed over the past 100 years!
09 Aug 2021
Discover Ipswich, Staff Writer

In 1996 a new initiative called Enviroplan was launched by Ipswich City Council to preserve and enhance high-value conservation areas in Ipswich.

Enviroplan celebrates 25 years in 2021, a significant milestone for environmental achievement in Ipswich.

However these natural areas have a long and interesting history. Images of the past, from Picture Ipswich, show how much things have changed in the past 100+ years.

A century of selfies

Couple at White Rock, near Redbank, Ipswich, ca 1920: Ipswich Libraries (spydus.com)

Fashion has changed since the 1920s, but a posed photo at White Rock – Spring Mountain Conservation Estate has never gone out of style.

These days thousands of people visit the Enviroplan estate each month, and it’s one of the city’s most photographed features.

The Traditional Owners request that visitors respect their cultural beliefs and resist the temptation to climb to the summit of White Rock.

A couple at White Rock in recent years.

Group adventures in the great outdoors

Members of Jones family of Oakleigh (house), and friends, preparing for trip home from Spring Mountain, 1920s: Ipswich Libraries (spydus.com)

The famous Jones family of Redbank Plains also liked to scale the rocky terrain and take photos at what is today White Rock – Spring Mountain Conservation Estate.

Nowadays the Enviroplan estate is much more accessible, with established trails and facilities. Guided tours with Experience Nature also provide an insight to this conservation area.

Moonlight hike at White Rock

The best view in town

Ipswich from Denmark Hill postcard, ca. 1906 (1990s): Ipswich Libraries (spydus.com)

Denmark Hill’s history has included mining and fossil-finding, but today the Denmark Hill Conservation Reserve is an Enviroplan wildlife sanctuary in the heart of Ipswich CBD.

One thing hasn’t changed – Denmark Hill is still one of the most spectacular spots for a panoramic view of Ipswich. Landmarks such as St Mary’s Church have stood the test of time over the past 100+ years.

*Note access to the water tower is currently closed.

Denmark Hill Water Tower view today

From eyesore to natural beauty

Haig Street Quarry Bushland Reserve, 39 High Street, Brassall, Ipswich, 1991: Ipswich Libraries (spydus.com)

The former Haig Street Quarry is unrecognisable from its days as a gravel reserve. The area, disused since the 1950s, was handed over to Ipswich City Council for conservation in 1989.

Through Enviroplan, council took a dusty and empty old quarry site and transformed it into a scenic eucalypt forest with tranquil pond. Now it’s the popular Haig Street Quarry Conservation Reserve.

Haig Street Quarry now

Restoring the natural order

Clearing Rosewood Scrub, Ipswich, 1880s: Ipswich Libraries (spydus.com)

As Ipswich and surrounding townships grew during the 1800s and 1900s, significant amounts of natural vegetation were cleared to make way for farming.

Enviroplan has worked hard to restore vegetation in high-value conservation areas. Properties in key strategic areas have been purchased and re-planted, creating vital wildlife areas such as the Flinders – Goolman Conservation Estate.

Clearing does continue in these conservation areas – but today it’s to control invasive and introduced weeds such as Lantana.

Clearing lantana at Flinders - Goolman in the 2020s
Discover Ipswich Staff Writer
Rocky the Rock Wallaby is a Sagittarius who lives at the Ipswich Nature Centre and often contributes to Discover Ipswich in his spare time. When he's not busy showing tourists around, blogging or hanging out with his bestie Milly the Wombat, he likes to hit the gym for a leg session, graze on quinoa salad and ponder the possibilities of the universe.

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