Black-grey to 60mm tall and 10mm wide tapered cylindrical fungus. (These ones are fairly dry)
Wet forests on rotting barkless log.
Maybe ugly but fascinating Xylaria castorea is distinguishable from Xylaria polymorpha (the northern hemisphere version) by microscopic examination of the spores. It seems possible that in Australia and NZ it has often been misidentified. http://www.elfram.com/fungi/fungi_u/xylp... Thanks Clive and Bill. Also known as 'Dead Mans Fingers'.