This Canary Island Date Palm (Phoenix canariensis) is a single exotic specimen planted in the rear garden on the boundary to the right-of-way. The canopy extends over the right-of-way and the root zone would likely cover a similar area. The palm measures approximately a height of twelve metres (clear trunk) with a canopy spread of seven metres. It appears to be in generally good condition and health.
The buildings at the site are scheduled under the State Heritage Register and City of Sydney Local Environmental Plan 2012. This Canary Island Date Palm was nominated by two community groups. The single specimen Canary Island Date Palm (Phoenix canariensis) was probably planted in the late 1800’s and is significant at the City of Sydney LGA level in terms of its visual and historic values.
The cottages at 203-205 Albion Street, Surry Hills demonstrate the development of Surry Hills following the break up of the Palmer Estate in 1814. They survive as examples of the first phase of residential development in the area and belong to an important group of surviving Georgian buildings in Surry Hills. They were a pair of simple cottages built separately in the 1840s and joined to appear as a single building in the 1850’s. (Clive Lucas, Stapleton & Partners 2004/ State Heritage Register).
The exact planting date for this palm is difficult to determine. However it is believed to date from the period between 1850 and 1900, with most of the oldest known plantings of this species in Sydney closer to 1900, associated with the influence of Sydney Botanic Gardens Director J. H. Maiden (1897-1924).
This exotic palm species with its bold accent, dramatic scale, uniform growth pattern and tolerance to drought was highly favoured in formal planting schemes, particularly during the latter part of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This specimen would have been an early introduction. In recent years, this species has been decimated in public parklands due to introduced fungal pathogens in the soil.