The western garden is still dominated by a large Queensland Kauri Pine (Agathis robusta). This native pine is a highly ornamental rainforest species with a distinctive, broadly spreading canopy. This specimen has achieved substantial proportions and continues to make a dramatic statement despite damage to the crown and decline in vigour. This tree’s overall size, scale and age are exceptional given the difficult conditions of elevated exposure to winds and poor sandstone soils. The Queensland Kauri was a highly valued component of mid- to late nineteenth century gardens. It was often planted with other native Australian rainforest pines, such as the Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla), Hoop Pine (Araucaria cunninghamii) and Bunya Pine (Araucaria bidwillii). This species has also been used extensively as a cabinet, furniture and flooring timber since colonial times. The Tuckeroo (Cupaniopsis anacardioides), a native littoral rainforest species, is the only other remnant tree from this early period of development. Mature specimens of this species are somewhat rare in the City of Sydney LGA, with examples in the Royal Botanic Gardens and Australian Institute of International Affairs, 124 Kent Street, Millers Point (refer to listings in this Register).
The historic residences of ‘Bomera’ & ‘Tarana’ are located in a very prominent, elevated position at the northern end of Potts Point. The estate was originally connected to the harbour. Both ‘Bomera’ & ‘Tarana’ are highly significant as substantially intact examples of a pair of adjacent waterfront Victorian villas and are scheduled on the Register of the National Estate, the State Heritage Register, City of Sydney Local Environmental Plan 2012 and classified by the National Trust of Australia. Both trees have individual significance at the local level in terms of their visual, aesthetic and historic values. Together this collection maintains a distinctive eclectic, rainforest and subtropical theme and is typical of the planting schemes of former large estates throughout the Elizabeth Bay and Potts Point area.
These ‘marine villas’ were constructed in an opulent, Italianate style for two successive generations of the McQuade family. ‘Bomera’ was designed by architect J F Hilly for William McQuade and built in 1856 with later extensions in 1876. By 1858, following successive land purchases in this location, the estate stretched from Wylde Street to Victoria Street, including the harbour foreshores along Woolloomooloo Bay. Harbour reclamation works further increased this land area. The northern portion of the site had extensive gardens and the land immediately to the west served as a kitchen garden. Following the death of William McQuade in 1885, the ‘Bomera’ estate was divided between the family. ‘Tarana’ was built in 1889 for Arthur Frederick Hale McQuade and his family. In 1890, the state government acquired the south-western portion of the estate. By 1910, the entire McQuade property had been acquired by the state government and in 1911 Cowper Wharf Roadway was constructed. With the addition of further road works and later extension of Garden Island Dockyard (1941) the marine villas were effectively isolated from the foreshores. The buildings were used as Naval Fleet Headquarters, Eastern Australian Command, during and after World War II. The Bomera & Tarana precinct still contains sites of archaeological significance relating to the former shoreline and gardens (Freeman, 2000/ NSW State Heritage Register and Australian Heritage Database). The garden remnants of ‘Bomera’ are now much reduced.
Access onto the property was not possible during the course of the study. A deciduous tree, believed to be a Lime or Linden (Tilia sp.), occurs in a small planter adjacent to the driveway of 3 Wylde Street. This specimen, although small in stature, may be of similar age to other early planting on this property. The group of three Washington Palms (Washingtonia robusta) are likely to be later additions, possibly during the Inter-War Period (c. 1915-1940). These palms are considered to be supportive elements in this context.