The Moore Park Golf Course Clubhouse and car parking area are located on a prominent rise, known as Mt Steele and Mt Rennie. The Clubhouse car parking area and adjoining northern and north-western slope, south of Cleveland Street, contains a large informal group of thirty-one native figs dating from the late-Victorian period.
These trees form a visually significant grouping in the Moore Park landscape and are dominated by Moreton Bay Figs (Ficus macrophylla). They merge with other fig plantations along Cleveland Street to provide a landscape of high aesthetic quality and continuity. Most of these figs range between 12-20 metres in height and up to 25 metres in canopy diameter with variable basal diameters of 0.7-2.0m. The majority of figs appear to be in fair condition. Some individuals are in poor condition. The group includes a single remnant Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla).
The eastern side of the Clubhouse has a formal single row plantation of six Canary Island Date Palms (Phoenix canariensis) dating from the late Inter-War period. These palms appear to be in good condition. They are an important component of the cultural landscape associated with this period of development.
This area also contains a single Moreton Bay Fig (Ficus macrophylla) from an earlier phase of planting. Most of the boundaries and roughs of Moore Park Golf Course have been embellished with successive layering of mixed tree species since the Post-War period, particularly during the Post-War period.
The major species include Hill’s Weeping Figs (Ficus microcarpa var. hillii), Lombardy Poplars (Populus nigra var. Italica), American Cottonwood (Populus deltoides), Brush Box (Lophostemon confertus), Moreton Bay Figs (Ficus macrophylla), Port Jackson Figs (Ficus rubiginosa f. rubiginosa), Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) and Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia). Most of these trees are considered to be supportive components within the broader Moore Park landscape.
Centennial Parklands is scheduled on the State Heritage Register as an urban parkland of State significance. Some historic elements, such as Busby’s Bore (Lachlan Tunnel) are scheduled on the Register of the National Estate. With respect to this Register, the parkland demonstrates an evolution and overlaying of landscape and garden styles ranging from the English landscape school, the Picturesque, Gardenesque, Inter-War period (c.1915-1940) and Post-War period (1940’s-1960’s).
Centennial Parklands, covering an area of more than 360 hectares, is comprised of three major parks – Centennial Park, Moore Park and Queens Park. In 1811, 1000 acres of land was set aside by Governor Lachlan Macquarie as the Second Sydney Common, an area which included the Lachlan Swamps (later linked via Busby’s Bore to provide Sydney’s water supply 1837-1886). In 1866, an area of 378 acres [approx. 149 hectares] of the Sydney Common was dedicated by Sydney City Council as parkland for public recreation to address the needs of a growing population. It was named Moore Park after Charles Moore, Mayor of Sydney (1867-1869) and Director of the Sydney Botanic Gardens (1848-1896). In 1888, Sir Henry Parkes officially opened Centennial Park which marked the centenary of the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove on 26th January 1788. Centennial Park was again the focus for celebrations on 1st January 1901 for the proclamation of the Commonwealth of Australia (inauguration of Federation) and the uniting of the six Australian colonies.
Since 1991, the Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust (CP&MPT) has been responsible for the integrated management of these parks, including Moore Park Public Golf Course and Driving Range, the sports fields, tennis and netball courts and other leisure facilities. The management of Centennial Parklands is guided by a suite of planning documents, including the Conservation Management Plan (CMP) which has been endorsed by the NSW Heritage Council. A detailed study of natural, Indigenous and cultural heritage significance has been prepared in the CMP. Only the portion of Centennial Parklands within the City of Sydney LGA boundary is covered in this Register. This area is described as the Moore Park precinct. Assistance in preparing the 2005 listings was provided by the Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust Director of Park Assets, Ian Innes and the Senior Arborist, Ted Hoare. The NSW Heritage Inventory, Conservation Management Plan (Conybeare Morrison International, In collaboration, 2004) and Centennial Parklands Tree Master Plan (CONTEXT Landscape Design, In collaboration, 2000) were also referenced in the preparation of this Register.
During the latter part of the nineteenth century, Moore Park continued to grow in importance as a focus for public recreation, entertainment and major sporting events. The first known polo game in Australia was played at Moore Park in 1874. In 1879, an initial land grant was established for the development of Moore Park Zoological Gardens, which were opened in 1884 (refer to Sydney Boys High School & Sydney Girls High School listing in this Register). The Royal Agricultural Society (RAS) Showground opened in 1882 and expanded into part of the Rifle Range in 1886. A nine-hole golf course known as the Moore Park Municipal Golf Links opened in 1913. This was later expanded to include 18-holes in 1922 and become the Moore Park Golf Course. The development of a broad range of recreational and entertainment facilities has continued up to the present day.
The Moore Park precinct now includes Moore Park, Moore Park Public Golf Course and Driving Range, ES Marks Athletics Field, Centennial Parklands Equestrian Centre, Fox Studios Australia (former RAS showground site – on lease from the Trust), Aussie Stadium and Sydney Cricket Ground. This area contains an outstanding collection of significant trees. These trees are important historic and cultural landscape elements defining the public spaces – the parkland, pedestrian pathways, heritage listed buildings and road precincts. At a group level, the precinct’s significant trees are considered to be one of the City of Sydney’s most important collections in terms of the special combination of aesthetic, visual, scientific, botanic, historic, social and commemorative values. Within this group level, there are the dominant row plantations as well as a range of smaller clusters and groupings. Within these groups, there are a large number of individual specimens believed to have significance at both the local and broader City of Sydney LGA levels.
Charles Moore’s vision for these parklands, the streetscapes and public recreational spaces together with the work of Joseph Maiden (Director, Sydney Botanic Gardens 1896-1924), James Jones (Head Gardener/ Overseer 1887-89) and William Forsyth have created a lasting legacy for the people of Sydney. The Victorian period public planting schemes have matured to produce landscapes which are dominated by massive native figs, particularly the Moreton Bay Fig (Ficus macrophylla) and Port Jackson Fig (F. rubiginosa). These species have been used predominantly in row plantations along the boundaries to the parkland. Rather than establishing a lineal, formal layout of rigid spacings, these trees were set-out informally in the landscape. They are arranged in a more naturalistic way, stepping backwards and forwards along the boundaries, merging and overlapping with other planted elements and notable specimens. These rows include some other species, including the Deciduous Fig (Ficus superba var. henneana), Small-leaved Fig (Ficus obliqua) and exotics, particularly the hardy Holm Oak (Quercus ilex). Essentially, the large, broadly spreading, evergreen figs remained the tree of choice in these schemes – the quintessential elements in these boundary plantations. This approach can be seen throughout Moore Park.