This single mature tree planted in the lawn area of a small playground on the corner of Kepos Street and Zamia Street. The canopy extends over the playground and adjoining nature strips and partially over roadway. The root zone is generally contained within the playground and adjoining verges. The tree measures approximately, height 25 metres, canopy spread 18 metres and trunk diameter 1.40 metres at 1.0 metre above the ground. The tree has recently had extensive canopy pruning as the tree has some decay.
The American Cottonwood (Populus deltoides), located within this small playground, is an outstanding specimen and is one of the larger examples of this species in the City of Sydney LGA. This specimen has local significance in terms of its visual, historic and social values.
This site is located within the former boundaries of the J. Baptist and Sons Nursery and market gardens which were established during the late 1830’s. This enterprise covered an area of 36 acres (approx. 14Ha) and included a vast range of commercial nursery stock. A large area was set aside for market gardens, supplying the New Market in George Street (Horticultural Society of Sydney, Vol. 3, 1866). During the late nineteenth century, the nursery and gardens were subdivided for terrace houses. During the early twentieth century, the site was used as the costume storehouse for the J.C. Williamson Theatre Company’s Tivoli Theatre. Mrs Elizabeth McCrae was the wardrobe mistress until the building was destroyed by fire. In 1951, the Council leased the site from the Housing Commission and installed a playground, naming it in honour of Mrs Elizabeth McCrae.
It is believed that this tree may have been planted at the time of the playground construction in 1951 or possibly during the late Inter-War period. The American Cottonwood continued to be a popular exotic, ornamental species used in park layouts during most of the twentieth century and particularly during the Inter-War and Post-War periods.