This single Moreton Bay Fig (Ficus macrophylla) is now enclosed on three sides by a modern day factory/ warehouse building. The tree is still visible to the street along McPherson Lane, but is within in a fenced enclosure.
It is a very large specimen in relatively healthy condition despite the development that has taken place around it. It has a height of 18-20m and a relatively symmetrical canopy spread of approximately 25-30m. Its trunk diameter at one metre above the ground is approximately 2.0 metres.
This Moreton Bay Fig (Ficus macrophylla) is significant for it is the last remaining physical remnant of the former Zetland Lodge, now demolished. It is likely to date from the 1890’s. It is a very large tree, with excellent form and a good example of the species, and is therefore considered visually and historically significant.
In 1874, the Governor of NSW, Sir Hercules Robinson, established Zetland Lodge, a substantial house and training stable set back from the juncture of Bourke and Elizabeth streets. Governor Robinson was a keen horse-racing man and patron of the Australian Jockey Club at Randwick. His racing colours were the Zetland or ‘Aske Hall’ spots, red spots on a white ground. Horse trainer Thomas Lamond made Zetland Lodge into one of the prominent racing stables and was a popular and respected figure in the district. He served as an alderman on Waterloo Municipal Council for 21 years from 1887-1907 and was mayor on four occasions. The Lamonds were still training horses in the area until the 1950’s.
The large Moreton Bay Fig is believed to be part of the early planting associated with Zetland Lodge. Aerial photos of 1943 show the tree at the rear of the stable yards and a significant scale even at this time. Photos from the 1905 Town and Country Journal show trees in this location visible above the roofs. This tree therefore potentially dates from the late 1880’s as the last remnant of Zetland Lodge.