The trees are all substantial specimens with heights of 16-19m and spreads of 20-25m. They are located in a raised garden area setback slightly from the street and create a significant contribution to the wider streetscape setting of Macquarie Street and its historic buildings.
There is one remaining Port Jackson Fig (Ficus rubiginosa) to the north and two Hill’s Weeping Figs to the southern end of the Library building.
The mature Port Jackson Fig (Ficus rubiginosa) is likely to date around the 1915 period. The Hill’s Weeping Fig’s are likely to be later plantings.
They have significance due to their association with the State Library and the continuation of the theme of tropical style planting common in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century and are likely to have been associated with J H Maiden Director of the Sydney Botanic Gardens 1896-1924.
These trees are likely to have been planted following the construction of the Mitchell Library, which commenced in 1906. The State Library building is listed on the State Heritage Register and the City of Sydney Local Environmental Plan 2012.
A tree in the area of the figs is visible on a 1930 aerial photograph of Sydney and a photograph from 1932 confirms that there was only one tree in this location (ML GPO 1-21369 Series 6/1932). By 1943 there were three figs along this side of the Mitchell Library and all were flourishing (ML GPO 1-23880).Port Jackson Fig (Ficus rubiginosa) were particularly favoured by J H Maiden Director of the Sydney Botanic Gardens 1896-1924.