The Sydney Boys High School and Sydney Girls High School are located between Cleveland Street and Anzac Parade, Moore Park. They share a common boundary and a remnant collection of significant trees which are associated with the former site (including the bear pit) of the Moore Park Zoological Gardens.
The site contains an extraordinary range of botanical specimens, arranged in a very eclectic style, typical of the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. The broad range of specimens, particularly the native rainforest components, the massive figs and emergent Araucaria spp., the exotic palms (Phoenix spp. and Washingtonia spp.) and mixed deciduous and evergreen Oaks (Quercus spp.) have associations with Charles Moore and J H Maiden (Directors, Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens). The native rainforest components include Moreton Bay Figs (Ficus macrophylla), Port Jackson Figs (Ficus rubiginosa f. glabrescens), Silky Oak (Grevillea robusta), Blackbean (Castanospermum australe), and Cabbage Palms (Livistona australis).
Group A – Stadium area and carpark.
This portion of Sydney Boys High School contains (1) Moreton Bay Fig (Ficus macrophylla) and (1) American Cotton Palm (Washingtonia filifera)
Group B – Lower gardens / north-eastern boundary
This part of the site contains (1) Canary Island Date Palm (Phoenix canariensis), (4) American Cotton Palms (Washingtonia filifera) and (4) Washington Palms (Washingtonia robusta), (1) London Plane (Platanus acerifolia), (1) English Oak (Quercus robur), (1) Port Jackson Figs (Ficus rubiginosa f. glabrescens), (1) Silky Oak (Grevillea robusta), (1) Blackbean (Castanospermum australe), (1) Peppercorn Tree (Schinus areira) and (1) Swamp Mahogany (Eucalyptus robusta).
Group C – north-east area adjacent Anzac Parade.
The upper north-eastern portion of Sydney Boys High School contains (11) specimens planted as individuals and a row of the native Moreton Bay Fig (Ficus macrophylla). These are all substantial trees (up to 22 metres in height/ 25-35 metres in canopy spread and up to 3.5m base diameter). These figs are visually part of the broader Moore Park and Anzac Parade collection.
Group D – Sydney Girls High (west of Doreen Wane Building and courtyards near Cleveland Street)
Two other specimen Port Jackson Figs (Ficus rubiginosa f. glabrescens), located in the grounds of Sydney Girls High School are of similar scale and impact (16-20 metres in height/ 20-28 metres canopy spread and 1.8-2.5m diameter bases). The mixed palm collection also includes some outstanding specimen (2) American Cotton Palms (Washingtonia filifera) and (2) Washington Palms (Washingtonia robusta). One of the American Cotton Palms is a curious botanical specimen. It must have been damaged while young and has grown into a curious ‘L-shape’ with a massive arching trunk. There are also (4) Moreton Bay Figs (Ficus macrophylla) and (1) Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterphylla) in this area.
Group E – Sydney Girls High (South-east corner)
This area contains (1) Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterphylla) and (1) Silky Oak (Grevillea robusta).
The Sydney Boys High School Group, Sydney Girls High School Group and Zoological Remnants Conservation Area are scheduled in the City of Sydney Local Environmental Plan 2012. A photograph taken in 1912 from the top of a set of curved steps (linking to Anzac Parade) shows the establishing gardens. Many of the garden elements shown in the photograph are still present on the site and form an important part of the existing collection of significant trees. These elements include the curved steps, an immature London Plane (right foreground – now an impressive tree) and mixed palms including Washingtonia spp. and Phoenix spp. (centre right and background) (Refer to Figure 24.6.2).
In 1879, the newly formed Zoological Society of NSW acquired 7 acres in Moore Park in a location known as “Billy Goat Swamp” for the purposes of establishing a Zoological Garden. The site was enlarged to 12 acres in 1881 and the zoological collection housed at the Botanic Gardens was relocated to Moore Park in 1883. The zoo was opened in 1884. It was enlarged again to 15 acres in 1905 but was finally moved to its current location in Mosman in 1916 (Development Master Plan Taronga Zoo, Public Works Dept. of NSW, 1989).