This precinct is dominated by a large number of different species of trees and age groups, most of which are Post War period (1940’s to 1960’s) or more recent. Many of these trees are considered to be components of the overall landscape context, however are not considered to be significant. Nevertheless, some specific groups of trees have significance, including a row of four Port Jackson Figs (Ficus rubiginosa f. rubiginosa) on Western Avenue. The Grose Farm Lane group, near Oval No.2, includes a row of seven Hoop Pines (Araucaria cunninghamii), possibly part of an Inter-War period (c.1915-1940) planting phase. These appear as very young plants in the 1943 aerial photos. An earlier planting of a Port Jackson Fig (Ficus rubiginosa f. rubiginosa) near the Chaplaincy appears to date from the 1920’s or 30’s. The Fig near oval 1 is very defoliated and in serious decline.
Two other significant individual specimens occur to the west of the Veterinary Science Building on the lawn area and in the gardens adjoining Parramatta Road near the McMaster Building. These specimens include a large River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) and Lemon-scented Gum (Corymbia citriodora), which possibly date from the late nineteenth to early twentieth century period. Trees in the same locations appear in the 1943 aerial photos of the area and would appear to perhaps date from around the late 1920’s or early 1930’s.
The grounds of the University of Sydney contain an exceptional collection of significant trees, many of which are important elements in association with heritage listed buildings and road precincts. A number of places and items are scheduled on the Register of the National Estate, the State Heritage Register, City of Sydney Local Environmental Plan 2012 and classified by the National Trust of Australia (NSW). At a group level, the significant trees within the University are considered to be one of the City of Sydney’s more important collections in terms of the special combination of aesthetic, scientific, botanic, historic, social and commemorative values.
Many of these trees are of exceptional value, creating landscapes of high visual and aesthetic quality and a unique sense of place. The University’s significant trees are typically associated with the curtilage of historic buildings, building facades, boundaries to colleges and along the campus boundaries, ovals and sportsgrounds, internal roadways and pedestrian walkways, courtyards and a broad range of ancillary spaces. These trees tell the stories and aspirations of people. They also provide historic markers in the landscape, describing the way the campus developed over time and its close links with Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and Victoria Park (refer to other listings in this Register).
A large part of the collection dates from the mid- to late nineteenth century and reflects the eclectic thematic planting styles and various overlays of the period, particularly the influence of Charles Moore (Director, Royal Botanic Gardens 1848-1896) and the Macleay family. These nineteenth century landscapes contained strong structural elements. These trees have created a distinctive sense of place and continue to provide a rich legacy for the current and future generations of Sydney. They included consistent thematic planting palettes, row planting to boundaries, as well as informal clusters and groupings which combined to provide overall consistency, connectivity and integrity. During the Inter-War period (c. 1915-1940), Professor Leslie Wilkinson and Professor E.G. Waterhouse further influenced the landscape character of the University and introduced new elements which have now matured to become significant trees within this context.