The double row plantation (avenue) of Moreton Bay Figs (Ficus macrophylla), located along the northern boundary adjoining Bridge Road have a broad range of sizes ranging between 10-18 metres in height with a combined canopy of 25-30 metes in diameter extending over the roadway and parkland.
The two Moreton Bay Figs (Ficus macrophylla) near the childrens playgrounds have achieved extraordinary proportions in this protected site (22-25 metres in height, 35 metres individual canopy spread and 2.0-2.5m base diameters). Their massively spreading canopies create a distinctive cloistered landscape character and dramatic sense of place.
The third group of significant trees includes three smaller separate informal rows of Hill’s Weeping Figs (Ficus microcarpa var. hillii) within the fenced boundaries of Wentworth Park Stadium. They measure approximately, height up to 20 metres, canopy spread up to 30 metres and basal trunk diameter up to 2.5 metres. There are two other individual Fig specimens of similar proportions, possibly dating from the early period of planting in the park, in the north-eastern corner of the park on Wattle Street.
In addition to this significant collection of trees, there has been a history of successive planting phases, overlays and accretions within the park, some of which are supportive and consistent with significant tree groups, while others are either neutral to intrusive within the broader park context. The Post War period planting of American Cottonwoods (Populus deltoides), Lombardy Poplars (Populus nigra var. Italica), Kaffir Plum (Harpephyllum caffrum), Hill’s Weeping Figs (Ficus microcarpa var. hillii), Silky Oak (Grevillea robusta), Brush Box (Lophostemon confertus), Tallowwoods (Eucalyptus microcorys) and Peppercorn Trees (Schinus areira) are generally supportive or neutral elements. However, like many of the more recent overlays of scattered generic Eucalyptus spp. and Acacia spp. they tend to lack cohesion and structure.
Wentworth Park is scheduled in the City of Sydney Local Environmental Plan 2012 and classified by the National Trust of Australia (NSW). Wentworth Park, including Wentworth Park Greyhound Racing Stadium, contains three separate groupings of significant trees and two remnant individual specimens. The double row plantation (avenue) of Moreton Bay Figs (Ficus macrophylla), located along the northern boundary adjoining Bridge Road, is an outstanding example of the stylistic approach and influence of Charles Moore (Director, Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens 1848-1896).
The southern portion of the park, near the children’s playground, contains, two Moreton Bay Figs, of particular significance at the local level and City/ LGA level in terms of the broader park context. The third group of significant trees includes three smaller separate informal rows of Hill’s Weeping Figs (Ficus microcarpa var. hillii) associated with the Greyhound Racing Stadium.
The Wentworth Park area was originally the swampy mouth of the creek variously known as Black Wattle or Blackwattle Creek.
Between the 1830’s and 1860 various noxious industries were established along the shore, including in particular abattoirs and boiling down works. The pollution from these works so polluted the swamp that, even after the removal of these establishments from the area in 1860, the local council lobbied to have the area filled in because of the stench that continued to arise from the water and mud.Filling the creek and head of the swamp commenced in 1876 and continued until 1880. Silt dredged from the harbour was used to carry out the process and numerous sea walls and dykes were constructed as part of the programme. When the area was filled trustees were appointed to manage the new park and a competition was announced to design the new facility. By 1882 ovals, greens, paths, lakes and other facilities were completed, and the park was named after NSW statesman William Charles Wentworth (1790-1872).
During the 1880’s and 1890’s the park came to serve as a focus for community activities including concerts, celebrations, moving picture shows and in particular sport. The early years of the twentieth century saw the removal of the lakes, and the establishment of a kindergarten in 1914.
During World War 1 a large number of timber sheds were erected on the northern sports ground to store wool for the war effort. These sheds remained for some years after the end of the war. In 1919 the high-level railway viaduct was built, which now carries the Central to Lilyfield light rail.
In October 1932 greyhound racing began in the park and as time went on the dog racing facilities grew to dominate the park.
During World War 2 the American troops established a large camp in Wentworth Park and more wool stores were built, although these were eventually demolished in the 1950’s. (http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/ AboutSydney/ HistoryAndArchives/ SydneyHistory/ ParksHistory/ WentworthPark.asp accessed 22/1112)
The double row plantation (avenue) of Moreton Bay Figs (Ficus macrophylla), located along the northern boundary adjoining Bridge Road, is an outstanding example of the stylistic approach and influence of Charles Moore (Director, Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens 1848-1896). This plantation displays the typical structured, albeit informally spaced rows of Moreton Bay Figs along the park boundaries. This curtain of evergreen rainforest trees typically encloses broad open lawn areas with groupings of botanical specimens and other park elements (refer to Centennial Parklands – Moore Park listing in this Register). This approach became a defining feature of much of Sydney’s parkland during this period. Aerial photos of the park from 1943 illustrate that this avenue was well established and therefore dates from 1890 or the early 1900’s.
In the southern portion of the park, near the children’s playground the two Moreton Bay Figs (Ficus macrophylla) are outstanding examples of this species. The western fig, in particular, is a distinctive specimen displaying a very large, and low lateral branching pattern with extensive aerial roots – which are characteristic of the F. macrophylla occurring on Lord Howe Island. On Charles Moore’s first visit to Lord Howe Island in 1869 he believed this fig to be a separate species (Cook, Kentia Palms in California, p.405). These too also would also likely date from the late 1880’s.
During WWII the park was dominated by the temporary sheds and stores and very little planting was evident around the park apart from the trees already mentioned. A small building and fenced yard is visible in the 1943 aerial photos in the far north east corner of the park at the corner of Bridge Road and Wattle Street. There are young trees that correlate to the Hill’s Weeping Fig (Ficus microcarpa var. hillii) and Moreton Bay Fig (Ficus macrophylla) on this corner. They would therefore predate the third group of significant trees which includes three separate informal rows of Hill’s Weeping Figs (Ficus microcarpa var. hillii) within the fenced boundaries of Wentworth Park Stadium. They were established in a later planting phase during the Post War period and are visible as young trees in photos from the 1960’s.
A River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis), of substantial size is located in the south-west corner of the park. No trees were visible in this part of the park in 1960 photos nor the 1943 aerial. This tree is therefore assumed to be no older than late 1960’s and is not considered significant.