These two White Poplars (Populus alba var. pyramidalis), located within a paved areas immediately flanking the Cenotaph in the centre of Martin Place between George Street and Pitt Street, are 15-16 metres in height and 5-6 metres in canopy spread.
The Cenotaph is of State historical significance. These trees as an integral element in the context of the Cenotaph, have significance in terms of their commemorative, social, aesthetic, and historic values. Together they dramatically and symbolically support the Memorial and have visual impact within this busy pedestrian precinct.
The Cenotaph is of State historical significance for its embodiment of collective grief at the loss of life by Australian servicemen in World War I. It is also of historical significance to the State for its role in inaugurating the ‘Dawn Service’ on Anzac Day in 1929, the year it was opened, a tradition now observed on Anzac Day throughout Australia.
Unlike most other war memorials in Australia, the Cenotaph, meaning ’empty tomb’, does not name individuals, but instead mourns and commemorates the communal sacrifice of lives lost at war. This makes it both representative and rare as a war memorial. Martin Place was converted into a pedestrian plaza from the 1960’s onwards.
Poplars have been commonly associated with commemorative plantings of WWI memorials. Articles describe the Poplars present with the Memorial since 1939. These specimens are likely to be replacement plantings of the original trees planted post WWI and are believed to date from the 1980’s. They have commemorative and historic significance.