A group of three mature Maiden’s Gums (Eucalyptus globulus ssp. maidenii), located in the western garden, make a dramatic contribution to the visual and aesthetic quality of this location. These trees are of similar age structure and scale with dimensions of approximately 25 metres in height and 18-22 metres individual canopy spread (1.2-1.4m diameter bases). This is a rare example of a group planting of this species in the City of Sydney.
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).
The Women’s College within the University of Sydney, opened in 1892, was the first university college for women in Australia. The earliest section of the College, designed by the architectural firm of Sulman & Power and completed in 1894, is a fine example of an institutional building in the ‘Federation Free Classical’ style of architecture. This original wing of the college exhibits a high quality of workmanship and retains the intended relationship with its terraced landscape. It is scheduled on the NSW State Heritage Register and City of Sydney Local Environmental Plan 2012.
Substantial additions to the original College throughout the twentieth century demonstrate the growth of the institution, changing architectural styles, social mores and teaching requirements. The Women’s College was built on a treeless paddock immediately to the west of St Paul’s College. Although the site had a frontage to Carillon Avenue the building with its main axis at right angles to the street, facing west towards St Andrew’s College. The original entry road from Carillon Avenue was a gravel driveway terminating in a circular turning area outside the front steps. This has now been replaced by a bitumen roadway. The Langley wing & connecting walkway, the Menzies Common Room and an addition to the dining hall was undertaken 1965-1969.
The grounds of the main building comprise three (of the original four) distinct levels with steep, grass embankments in between that were constructed in 1893 and which formed the most significant feature within the original landscaping. These embankments, combined with the layout and design of the building facilitated the passive cooling of the building by cross ventilation, a feature characteristic of the work of Sulman and Power. From the 1890’s, when many plants were donated by well wishers, the gardens developed through to the 1940’s reflecting a gardenesque landscape more commonly seen in grand residential properties. The existing garden bed at the base of the upper embankment includes small flowering trees and shrubs: crab apples, cherry, azaleas and assorted annuals. Today, the mature trees around the north, east and west boundaries enhance the sense of enclosure and privacy within the College grounds.
The age of these trees is unclear. The campus appears to have had many overlays of landscaping. The 1943 aerial photo of the campus show numerous mature trees surrounding the College. The existing trees in this location in 1943 were likely removed to facilitate the construction of the northern Langley Wing and connecting walkway in 1965-69 and the scheduled trees are probably from this period.