This is a magnificent specimen, achieving outstanding proportions (height and canopy spread) for this species and is amongst the larger examples of this species in the City of Sydney LGA. This tree has a fluid, sculptural form with a sinuous branching pattern, typical of only older specimens. Although growing from within a small garden well below road level, this tree is a visually prominent element in this streetscape.
From is base, well below the adjoining street level it is approximately 20m in height with an asymmetrical canopy spread of 22m. The substantial trunk base is close to an existing stonewall and its diameter is approximately 0.9m at 1m above the ground. The trees trunk has been anchored to the stonewall at some point in recent years with a large steel ring. This ring is now constraining and impacting the trunk of the tree and could lead to premature decline.
This mature Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia) has local significance as an individual tree with aesthetic, visual, historic and social values. It creates a memorable sense of place, reducing the size and scale of adjoining apartment blocks with its massive branches extending over the roadway. It is likely to be an integral element of the original Macleay’s Elizabeth Bay House estate.
Governor Darling granted Colonial Secretary Alexander Macleay 54 acres at Elizabeth Bay in 1826. From 1826-1926 the subject land was part of the Macleay family’s Elizabeth Bay estate garden, in which Alexander built his mansion in the 1830’s to the west. Built well before the house, the estate was widely considered at the time (1820’s onward) as “the finest house and garden in the colony” and had a number of areas, in gardenesque style. This tree is comparable in size to specimens in the Royal Botanic Gardens and is much larger than the well-known specimen planted in 1928 by Professor E.G. Waterhouse in the Main Quadrangle, University of Sydney. It is believed that this tree is a remnant of the Macleay’s Elizabeth Bay House gardens prior to subdivision (1865 to 1882). The Jacaranda would have been located between Elizabeth Bay House and the former stables. An established tree, believed to be a Jacaranda, is evident in the 1943 aerial photographs.
Jacarandas are possibly the most common flowering ornamental tree in the City and suburbs of Sydney. In November each year, these trees burst into massed blossom, making a memorable floral display. From the air, Sydney’s landscape is ablaze of mauve colour. They herald the coming of summer and have a special impact on Sydney’s landscape aesthetic and light quality. This species has been cultivated as an ornamental since at least the middle of the nineteenth century. These trees tend to have significance at the group level as components within broader planting schemes or as avenues. It is unusual for a specimen to be of individual significance.