The magnificent Norfolk Pine near the entry to the La Perouse Museum was planted around the 1830s and is believed to be Randwick’s oldest cultivated tree. It is listed in Randwick’s Significant Tree Register
In the 1940s the tree lost its upper half to lightning strike. Around 14 years ago the dying apex of the tree’s crown was removed by arborists from the Royal Botanic Gardens. This allowed for rejuvenation (see photo above taken 2016 compared to photos below (L) taken 2006 and (R) 2002 along with local identity Glen Blaxland.
Norfolk Island pines were fashionable trees in the colony from its earliest years, when Governor Phillip planted one in the garden at first Government House, the site of today’s Museum of Sydney. In 1814 Dr D’Arcy Wentworth donated two trees from his farm at Homebush to Governor Macquarie.
from Tree Register: Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla)
DESCRIPTION OF SCHEDULED TREE SPECIES (2007)
Botanical Name: Araucaria heterophylla
Common Name: Norfolk Island Pine
Significance Attributes: single specimen planting cultural/historic and social aesthetic/visual (local/ parkland and bayside) Origin: ornamental/ cultivated (Norfolk Island)
Location: Last remaining specimen of a group of five pines planted on the La Perouse headland (mulched garden within the lawn area adjacent to La Perouse Museum – formerly La Perouse Cable Station). Extent of Influence: Canopy is contained within these grounds. The root zone is likely to extend to a similar or possibly larger area of influence.
Height: 22 metres
Canopy Spread: 12 metres
Trunk Diameter: 1200mm @ 1.0 metre above ground level
Estimated Age: 160-170 years+
Condition/Health: Although the upper portion of the tree was removed more than 60
years ago, this ageing pine continues to be in reasonably good condition and health with a dense canopy. Notably, the tree has new apical growth.
Management Recommendations: No immediate threats or problems are evident. The tree is well maintained within a mulched garden. For further detailed assessment of health, condition and tree management recommendations, a qualified arborist should be consulted.
STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE
The Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla) has significance at the local and Randwick LGA as an individual specimen in terms of its historic, cultural, aesthetic, visual and social values. This specimen has outstanding representative and rarity values as possibly the oldest cultivated tree in the Randwick LGA. It is believed that this ageing Norfolk Island Pine is the last remaining specimen of a group of five Norfolk Island Pines planted near Macquarie Watchtower during the time of Governor Darling, possibly the 1830s (Blaxland, G., pers. comm. 6.2.06). It was planted on this headland as a navigational aid for shipping. The tall, symmetrical nature of these pines and their distinctive silhouettes established recognisable landmarks in a landscape which was dominated by natural heathland and Banksia scrubs. The Norfolk Island Pine is located within an historically significant area. It is near the landing site of the French scientific expedition led by Jean-Francois de Galaup, Count of Laperouse in 1788. The Macquarie Watchtower was built in the 1820s to monitor activities of smugglers and escaping convicts and later became a customs house and first school in the area. The fortifications at Bare Island were built in 1885 in response to fears of a Russian naval attack. The Norfolk Island Pine pre-dates the construction of the La Perouse Cable Station (built in 1882), now the La Perouse Museum. In the 1940s, the tree lost its top half possibly as a result of damage by lightning strike. The tree was also clipped by a low-flying Catalina seaplane during this period (Blaxland, G., 2006). This Norfolk Island Pine is a visually dominant landscape feature in this prominent elevated location. The pine can be seen from a range of viewpoints around this part of Botany Bay and its foreshores. It makes a significant contribution to the historic and aesthetic quality of the local area. Apart from this European cultural heritage, Botany Bay National Park is rich in Indigenous/Aboriginal cultural heritage, archaeological sites and natural heritage. The national park contains significant endangered ecological communities in this La Perouse area. Other smaller non-contiguous parcels of Botany Bay N.P. include Jennifer Street bushland mapped under the recent draft recommendations for Critical Habitat (refer to mapping – Draft Recommendation for the Identification of Critical Habitat for the Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub
Endangered Ecological Community, Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW), March 2006). These significant bushland areas have been the subject of detailed investigation and documentation and are not included in this Register.