Forest red gum

Eucalyptus tereticornis

Elizabeth Bay House

Wild walks

In 1829 Fanny Macleay described her father’s garden estate on the shores of Sydney Harbour to her brother William.

Elizabeth Bay is improving in beauty every day,

she wrote ‘– we now have some beautiful walks thro the bush’.

The eucalypt bushland that fringed Colonial Secretary Alexander Macleay’s 54-acre (almost 22-hectare) grant at Elizabeth Bay appealed to the early 19th-century taste for the artfully rustic style known as the ‘picturesque’. The colony’s first landscape gardener of note, Thomas Shepherd, praised Macleay for having preserved his estate’s native trees and shrubs, and urged other colonists to do the same, writing that he had ‘never suffered any tree to be destroyed, until he saw distinctly the necessity for doing so’ (Lectures on landscape gardening in Australia, 1836).

Published on 

Florilegium plants

Browse all
Florilegium plants

A gathering of flowers: the Florilegium collection

Finely detailed botanical artworks reveal the range of plants introduced to Sydney’s gardens over the past 200 years

Florilegium plants

Blue ginger

Blue ginger was one of many hundreds of exotic plants William Macarthur grew at the family estate at Camden Park, where he established a nursery

Florilegium plants

Bunya pine

Owners of large 19th-century estates often planted tall trees around the house or homestead so they could orient themselves from the surrounding area

Florilegium plants

Camellia japonica 'Cleopatra'

Vaucluse House has a significant collection of historic camellia cultivars, some of them dating back to the mid-1800s