Queensland kauri pine

Agathis robusta

Elizabeth bay House

Silent survivor

A towering old Queensland kauri pine, standing alongside a hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii) between 20th-century apartment blocks in Elizabeth Bay, is likely a survivor from the latter days of the estate established by Colonial Secretary Alexander Macleay, before it was subdivided in 1875 and again in 1882.

The kauri’s journey from the rainforests of Queensland to the garden at Elizabeth Bay illustrates the close links between gentlemen gardeners and the Botanic Garden. The latter’s first kauri grew from seed collected by botanist John Carne Bidwill at Maryborough in 1849 and propagated by horticulturist William Macarthur at Camden Park in NSW. In turn, a kauri (then named Dammara bidwillii) was among a consignment of rainforest trees, palms and conifers – both native and exotic – dispatched from the Botanic Garden to George Macleay, Alexander Macleay’s son, in 1873.

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