Assessment of historic trees at Callan Park

Tree Logic was commissioned to survey another significant site in Sydney, which involved the assessment of historic trees. Tree Logic has previously assessed the trees in Centennial Parklands, the Royal Botanic Gardens and The Domain (in 2006). Tree Logic also assessed the trees at The Rocks and Darling Harbour (in 2007) for the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority. This latest project involved the assessment of approximately 4000 trees at Callan Park, Lilyfield.

Section of former Rozelle Hospital (now University of Sydney College of Arts)

Callan Park is a large tract (approximately 60ha) of state owned public land, which is approximately 4km directly west of Sydney. The site has and continues to be utilised for a variety of purposes, but the most significant role of the site was its association with the Rozelle Psychiatric Hospital (which closed in 2008). The site continues to be utilised for public health purposes and recreational activities, but significant changes might occur on the site as master planning continues (Refer to

Horticulturally, the site has evolved over the last 160 years, seemingly with intensive periods of tree planting at different times. The site has developed a large collection of native and exotic trees, which will require constant and ongoing management. A total of 190 different species were recorded amongst individual trees and tree groups. The 34 most dominant tree species represent 82% of the total trees identified in the survey. The ten most frequently observed species were: 1, Casuarina glauca, 2, Lophostemon confertus, 3, Ficus microcarpa var. hillii, 4, Jacaranda mimosifolia, 5, Populus nigra ‘Italica’, 6, Casuarina cunninghamiana, 7, Corymbia citriodora, 8, Celtis sinensis, 9, Cinnamomum camphora & 10, Erythrina Xsykesii

A large number of significant mature trees and tree groups were observed and assessed throughout the course of the study. I believe that some of the trees would have some significance at a local level, at a state level and some trees may be of interest nationally. A number of the trees assessed during the survey were unusual (to say the least) and this resulted in a few headaches with tree identification. The following table lists some of the species of interest.

Brachychiton XroseusPink Flame Tree
Elaeocarpus kirtoniiSilver Quandong
Flindersia australisAustralian Teak
Cryptomeria japonicaJapanese Cedar
Cephalotaxus fortuneiChinese Plum Yew
Davidsonia pruriensDavidson's Plum
Flindersia schottianaSilver Ash
Corymbia torellianaCadaghi
Glochidion ferdinandiButtonwood
Agathis lanceolataKoghis kauri
Syzygium mooreiCoolamon
Jagera pseudorhusFoambark Tree
Elaeocarpus obovatusHard Quandong
Pinus contortaShore Pine

Callan Park is a valuable historic asset in very many respects. Horticulturally, the site has enormous value for its collection of trees, the variety of species and the way the plants have been arranged throughout the site. It is easy to understand why the community is seeking to preserve the site as open space and recreational pursuits.

There will be significant challenges ahead for those that manage the site and the vegetation on it. Improving access to the site will result in greater numbers of people and traffic. This is likely to trigger a wide range of changes; including the need for improvements to roads, paths and other infrastructure. Developments of this type usually result in some level of threat to existing trees, and these changes will need to be rigorously managed if the site is expected to retain historic trees.

The Callan Park tree assessment was a great project to be involved with and Tree Logic has been fortunate with its involvement with so many historic tree assessments in the broader Sydney area. The process of undertaking assessments of significant trees in mature landscapes, and recommending management strategies, is an ever-increasing aspect of Treelogic’s business. The focus on managing mature trees and landscapes has been a common theme in recent newsletters (see September and December 2010)

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About Stephen

Stephen is the Manager Consulting and a Director of Tree Logic

View all posts by Stephen

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.