Monday, February 22, 2010

Eagle St Fig Trees

Of course, it's not only buildings that provide links to our history. Down in Eagle St there is a reserve, planted with trees, that was specially given to the people of Brisbane by Queen Victoria. On 16th May 1889 Queen Victoria's representative in Queensland, Governor Sir Henry Norman, signed a document that granted a small piece of land at the intersection of Creek, Elizabeth and Eagle Sts to the city as a "reserve for plantation". Brisbane's first superintendent of the Botanical Gardens, Walter Hill, planted three fig trees on the triangular site to provide a place for workers to rest. The trees are still there, fulfilling their original purpose.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

There are some plaques in the reserve - one (below) has a narrative about the history of the site, and the other shows a map of the creek that used to flow past.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

The words on the plaque say:
"The land on which these old fig trees now stand was included in just over ten reserves granted in 1889, by Governor in Chief of the colony of Queensland and its dependencies General Sir Henry Wylie Norman, to the municipal council of North Brisbane.
A freshwater creek originally flowed from Roma Street through the city centre, north of today’s Creek Street, along this site, emptying into the Brisbane River near Charlotte Street. Its course is mapped as accurately as historical information allows on the plaque opposite.
It is said by the late 1820s, the then convict settlement’s wheat fields extended on either side of the creek in this area and that the creek was known as Wheat Creek.
Shipping was the main means of transport, bringing in supplies and immigrants and taking away the produce of the fast developing settlements.
With the decline of shipping as the main form of transport, associated activity in this area of the city decreased.
However, with extensive building development, this area has again returned to prominence, bringing a new commercial heart to the city.
These old fig trees have become a significant part of the environment and are are listed by the National Trust of Queensland and the Australian Heritage Commission."
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)

So, these superb old trees are getting on for 120 years of age. I love looking at them - firstly the leafy canopy, then the powerful trees with their buttressed trunks, and then the prop roots that hold up those massive branches (above). An oasis of calm surrounded by the madness of a modern city - all thanks to Queen Victoria.

Click here for a Google Map.


Warren's Bar


  1. The trees are an important part of the cityscape by themselves, but how much better as a result of the plaque. I hope people stop to read the plaque at least once in their lifetime.

  2. Around 1890 it was enclosed by a stone stormwater drain, elements of which still exist as part of the city's current drainage system.

    1. If you grab a seat on the river side of Customs House you cab still hear it running into the river


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