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Eagle Street Fig Trees

Place Details
Place ID 602440
Registration Type State Heritage
Place Name Eagle Street Fig Trees
Alternative Name Fig Tree Reserve
Plantation Reserve
Place Classification Landscape
Place Category Parks / Gardens / Trees
Place Type Tree groups
Themes 6 Building settlements, towns, cities and dwellings / 6.2 Planning and form of settlements
Register Entry Date 13/05/2004

Address 118A Eagle Street
Post Code 4000

Cultural Heritage Significance
Principal Period
of Significance
1889c (historical)
Criterion A The Eagle Street Fig Trees are important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of Queensland's history. The Fig Trees or 'Plantation Reserve' is important because it survives as a remnant of the development of the area during the first half of the nineteenth century. Early photographs of the area show rows of horse and carts lined up to service the wharf area and adjacent warehouses. The area was established as a Reserve in the late 19th Century to provide an area for the carriers to rest and refresh themselves amidst an area of high activity.
Criterion B As a representative of a mid-Victorian era Reserve, the Eagle Street Fig Trees demonstrate rare, uncommon or endangered aspects of Queensland's cultural heritage. Located in a busy trading precinct, the Eagle Street Fig Trees provided workmen with respite from the hectic wharf trading area. The Fig Trees have retained this function in their current setting.
Criterion E The Eagle Street Fig Trees have landmark value at the intersection of several major streets in Brisbane's central business district and provide shade and visual amenity.

History The small triangular reserve at the intersection of Eagle, Elizabeth and Creek Streets was granted to the North Brisbane Municipal Council by Queen Victoria, signed by the Governor of Queensland, Sir Henry Wiley Norman, on 16th May 1889. It was gazetted on 17th May 1889 as, "745 Folio 210 101/11 perches... Reserve for Plantation, urinal etc. only and for no other purpose whatsoever... Rent: 1 peppercorn per year if demanded by the Queen Victoria and her heirs forever. Mineral Rights reserved by the Crown." The land could be resumed if these conditions were not observed. Walter Hill planted the three fig trees located on the site. He was appointed Brisbane's first superintendent of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens in 1855 and remained a key figure in the management of the Gardens until 1881. Public toilets were constructed on the reserve but were removed in the 1970's. The area has been paved and 19th Century reproduction light fittings have been installed, as well as facilities such as garbage containers and seats.

Description The reserve is a triangular island located at the intersection of Eagle, Elizabeth and Creek Streets. The site, consisting of a partially paved and landscaped area, is dominated by the huge fig trees that provide a striking visual effect in the business precinct of the Eagle Street area. The reserve is planted with three fig trees, two White Figs (Ficus virens) and one Banyan Fig (Ficus benghalensis). The branches of the Banyan Figs are supported with prop roots that develop from the aerial roots that are produced to gather moisture from the atmosphere. The White Fig is taller than the Banyan and has pale green foliage which first appears as a shade of pink or bronze. This species is found occurring naturally in Queensland and throughout tropical Asia. There are two interpretive bronze plaques located on site. The first of the bronze plaques is mounted on a small plinth and contains an engraved inscription. The inscription describes the natural features of the site as it was in 1889, the history of the site prior to 1889 and the role it played in the commercial activities of the area. The second plaque contains a map showing the course of the creek that originally flowed through the site.

Element Name Eagle Street Fig Trees
Design Period 1870s - 1890s Late 19th century
Construction Period 1889c - 1889c
Place Components Plaque

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Last updated: 15 March 2013

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