Forest red gum
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).