Fig-fi-fo-fum: saying goodbye to the Port Jackson Figs

New leaf to be turned on university avenue.

Port Jackson Figs being planted in the 1850s.

Three Port Jackson Fig trees outside Fisher Library are to be removed on Saturday 30 October due to poor health.

Despite the best efforts of the Open Spaces team, the Port Jackson Figs have been in decline for several years. The trees have been deemed a serious risk to the safety of staff and students, as they are likely to fall. 

After intensive inquiries into the condition of the trees, the University has found that recovery is not possible and they are in their last stages of life.

The figs were planted in the mid-1850s as part of the original avenue plantings that stretch from Victoria Park to University Place, and were raised in a nursery where the Veterinary precinct now stands. Endemic to Eastern Australia, the Port Jackson Fig typically grows in rock crevices. Unlike most other trees, their flower grows inside the fruit, and is pollinated by native wasps. 

The trees lived a happy and healthy life, living well past the typical expectancy of a century.

Yet grief has bled into the community like roots that take to native soil. “They did everything they could, but I will still dearly miss such a beautiful tree, as I’m sure all Sydney Uni students will,” said student Leah Bruce. 

A specialist grower has hand-selected three replacement fig trees which will be planted in the coming weeks.