About the Arboretum

Unique among campuses in Sydney, the Arboretum combines teaching opportunities in subjects ranging from science and history, to botany and bush tucker, with the simple pleasures of wandering through woodland, lawns, gardens and trails in an urban college setting.

In addition to its value and benefits to University students and staff, the arboretum provides habitat for many native birds and other animals, and is an important asset for the surrounding community.


The Macquarie University Arboretum was officially launched on 10 August 2015 by Dr Tim Entwisle, then Executive Director of the Botanic Gardens Trust in Sydney. The launch was hosted by then Vice Chancellor, Steven Schwartz. Prof Lesley Hughes, Head of Department for Biology, MC'd the event. To commemorate the launch five native trees were planted: four Sydney Peppermint (Eucalyptus piperita) and a Turpentine (Syncarpia glomulifera).

The arboretum is unique in that it is the only arboretum in Sydney located on a university campus. It is also unique in having remnant areas of Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest and Shale Sandstone Transition Forest, two endangered ecological communities under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act, 1995 and the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, 2001.

Brief History

Macquarie University was established in the 1960’s on the site of market gardens. It is adjacent to Christie Park and Lane Cove National Park.  Native vegetation that was retained on site represents four recognised communities: Sydney Sandstone Gully Forest, Shale Sandstone Transition Forest, Sydney Sandstone Ridgetop Woodland and Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest. Some remnant vegetation has continued to flourish on the grounds of the university. Extensive plantings since have included many native trees plus interesting trees from other parts of the world.


The original landscaping plan was developed by Walter (Wally) Abraham, who was appointed as the principal architect-planner for Macquarie University in 1965.

There have been two major, formal plantings on campus. One hundred and twenty Lemon-scented Gums (Corymbia citriodora) were planted in the central courtyard of the university in July 1968. Early in the morning or after rain, the air is filled with the lemon scent of the leaves. 

The second formal planting, the avenue of London Plane Trees (Platanus X hispanica, formerly known as Platanus X hybrida) that extends across campus from east to west, was planted in the late 1960s.  In 2006 the avenue of Plane Trees was renamed “Wally’s Walk” in recognition of Dr Abraham’s contribution.

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