Bruce Dellit’s vision for the Memorial included a still pool bounded by poplars to the north of the building (included for their significant symbolic association with the battles in France and Belgium), and a cascading fountain to the south.
Funding for the construction of the Anzac Memorial was adversley affected by the Great Depression in the early 1930s. In 1934 the building was completed through public subscription, and the Pool of Reflection finished with the assistance of Unemployment Relief Funds.
Twenty-eight Populus nigra “Ítalica” were originally planted in two rows of 14 on either side of the pool. Unfortunately, poplars are not well suited to the location alongside the Pool of Reflection owing to their size, their soil requirements and their propensity to disease. As part of the 2015–16 Pool of Reflection enhancement and associated works, the City of Sydney carried out extensive research and consultation with stakeholders to determine a suitable replacement for the poplars. Tulip trees are similar in form and foliage to poplars and have the same tall, narrow, vertical lines that reflect the landscape of the French and Belgian battlefields.