Chullora Railway Workshops | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Chullora Railway Workshops

Item details

Name of item: Chullora Railway Workshops
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Workshop
Primary address: Beaufort Place, Chullora, NSW 2190
Local govt. area: Bankstown

Boundary:

Two separate curtilages, defined as per curtilage map. Approximate description: Curtilage 1 (north) North: Line along the northern side of Boiler Shop;East: Access road (north off Beaufort Place);South: Property boundary, excluding Building 17 (Stores Building);West: West and north sides of Igloo building, and east of Boiler Shop (excluding sidings).Curtilage 2 (south)North: Property boundary along north side of tank annexe and locomotive workshop;East: Along access road (north off Beaufort Place) and including turntable;South: Property boundary along access road and Worth StreetWest: Access road off Worth Street to south east corner of Tank Annexe, enclosing south and west sides of Tank Annexe. A third curtilage exists for the former Chullora bus shelter, located on the north side of the Hume Highway, near the intersection with Waterloo Street. The curtilage is the bus shelter structure and a distance of 1m on all sides.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Beaufort PlaceChulloraBankstown  Primary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

The current Chullora Railway Workshops is considered to be of significance because it is the sole surviving specialist workshop of the once expansive former Chullora Railway Workshops, which in its heyday covered some 200 hectares and comprised 3 major branches made up of 10 individual specialist workshops.

The current Chullora Railway Workshops is of significance because of its longevity and ongoing continuous use to the present day, its role as the main central 20th Century railway workshop in urban Sydney and the integrity and intactness of the main elements and landscape.

The current Chullora Railway Workshops provides an understanding of the technical advances that have been made in locomotive manufacture and design in the 20th Century in NSW as well as the social aspects of employment in a large government-owned State enterprise.

The current Chullora Railway Workshops is also of significance because of its role as a major manufacturing and assembly plant for aircraft and tanks in the Second World War and significant evidence of this function survives at the current Chullora Railway Workshops.

The current Chullora Railway Workshops has rarity value as an urban railway workshop still in operation from the 1920s with intact evidence of its layout and all phases of its operations including the infrastructure from the Second World War.

The current Chullora Railway Workshops is significant because it exhibits all the principal characteristics of railway workshops designed in the early 20th Century which has been adapted to accommodate changes in manufacturing technology and work practices through to the present day.
Date significance updated: 10 Dec 09
Note: There are incomplete details for a number of items listed in NSW. The Heritage Division intends to develop or upgrade statements of significance and other information for these items as resources become available.

Description

Designer/Maker: EE Lucy and Harold Young, Chief Mechanical Engineer NSW Railways
Builder/Maker: Various, mostly unknown
Construction years: 1916-1988
Physical description: The current Chullora Railway Workshops are located in the suburb of Chullora in Western Sydney, approximately 15 kilometres west of Sydney CBD (see Figure 2). The current Chullora Railway Workshops was once part of the former Chullora Railway Workshops, a conglomeration of rail workshop buildings and activities that were established in the 1920s and occupied approximately 200 hectares in the greater Chullora area. The current Chullora Railway Workshops occupies a total area of approximately 37.4 hectares and is located across two Local Government Areas (LGAs): Bankstown City Council and Strathfield Municipal Council. The current Chullora Railway Workshops is bounded by the Hume Highway to the south-east, Worth Street to the south-west and the Chullora railway line to the north. A water pipeline corridor controlled by Sydney Water bisects the site. The current Chullora Railway Workshops falls into two precincts: the Boiler Shop and Locomotive Workshop Precincts. The two precincts include the four maintenance centres: Bogie Maintenance Centre (BMC) formerly the Boiler Shop, Diesel Engine Maintenance Centre (DEMC) formerly the Boiler Shop Annex, Electrical Maintenance Centre (EMC) formerly the Tank Annex, and the Locomotive Maintenance Centre (LMC) formerly the Locomotive Workshop. The Loco Yard (Feature 46) is also located within the Locomotive Workshop Precinct and includes the Turntable (Feature 28), Weighbridge (Feature 29) and Load Box (Feature 30) as well as multiple sets of railway tracks for the storage of locomotives. There are a number of buildings remaining that were constructed for a wide range of uses utilising various construction methods and materials. The landscape elements include the Bowling Green (Feature 39), water fountain and extensive gardens located near the Boiler Shop (Building 1), Power House (Building 2), Boiler Shop Annex (Building 10) and Locomotive Workshop (Building 20).
Davies (2001) identified and described the majority of the buildings and features within close proximity to the Boiler Shop and Locomotive Workshop. For the present study, this identification system was reviewed, updated and expanded. The buildings remaining within the current Chullora Railway Workshops (excluding portable and demountable structures that are assessed as having no heritage significance) are:
INDIVIDUAL SITE ELEMENTS

BOILER SHOP PRECINCT
BOILER SHOP completed 1926 (Bldg 1)
Construction on the building had begun by the middle of 1922, continuing through 1923. The foundations for the machinery were completed by June 1924. By the middle of 1925 work on the associated Hydraulic and Air Compressor House was completed. Construction of the Boiler Shop was completed during 1925-26 with machinery installed 1926-29 (machinery imported as well as transferred from Eveleigh). The building was initially constructed as a rectangle 122 metres length x 61 metres width for a total floor space of 7500 sq metres (400 feet x 200 feet, a total floor space of 80,000 sq feet) with brick walls and a sawtooth roof consisting of corrugated fibro-cement sheeting supported on a steel frame. Glass windows were installed in the vertical sections of the sawtooth roof to provide light to the interior of the building with louvres installed above to provide ventilation. To accommodate future expansion of the workshops, the western wall was constructed as a temporary wall consisting of galvanised iron sheeting supported on a steel frame. Initially the floor was formed of ash. The building was solid in appearance with brick piers built along the long elevation with a stepped square parapet featured across the end elevation. The interior of the building is comprised of steel columns with large steel trusses running the length of the building that offer support for the lighter steel roof trusses. There were three workshops divided into longitudinal bays positioned along the building’s longer east-west axis. The middle bay being the largest measured 23 metres (75 feet) width and 13.9 metres (45 feet 6 inches) height and the bays located on either side each measured 16.7 metres (55 feet) width by 10 metres height (33 meters). An overhead travelling crane was installed in each of the bays.
POWER HOUSE completed 1925 (Bldg 2)
The building was originally designed to be built with a saw-toothed roof but the design was changed to a single gable roofline. The Power House was constructed of load-bearing brick with engaged brick columns to the interior and exterior of the building with a concrete floor. The interior columns were designed to support the overhead crane and steel framed 12 pane windows. The roof consists of asbestos cement sheet on steel with timber framing and had pre-cast concrete gutters. The northern end of the building includes a brick parapet. The building was designed for future expansion thereby the southern end was constructed with a steel-framed, corrugated iron clad wall. Access to the building was through a double timber door that included a small pass door. The Power House is 19 metres (63 feet) in length and 16 metres (52 feet) width with an internal height of 8.1 metres (26 feet 6-1/2 inches). .
Additional equipment located outside the eastern wall of the Power House included:
- An elevated 10,000 gallon (45,461 litre) water tank situated on top of a tall steel tower
- Two air receivers
- Two Little’s Patent water coolers
Located outside the western wall was a large hydraulic accumulator (177 ton moving weight) travelling over 6 metres (20 feet) to generate pressure in the pipeline for distribution around the current Chullora Railway Workshops.
FIRST AID BUILDING 1945 (Bldg 7)
This building is constructed of brick with a hipped tiled roof and was built in 1945. Plans show it was comprised of a doctor’s room, ambulance room and waiting room. The front portico originally housed two waiting areas with benches but the eastern side has been bricked in and external double doors added. The building features finely detailed brickwork and joinery, double width main access doors and sash windows. There is a single concrete path to the front doors and a two track concrete driveway; an open weave brick fence with wrought iron top railing lies to each side of the driveway and entrance path. Mature trees including a Frangipani (Plumeria) surround the building and this tree has grown around the wrought iron railings of the perimeter fence.
BOILER SHOP ANNEX 1946 (Bldg 10)
This very large building is steel-framed and clad with fibrolite; it has a brick base section to the walls, steel-framed windows and corrugated AC sheet roof. The building has two gabled bays with a box gutter between and curved ridge ventilators. It contains two electric travelling overhead cranes – one in each bay. The one in the east bay is 25 tonne while that on the west is 10 tonne. Both were made by Hodkinson of Sydney and Caringbah. Each bay also has a series of 0.5 tonne manual swiveling jib cranes along each side. There is a traverser on railway tracks that runs across the building at right angles to the long bays. Each bay had large steel-framed windows at the lower level and translucent sheeting at the upper level. An addition along the western side of the building also with brick base and profiled metal upper level cladding contained stores, offices and amenities. It opened directly onto the main garden of the current Chullora Railway Workshops (now identified as the Boiler Shop Annex Garden – Feature 40).
AMENITIES BUILDING 1930 (Bldg 14)
Brick building with a corrugated iron roof abutting the Boiler Shop.
TUBE STORE c1940-43 (Bldg 15)
Two very large adjoining buildings, steel-framed, corrugated iron clad building with gabled AC sheet roofs and steel-framed highlight windows built in two stages. The Tube Store building appears to have been built in two stages according to plans dated 1940 and 1942 but the date of actual construction is unknown. There is an old machine (for punching or pressing?) bolted to a heavy concrete base and covered by a skillion-roofed shed located outside the west wall of the building.
LOCOMOTIVE WORKSHOPS STORE (Igloo) 1948-1952 (Bldg 18)
Large clear spanning building with a curved roof form constructed from curved steel trusses supported on a concrete floor slab. The roof has a number of non-original skylights (fiberglass) for natural lighting. Access is through roller doors located at the corrugated iron clad end walls. The building is 62 metres (204 feet) long and 46 metres (150 feet) across with a height at the centre of 9 metres (30 feet). There are four offices located at the southern end of the interior of the building that are of timber-framed construction with chamfer board wall cladding to lower parts. Asbestos cladding has been removed from the upper parts and not yet replaced.

LOCOMOTIVE WORKSHOP PRECINCT
LOCOMOTIVE WORKSHOP 1927-1938 (Bldg 20)
Very large steel-framed building clad with corrugated galvanized sheeting with concrete floors. Saw tooth roof construction with south lights except the northern section where the roof runs in an east-west direction. The building was designed as two structures separated by a longitudinal traverser with a transverse wing along the northern side.
AIRCRAFT ANNEX (South) & AIRCRAFT ANNEX (East) 1940-42 (Bldg 21.1 & 21.2)
In 1940 the two eastern bays of the then incomplete locomotive workshop provided the initial facility for aircraft component assembly. The work comprised separating the area from the remainder of the workshop. Stores, offices and amenities were provided in and immediately adjacent to the area. The 3,483 square metres (37,500 square feet) of space quickly proved inadequate. Additions were made to the south and east sides which provided a further 13,796 square metres (148,900 square feet). The southern extension (Building 21.1) was built first in three phases from May 1940 until sometime in 1941. The eastern extension (Building 21.2) was built in two phases in February and March 1942.
The construction of the additions featured a perimeter blast proof brick wall, extensive electric lighting to allow for night works as well as the use of south lights in the roof that could be blacked out for protection, camouflaging of the building, and heating - again to allow night operations. The building structure however, apart from the blast proof wall used a standard steel frame with internal columns, trussed roof frames and lightweight roofing. Steel-framed windows were located in each bay in the perimeter walls. Four air raid shelters were incorporated into the northern blast wall and one into the southern blast wall of the eastern annex and these still remain although all but one have been adapted and modified for storage. Blockhouses to protect gauges and jigs were also incorporated into these walls.
TANK ANNEX 1941-42 (Bldg 22)
This is a large two bay structure with a steel frame, corrugated iron cladding and a saw tooth roof of fibro cement sheeting. Each bay measures 152 metres x 21 metres (500 x 70 feet). A concrete tank loading ramp remains outside the south west corner of the building; this is discussed below as Feature 41. A cutting through the slope to the south west and known as the Tank Cutting is discussed below as Feature 42. Movable heritage includes two old safety signs, old SRA clock, internal trolley on railway tracks, 25 ton electric crane (LC591) and the Richards horizontal boring mill machine.
GENERAL OFFICE (former Women’s Change Room/Store) 1941 (Bldg 25)
The General Office building is a timber boarded and fibrolite panelled structure with timber floors. The roof was constructed of asbestos-cement (AC) corrugated sheets. The building has been radically altered with only half of it now extant. Part of the building has been infilled with brickwork.
AMENITIES BUILDING (former Locker Rooms) c. 1960 (Bldg 26)
Brick with external engaged piers and a flat-pitched gabled metal deck roof.
TELEPHONE EXCHANGE (former Substation) c. 1950 (Bldg 27)
There appears to be some confusion about this building identified by Davies (2001) as a substation. Davies (2001) describes it thus:
‘A brick building measuring 150’ x 37’ constructed with a temporary corrugated iron clad end wall to allow for expansion that did not take place. The building housed the rotary converters, transformers, rectifier and regulators for the expanding workshops. It also contained the automatic telephone exchange for the site installed in 1927 comprising 100 lines’.
Clearly that is not the building currently present in this location. Longworth (2009) also indicates that an L-shaped building was constructed in this location between 1927 and 1938 and gives the same description of the structure and plant installed in it.
The building is now known as the Telephone Exchange and it now has that specific function. It is an L-shaped brick building with a gabled terra cotta tiled roof and aluminium or steel windows with bars to all openings. The style, construction and building materials suggest this building dates to the 1950s. This is supported by the fact that the 1943 aerial photograph of the site does not show any building in this location. It appears that there may have been an earlier substation on this site that was demolished and this building built in its place in the post-war period. There are however transformers in a yard to the immediate west of the exchange building which may relate to the plant referred to by Davies (2001).
TURNTABLE 1928 (Feature 28)
The Turntable is a standard design of 23 m (75 ft.) diameter. It previously fed a half fan of tracks that provided storage for locomotives awaiting maintenance. There is no indication of a manufacturer on the Turntable which was probably built in one of the NSW railway workshops. The Turntable is part of the facilities associated with the Locomotive Yard (Feature 46) which includes the extant Weighbridge and its two pits (Building 29). These features are located immediately adjacent to the locomotive workshops for easy access.
WEIGHBRIDGE AND SHED 1929-30 (Bldg 29)
The weighbridge, built in 1929-30, is a 15 metre (45 foot) structure onto which locomotives were carefully located to determine the weight carried by each axle. The measuring equipment is located in a timber framed shed measuring 16 metres by 2 metres (52 feet long by 6 feet 8 inches wide) that sits immediately adjacent to the track. It features timber and Fibrolite wall cladding, 17 four pane sliding timber windows in a continuous bank facing the weighbridge to allow close control of locomotive placement. It has a hipped corrugated ‘Fibrolite’ clad roof. Within the cabin are located the weighing machines in one long bank opposite each wheel location. If necessary, the weights over each axle could be varied by adjusting the springs in the two adjoining pits.
The roof was added over the eastern pit in 1950 to provide shelter and electric lighting while locomotives were over the weighbridge pit. Roof ventilators were located so as to accommodate the smoke stacks of 57 and 36 Class locomotives to assist in removal of smoke.
LOAD BOX AND SHED 1952 (Bldg 30)
Constructed to test locomotive diesel engines and generators after maintenance or construction, the simple structure houses a series of steel plates that can be lowered into large tanks of water to provide resistance. The facility comprised tanks and plates and a shelter shed to allow the connection of the generators to the plates without weather interference.
AIR RAID SHELTERS 1941 (Bldg Group 31 & 31.1)
During the war air raid shelters were dotted at strategic locations around the current Chullora Railway Workshops. Up to 20 such buildings have been identified from historic plans. On the ground, five free standing shelters have been identified as well as the five incorporated into the blast walls of the Aircraft Annex East (Building 21.2). These are constructed on a heavy concrete slab with 36 cm (14 inch) thick reinforced brick walls and 20 cm (8 inch) thick concrete roofs to provide accommodation for 50 people in each. Effectively blast shelters rather than air raid shelters, they were designed to resist impact from a nearby blast and not from a direct hit. They had benching within, doorways protected by screen walls and high level wall vents. They were common brick utilitarian buildings. The free standing air raid shelters are no longer used for any purpose while those in the Aircraft Annex East have been adapted for storage purposes (see entry for Building 21.2 for more details of these).
This group of four air raid shelters survives on the south side of the Aircraft Annex (Building 21.2). Another air raid shelter (Building 31.1) is a survivor of a pair that existed immediately to the north of the Telephone Exchange (Building 27); the footprint of its demolished twin is still clearly visible.

FEATURES LOCATED WITHIN EITHER BOILER SHOP OR LOCOMOTIVE WORKSHOP PRECINCT
MEMORIAL 1964 (Feature 37)
A small war memorial commemorating the two World Wars and the Korean War is located in a garden setting on the west side of the Power House (Building 2) within the Boiler Shop Precinct. It features a marble monument set within an angled brick wall with a flagpole. This garden is part of a larger area of plantings, which form the setting for the Boiler Shop (Building 1) and Power House.
BOILER SHOP EAST GARDEN c. 1930s or early 1940s (Feature 38)
This is an historic garden where the plantings appear to date from the late 1930s or early 1940s according to the historic 1943 aerial photograph. The lawn and formal plantings are located along the eastern end of the Boiler Shop (Building 1) and soften the industrial character of that part of the current Chullora Railway Workshops. There are a range of mature trees and very tall palms, which form a border to the eastern end of the building. In the area between the Boiler Shop and the Power House (Building 2), the trees have been planted in formal rows and they provide a dense canopy of shade to that area. The memorial garden on the west side of the Power House extends this green belt to the south.
BOWLING GREEN c. 1960s (Feature 39)
The Bowling Green and Garden immediately around it (located within the Boiler Shop Precinct) illustrate the recreational and sporting facilities that were provided to enhance the social aspects of life at the current Chullora Railway Workshops. The Bowling Green was apparently very well constructed and maintained and features distinctive dome lights on posts. The garden along the west side is bounded by the Tube Store (Building 15) and contains large jacaranda trees and other mature trees. There are also garden features such as a raised pond made of stone and render with bas-relief leaves and a tree motif in the render. There is also a small garden bed edged with a paved map of Australia. This has a concrete block that formerly hosted a plaque – now missing.
BOILER SHOP ANNEX GARDEN c. 1940s (Feature 40)
This garden has a wide variety of plantings and formal paved paths laid out through areas of lawn. Plantings include eucalypts and native plants (e.g. bottlebrush) as well as fruit trees (loquats, mulberries, stone fruits), and exotic trees such as jacarandas, cypress pines and cotoneaster to name a few.
TANK RAMP 1941-42 (Feature 41)
Ramps were located beside the Tank Annex (Building 22) to allow loading and testing of the tanks. One such loading ramp remains outside the south west corner of the building. This is built of concrete and the upper surface has a coating of bitumen which still bears “caterpillar” track marks. This ramp is located close to the cutting through the hillside for the rail line known as the Tank Cutting (Feature 42). A rail track also ran northward from the ramp along the south side of the Tank Annex; this is still in situ but is partly buried under a later garden bed.
AVENUE OF MATURE TREES c. 1940s to 1950s (Feature 43)
A row of mature trees bordering the southern side of the Locomotive Yard (Feature 46) and the roadway along the north side of the Aircraft Annex East (Building 21.2). Another row of large poplar trees also borders the roadway and the eastern end of the Aircraft Annex East. Both items are located within the Locomotive Workshop Precinct.
LOCO YARD First established c. 1928 (Feature 46)
The Loco Yard was recognized by Davies (2001) as a significant item associated with the Load Box (Building 30), Turntable (Feature 28) and Weighbridge (Building 29) but was not separately identified. It is a large area on the north side of the Locomotive Workshop (Building 20) and contains multiple sets of rails used for the storage of locomotives awaiting repairs or after being repaired. When the current Chullora Railway Workshops had a much larger workforce, part of the area was used for recreational purposes such as ball games between different divisions of the workshops during lunch periods. The Avenue of Trees (Feature 43) runs along the southern boundary of this area.
AMENITIES BUILDING c. 1974-75 (Bldg 48)
Brick building with external engaged piers and a flat pitched gabled metal deck roof.
LOCOMOTIVE WORKSHOP GARDENS (East and West) c. 1940s to 1950s (Feature 50)
This garden located within the Locomotive Workshop Precinct has a formal paved paths placed in between areas of lawn and a wide variety of plantings.
IDENTIFIED ITEMS LOCATED OUTSIDE OF EITHER BOILER SHOP OR LOCOMOTIVE WORKSHOP PRECINCT (Building 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 16, 17, 19, 34, 35, 36, 47, Feature 42, 44)
SHED c. 1960 (Bldg 4)
Corrugated iron with a shallow gabled roof.
SHED c. 1980-90 (Bldg 5)
A relatively large building constructed of corrugated iron with a shallow gabled roof.
SHOWER BLOCK AND AMENITIES 1948 (Bldg 8)
This building is constructed of load-bearing brick with a timber-framed roof clad in corrugated asbestos cement (AC) sheeting and has a concrete floor. It featured a central locker room with end showers and toilet facilities located at either end of the building.
SHED c 1980-90 (Bldg 9)
Corrugated metal cladding with a shallow gabled roof. A portable demountable office with a verandah is attached on the south side.
CANTEEN/MEAL ROOM 1942 + 1952 (Bldg 11)
This building is constructed of brick with an exposed steel truss gabled roof clad in corrugated asbestos cement (AC) sheeting with ventilators and has concrete and timber floors. It replaced an earlier much smaller building that was erected in 1942.
OFFICE c. 1980-90 (Bldg 16)
Prefabricated structure, corrugated metal cladding with aluminium windows.
TRAINING ROOM c. 1980-90 (Bldg 17)
Long demountable building, metal cladding, gabled roof with verandah on the north side.
LOCOMOTIVE STORES BUILDING 1988 (Bldg 19)
Large modern steel framed profiled metal clad building with a gabled roof and a concrete floor.
ADMIN BUILDING (former Shower & Locker Room) 1942 (Bldg 34)
Plasticised aluminium cladding, hipped metal deck roof and aluminium windows.
STORE BUILDING 1960 (Bldg 35)
This is a simple rectangular building clad in zincalume sheeting and has a gabled corrugated iron roof with corrugated fiberglass panels used as skylights. It features a roller door on the east side. The two concrete floors located to the immediate east of the building are remnants of two Disposal Commission huts that were erected there after the war in 1948.
STORE & COIL MANUFACTURE 1974 (previously Bogie & Electrical Workshop Store) (Bldg 36)
Large building, steel frame constructed from rolled steel joists that form columns that also support an overhead crane run. Brick lower external walls, metal cladding to the roof. High continuous windows running right around the building.
TANK CUTTING 1941-42 (Feature 42)
The Tank Cutting hosted a railway track to the southwest through the hill slope that lies on the west side of the Tank Annex (Building 22). The cutting has been partially filled in to accommodate a later road but is extant on either side of the road.
TEST TRACK 1998 (Feature 44)
An irregular continuous loop railway test track was constructed as part of the development of the Austrans concept - a prototype mass transit system. This comprises a narrow railway track fixed to an elevated concrete deck supported on concrete columns and piers. The main track section is 215 metres long with a further 50 metres incorporating an 8 metre radius turn to test cornering ability of the small electrically powered bubble cars.
FIRST AID BUILDING c. 1950s (Bldg 47)
Small rectangular building with a gabled roof clad with terracotta tiles. The walls are clad with Hardiplank or similar that appears to have replaced earlier asbestos cement sheeting. Window frames are of aluminium and probably replaced earlier timber windows.
NEWLY IDENTIFIED SITES AND/OR PREVIOUSLY ASSESSED ITEMS (2001) THAT ARE NO LONGER EXTANT (Building 3, 6, 12, 13, 15.1, 23, 24, 32, 33, 45, 49)
OFFICE c. 1970 (Bldg 3) (Demolished)
Fibro cement and corrugated iron.
SHED c. 1980-90 (Bldg 6) (Demolished)
Corrugated metal cladding
FORGING SHOP 1942 (Bldg 12) (Demolished)
Large building, corrugated metal cladding on a steel frame and featured steel framed windows, shallow gabled roof.
MAINTENANCE WORKSHOP c. 1980-90 (Bldg 13) (Demolished)
Metal clad and steel framed.
TUBE WELDING BUILDING 1946-47 (Bldg 15.1) (Demolished)
Steel framed, corrugated iron clad with steel framed highlight windows.
CANTEEN 1944 (Bldg 23) (Demolished)
Long, timber boarded and fibrolite panelled structure with timber floors. The roof was constructed of AC corrugated sheets and featured a number of AC turbo-vents aligned in a row along the ridge of the relatively flat hipped roof.
FIRST AID STATION 1941 (Bldg 24) (Demolished)
Brick building, tiled roof and concrete floor.
ADMINISTRATIVE BUILDING 1940 (Bldg 32) (Demolished)
No description available.
CAFETERIA 1944 (Bldg 33) (Demolished)
No description available.
EXECUTIVE OFFICES 1941 (Bldg 45) (Demolished)
Long, timber boarded and fibrolite panelled structure with timber floors. The roof was constructed of asbestos-cement (AC) corrugated sheets and featured a number of AC turbo-vents aligned in a row along the ridge of the relatively flat hipped roof.
MEN’S CHANGE ROOM c. 1941 (Bldg 49) (Demolished)
No description available.
MISCELLANEOUS SITE FEATURES
The site features listed below also have heritage significance.
TRACKWORK
There is remaining trackwork related to significant features such as the Turntable (Feature 28), Load Box (Building 30), Weighbridge (Building 29), Locomotive Workshop (Building 20), Locomotive Yard (Feature 46), Aircraft and Tank Annexes (Building 21.1, 21.2 and 22), Boiler Shop (Building 1) and Power House (Building 2). Much of this is embedded in concrete paved surfaces of World War 2 vintage. Between the Administrative Building (Building 34) and the Store and Coil Manufacturing Building (Building 36) near the former Tank Annex (Building 22), a small railway turntable has been concreted over. This has railway lines running from the Tank Annex to the Store and Coil Manufacturing Building. Previously in this location there was a Steam Cleaning Shed. These railway tracks have high significance and are important as they demonstrate the patterns of use at the current Chullora Railway Workshops as well as relationships and functional links between buildings. All remnant trackwork should be retained where possible and particularly in connection with structures of medium or high significance.
BUS SHELTER
Outside the precinct areas and located on the north side of the Hume Highway near the intersection with Waterloo Street is a a wooden weatherboard rectangular structure, closed in on 3 sides with one open side facing the roadway and a skillion roof. There is an SRA logo painted on the inside back wall in orange and red. There are is one tree at the front corner of the structure and 2 behind, providing shade to those waiting. Chullora workers would arrive here by public bus and then get picked up by a Chullora bus to be driven to their buildings.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The buildings and site features vary in their level of form and condition from well maintained in good condition to poor condition.
INDIVIDUAL SITE ELEMENTS
BOILER SHOP PRECINCT
BOILER SHOP (Building 1)
Physical Condition
The building has been largely gutted of all original equipment including the cranes, although modern cranes have replaced them. The external gantry crane that was extant along the north end of the building and reported on by Davies in 2001 has been removed. Since ceasing use for boiler making purposes in 1975, the building has been used for fabricating bridge components and as the bogie shop. It has now been adapted for modern mechanised storage purposes. The building is considered to be in good condition although as some of the louvres are broken and the roof is not weatherproof. Many of the collection of smaller buildings identified by Davies in 2001 that were constructed immediately around the Boiler Shop are no longer extant.
POWER HOUSE (Building 2)
Physical Condition
The building remains in its planned and built form. The Power House is in basically sound condition with only a few broken panes in the windows. The machinery in the Powerhouse remains largely unchanged since the building was constructed. Numerous rolled plans and other documents are stored in the building.
FIRST AID BUILDING (Building 7)
Physical Condition
The building remains in its planned and built form and is in good condition.
BOILER SHOP ANNEX (Building 10)
Physical Condition
The building has remained largely in its constructed form. The frame of the building appears to be in good condition with windows mostly intact. The asbestos cladding and roof is in poor condition and skylights are missing.
AMENITIES BUILDING (Building 14)
Physical Condition
The building remains in its planned and built form with the addition to one end. The building is in good condition.
TUBE STORE (Building 15)
Physical Condition
The building is largely in its planned form with only minor changes to cladding and finishes. The building is in good condition.
LOCOMOTIVE WORKSHOPS STORE (Building 18)
Physical Condition
The building has remained in its erected form with little alteration. The structure of the building is in good condition. The exterior and interior of the building are also in good condition although the roof leaks (mainly through introduced corrugated fibreglass skylights) and needs to be waterproofed.
LOCOMOTIVE WORKSHOP PRECINCT
LOCOMOTIVE WORKSHOPS (Building 20)
Physical Condition
The building is in good condition. There are no old cranes; they are now all DEMAG cranes and have been relocated from the Boiler Shop.
AIRCRAFT ANNEX (SOUTH) & (EAST) (Buildings 21.1 & 21.2)
Physical Condition
Building 21.1 South Annex: Good Condition.
Building 21.2 East Annex: Exterior condition moderate: there are rusted downpipes and some windows missing. Building 21.2 East Annex: Interior condition moderate.
TANK ANNEX (Building 22)
Physical Condition
The building is in good condition.
GENERAL OFFICE BUILDING (Building 25)
Physical Condition
The building has been extensively removed and altered. The building is considered to be in good condition.
AMENITIES BUILDING (Building 26)
Physical Condition
The building is in its planned form and is in good condition.
TELEPHONE EXCHANGE (former SUBSTATION) (Building 27)
Physical Condition
The building is in good condition.
TURNTABLE (Feature 28)
Physical Condition
The Turntable is in good condition.
WEIGHBRIDGE AND SHED (Building 29)
Physical Condition
The building is in good condition.
LOAD BOX (Building 30)
Physical Condition
The building is in good condition.
AIR RAID SHELTERS (Building Group 31)
Physical Condition
The Air Raid Shelters are considered to be in good condition.
AIR RAID SHELTER (by Telephone Exchange/former Substation) (Building 31.1)
Physical Condition
The building is in good condition.
MEMORIAL (Feature 37)
Physical Condition
The memorial is in good condition.
BOILER SHOP EAST GARDEN (Feature 38)
Physical Condition
The garden is considered to be in good condition and the plantings appear to be healthy.
BOWLING GREEN (Feature 39)
Physical Condition
The Bowling Green is in moderate condition.
BOILER SHOP ANNEX GARDEN (Feature 40)
Physical Condition
The garden is in good condition.
TANK RAMP (Feature 41)
Physical Condition
The Tank Ramp is in good condition.
AVENUE OF MATURE TREES (Adjacent to Loco Yard) (Feature 43)
Physical Condition
The trees appear to be in healthy condition.
LOCO YARD (Feature 46)
Physical Condition
The Loco Yards are considered to be in good condition.
AMENITIES BUILDING (Feature 48)
Physical Condition
The building is in good condition.
LOCOMOTIVE WORKSHOP GARDENS (East and West) (Feature 50)
Physical Condition
The gardens are in good condition.
BUILDINGS OR FEATURES LOCATED OUTSIDE OF BOILER SHOP OR LOCOMOTIVE WORKSHOP PRECINCT (Building 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 16, 17, 19, 34, 35, 36, 47, Feature 42, 44)
SHED (Building 4)
Physical Condition
The building is in its planned form and is in good condition.
SHED (Building 5)
Physical Condition
The building is in its planned form and is in good condition.
LOCKERS AND SHOWERS BUILDING (Building 8)
Physical Condition
The building remains largely unchanged from its built form. The interior of the building was inspected by Davies in 2001 but it has now been sealed up due to the presence of asbestos and so is inaccessible.
SHED BUILDING (Building 9)
Physical Condition
The building remains in its planned and built form and is in good condition.
CANTEEN BUILDING (MEAL ROOM) (Building 11)
Physical Condition
The building has remained much in its extended form with minor change to kitchen fitout and some finishes. The building is in poor condition. Gutters are missing parts of the wooden floor are rotting near the toilet facilities. The original distinctive large circular light shades are still intact.
OFFICE BUILDING (Building 16)
Physical Condition
The building is in its planned form and is in good condition.
TRAINING ROOM (Building 17)
Physical Condition
The building is in good condition.
LOCOMOTIVE STORES BUILDING (Building 19)
Physical Condition
The building is intact and is in good condition.
ADMIN BUILDING (previously Shower & Locker Room) (Building 34)
Physical Condition
Converted to offices date unknown but estimated to be c. 1970s or 1980s. The building is considered to be in good condition.
STORE BUILDING (Building 35)
Physical Condition
The building is in good condition.
STORE & COIL MANUFACTURE 1974 (previously Bogie & Electrical Workshop Store) (Bldg 36)
Physical Condition
The building is in good condition.
FIRST AID BUILDING (Building 47)
Physical Condition
The building is in good condition.
TANK CUTTING (Feature 42)
Physical Condition
The Tank Cutting has been partially filled in and planted out with shrubs and trees but the form of the feature is still discernible.
TEST TRACK (Feature 44)
Physical Condition
The Test Track is in good condition.
BUILDINGS NO LONGER EXTANT (Building 3, 6, 12, 13, 15.1, 23, 24, 32, 33, 45, 49)
ARCHAEOLOGICAL POTENTIAL
There is little likelihood for any pre-railway archaeology to survive at the current Chullora Railway Workshops. It appears that originally this was a low lying swampy area at the headwaters of the Cooks River and was probably Cooks River Clay Plain Scrub Forest. It is noted that a number of buildings described by Davies in 2001 as of little or no significance have been removed in the north east part of the current Chullora Railway Workshops (Buildings 3, 6, 12 and 13) where new rail tracks have been laid. All were erected from 1944 onwards with some in the 1960s and later in the 1980s and 1990s. Other buildings of mainly World War Two vintage (Buildings 23, 24, 32, 33, 45 and 49) have been removed from other parts of the current Chullora Railway Workshops, notably around the Locomotive Workshop (Building 20). All of these sites have been assessed for their archaeological potential but have been ascribed low levels of archaeological potential and significance. Given the nature and period of their construction, these buildings are unlikely to have left significant archaeological signatures. Evidence of other war time structures also survives. This includes the concrete floors of two relocated Disposal Commission huts to the east of a Stores building (Building 35) and the floor of one of a pair of air raid shelters (Building 31.1) located next to the Telephone Exchange (Building 27). There are likely to be intact footing remains of former air raid shelters that were located on the south side of the Aircraft Annex East (Building 21.2) and north of the remaining group of four air raid shelters (Building Group 31).
Godden Mackay (1991) and Longworth (2009) report that south of the Aircraft Annex South (Building 21.1) there was a small timber framed building clad with corrugated galvanized iron which was erected over a basement that was originally dug for an air raid shelter. It has not been possible to verify this from the available historical sources including aerial photographs and maps and it requires more research.
BUS SHELTER: Moderate condition with some weatherboards fallen off and roof rusting (2015).
Date condition updated:17 Sep 09
Modifications and dates: The Boiler Shop (completed 1926) and Power House (1925) were the first buildings constructed within the Boiler Shop Precinct at the current Chullora Railway Workshops. A gradual expansion of the precinct was undertaken during three further development phases from 1939 to 1945 (the construction of Buildings 7, 12 and 15); 1946 to 1958 (the construction of Buildings 8, 10, 11 and 18) and the last phase of development from 1959 to 2000 (Buildings 16, 17 and 19). The Locomotive Workshop Precinct at the current Chullora Railway Workshops developed from the construction of the Locomotive Workshop and Loco Yard between 1928 to 1938 (including Feature 28 and Building 29) and underwent its main phase of development from 1939 to 1945 (with the construction of Buildings 21.1, 21.2, 22, 23, 24, 25, 31, 31,1, 32, 33, 34, F41, F42, 45, 49).
Listed below is a brief list of alterations and/or additions for relevant individual items.
BOILER SHOP PRECINCT
BOILER SHOP (Building 1)
Addition of air testing plant added 1937. Modifications to Northern and Centre Bays in late 1940s. The remaining area of the floor in the Boiler Shop was concreted in 1959. The Boiler House extension was in use as a blacksmith shop by 1963. Work was also undertaken on the installation of ladders and catwalks with handrails for maintenance once the strength of the columns in the Boiler Shop were verified. The boiler use ceased and the building was converted to a structural steel shop for bridge construction from 1975 to 1977. In 1984-85 the Boiler Shop was being modified for conversion to Bogie Maintenance Centre (BMC). In 1990 the existing transformers and substation (11kV) located outside the south wall of the BMC were removed and replaced by two 500kV transformers with upgrading of substation. The portal frame extension was erected in the late 1980s to the western end of the Boiler Shop to provide cover for the large capacity washing tanks installed to tolerate a load of up to 35 tonnes.
POWER HOUSE (Building 2)
Transformers for air-compressors Nos. 1 and 2 installed outside the southern wall in 1968
FIRST AID BUILDING (Building 7)
In 1964 a small skillion roofed room for a nurses’ station was added to the rear of the building.
BOILER SHOP ANNEX (Building 10)
Addition of extension to building to the western bay in 1948.
Further additions c. 1970-80
AMENITIES BUILDING (Building 14)
Additions c. 1950
TUBE STORE (Building 15)
The Tube Store first consisted of one building with an additional adjoining store building constructed at a later date 1942-43
LOCOMOTIVE WORKSHOP PRECINCT
LOCOMOTIVE WORKSHOPS (Building 20)
Extensive alterations were made to the workshop in 1959-60 for the overhaul of diesel electric and electric locomotives. In 1961 a new liquid oxygen plant with an evaporating house was built along with an additional 10 metre (33 feet) pit, steps for the existing pit, and a 13.5 metre (45 feet) pit with lowered walkways. Modifications included relocating columns, strengthening girders, and the extension of a doorway. In 1962 further alterations were undertaken: Engine Pits Nos. 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20 were extended by 5 metres (16 feet 6 inches); Engine Pit Nos. 11, 13, 15, 17, 19 and 21 were extended by 3.5 metres (11 feet 6 inches) as well as the addition of diesel fuelling and engine repair section facilities. In 1963 Engine Pit Nos. 1 to 10 were extended. Additional facilities for the diesel engine repair section included the provision of eight 6 metre (20 feet) radius standard wall cranes, eight 450 kg mechanical hoists, one 450 kg electric hoist for the ‘Mono Crane’, four 7.5m (25 feet) radius standard wall cranes, four 450 kg electric hoists, plus a hot water service and wash basins. New equipment was added progressively in the 1960s due to the dieselisation of the NSW system such as a machine for grinding diesel engine crankshafts, installed in 1962-63. An advanced traction motor testing facility was installed during 1982-83 followed by the installation of a pollution control plant. A modern traction motor cleaning facility was installed in the Electrical Division in 1984-85. The relocating of roof columns in the Erecting Shop c. mid to late 1980s made it possible to install a new and longer traverser. In 1987-88 an area in the LMC was provided for the undertaking air brake repairs as well as a fitting section to overhaul component parts from locomotives. Further facility upgrades were also undertaken in 1987-88 along with the relocation of work areas. In 1993 a galvanised-steel clad, freestanding spray paint booth was installed followed by the installation of another booth c. 1995.
AIRCRAFT ANNEX (SOUTH) & (EAST) (Buildings 21.1 & 21.2)
The following modifications were made: In May 1940 4-1/2 transverse bay extension to the south consisting of 1,254.2 sq m (13,500 sq ft) was added followed by March 1941 with the addition of 3 transverse bays to the south consisting of 836 sq m (9,000 sq ft). In 1941 5 transverse bays added with a basement followed by further extensions to the south annex consisting of 1,393.5 sq m (15,000 sq ft). The eastern wall of the south annex was altered in 1941 to accommodate the Paint Spraying Room. In Feb 1942-6 the eastern extension at north end of workshop was built consisting of 3,344.5 sq m (36,000 sq ft) followed by further extensions in March 1942 of 6 bays added for machine shop consisting of 3,344.5 sq m (36,000 sq ft). A Carpenters Shop was also constructed at the east end of the Aircraft Annex (East) c. 1944. Further modifications were undertaken from 1939 to 1945 that included a perimeter blast proof brick wall, the installation of extensive electric lighting to allow for night works as well as the use of south lights in the roof that could be blacked out for protection, camouflaging of the building, installation of heating to allow for night operations.
The building was re-equipped in the late 1940s and 1950s to operate as the Rolling Stock Workshop. An internal wall was constructed so the workshop would operate separately from the Locomotive Workshop. The East Annex was modified to operate as the Machine Shop in 1960s. In 1986-87 the East and South Annex were modified and merged into one large shop with the Locomotive Workshop known as the Locomotive Maintenance Centre (LMC).
TANK ANNEX (Building 22)
Additional washing facilities were added in November 1945. Rearrangement of overhead travelling cranes was done in 1945. One of the bays was converted for boiler repairs in February 1947. Additional tracks were provided in 1948 and two 10-ton electric overhead travelling cranes and runways installed in the western Erecting Shop. Modifications to the building in late 1950s when it was converted to a diesel locomotive repair shop. Further modifications were undertaken in the 1970s when the building was converted to the Bogie and Electrical Workshop. A vacuum impregnation plant was installed during 1979. The building was again modified in 1986-87 when the workshop was converted to the Electrical Maintenance Centre (EMC).
WEIGHBRIDGE AND SHED (Building 29)
In 1950 the roof was added over the eastern pit to provide shelter and electric lighting while locomotives were over the weighbridge pit.
AIR RAID SHELTERS (Building Group 31)
The air raid shelters located within the north wall of the Aircraft Annex East (Building 21.2) have been adapted for storage purposes, date of modifications unknown.
ADMIN BUILDING (previously Shower & Locker Room) (Building 34)
Converted to offices date unknown but estimated to be c. 1970s or 1980s.
AMENITIES BUILDING (Feature 48)
The building was modified from an amenities building to also include a cafeteria - date unknown.
Current use: Various rail uses
Former use: Railway Workshops

History

Historical notes: The Rookwood district benefitted from the construction of the Sydney to Parramatta railway in 1855. This was followed by railway access to Chullora in 1909 with the construction of the Bankstown line and later establishment of Rookwood, Flemington and Bankstown stations.
The railway industry experienced rapid growth after the establishment of the Eveleigh Workshops in 1885 however by 1909 it was evident that the Eveleigh yards were too small to accommodate these demands. The impending change from steam to electric traction in the rail industry also required a complete technological overhaul of the rail system. By 1913 the Minister for Works concluded that it would be necessary to undertake new construction works in the Rookwood district to alleviate the demands placed on the Eveleigh Workshops.
Plans for the construction of the former Chullora Railway Workshops (referred to as the ‘former Chullora Railway Workshops’ as this consisted of the original 200 hectare railway workshops complex whereas the approximately 37.4 hectare workshops remaining today are referred to as the ‘current Chullora Railway Workshops) were put on hold due to the effects of the First World War but a post war renewal in activity - including the 1922 recommencement of the suburban rail network electrification project - revitalised interest in the development of the former Chullora Railway Workshops. The former Chullora Railway Workshops was envisioned to be the central maintenance area for the entire government railway system of New South Wales to include a Locomotive Workshop, Rolling-stock Workshop, Electric Car Workshop, Water Supply Workshop, Plant & Equipment Workshop, Per Way Workshops, Signalling Workshops and a continuous Rail Welding Workshop. Other individual specialist workshops could also be relocated to the former Chullora Railway Workshops if their expansion was not possible at their present sites. The layout of the former Chullora Railway Workshops was also designed to fit in with the surrounding railway system. The intent was to allow Goods trains running to and from the Enfield Marshalling Yards, Darling Harbour Goods Yard, the Botany Branch and Chullora Workshops, to run without interfering with the passenger trains operating to and from Sydney.
The commencement of works at the former Chullora Railway Workshops was approved by the Chief Mechanical Engineer, Ernest Edward Lucy in 1920. The Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Railway and Tramway Services was announced in December 1923, with the role of the Commissioners being to review the financing, management, equipment, administration and general workings of the railway services in New South Wales. It was recommended in the Royal Commission that the functions undertaken at the Eveleigh Workshops should be moved to the former Chullora Railway Workshops, specifically the ‘Elcar’ (or Electric Car) workshop which was constructed by 1926.
By 1929 there were three separate workshops in operation on the 200 hectare former Chullora Railway Workshops. These included the Boiler Shop (located within the current Chullora Railway Workshops) and the Signal and Electric Car Workshops (both located in the former Chullora Railway Workshops) with work underway for the Permanent Way Workshops No. 2. The Electric Car Workshop (also known as ‘Elcar’) was constructed specifically for the suburban rail electrification project that commenced in 1922. With the construction of the new Signal Workshops at the former Chullora Railway Workshops finalised in 1924-25, the former Chullora Railway Workshops were able to take over the manufacture and repair of all equipment associated with the safe working of the trains from the Sydney and Redfern Yards.
Works related to the construction of locomotive boilers were underway in the Boiler Shop after the installation of the workshop machinery by 1929. By 1931-32 the boiler repair work from Eveleigh and Honeysuckle had also been transferred to the current Chullora Railway Workshops. The Powerhouse was constructed during 1924 and completed in 1925, located to the south-east of the Boiler Shop.
Construction works in other areas of the current Chullora Railway Workshops slowed down due to the effects of the Great Depression that was to last from 1928 to 1938; this also delayed the construction of the Locomotive Workshop which took from 1927 to 1938 to complete. Works on the modification and repair of locomotives within the workshop were already underway in 1937 prior to the entire fitout of machinery being completed. The opening of the Locomotive Workshop enabled the transfer of a majority of the steam locomotive repair work from the Eveleigh Workshops. This work was gradually divided between the three major workshops of the current Chullora Railway Workshops, Cardiff and Eveleigh as each railway workshop specialised in different classes of locomotive.
A workshop locomotive yard (Feature 46) was also established to the east of the locomotive workshops. The yard facilities included several rail tracks, a 75-foot diameter Turntable (Feature 28) with tracks extending to the south (constructed c. 1928) for the storage of locomotives, a locomotive weighbridge (Building 29) with a pit located on either approach, a coal stage and a water column. The weighbridge was installed in 1929 to 1930 with weighing machines located within the cabin.
When it was decided in 1939 that the railway facilities at the current Chullora Railway Workshops would be used for a new aircraft assembly factory in the production of the Beaufort bomber aircraft, a portion of the Locomotive Workshop was appropriated and extended to the east and south. Defence activities began at the current Chullora Railway Workshops in 1940 upon the completion of the first stage of the Aircraft Annex South (Building 21.1) followed by the construction of the Aircraft Annex East (Building 21.2).
The Tank Annex (Building 22) was constructed in 1941 to 1942 to accommodate the varying aspects of tank assembly such as planning, production control and scheduling, supply, tooling, stores and inspection. The current Chullora Railway Workshops became the centre for the production of aircraft and tanks as part of the war effort. Given the nature of the work undertaken in the current Chullora Railway Workshops during this period, air raid shelters were built as a precaution in c. 1941 for the protection of the workers. The increase in workers and staff due to the defence activities also resulted in the construction of numerous administration buildings, canteens/cafeterias, amenity buildings and first aid buildings within the vicinity of the Locomotive Workshop, Aircraft and Tank Annexes. A number of buildings such as the Tube Store (Building 15), Tube Welding Building (Building 15.1) and the Boiler Shop Annex (Building 10) were constructed in the Boiler Shop Precinct from 1940 to 1946. The Locomotives Stores Building or ‘Igloo’ (Building 18) was erected at Chullora between 1948 and 1952. The building was purchased from the Commonwealth Disposals Commission as an ‘Igloo Hangar’.
After the end of the war the use and therefore the names of the existing buildings and workshops continued to change over time. A transformation in the railway industry in the 1950s that included the decision to cease making steam engine locomotives directly affected how the workshops such as the Boiler Shop and Locomotive Workshop were utilised. In June 1952 the prototype electric locomotive built at the current Chullora Railway Workshops made a trial trip which was reported as a great success being the first NSW Railway electric locomotive. In 1957 the NSW government decided that the current Chullora Railway Workshops would become the major diesel and electric locomotive workshop, while Cardiff would be the main steam locomotive workshop.
The former Chullora Railway Workshops had reached its peak in the late 1950s with workshop closures and land sales for private ownership following. The modernisation of the remaining workshops continued into the 1970s. By 1974, the maintenance of the main line locomotives was mainly undertaken at the current Chullora Railway Workshops with branch line locomotives being serviced at Cardiff and shunters and tractors at Eveleigh workshops.
In order to create more accountable and commercially competitive work centres, the individual workshops located at the current Chullora Railway Workshops were divided into four maintenance centres in 1986-87: Bogie Maintenance Centre (BMC) formerly the Boiler Shop, Diesel Engine Maintenance Centre (DEMC) formerly the Boiler Shop Annex, Electrical Maintenance Centre (EMC) formerly the Tank Annex, and the Locomotive Maintenance Centre (LMC) formerly the Locomotive Workshop.
An announcement was made in August 1993 by the State Rail Authority (SRA) Chief Executive that the current Chullora Railway Workshops would be closed over a two to three year period.
The four maintenance centres were still in operation in the current Chullora Railway Workshops but not all of the surrounding buildings were in use and were beginning to show signs of deterioration. The specialist and historic railway workshop tools, plant, equipment, spare parts and stock materials were gradually donated to railway museums and other institutions as the workshops were transformed to operate as new maintenance centres.
Further restructuring of the four maintenance centres was undertaken in 1996 to 1997 that included the re-amalgamating of the four centres into two maintenance workshops: LMC/EMC and the BMC/DEMC. In 1998 there were further changes made with the two remaining Chullora Fleet Maintenance Workshops reduced to one workshop organisation (BMC/DEMC/LMC) and the EMC reassigned to a Rail Services Australia (RSA)/Transfield joint venture.
In 1998, A E Bishop & Associates were awarded a grant to assist with the development of a mass transit system which included the establishing of a test track at the current Chullora Railway Workshops in association with the RSA. The test track was established south-east of the BMC and measured 215 metres in length with a further 50 metres included in an 8 metre radius turn in order for the vehicle’s cornering abilities to be tested.
In 2012, the Bogie Maintenance Centre (BMC) is being utilised as a Logistics Operations store for infrastructure items and the DEMC is not in use. The EMC, LMC and Loco Yard are being utilised by private operators under a lease agreement.
The current Chullora Railway Workshops covers an area of approximately 37.4 hectares. The Boiler Shop (BMC), Boiler Shop Annex (DEMC), Tank Annex (EMC), Aircraft Annex and Locomotive Workshop (LMC) buildings are still extant today with most buildings retaining their original planned form and exteriors.

More historical information is available about the history of individual buildings. See CMP.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Transport-Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The current Chullora Railway Workshops are historically significant for their function in servicing the state of NSW primarily for locomotive construction and maintenance purposes from the 1920s to the present day, and secondly for defence purposes during World War II.
The growth and development of the NSW railways from the 1920s required expansion of locomotive construction and servicing facilities. Along with Eveleigh and Cardiff Railway Workshops, the former Chullora Railway Workshops was identified as a key site with specific roles, especially in regard to the electrification of the railway system and construction and maintenance of the steel-bodied suburban electric trains. The gradual transfer of many of the functions from Eveleigh and Cardiff Workshops to the current Chullora Railway Workshops emphasises the important role that the current Chullora Railway Workshops played in NSW. The Boiler Shop and Locomotive Workshop demonstrate the developing industrial capacity of NSW in the early 20th century. The current Chullora Railway Workshops also contributed in a major way to the development of railway technology e.g. the development of the first electric locomotive in NSW in 1952, the development of the first diesel workshop to build and service diesel-electric and electric locomotives in NSW in 1959-60 and the technology upgrades after the introduction of XPT high-speed passenger trains in NSW in 1984-85.
In the war time period the current Chullora Railway Workshops played a critical role as one of the main manufacturing and assembly centres for Beaufort Bomber and Beaufighter aircraft and Cruiser tanks. Major adaptations made at the current Chullora Railway Workshops to accommodate wartime activities include the Aircraft Annex (including blast walls), Tank Annex, Tank Ramp (Feature 41), Tank Cutting (Feature 42) and the Air Raid Shelters. After the war, the current Chullora Railway Workshops benefitted from the lessons learned in the manufacture of the aircraft as the new metal bodywork technology was able to be adapted to the production of new, lightweight, diesel trains which were built at the current Chullora Railway Workshops from the late 1940s. The role of the current Chullora Railway Workshops in the war time period is commemorated by two war memorials - one outside the Power House which honours railway workers that served in the armed forces as well as those that stayed and contributed to tank and aircraft production, and another dedicated by Mr Winsor, the Commissioner of Railways, at Winsor Park to those railway staff who served and lost their lives in the war.
The current Chullora Railway Workshops has continued to be used for state transport-related purposes from its inception to the present time. The adaptability of the “modern” style, large, lightweight buildings has allowed the current Chullora Railway Workshops to develop and change with subsequent waves of technological advancement and development. The ongoing use of the current Chullora Railway Workshops for its original rail-related purposes enhances its significance in terms of demonstrating the patterns of NSW history.
The key remaining historical buildings and features that give the place significance are the Boiler Shop (Building 1) and associated Amenities Building (Building 14); Power House (Building 2); Locomotive Workshop (Building 20); Aircraft and Tank Annexes (Buildings 21.1, 21.2 and 22); Tank Ramp (Feature 41); Tank Cutting (Feature 42); Air Raid Shelters (Building Group 31 and 31.1); Locomotive Workshops Store – ‘Igloo’ (Building 18); Memorial (Feature 37); Locomotive Yard (Feature 46) including the Load Box and Shed (Building 30), Turntable (Feature 28) and Weighbridge and Shed (Building 29); the First Aid Station (Building 7); Boiler Shop Annex (Building 10), the Tube Store (Building 15) and the identified landscape elements (the Boiler Shop East Garden - Feature 38; the Bowling Green - Feature 39; the Boiler Shop Annex Garden – Feature 40; the Avenue of Mature Trees – Feature 43 and the Locomotive Workshop Gardens – Feature 50).
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The current Chullora Railway Workshops is significant for its association with many persons of significance within the New South Wales railway industry as well as the evolving government management authorities responsible for the railways in NSW. One of the key figures was the Chief Mechanical Engineer, Ernest Edward Lucy, who is of importance because of his role in contributing to the design and approval of the commencement of works at the current Chullora Railway Workshops in 1920. Another was Mr Winsor, a Commissioner of Railways, who was responsible for the erection of a war memorial in Winsor Park in 1955.
The current Chullora Railway Workshop’s association with government authorities responsible for the railways in NSW ranges from the Commissioners of Railways in the 1920s through numerous organisational changes to the establishment of present day RailCorp in 2004. These associations are of importance because they show a continuous link with the ongoing historical development of the management of railways in NSW from the 1920s to the present day.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The form of the current Chullora Railway Workshops reflects changes in building styles, industrial functions and the importance of the place as a working environment for a large contingent of employees. The aesthetic derives from the relationships of the current Chullora Railway Workshops layout, size and shape of the buildings, interstitial spaces and landscape elements.
The current Chullora Railway Workshops is aesthetically significant in demonstrating a remnant of the layout and building features of the former Chullora Railway Workshops. The hard industrial character of the current Chullora Railway Workshops is significantly enhanced and softened by the landscape elements including the Bowling Green, water fountain and extensive gardens located near the Boiler Shop, Power House, Boiler Shop Annex and Locomotive Workshop.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Note: Although this Criterion has not been formally assessed through community consultation, the current Chullora Railway Workshops is likely to have social significance to the thousands of workers employed at the current Chullora Railway Workshops from the late 1920s to the current period. This is because of the key role it has played in local employment over a very long period, its important role in the Second World War where the staff was likely to have bonded due to the conditions of adversity of the time, and the positive work environment provided by railways management. This included a high level of amenities provided for the staff, organised social and recreational activities and establishment of gardens and plantings to improve the harsh industrial landscape. It is likely that the current Chullora Railway Workshops contributes to the community’s sense of identity and that demolition or removal of this last trace of the former Chullora Railway Workshops may well create a sense of loss in the local community.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The current Chullora Railway Workshops exhibits a high degree of technical achievement. The current Chullora Railway Workshops has been a centre of industrial activity for a long period and reflects technological advancements in both the activities/functions carried out there as well as in the design of the buildings where the functions occurred. The work undertaken in the study area has been instrumental in the development of railway technology in NSW from steam to diesel-electric and electric.
The wartime functions of aircraft and tank manufacture and assembly were important parts of the war effort and subsequently led directly to the development of new technologies in regard to metal fabrication of lightweight trains. The quick adaptation of the works from railway to war time use demonstrates an ability to innovate and produce aircraft and tanks during times of material shortages. They also demonstrate the ability to adapt quickly from railway to war production.
The workshops were continually upgraded with new machinery to keep up with the latest technology as well as the training and/or hiring of new workers in order to accommodate the changes in the railway industry and the consequent adjustments in maintenance requirements. The names of the individual workshops were continuously in transition over the years as their function and purpose changed to accommodate new equipment, updated technology and/or altered maintenance requirements.
The ongoing use of the current Chullora Railway Workshops for locomotive manufacture to the present day demonstrates the adaptability of the design of the buildings which have only required minimal changes to accommodate modern manufacturing requirements (e.g. longer service pits, heavier cranes etc). Buildings and equipment such as the Weighbridge (Building 29) and Load Box (Building 30) which are used to test overhauled trains are still fulfilling their original roles. The adaptation of the former Tank Annex (Building 22) and Boiler Shop (Building 1) and some other buildings to storage-related purposes indicates the flexibility of the spaces for new uses.
The current Chullora Railway Workshops is an important reference site as it demonstrates a large scale rail facility and manufacturing workshop which has operated continuously from the 1920s to the present. The current Chullora Railway Workshops retains the key buildings and elements where the manufacturing and railway maintenance processes occurred and has an ongoing operational role. There is also tangible physical evidence of its Second World War manufacturing and assembly functions.
The current Chullora Railway Workshops has a degree of research potential related to the physical construction and layout of a 20th Century railway workshop and the adaptations and additions made for wartime use. Documentary records relating to the current Chullora Railway Workshops are scattered and incomplete and physical study of the current Chullora Railway Workshops may well provide information not available from other sources.
The current Chullora Railway Workshops does not have a high level of archaeological potential due to the fact the former Chullora Railway Workshops was a swampy low lying area prior to its redevelopment for railway use in the 1920s, and the lightweight nature of any removed or demolished railway buildings are likely to have left a minimal archaeological signature.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The current Chullora Railway Workshops is rare within the context of the NSW State Railway systems. Comparisons made with Eveleigh Workshops and Cardiff Workshops reveal that key attributes that can be found at the current Chullora Railway Workshops are: the size of the former Chullora Railway Workshops was greater than the others with a greater diversity of operations carried out there and the current Chullora Railway Workshops is thus representative of the much larger former Chullora Railway Workshops; the current Chullora Railway Workshops also better demonstrates the changes in design of railway workshops from a 19th Century to a 20th Century model; the current Chullora Railway Workshops has a higher level of integrity and intactness as well as a unique composition of contrasting building styles and materials set within formal garden settings; the gardens contribute aesthetically to a visual setting that is rare in most 20th Century industrial workshops and the remaining fabric from war time use at the current Chullora Railway Workshops (including the Tank Ramp, Tank Cutting and Air Raid Shelters) is much greater than elsewhere.
The current Chullora Railway Workshops is considered to provide a rare tangible connection with rail history from the steam-powered era through to the present day. All of the key features of the current Chullora Railway Workshops that demonstrate its various aspects of significance are intact.
The current Chullora Railway Workshops provides evidence of railway manufacturing processes that are in danger of being lost. The modern trend to out-sourcing of services and importation of goods has led to the contraction, closure and/or redevelopment of other such workshops.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The current Chullora Railway Workshops is representative of a large early to mid 20th Century locomotive manufacturing workshop. It also has significant evidence of activities carried out during the Second World War to manufacture and assemble components of aircraft and tanks. This is representative of the massive industrial effort that occurred across Australia and NSW to meet war needs.
The current Chullora Railway Workshops is significant because it exhibits all the principal characteristics of railway workshops including the workshop buildings themselves such as the Boiler Shop, Power House, Locomotive Yard, Turntable, Load Box, Weighbridge and landscape elements. The current Chullora Railway Workshops remains in operation fulfilling its original function.
The design of the individual buildings is representative of important styles used in railway infrastructure throughout the world. For example the Boiler Shop and Power House, as two of the earliest buildings in the current Chullora Railway Workshops, exhibit traits of the late 19th Century in their form and monumental brick design. The Locomotive Workshop with its attached Aircraft Annexes and the nearby Tank Annex on the other hand, exhibit the more modern, lightweight designs of the 20th Century with their steel framing, sheet cladding and sawtooth roofs.
Integrity/Intactness: There are a number of buildings within the current Chullora Railway Workshops that have retained a high level of integrity even though the current Chullora Railway Workshops has undergone extensive alterations as the workshops and facilities were upgraded. The specialist and historic railway workshop tools, plant, equipment, spare parts and stock materials were gradually donated to railway museums and other institutions in the 1990s as the current Chullora Railway Workshops were transformed to operate as new maintenance centres. The relationship between the key remaining historical buildings and features that give the place significance such as the Boiler Shop (Building 1) and associated Amenities Building (Building 14); Power House (Building 2); Locomotive Workshop (Building 20); Aircraft and Tank Annexes (Buildings 21.1, 21.2 and 22); Tank Ramp (Feature 41); Tank Cutting (Feature 42); Air Raid Shelters (Building Group 31 and 31.1); Locomotive Workshops Store – ‘Igloo’ (Building 18); Memorial (Feature 37); Locomotive Yard (Feature 46) including the Load Box and Shed (Building 30), Turntable (Feature 28) and Weighbridge and Shed (Building 29); the First Aid Station (Building 7); Boiler Shop Annex (Building 10), the Tube Store (Building 15) and the identified landscape elements (the Boiler Shop East Garden - Feature 38; the Bowling Green - Feature 39; the Boiler Shop Annex Garden – Feature 40; the Avenue of Mature Trees – Feature 43 and the Locomotive Workshop Gardens – Feature 50 have been retained. The arrangement between the main historical features and landscape elements as well as the level of integrity of the items is crucial to the significance of the Chullora Railway Workshops.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
State Rail Authority Heritage Register Study1999SRA108State Rail Authority  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAustral Archaeology Pty Ltd2012Chullora Railway Workshops Conservation Management Plan
WrittenGodden Mackay Logan Pty Ltd1991Chullora Railway Workshops. Site Recording Description of the Building Fabric and Operations. A Report for the State Rail Authority
WrittenGodden Mackay Logan Pty Ltd1990Chullora Railway Workshops Heritage Assessment. Report prepared for Planning Workshop.
WrittenGodden Mackay Pty Ltd1991Chullora Railway Workshops History and Site Development History and site Development A Report for the State Rail Authority
WrittenJ Longworth2000Chullora Locomotive Workshops 1913-2000
WrittenJ Meyer1996Conservation of Air Raid Shelters at Chullora Railway Workshops Conservation Plan. Prepared for Rail Estate Heritage.
WrittenPaul Davies2001NSW State Heritage Inventory Form - Chullora Workshops
WrittenTony Prescott2009Historical Research for RailCorp's S170 Update Project

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: State Government
Database number: 4801108


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