Heritage

Austinmer Railway Station Group

Item details

Name of item: Austinmer Railway Station Group
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Railway Avenue, Austinmer, NSW 2515
Local govt. area: Wollongong City

Boundary:

c
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Railway AvenueAustinmerWollongong City  Primary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Austinmer Railway Station - including its platforms and platform buildings - is of State heritage significance as a rare example of a station with weatherboard platform buildings. Austinmer Railway Station is of historical significance as an early station (1887) on the Illawarra line, as an intact group of railway structures dating from the 1915 duplication of the Illawarra line, for its role in the naming of Austinmer, and as a transport hub for the village of Austinmer since 1887. Austinmer Railway Station is also of historical significance for its role in the development of Austinmer as a tourist resort since the early 20th century. The 1915 platform buildings at Austinmer Railway Station are of aesthetic significance as rare examples of Federation period weatherboard standard railway design platform buildings, and as a grouping of perimeter platforms, platform buildings and road overbridge which form a cohesive railway precinct within a significant landscape setting. The 1915 Hill Street overbridge is of technical significance as a bridge structure of this period with innovative use of concrete.
Date significance updated: 09 Sep 09
Note: There are incomplete details for a number of items listed in NSW. The Heritage Branch intends to develop or upgrade statements of significance and other information for these items as resources become available.

Description

Designer/Maker: NSW Government Railway
Builder/Maker: NSW Government Railway (station), D Proudfoot and T Logan (original single line).
Construction years: 1887-1915
Physical description: PRECINCT ELEMENTS
Platform 1 building (1915) type 11
Platform 2 building (1915) type 11
Platforms (1915)
Hill Street overbridge (1915)

CONTEXT
Austinmer Railway Station is located northeast of the Hill Street overbridge, between Gilchrist Street (southeast) and Railway Avenue (northwest). There are small car parks on both sides of the station. There is no footbridge, and therefore access between the platforms is via the Balfour Road overbridge. The setting of the railway station is heavily vegetated, with many mature trees adjacent to the station, some overhanging the platforms. The Austinmer platform buildings have been recently repainted in a heritage colour scheme (2009). The perimeter of the railway station is fenced with modern powder-coated aluminium pool fencing.

PLATFORM 1 BUILDING (1915)
Exterior: This is the smaller west platform building. This is a weatherboard single storey building with a gabled corrugated steel roof, cantilevered awning on the platform (east) side on steel brackets mounted on steel posts. The gable ends to north and south have rectangular timber louvred vents. To the south end of the building is a skillion roofed awning, and the south elevation features two ticket windows, one of which has a rare original timber ticket window frame (though a later aluminium ticket window has been installed within and partly overlapping the original frame). The building has timber framed double hung windows, and features timber 4-panel doors with multipaned fanlights with square coloured glass panes.

Interior: This building was originally planned with a booking office, general waiting room, ladies room and ladies toilets, with a water tank at the southern end of the building. The building generally has timber weatherboard internal wall linings. The waiting area has a timber tongue & grooved board ceiling, modern steel double security doors, modern timber veneer wall panelling, modern floor tiling, a timber 4-panel internal door.

PLATFORM 2 BUILDING (1915)
Exterior: This is the larger east platform building. This is a weatherboard single storey building with a corrugated steel gabled roof and a skillion roofed platform awning cantilevered on steel brackets mounted on decorative timber wall brackets. The gable ends to north and south have rectangular timber louvred vents. There is one brick chimney towards the southern end of the roof ridge. The building features large tongue & grooved timber sliding doors at the southern end, facing the platform, timber 4-panel doors with 6-paned fanlights with coloured glass panes. The building has exposed timber rafter ends. Windows are timber framed double hung with 9-paned top sashes with coloured glass panes.

Interior (Partially accessed 2009): This building was originally planned with gents and ladies toilets, a general waiting room, booking office and Out-of-room, and water tanks at each end. The waiting area has been modernised, with a modern ceiling and timber veneer panelling.

PLATFORMS (1915)
Two perimeter platforms with asphalt surfaces. The platforms have brick edges with concrete capping in the central sections, with modern concrete platform extensions to the north ends of both platforms. Access between the platforms is via the Balfour Road overbridge.

HILL STREET OVERBRIDGE (1915)
A brick arched overbridge at the southern end of the railway station. The bridge has brick abutments and a curved concrete arch.

LANDSCAPE/NATURAL FEATURES
The station is sited within a leafy environment below the Illawarra escarpment. Large native trees provide an immediate backdrop to the station and the platform buildings. Views of the escarpment are available from the Hill Street overbridge and the station itself.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Platform 1 building (1915): good
Platform 2 building (1915): good
Platforms (1915): good
Hill Street overbridge (1915): good
Date condition updated:28 May 09
Modifications and dates: 1914-1915: entire station rebuilt
1985: brick platform raised
2008: Platform 1 building- brick chimney collapsed, removed and roof repaired
N.d: steel security screens to windows and doors, and modern air-conditioning units to both platform buildings.
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Nil

History

Historical notes: The name Austinmer came into official being in 1895. Originally this area was called Sidmouth. It was called Sidmouth after the name of the house built there by Robert Marsh Westmacott 1837. Sidmouth was the name of Robert Marsh Westmacott's hometown, in Devon, on the Channel coast of England. By the 1860's a small rural settlement had developed in the area and was called North Bulli. The name changed to Austermere with the opening of the North Illawarra Coal Company's mine. As Sir John Leckey's estate at Moss Vale was also known by this name, the spelling Austinmere was adopted by the local newspapers in 1887. The name is linked to Henry Austin, one of the three Directors of the Board of the Illawarra Mining Company. When the railway platform was built in September 1887 the name Austinmer was placed upon it, omitting the final 'e'.

The station opened as a single line waiting station with an unattended single platform on the isolated Scarborough (Clifton) to Wollongong line in 1887 due to the difficulty being experienced in linking up with the Sydney to Waterfall section of the line. The connection was finally achieved with the single line to Waterfall being opened on 3rd October 1888.

In November 1887, the year the station was built, the "Township of Austinmer" estate, a subdivision of a portion of the property of the North Illawarra Coal Coy., at North Bulli, Parish of Southend, County of Cumberland, was advertised for sale. Further subdivisions took place in 1906 (Kennedy's Estate, Austinmer), in 1913 The Very Cream of Austinmer 2nd subdivision advertised as "Fronting the ocean, close to the railway station"; and in 1914 Austinmer 3rd subdivision, was similarly advertised. Austinmer became known in the early 20th century as a fashionable holiday resort, the "Brighton of New South Wales".

The line was duplicated to Austinmer in 1915, resulting in the construction of the existing standard design timber buildings on each platform connected by a steel framed overbridge. The works included the construction of the concrete arch overbridge for road traffic and the closure of the goods siding. In 1917, as part of the new Thirroul yard, the goods siding was transferred to the Nowra side of the overbridge that replaced the original level crossing at the Sydney end.

The line was electrified in 1988.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Forestry-Activities associated with identifying and managing land covered in trees for commercial purposes. Timber-
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 Building the railway network-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Evolution of design in railway engineering and architecture-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Moving people to events and leisure activities-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Austinmer Railway Station is of historical significance as an early station on the Illawarra line (1887), for its role in the naming of Austinmer, and as a transport hub for the village of Austinmer since 1887, though there are no physical remains from this period. Austinmer Railway Station is of historical significance as an intact group of railway structures dating from the 1915 duplication of the Illawarra line, and for its role in the development of Austinmer as a tourist resort since the early 20th century.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The 1915 platform buildings at Austinmer Railway Station are of State aesthetic significance as rare examples of Federation period weatherboard standard platform buildings, and as a grouping of perimeter platforms and platform buildings and overbridge which form a cohesive railway precinct within a significant landscape setting. The 1915 Hill Street overbridge is of technical significance as a bridge structure of this period with innovative use of concrete.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The place has the potential to contribute to the local community's sense of place, and can provide a connection to the local community's past.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Austinmer is rare as one of only four stations on the Illawarra Line (Austinmer, Oatley, Penshurst and Thirroul) with weatherboard platform buildings, and (with Penshurst) has the most intact examples.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Austinmer Railway Station is representative as a Federation period rural railway station, with weatherboard platform buildings, externally intact. The railway stations at Austinmer, Penshurst, Oatley and Thirroul on the Illawarra line have examples of this type of weatherboard platform building, with those at Austinmer and Penshurst being the most intact of these.
Integrity/Intactness: The platform buildings are externally intact, though altered internally. They have integrity as a pair of platform buildings from the 1915 reconstruction of the station.
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 registerSRA s.170 Register    

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
State Rail Authority Heritage Register Study1999SRA131State Rail Authority  No
Heritage and Conservation Register State Rail Authority of NSW19934Paul Davies for SRA  No
S170 Heritage & Conservation Register Update2009 Paul Davies Pty Ltd  Yes
S170 Heritage & Conservation Register Update2009 Paul Davies Pty Ltd  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written  Brief locality history found at: www.wollongong.nsw.gov.au/library/austinmerplacenames.asp
Written Irving, Robert2001Twentieth Century Architecture in Wollongong
WrittenC.C. Singleton1984Railway History in Illawarra, NSW
WrittenC.C. Singleton1946The Illawarra Line-Scarborough to Wollongong, ARHS Bulletin Vol IX, No102, April
WrittenDavid Sheedy2009Historical Research for RailCorp S170 Register Update

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: 4801131


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