Heritage

Albury Railway Precinct

Item details

Name of item: Albury Railway Precinct
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Railway Place (Off Young Street), Albury, NSW 2640
Parish: Albury
County: Goulburn
Local govt. area: Albury City

Boundary:

The listing boundary extends from Dean Street in the north, the railway property boundary adjacent to the Hume Highway by-pass in the east, adjacent to Young Street in the west, and to Hovell Street in the south. The curtilage for the barracks at 508 Young Street is the allotment boundary.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Railway Place (Off Young Street)AlburyAlbury CityAlburyGoulburnPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

The railway precinct at Albury is of state significance as one of the major railway precincts in NSW which includes one of the most prominent station buildings in NSW. The grandeur of the station building at Albury reflects the importance attributed to this location by the NSW government in the late 19th century and reflects important historical themes, particularly the rivalry between NSW and Victoria and the competition for trade between Australia's colonies in the 19th century. The station building, platform and former Station Master’s residence are prominent civic buildings in Albury which, along with less prominent structures (the former barracks building, signal box, transhipment shed and other items) are extant reminders of the important and continuing role of the railways in Albury since the 1880s.

The place is significant as the point at which there was a break-of-gauge between the different gauges used in Victoria and NSW and where, from 1881, the transfer of passengers and goods took place near the border between Victoria and NSW. The railway precinct at Albury was also a significant location during World War II when the transfer of freight and military personnel at Albury made an important contribution to the war effort, particularly through the operation of the transhipment area, where military supplies were loaded and unloaded.

The barracks building at Albury is an excellent, representative example of late 19th century accommodation for railway workers and is one of the oldest remaining railway barracks in NSW. It demonstrates standard late 19th century and 20th century railway practices, namely the accommodation of railway crews at strategic locations throughout the state, and reveals the use of a standard design for rest houses in the late 19th century.
Date significance updated: 19 May 08
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: John Whitton (attributed)
Construction years: 1880-1881
Physical description: MAJOR STRUCTURES - Managed by RailCorp
Station Building - type 5, brick Italianate first-class (1881) and refreshment room (1880s)
Platform (1881)
Modern Barracks Building (c.1990s)

MAJOR STRUCTURES - Managed by ARTC
Signal Box - elevated brick and timber with gabled roof located opposite platform (1885)
Signal Box - brick, located at southern end of platform (1962)
Station Master's residence - two-storey located at Railway Place (1881)
Barracks, brick engine drivers’ barracks at 508 Young Street (c1890)
Footbridge at northern end of platform
Turntable
Transhipment Shed (covered with central platform, c1920).

STATION BUILDING (1881)
A grand symmetrical Victorian Italianate style station building with a tall central tower topped with a decorative cupola. The building features load bearing brickwork with face brick and stuccoed and painted detail for pilasters, arches, quoins, pediments, string courses and architraves. The building has a pitched roof with hipped ends and hipped transverse bays at the ends of the building. The roof over the booking hall is elevated. The road-side of the building features the clock tower and two verandahs between the projecting bays supported on double cast iron columns. The platform side has a series of gabled roofs running at right angles to the main building; all supported on trusses over cast iron, decorated, fluted columns. Timber valances are still intact on the exterior of the building. The awning over the platform extension at the south end is of later design than the station building awning. The platform is covered for its entire length (and with Flinders St, Melbourne is the longest platform in Australia) (Pennay, 2006).

Internally the building is arranged along the platform with a central booking hall and ticket office which contains most of its original cedar detailing and panelling. Opening off this space are a number of offices. Along the platform there is access to the ladies waiting room (divided into first and second class sections), the parcels office (also accessed from the street), stores, porters room, lamp room and male toilets. The stores and toilets are separated from the main building by a passageway and are under separate hipped roofs with dormer gables (Pennay, 2006).

A refreshment room was added to the station building in the 1880s at the Sydney end of the main building and in a similar style to the main building. It has a separate awning structure of later construction which extends beyond the station building. Also the north end of the building has been extended by the addition of a second storey to provide additional accommodation space for the refreshment rooms (Pennay, 2006).

STATION MASTERS RESIDENCE (1881)
A large two-storey brick residence with a slate gabled roof. The building has an asymmetrical design with a projecting bay at the front and a two storey verandah with decorative cast iron railing and detail to posts. The verandah roof is reverse curve corrugated iron. The arrangement of the building includes a sitting room and dining room with staircase in the front part of the ground floor area with attached kitchen, scullery and pantry at the rear. Upstairs there are two large bedrooms, one with closet, two smaller bedrooms, all with fireplaces and one very small bedroom under a lower roof, probably for a servant or used as a study.

MODERN BARRACKS
Located to south of entrance to station (to rear of SM's Residence) is a modern barracks building (also known as guesthouse building). No heritage value.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The station buildings are in very good condition. Other structures are generally in good condition with some repairs required to the signal box and transhipment shed (April 2008).
Date condition updated:11 Sep 09
Modifications and dates: 1984 - gatekeeper's residence demolished
1986 - Institute building demolished
c1991 - Residences at 528-538 Young Street sold to private ownership
c1991 - Barracks at 540 Young Street sold to private ownership
pre-2000 - Goods shed, tripod crane and various other railway buildings and structures in northern yard demolished
2006 - Wilson Street footbridge and Dean Street road overbridge demolished as part of works for Hume Highway bypass.
2010 - Internal refurbishment - Minor alterations to V-link and CountryLink services.
2012 - Bowling Club vested March 2012
2012 - Internal fitout to main station building for Training Rooms
Further information: The Bowling Club is no longer in railway ownership but falls within the SHR curtilage boundary.
Current use: Passenger railway station, with most former railway owned buildings and structures now surplus to requirements
Former use: Break-of-gauge station where passengers changed trains and where freight was transhipped between broad and standard gauge wagons

History

Historical notes: The railway precinct at Albury was the terminus for the Main Southern Line from 1881 until 1962. It remains as an operational railway yard and passenger station and is the last station before the NSW/Victoria border.

By the late 19th century, colonial rivalry between Victoria and NSW, particularly with regard to the competition for wool trade from the Riverina, was the catalyst for the rapid expansion of rail networks in both states in the direction of the Victoria/ NSW border. In Victoria, a proposal for a line to Belvoir (Wodonga) was approved in 1869 and completed by 1873. In April 1873 John Sutherland, the Minister for Public Works, set out a policy to complete ‘the main trunk railways’. The policy included the Great Southern Line and was in response to the threat that wool from the Riverina and the west would be diverted to Melbourne via river boats and the Victorian railway. By 1877 the Great Southern Railway extended from Sydney to as far as Cootamundra and rapidly continued on to Bethungra (1878), Junee (1878), Bomen (1878), Wagga Wagga (1879), and Gerogery (1880) (Forsyth, 1989; SRA, 1993; Pennay, 2006; Lee, 2000, p98).

The construction contract for the Wagga Wagga to Albury section was awarded to George Cornwell & F Mixner on 14 February 1878. The single line opened from Gerogery to Albury on 3 February 1881. The line finally reached the border with the extension across the River Murray on 14 June 1883 as a single track, the contract being awarded to Alex Frew on 1 May 1882 (Forsyth, 2009).

The station and yard at Albury opened with a loop, stockyards, toilet, wool stage and a temporary platform on 1 March 1881. Albury and Wodonga were both used as change stations, with the interchange of passengers and goods to take place at Albury and livestock at Wodonga (Forsyth, 1989; SRA, 1993; Pennay, 2006).

A contract for construction of a temporary station building, crew barracks, porters’ cottages, Station Master’s residence, and carriage shed at Albury was let to a J. Stevens in May 1880. In 1882, a 10 tonne crane and a cart weighbridge were installed, the temporary passenger platform converted to a loading stage, and the signal box moved from the temporary platform to a new location near the station (Forsyth, 1989).

On 26 February 1882 the new station building was opened. Designed in an Italianate style under the direction of John Whitton, the grandeur of the new building stood as a symbol of NSW's colonial pride (Pennay, 2006).

Early changes to the station precinct included construction of refreshment rooms, a goods shed and a temporary customs office in 1883, and an engine shed, new covered platform and new goods shed in 1884. In 1887, the station and southern end of the yard were interlocked and the southern yard remodelled. Other changes at Albury in the late 19th century included alterations to the barracks (1890), provision of a furnace for heating foot warmers (1890), provision of a special booking office on the platform for sleeping berth tickets for passengers from Victorian trains (1890), new drivers’ barracks (1890), interlocking of the North Yard (1891), and the extension of the platform (1892 and 1902) (Forsyth, 1989).

A contract for the construction of an engine shed, turntable pit, and coal stage was let to A. Frew in October 1880, with the original engine shed built as a two-track structure with the capacity to accommodate eight locomotives. The original 15.240m turntable was increased in size to 18.288m in 1904 and then to 22.860m in 1926. A coal stage was introduced in c1950 (Forsyth, 1989).

Numerous changes were made to the station and yard in the 20th century, with some of the major alterations or additions including extension of the carriage shed (1905), extension of the platform and awning at the Country (southern) end (1907), erection of an additional carriage shed (1912), provision of an Institute building (1921), and extension of the awning (1944) (Forsyth, 1989).

Major improvements were made to railway infrastructure at Albury and Wodonga during, and immediately prior to, World War II. The importance of improving railway links between states had been understood by military planners since Federation and became more acute after Japan entered World War II. The threat posed to coastal shipping by enemy ships and submarines, combined with restrictions on petrol and rubber, made rail transport increasingly important during the war. Rail traffic (for civilian and military purposes) increased significantly between Victoria and NSW during World War II with the number of passengers at Albury trebling from 1938 to 1941 and goods traffic increasing from 25,000 to 123,000 tonnes during the same period. The increased volume of traffic and the military presence at the border had significant implications for Albury with the Australian defence forces virtually commandeering the station for the duration of World War II (Pennay, 2006).

Many changes were made to the station precinct and goods yard at Albury prior to and during World War II. Some of the major changes included the addition of a timber transhipment platform, lengthening of the station platform by 66m, and expansion of the goods yard on the western side of Parkinson Street. The railway transhipment platform remained in use after the war but activity within the Albury yard declined as road transport gradually displaced rail transport in the second half of the 20th century. Another important change was the introduction of standard gauge track between Wodonga and Melbourne in 1961, reducing the need for transhipment facilities at Albury, although not entirely as the transhipment platform remained in use after the introduction of standard gauge in Victoria. However, by the 1970s and 1980s some of the transhipment facilities at Albury were demolished (including the goods shed, wool depot and engine house) (Pennay, 2006).

In recent decades, major changes to the station precinct at Albury included conservation works to the RailCorp owned station building in 1995 and the construction of the Hume Highway bypass in 2005 and 2006 which involved the demolition of the Wilson Street footbridge and Dean Street overbridge, and modifications to the eastern end of the footbridge at the station (Pennay, 2006; Dreghorn, pers.comm 2008).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Communication-Activities relating to the creation and conveyance of information Signalling and safe working-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Pastoralism-Activities associated with the breeding, raising, processing and distribution of livestock for human use Servicing the pastoral industry-
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 Transport of goods-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Servicing and accommodating railway employees-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Shaping inland settlements-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Utilities-Activities associated with the provision of services, especially on a communal basis (none)-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour (none)-
7. Governing-Governing Defence-Activities associated with defending places from hostile takeover and occupation Transporting troops and equipment-
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-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Significant railway identities-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Albury Railway Precinct is of historical significance as a major location that when completed marked an important milestone in the history of the NSW railways, that being the completion of the Southern Line to the Victorian border following the rapid expansion of the railway network during the second half of the 19th century. The grandeur of the station building at Albury reflects the importance attributed to this location by the NSW government in the late 19th century and is a tangible reminder of the rivalry between colonies during this period in Australia's history, particularly in relation to competition between colonies for trade. The goods yard at Albury (particularly the transhipment shed) was an important location for defence activities during World War II when military equipment and other materials important to the war effort were moved by rail and transferred from broad gauge Victorian trains to standard gauge NSW trains.

The Station Master’s residence and barracks buildings are significant for demonstrating the past custom of providing permanent and temporary accommodation for railway staff. The c1890 former engine drivers' barracks is significant as one of the oldest remaining barracks extant in NSW.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The design of the station building is associated with John Whitton, Engineer-in-Chief of NSW Railways (from 1856-1890). The place is also associated with the work of Australian artist Russell Drysdale who, during World War II, completed many paintings of the station and yard including defence related activities within the railway precinct.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The railway station at Albury (including the platform awning) is one of the largest and more significant station buildings in NSW with a high level of aesthetic significance. The building is a fine example of a large Victorian Italianate style first-class brick station building and remains largely intact with many original decorative features. The building with its landmark tower remains as a prominent element within the Albury townscape. The former Station Master's residence, railway barracks and 1885 signal box also have varying levels of aesthetic and technical significance and contribute to the setting of the place.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The site is of social significance to the local community on account of its lengthy association as an important source of employment, trade and social interaction for the local community. The site is significant for its ability to contribute to the local community’s sense of place, is a distinctive feature in the daily life of many community members, and provides a tangible connection between Albury's history and present day community.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The station building is a good representative example of first-class railway architecture in NSW. The precinct is a good representative example of a large yard which includes a range of railway structures: a Station Master’s residence, 1885 signal box, a footbridge, and other structures that collectively demonstrate widespread 19th and early 20th Century railway customs, activities and design in NSW, and are representative of similar items that are found in other railway precincts across the state.
Integrity/Intactness: The station buildings, signal box and Station Master's residence have a high level of integrity/ intactness.
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 Study1999SRA274State Rail Authority  No
S170 Register Update Project2009 ARTC/ ORH  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Oral HistoryDreghorn, Harley2008Personal communication
WrittenForsyth, J. H.1989Stations and tracks volume 2: Main Southern Line Granville Junction to Albury
WrittenJ.M. Cottee2004Stations on the track
WrittenJohn H Forsyth2009NSW Railway Stations - An Alphabetical Arrangement of Railway Station and Place Names
WrittenMcKillop, R2009NSW Railways (RailCorp) Thematic History
WrittenPennay, Bruce2006A history of Albury railway station and yard as a key component in the inter-colonial rail connection [Attachment B, nomination of Albury station and yard to the National Heritage List]
MapRailCorp RailCorp Historic Plans, various
WrittenState Rail Authority of NSW Archives1993How and why of station names

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: 4806274


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