Loftus Junction Signal Box | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Loftus Junction Signal Box

Item details

Name of item: Loftus Junction Signal Box
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Signal Box
Primary address: Loftus Ave/Nattai St Intersection - Opposite (East), Loftus, NSW 2232
Local govt. area: Sutherland
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Loftus Ave/Nattai St Intersection - Opposite (East)LoftusSutherland  Primary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

The Loftus Junction Signal Box has been highly altered, and its integrity has been severely diminished by the removal of the signalling equipment, which has taken away the ability of the box to demonstrate its original function. Its historical context and associations with the National Park branch line have been further compromised by relocation of the station and track, leaving the structure isolated. While being an early design, it is a simple structure built to cover the signal frame, and does not appear to demonstrate any technically significant signal box design features, other than the elevated floor, designed to allow the signal equipment to operate under it.
Date significance updated: 17 Dec 09
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Designer/Maker: N.S.W. Government Railway
Builder/Maker: N.S.W. Government Railway and Public Works Department
Construction years: 1886-1890
Physical description: CONTEXT
The Loftus Signal Box and 2 concrete drop-slab location huts are on railway land within the railway corridor east of Loftus Avenue, opposite the intersection of Loftus Avenue and Nattai Street, Loftus.

Exterior: The signal box has painted brick foundations approx 1m in height. It is a small freestanding gabled weatherboard rectangular building with timber barge boards, and simple short finials with triangular tops. The building has a painted corrugated steel roof without any eaves overhang. A corrugated steel roofed and walled skillion section on the western side is at ground level. Window openings and door to the building have been covered over. On the north side of the building, outside the entry door, is a concrete deck with timber steps and a pipe railing. There is an old fluorescent light and a downpipe across the north elevation.

Interior: Original lever frame.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Signal Box: Moderate. The guttering to the building is deteriorated.
Date condition updated:12 Nov 09
Modifications and dates: 1891: Interlocking removed
1926: single line branch auto signalling
N.d: Corrugated steel addition to side.
Current use: Disused
Former use: Signal Box


Historical notes: The Illawarra Railway was opened from Sutherland to Waterfall in 1886, being constructed by William Rowe and W. Smith. The branch line was also opened in 1886 to a station named Loftus which was the terminus of a single line of 1.6 kilometres for military traffic, the National Park then being an army training reserve. The Loftus Junction Signal box was also constructed at this time.

The line was duplicated in 1890 and electrified in 1926.

Initially the timber signal box was built on the southern end of a small timber platform station named Loftus Junction and this was the first signal and track interlocked point on the Illawarra Line, though the National Park was not interlocked until the 1926 electrification. In 1888 the National Park was set aside for public recreation, and the station was then renamed ‘National Park’ undergoing various changes until finally becoming The Royal National Park in 1955. In 1899 a short length of double line was opened from Loftus Junction to a short distance along the branch line to cope with the growth of rail traffic, but in 1944 this was converted back to a single track connection.

Loftus Junction station was renamed Loftus in 1896 and because its location was difficult for starting ‘Down’ trains on the rising 1 in 40 grade, the platforms were moved back towards Sydney in 1917, leaving the original signal box in an isolated situation.

The concrete location huts are likely to have been constructed between 1917-1924 with precast panels manufactured at the Auburn cement works (Dawbin & Love, 2005).

After closure in 1991, most of the internal equipment was removed from the signal box and the windows boarded up.

Assessment of significance

Integrity/Intactness: The junction and trackage which related to the signal box have been removed, and therefore the context has lost significance. The signal box is now disused. The building has been repainted and windows covered over. The integrity of the overall structure is low. The original lever frame is still intact.
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.

Recommended management:

1. Conservation principles: Conserve cultural heritage significance and minimise impacts on heritage values and fabric in accordance with the ‘Australia ICOMOS Charter for Places of Cultural Significance’. 2. Specialist advice: Seek advice from a qualified heritage specialist during all phases of a proposed project from feasibility, concept and option planning stage; detailed design; heritage approval and assessment; through to construction and finalisation. 3. Documentation: Prepare a Statement of Heritage Impact (SOHI) to assess, minimise and prevent heritage impacts as part of the assessment and approval phase of a project. Prepare a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) prior to proposing major works (such as new additions, change of use or proposed demolition) at all places of State significance and all complex sites of Local significance. 4. Maintenance and repair: Undertake annual inspections and proactive routine maintenance works to conserve heritage fabric in accordance with the ‘Minimum Standards of Maintenance & Repair’. 5. Movable heritage: Retain in situ and care for historic contents, fixtures, fittings, equipment and objects which contribute to cultural heritage significance. Return or reinstate missing features or relocated items where opportunities arise. 6. Aboriginal, archaeology and natural heritage: Consider all aspects of potential heritage significance as part of assessing and minimising potential impacts, including Aboriginal, archaeology and natural heritage. 7. Unidentified heritage items: Heritage inventory sheets do not describe or capture all contributory heritage items within an identified curtilage (such as minor buildings, structures, archaeology, landscape elements, movable heritage and significant interiors and finishes). Ensure heritage advice is sought on all proposed changes within a curtilage to conserve heritage significance. 8. Recording and register update: Record changes at heritage places through adequate project records and archival photography. Notify all changes to the Section 170 Heritage & Conservation Register administrator upon project completion.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage registerRailcorp S170 Register    

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
State Rail Authority Heritage Register Study1999SRA140State Rail Authority  No
Heritage and Conservation Register State Rail Authority of NSW199314Paul Davies for SRA  No
S170 Heritage & Conservation Register Update2009 Paul Davies Pty Ltd  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenBruce Dawbin (Architect) and Ray Love (Railway Historian)2005 
WrittenC.C. Singleton1945The Illawarra Line - Hurstville to Waterfall, A.R.H.S. Bulletin, Vol. XVIII, No 96, October
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: 4800162

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