Dungog Railway Station | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Dungog Railway Station

Item details

Name of item: Dungog Railway Station
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Brown Street, Dungog, NSW 2420
Local govt. area: Dungog


RailCorp property boundaries as shown on vesting plan, R29752. It should be noted that the original area of the railway station has been reduced, and that there is an historical and visual relationship with the surrounding area not necessarily apparent from the current property boundaries. As such, any proposed development within the vicinity of the railway station should also consider the historic relationship between the station site and its surrounding area.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Brown StreetDungogDungog  Primary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Dungog railway station is of local significance as a good and rare example of Functionalist architecture in a railway setting. Dungog station building reflects an attempt by NSW railways to modernise and economise during the interwar period resulting in station designs radically different to those previously constructed. Dungog displays fine decorative brickwork, well detailed parapets, strong horizontal planes and wide steel awnings, which make it aesthetically congruous and representative of the Functionalist design.
Date significance updated: 11 Nov 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.


Construction years: 1911-1944
Physical description: MAJOR STRUCTURES - Managed by RailCorp
Station building (c1944)

Dungog station building is an Interwar Functionalist style brick building characterised by a flat roof, dominant steel curved awning, decorative bonded brickwork and dichromatic brickwork. The building has low-pitched roofs concealed behind plain brick parapets and wide flat awnings with deep steel fascias. The awnings are a dominant feature of the design covering a greater area than the enclosed spaces. The southwest corner is curved in plan and recessed from the main façade walls for decorative effect. The awning is curved to the same line as the curved brick bay. The corresponding corner in the north end is square with a curved awning. The fenestration includes fixed steel framed windows that project above the platform awnings in elevation.

The plan of the building comprises a booking office, signal box, station master’s office, sign on room, store and parcels office. Waiting rooms that were planned for a wing on the Down side were not built so a small waiting room was constructed beside the booking office by enclosing recess. A separate out of room is enclosed by the platform awning on the Up side.

The interior rooms of the building are finished with flat sheet ceiling linings, painted cement rendered walls and concrete floors. The ceiling heights in the main rooms, due to the highlight fenestration, are 4 metres. The external joinery detailing includes paired doors with diagonal boarding to form a herringbone pattern, and others with circular glazed observation panels.

The external steelwork detailing includes balustrades with diagonal bars and variations in steel sections. The awnings are constructed with massive RSJ sections and decorative welding patterns. The broadest overhangs are supported on circular concrete piers (Humphreys, A. and Ellsmore, D; 2001).

Platform 1 (1911, extended 1914). Brick and steel rail post and concrete panel.
Platform 2 (1944). Platform consists steel post/brick panel wall. Bitumen surface first 139m from city end.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Date condition updated:13 Oct 09
Modifications and dates: 1913 - construction of a rest house for train crew, and the installation of a 5-tonne gantry crane
1914 - extension of the platform and the addition of a pillar type water tank in the same year
1945 - the single side platform was converted into an island platform (Forsyth, 2009).
1953 -the waiting room in the southeast corner was constructed when the original timber waiting rooms were demolished.
2013: Access Upgrade - construction of a new ramp at carpark; new pedestrian walkway and an upgrade of the existing ramp leading to the platform.
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Nil


Historical notes: Dungog railway precinct is located on the North Coast line, the major trunk line from NSW to Queensland. Although originally constructed as an isolated line from Lismore to Murwillumbah in 1894, the importance of connecting the North Coast to the general railway system led to the extension of the line southward to Maitland in 1903.

Railways in the far north coast region had been proposed as early as the 1870s. The main aim was to divert rural products in the region to a safe shipping port on the coast, using rail transport. The early farming settlements of the North Coast region of NSW began in the late 1830s with the expanding pastoral industry forming the basis for several towns such as Casino and Kempsey along the north coast. It was not until 1894 that the 62 mile section of railway line was opened between Lismore and Murwillumbah, leading to the extension of the line southward to Maitland in 1903.

Railway construction in the area continued over the next eleven years and by 1905, an isolated railway system was in service, joining Grafton on the north bank of the Clarence River to Casino, through Lismore and on to Murwillumbah. In 1930 the line was connected to the Queensland railway system at South Brisbane (Cottee, 2004).

Dungog is located on the Williams River in the upper Hunter Valley in New South Wales. The region was initially settled by timber-getters in search of red cedar along the rivers and by pastoralists in the early to mid 1800s and has a significant history as dairy and timber country. Construction of the North Coast Railway from 1913 facilitated the managed logging of productive State Forests, particularly in the Great Lakes, Stroud, Wauchope and Coffs Harbour districts (McKillop, 2009).

The single line from Maitland to Dungog opened on 14 August 1911, with the station opening for service on the same day. The construction contract for the Maitland to Dungog section was awarded to Carson, Cary & Simpson on 28 April 1908 (Forsyth, 2009).

Historic plans from 1908 show a standard A4 type station building and the single side platform, accompanied by an station officer’s residence and standard goods shed (both constructed in 1907), along with a 60’ turntable, engine shed, 20-tonne weighbridge, combined WC and lamp room, 20, 000 gallon tank, and shed. The original station building internally comprised of a ladies room and lavatory, general waiting room, booking office, and parcels office. The building was extended in 1920 to include a station master’s office and a wider parcels office.

In 1944 a new station building was provided on the platform, which internally comprised of an out of room, parcels, booking, and station master’s offices, a signal box, and a sign-on room. The face brick building also included a rounded awning on all sides. Plans from 1950, detail the part removal of the old station building, however no remains of the original building can be seen on modern plans, and the exact date of the buildings complete removal is not known.

The NSW Railways made several breaks with their own traditions in the years following WWI. They pioneered a new form of prefabrication based on the use of reinforced concrete elements (which was itself a new material), they reorganised the administration of the railways and they introduced Functionalist elements into their station designs, culminating in the use of several entirely fresh examples of European modern functionalism at Cronulla (1939), Parramatta (1942), St Marys, Seven Hills and Rooty Hill (1942/43), Dungog (1944) and Granville (1950). In a railway context, the style manifests itself in buildings of varying complexity but they are generally unified by strong horizontal planes, complex geometric massing, curved edges, masonry construction, parapeted roofs and projecting vertical elements. Functionalism allowed the railways to create a large body of architectural work in the latest style, but at minimal expense.

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. Transporting timber and forest products-
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-
7. Governing-Governing Defence-Activities associated with defending places from hostile takeover and occupation Transporting troops-
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-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Dungog railway precinct is significant for its historical values as a tangible link to the development of the North Coast line as well as the development of the NSW railways. The North Coast line was significant in linking the logging, agricultural and pastoral activities of the north coast to markets in both Sydney and Brisbane leading to significant economic and social impacts for individual townships as well as for NSW generally. Dungog railway station contributed particularly to the development of the dairy industries and dairy manufacturing in the region.

The station building is of historical significance as a good example of interwar Functionalist station building design. This period saw a radical departure from previous railway architectural designs and illustrates an attempt by the railways to both modernise and economise.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Dungog railway station is of high aesthetic significance as a good example of the interwar Functionalist style applied to a railway station building in a rural setting. The building is distinguished by fine decorative brickwork, well detailed parapets, strong horizontal planes and wide steel awnings. The station building is a compact and complete example of Interwar Functionalist railway architecture.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Dungog railway precinct has social significance having performed an important civic role in the local community supporting local logging, agricultural and pastoral commerce and thereby being the site of significant activity and employment. The railway station contributes to the local community’s sense of place and remaining in general use provides a connection to the local community’s past. The place has witnessed many events of significance including World War II troop movements.
SHR Criteria f)
Dungog station building is one of only a few examples of 20th Century Functionalist station architecture in NSW, the other examples being: Cronulla, Parramatta, Seven Hills, Rooty Hill, Morriset and Granville Stations.
SHR Criteria g)
Dungog station building has representative significance as a good representative example of a small, mid-20th century railway station in a rural context. It is representative of the Functionalist architectural style in a railway setting.
Integrity/Intactness: The station buildings have retained a high degree of integrity internally and externally.
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
Interwar Station Buildings: Analysis and Significance2001 Andrea Humphreys and Donald Ellsmore  No
S170 Heritage & Conservation Register Update2009 ORH  Yes
Heritage Platforms Conservation Management Strategy2015 Australian Museum Consulting  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenCottee, J.M.2004Stations on the track: selected New South Wales country railway stations: an historical overview
WrittenHumphreys A & Ellsmore D2002Inter-War Station Buildings: Analysis & Significance
WrittenMcKillop, R2009NSW Railways (RailCorp) Thematic History
WrittenURBIS2013Heritage Assessment - Dungog Railway Station

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: 4800221

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