Kotara (Tickhole) Railway Tunnel | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Kotara (Tickhole) Railway Tunnel

Item details

Name of item: Kotara (Tickhole) Railway Tunnel
Other name/s: Great Northern Railway (Between Garden Suburb and Wyee)
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway
Primary address: Charlestown Road, Kotara, NSW 2289
Local govt. area: Lake Macquarie

Boundary:

North: 5m from the northern portal of the 1887 tunnel; South: 5m from the southern portal of the 1887 tunnel; East: the outside of the 1887 tunnel wall; West: the outside of the 1887 tunnel wall.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Charlestown RoadKotaraLake Macquarie  Primary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

The 1887 Tickhole Tunnel has historical significance at a local level. The tunnel is one of the first significant features to be constructed as part of the railway line between Newcastle and the Hawkesbury River opened in 1888. The 1887 Tickhole Tunnel has a high degree of aesthetic significance for its excellent brick construction and is well sited within the landscape, particularly at its western entrance. The Tickhole Tunnel adds to the aesthetic significance of the Short North line as a whole, with its tunnels and bridges in the spectacular natural surrounds of the Hawkesbury River region, which demonstrate a high degree of engineering achievement in building a railway line in difficult terrain and is a rare example of a tunnel that was built as a double track tunnel in anticipation of future line duplication.
Date significance updated: 28 May 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.

Description

Designer/Maker: New South Wales Department of Railways
Builder/Maker: New South Wales Department of Railways
Physical description: TUNNEL (1887)
Tickhole Tunnel is a 153m long double track railway tunnel passing beneath Charlestown Road at Garden Suburb, NSW. The tunnel is of brick construction throughout and has a slight curve. Although originally built for double track service, the tunnel features one track and is used for the Down Line only. The brick tunnel entrances feature a sandstone string course and brick buttresses.

A second tunnel was built adjacent to the original Tickhole Tunnel in 1983 in order to ensure sufficient clearance for double decker suburban carriages. The 1983 tunnel is of concrete construction and is 205m long. The tunnel contains a single track and is used for the Up Line only. At the eastern end of the tunnel, the tunnel entrance abuts the original (1887) tunnel, whilst at the western end the tunnel entrances are separated by approximately 10m, with a rock cutting separating the tracks.

The modern tunnel has been excluded from the curtilage for this listing.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Tunnel (1887) - Good Condition
Date condition updated:12 Nov 09
Modifications and dates: c.1983: New tunnel constructed on the south side of the original Tickhole Tunnel to service the Down main line
1984: Electrification of the main line between Gosford and Newcastle
Current use: Railway line
Former use: Nil

History

Historical notes: The Main Northern line between Sydney and Newcastle was constructed in two distinct stages and in the earliest years, was worked as two separate railway systems. The line between Sydney (actually the junction at Strathfield) and the Hawkesbury River was opened on 5 April 1887, with the terminus being on the southern bank of the Hawkesbury River. The line between Newcastle and the northern bank of the Hawkesbury River (near present day Wondabyne) was opened in January 1888. The line was completed through between Sydney and Newcastle with the opening of the massive bridge over the Hawkesbury River in 1889.

The Main Northern line was opened from Newcastle (near Hamilton) to Gosford on 15 August 1887 and few months later, was extended south to Mullet Creek, a tributary of the Hawkesbury River. The line was constructed as a ‘single’ line, but many structures along the way were built to accept future duplication. By 1912, duplication had been completed between Newcastle and Gosford. At the time of the opening, stations along the route included (amongst others) Broadmeadow, Adamstown, Cockle Creek, Teralba, Fassifern, Morisset, Wyee (then named Norahville), Wyong, Ourimbah and Gosford.

South of Broadmeadow, the first significant railway feature at the time of railway construction was the 526 feet long (160 metre) Tickhole Tunnel which was opened with the line in 1887. The tunnel was built in anticipation of the future duplication. A single line was laid through the tunnel, although the line was duplicated in 1891. After passing through the tunnel, the original line descended downgrade at 1 in 50 grade, through Cardiff station (original location) and on to Cockle Creek.

The waterway known as Cockle Creek was crossed on a substantial steel bridge, with the line continuing on to Teralba. From Teralba, the original line climbed at a steep 1 in 40 grade before descending (also on 1 in 40 grade) to Fassifern. After Fassifern, the original line climbed toward Awaba, also on a relatively steep grade.

Between Awaba and Wyee, through Dora Creek and Morisset, a number of relatively steep grades were encountered in both directions. Of particular note is the railway location known as Hawkmount. Hawkmount is located between Awaba and Dora Creek and was (and still is) a significant barrier to the railway, and at the time of railway construction, presented a lengthy climb at 1 in 40 grade to trains in both the up and down direction. A number of steep (but shorter) grades were encountered between Dora Creek and Wyee.

Between 1899 and 1902, deviations were constructed to ease the grades from 1 in 40 to 1 in 75 for up (loaded) trains in the Adamstown to Wyee section. Deviations of various lengths were built at Cardiff, Teralba-Fassifern, Fassifern-Awaba, Awaba-Hawkmount, Dora Creek-Morisset and Morisset-Wyee. Regrading and deviations meant longer track lengths, a result of the cuttings and curves needed to bypass the steep grades.

The original 1887 bridges were replaced by stronger structures at Cockle Creek and Dora Creek, and new stations were constructed at Cardiff, Cockle Creek, Dora Creek and Wyee due to regrading and deviations. Over the years, new stations have been built at Sulphide Junction (to serve Cardiff Workshops and since removed), Boolaroo Racecourse (1910-1942), Boolaroo landing (1942) and Booragul (1926).

Electrification of the main line between Gosford and Newcastle was opened in May 1984, an extension of the Sydney-Gosford electrification which had been completed in 1960. The new electrification project involved new or rebuilt platforms, station buildings, footbridges, overbridges and underbridges, line side buildings, sidings and myriad structures in that section in order to permit the operation of the wider electric passenger rollingstock and electric locomotives.

To permit the operation of double-deck interurban electric cars through the relatively tight Tickhole Tunnel between Kotara and Cardiff, a second tunnel, immediately adjacent to the original tunnel was built c.1983. The new tunnel is on the north side of the original Tickhole Tunnel and serves the Up main line, while the original tunnel serves the Down line.

Author’s Note : The line between Sydney and Newcastle is not the ‘Great Northern Railway’. When the line between Newcastle (near present day Civic) and East Maitland (Victoria Street) was opened on 20 March 1857, the Governor Sir William Denison, re-named the previously planned ‘Hunter River Railway’ as the ‘Great Northern Railway’ (G.N.R.). This is why a number of railway stations in the Newcastle to Wallan-garra section bear the initials G.N.R. on their facade but not so with stations in the Strathfield to Newcastle section.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Creating railway landscapes-
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-
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 Making railway journeys-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The 1887 Tickhole Tunnel has historical significance at a local level. The tunnel has historical importance as one of the first significant features to be constructed as part of the railway line between Newcastle and the Hawkesbury River which was opened in 1888.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The 1887 Tickhole Tunnel has a high degree of aesthetic significance. The tunnel is of excellent brick construction and is well sited within the landscape, particularly at its western entrance. Along with the other tunnels and bridges on the Short North line, the Tickhole Tunnel adds to the aesthetic significance of the line as a whole with its tunnels and bridges in the spectacular natural surrounds of the Hawkesbury River region. The tunnels add to the experience of travelling on the Sydney to Newcastle line.

The 1887 and 1983 Tickhole railway tunnels have technical significance as good examples of railway tunnel design and construction from the late nineteenth and late twentieth centuries. Together, the tunnels are able to illustrate the change in building technology that occurred over 100 years. The 1887 tunnel has technical significance in particular as an excellent example of brick tunnel technology.

In addition, the 1887 tunnel forms part of a set of tunnels and bridges on the Short North line that demonstrate a high degree of engineering achievement in building a railway line in difficult terrain.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The 1887 Tickhole Tunnel is considered to be rare at a local level. The tunnel is a rare example of a tunnel that was built as a double track tunnel in anticipation of future line duplication.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The 1887 Tickhole Tunnel is representative of similar structures built throughout the NSW Railway system in the latter part of the nineteenth century, although it is a good example of its type due to it integrity.
Integrity/Intactness: Tickhole Tunnel has high integrity and intactness. The construction of the secondary tunnel in 1983 has not had a significant impact upon the integrity of the earlier tunnel.
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.

Listings

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

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
S170 Heritage & Conservation Register Update2009 NSW Department of Commerce  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenC. C. Singleton The Short North. The Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin. Various issues.
WrittenJohn Forsyth Line Histories
WrittenRay Love2009Historical Research for RailCorp s170 Update
WrittenState Rail Authority of New South Wales1995How and Why of Station Names. Fourth Edition

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: 4800231


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