Emu Plains Railway Station Group | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Emu Plains Railway Station Group

Item details

Name of item: Emu Plains Railway Station Group
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Mackellar Street, Emu Plains, NSW 2750
Parish: Strathdon
County: Cook
Local govt. area: Penrith


North: railway property boundary to Mackellar Street; South: railway property boundary to Station Street South (excluding commuter carpark, but including the residence's garden); West: railway property boundary to Old Bathurst Road (excluding underbridge); East: 5 metres from the end of platforms.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Mackellar StreetEmu PlainsPenrithStrathdonCookPrimary Address
Station Street Unknown  Alternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Emu Plains Railway Station is of state significance as an early station dating from 1884 marking an important location in the development of the railway at the foot of the ascent of the Blue Mountains. The 1884 station building, combining a Station Master's residence and station offices, is an excellent example of a Victorian era Gothic Revival style railway building representing the prosperity and architectural achievement at the time. The building is one of only three extant Metropolitan examples demonstrating the former custom of providing accommodation for railway staff within the same building as the station facilities. Although other earlier associated structures have been removed from the place, the station remains as an important landmark in the locality. The mature trees around the station group enhance its streetscape presentation and landmark quality.
Date significance updated: 09 Dec 14
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: NSW Government Railways
Builder/Maker: Private contractor, M. Reed et al
Construction years: 1883-1884
Physical description: BUILDINGS
Station Building & Residence - Platform 2, type 1 (1884)
Ticket Machine Shelter - Platform 1 (c2008)

2 x platforms, roadside, brick & concrete faced (1884 & 1907)
Footbridge, prestressed concrete girder (1990)

Exterior: Emu Plains station building is a Gothic Revival style building combining the station office and Station Master's residence. Constructed of face brick with stone detailing the building presents two-storey to the platforms and three-storey to the street. Distinctive features include a steep parapeted gabled slate roof along width with front & rear transverse parapeted gable at the centre over the upper floor of the residence, two medieval-style chimneys to ground floor wings, stone parapet and gable capping, stone label mould throughout, fretted motif to front & rear gable ends with decorative round gable vent to front, and a pitched corrugated metal verandah supported on decorative cast iron columns along the platform façade. A faceted window bay to the basement and ground floor levels with slate pitched roof and moulded top dominates the eastern end of the building. Eastern gable ends of the main roof feature a rectangular gable vent with stone lintel and sill. The platform (north) elevation of the building retains its original fenestration with some modifications to the central window and two door openings. Changes include conversion of the central window with sidelights into a ticket window with aluminium frames and frosted glass to sidelights, the adjoining door opening to the west has also been converted into a ticket window with roller shutter, and the door to the eastern room has been replaced. The three-storey rear (south) elevation of the building presents a secondary and more ancillary elevation with all original window and door openings clearly visible, some bricked in and some converted into smaller window openings. New small windows openings are also evident. The Station Master's residence is accessed via a concrete stair with half-arched string from the rear.

Interior: The building generally retains its original floor layout with minor changes, and is currently undergoing significant restoration and repair works in particular to the residence. The station offices have been refurbished at some time however they still feature some original detailing such as timber board ceiling linings, ceiling rose to main office, lath & plaster ceilings with later ceiling panels.

The basement level features a series of semi-circular arches between the spaces, and timber beam and joist ceiling to ground floor supported with additional steel beams for structural stability, face brickwork to walls, kitchen fireplace, and exposed service pipes. The layout of the ground floor of the residence remains in its original configuration with some of the fireplace timber surrounds and custom orb metal ceiling and lath & plaster ceilings with ceiling rose surviving. Most internal door and window joinery has been removed. A timber staircase with turned timber newel posts and square balusters provides access to the upper floor of the residence. Walls of the staircase are clad with later unsympathetic timber boards which extends into the majority of the upper floor rooms. Original lath & plaster ceiling is visible where the plaster is damaged or removed. Most original fittings have been removed.

A face brick shelter with corrugated metal gabled roof with round gable motif, reflecting the original station building, is located at the western end of Platform 1 just off the platform stairs and exit to Mackellar Street. The platform and stair sides are open with a corrugated metal steel framed awning along the platform elevation. It provides shelter to the ticket machine.

PLATFORMS 1 & 2 (1884 & 1907)
Both platforms are roadside platforms with brick faces on the bottom half and concrete faces on the upper half indicating raised platform levels. The concrete decks of the platforms are finished with asphalt. Platform 1 was constructed in 1907 as part of the duplication of the Western rail line. An earlier steel shelter dating c1994 is located on Platform 2 to the west of the station building. A new canopy with steel supports and awning frame is currently under construction along Platform 1. Modern aluminium palisade fencing, timber bench seating (including some older style), lighting and security and safety equipment are the other features of the platforms.

FOOTBRIDGE (1990, 2009)
The existing footbridge with stairs to each platform was constructed in 1990 and is a typical pre-stressed concrete girder footbridge. Plain metal balustrades provide safety along both sides of the footbridge and the stairs. The footbridge was upgraded in 2009 to provide new lifts.

An early safe with asset number 218 (similar to Ajax manufacturing safes in size and material) is located in the station office.
Four timber rollover indicator boards no longer in use and in secure storage onsite, 3 with clock faces, all with foot pedals.
Timber bench platform seats.

Rows of mature trees, possibly dating from the early 1900s, are located along the northern boundary and eastern part of the southern boundary and may have some landscape value. Concrete retaining wall at rear of Platform 2 may be post and panel - requires confirmation.

There are no visible evidence of earlier structures/station building on the site and given consideration to the changes made over the years it is unlikely any remnants of these structures would survive. The site has low archaeological potential.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Station Building & Residence - The building generally is in good condition.
Ticket machine Shelter - It is in very good condition owing to its relatively new structure.
Platforms - Both platforms are in good condition.
Footbridge - It is in good condition with no evidence of structural issues.
Modifications and dates: 1907 - A second side platform was built
c1994 - A steel shelter shed on the second platform erected
2008-09 - Substantial refurbishment and restoration works to Station Master's residence, construction of lifts on both ends of the footbridge, and erection of new steel canopy along Platform 1. Modern DDA ramp/balustrade.
2013: Removal of 11 Jacaranda trees and replacement with other species along the 'Up' side platform and MacKellar Street.
Further information: RAIL SIDING
Remnants of the ex rail line to the gravel quarry is located on Mackellar Street further to the east of the Emu Plains station. The siding is no longer within the RailCorp property boundaries and is not included in this listing.
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Railway Station and Station Master's residence


Historical notes: The single Main Western rail line was opened in 1867 and duplicated from Penrith West in 1907, in conjunction with the opening of the existing double track bridge over the Nepean River. The station opened in 1868. In 1882, the NSW Government Railways decided to relocate the station site and abandoned the 1868 building. NSWGR erected the existing two-storey structure in 1884 which combines both station offices and the Station Master’s residence. The building has undergone various internal modifications.

A second side platform was built in 1907 but the original waiting shed was replaced in 1978 with a concrete block structure, which has also been removed. There is also a steel shelter shed on the second platform dating from c1994.

The two side platforms are connected by an overhead pedestrian bridge built in 1990.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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-
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 accomodating railway employees-
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]
Emu Plains station group is of historical significance as an early railway station dating from 1884 and as an important location in the development of the railway marking the foot of the ascent of the Blue Mountains.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The station building combining a Station Master's residence and station offices is an excellent example of a Victorian Gothic Revival style building featuring face brickwork, fretted motifs to gable ends, stone quoins to the openings, medieval-style chimneys, stone capping and mouldings.
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 history.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Emu Plains station group has research significance for its ability to provide physical evidence of Victorian era type 1 (subtype 3) combined residence and office station buildings. It also provides evidence of the defunct custom of providing accommodation for railway employees.
SHR Criteria f)
Emu Plains station building, together with Fairfield and Riverstone, is one of three Metropolitan examples of combined residences/offices station buildings (type 1), and is the only two-storey Metropolitan example of this type.
SHR Criteria g)
The station group is a representative example of late Victorian period railway stations, demonstrating characteristics and architectural quality as well as prosperity in the railway development. The Gothic Revival station building is an excellent example of its style.
Integrity/Intactness: The station building is intact externally. It is also relatively intact internally, and although the majority of its finishes have been removed it retains the original floor layout and structural floor and ceiling elements.
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 registerSRA s.170 Register    
Heritage studyEmu Plains Railway Station 01 Apr 87   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
State Rail Authority Heritage Register Study1999SRA17, SRA642 (footbridge)State Rail Authority  No
Heritage and Conservation Register State Rail Authority of NSW1993194Paul Davies for SRA  No
S170 Heritage & Conservation Register Update2009 City Plan Heritage  Yes
Heritage Platforms Conservation Management Strategy2015 Australian Museum Consulting  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenARHS2009Historical information prepared for S170 update project
WrittenSharp, S.A1982The Railway Stations of NSW 1855-1980

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: 4801017

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