Newcastle Railway Station Group | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Newcastle Railway Station Group

Item details

Name of item: Newcastle Railway Station Group
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: 110 Scott Street, Newcastle, NSW 2300
Local govt. area: Newcastle

Boundary:

Station:North: Wharf Road; South: Scott Street; East: Watt Street; West: 10m from end of Scott St Platform.Signal Box:North: Wharf Road; South: 5m from southern side of signal box.East: 5m from eastern end of signal box.West: 10m from western end of signal box.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
110 Scott StreetNewcastleNewcastle  Primary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Hunter Development CorporationState Government 

Statement of significance:

Newcastle Railway Station has State heritage significance. The site has historical associations with the Great Northern Railway as its second terminus, built in 1859, only one year after the line was opened. As such it is one of the longest continually used railway sites in NSW, although there is no remaining fabric from that early period on the site. Newcastle was the headquarters of the physically separated northern rail system until the construction of the Hawkesbury River bridge in 1889. The substantial first floor office space provided in the 1878 station building provides tangible evidence of this important administrative arrangement and its separation from Sydney, even after the Sydney to Newcastle rail link was completed. The ornate architectural style and fine detailing of the Newcastle Station building remains a tangible reminder of an age of prosperity and confidence in the NSW rail system and the strategic importance of the station within the northern region of the state.

Newcastle Station played a vital role in the economic and industrial development of the Hunter region from the 1850s to the late twentieth century as an interchange point between land and sea for the passage of primary goods such as coal, timber, wheat and livestock. The movement of the terminus of the Great Northern Railway to the current site in 1858 influenced the development of Newcastle's urban and trade centre throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as it clustered around the station and the land and sea interface. The station has also been a focus for major social events throughout its life including acting as a major departure point for troops during the first and second world wars, when substantial temporary platforms and loading ramps were constructed.

The Newcastle Station building is an example of Victorian Italianate architecture used for larger stations in NSW in the 1870s and 1880s. The two-storey construction is unusual and adds to the imposing presence of the station as the terminus to the Great Northern Railway and the Newcastle to Sydney railway line. Despite some alterations and modern additions, the station is still able to evoke a grander age of rail travel though the grouping of the 1878 station building, platforms and nearby railway hotels and staff accommodation (privately owned). Visually, the station is an important element in the Victorian city centre of Newcastle, which developed around the railway precinct.

Newcastle Signal Box was built in 1936 and is in highly intact, original condition. It was the only Type O signal box provided with a electro-pneumatic miniature lever power interlocking machine - a major technical innovation at the time of construction and a reflection of the box's importance in what was at the time one of the State's busiest railway precincts.

The grouping of the station building with the multiple platforms, signal box, the remains of the adjacent gas works, railway accommodation (hotel and staff housing) and archaeological remains of the former goods yard and loading docks form an outstanding railway precinct that is rare in NSW due to its urban setting and its context of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century city centre of Newcastle. The Newcastle Railway Station Group also provides rare remaining evidence of the nineteenth century operation of the Great North Railway, which was the first railway line in NSW. The interior of the Signal Box in particular is highly intact and is able to demonstrate clearly the aesthetic qualities of a 1930s signal box and its operation.

Newcastle Station was the only regional station to have a silver service dining room for passengers (Central was the only other station in the state to have one) and the spaces for the dining room and upstairs kitchen, including dumb waiter, are still discernible.
Date significance updated: 04 Jun 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 Government Railways
Builder/Maker: New South Wales Government Railways
Construction years: 1872-1874
Physical description: Station Building, First class - type 5 (1878)
Platform 1 (c.1880)
Platform 2/3 and Canopies (c.1880)
Platform 4 (nd)
Signal Box (1936)
Former Gas Works (1883)
Landscape Features
Movable Items
Potential Archaeological Features

CONTEXT
The extent of land occupied for railway purposes at Newcastle (including the Newcastle Railway Station) formerly occupied the land between the current station and the foreshore and extended past Wyatt Street towards the former wharfs. This land was occupied by railway infrastructure associated with the loading and unloading of coal and other goods. There remains evidence in the parkland redevelopment of this foreshore of former rail infrastructure associated with this usage, including turntable and carriage shed, as well as three Victorian railway residences, including Postmaster's and Station Master's residences. The Signal Box is located on the Down side of the main lines on Wharf Road directly opposite the harbour control tower.

STATION BUILDING (1878)
Newcastle Railway Station is a major example of first class Victorian station architecture and is one of a number of significant public buildings remaining in Newcastle from the period. The station is unusual in that although it is a terminus, the station building is built parallel with the tracks, reinforcing the role the building was designed to play in the streetscape of Scott Street. The station comprises five separate brick buildings of between one and three storeys whose northern façade faces Platform 1. The complex is visually and structurally united by an extensive system of verandas which face both the platform and the street.

External: All platform buildings are of face brick with polychrome brick detailing and feature hipped corrugated metal roofs. Some areas are painted including sandstone cornices at eaves, friezes, quoins, chimneys and architraves. The central two storeyed section of the station building and single storey eastern pavilion are remaining parts of the original 1878 station building. The northern façade features red brick walls with stone architraves to openings, niches, cornices, sills, eaves brackets and quoining. The cantilevered veranda facing the platform features cast iron brackets with decorative infill inscribed with NSWR and floral motifs supporting a corrugated metal roof with timber valance. The platform was tiled c.1980 and also contains modern planter boxes, bins and vending machines. The southern façade of this building has been dramatically altered through the enclosure of the original two storey cast iron veranda with the current brick structure, and clearly demonstrates the construction history of the building. This brick infilled section is not in keeping at all with the original structure and is an intrusive element. The original hipped slate roof has been replaced with corrugated iron, and is punctuated by five chimneys (3 x single and 2 x multiple) and a central cupola, although an elaborate metal vane has been removed from this.

The small single storey pavilion at the eastern end of the main building features a hipped metal roof (originally slate) with a clerestory vent, and originally contained the men’s lavatory. Detailing is the same as for the main two storey building, with red brick walls and stone quoining, architraves and eaves. An identical pavilion at the western end was demolished in 1897 in order to make way for the construction of a single storey Railway Refreshment Room and adjacent two storey kitchen and staff block. These buildings feature rounded arched windows on the ground floor with square window heads above to match the earlier station building, with stone quoining and eaves brackets again employed to contrast with the red brick walls.

In 1928 (at the same time the Scott Street veranda of the 1878 building was enclosed) a further two storeys were added to the Railway Refreshment Room. This addition is of different colour bricks to the earlier buildings and features parapet walls and no quoining. Square windows have rendered architraves. A hipped corrugated metal roof with a large hipped lantern surmounts the building.
Limited entry points to the station buildings from Scott Street appear to be of a later date.

Internal: Ground floor interior comprises of a series of linked rooms, most with doors to north facing platform. Windows are timber framed sash windows with arched heads. Internal finishes are all modern (painted brick). Some walls are painted render with grooved dado line.

The first floor comprises of a series of linked rooms spread along the length of the station, with no hallway. Originally each room had rendered walls and lath and plaster ceilings, though most render has been removed, and only some ceilings are extant. Remnants of decorative plaster cornice and a plaster ceiling rose exist in one room. Most rooms have fireplaces, some with chimney pieces and cast iron insert. A cast iron mantelpiece is intact in one room, and a further one was found dismantled. Rooms retain some original joinery (cedar, often stripped) and wide profiles such as 15 inch skirting and architraves. Floors are timber tongue and groove. Windows are double hung sash, with all joinery in good condition, though some joinery appears to be modern but done in traditional style. All internal partitions and staircases date from the renovations carried out between 1923 and 1928. Behind the c.1928 brickwork which encloses the Scott Street balcony, stone architraves to door openings, quoining, and wide openings containing original French doors to balconies exist. Access to the first floor is via timber stairs at the western end, and evidence exists of former stair location at the south eastern corner. This southeast corner also contains the original switchboard with marble back panels within a cedar framed glass fronted cupboard. Switches are marked for halls, bedrooms, bathrooms and a lounge.

The western end contains a kitchen with walls tiled to dado height and originally plastered above. A 1920s partition remains separating the kitchen door from the dining room. The concrete floor has a drainage channel at the edge and brick raised hearth. The ceiling is tongue and groove beaded timber boards with penetrations for exhaust chimneys. Metal hooks hang from the ceiling and were formerly used to support an exhaust hood over the hearth. Extant joinery has been stripped (dipped) and a remnant loose iron chimney piece remains. A dumb waiter, shower, toilets and original (1920s) partitions remain at the westernmost end of the first floor.

The second floor (above the former Railway Refreshment Rooms) is entered from the first floor via a late 1920s panelled stair, still intact, with plywood treads attached to protect original timber. The second floor consists of a single large space with exposed timber framed roof with central lantern light with coloured glazing. Windows are all double hung sash in the traditional style but, as with the first floor, are likely to be reproductions.

PLATFORM 1 (c.1880)
Convex terminal platform. Platform 1 has undergone various alterations and additions during its years of service. Platform of brick construction with brick surface. At 131m from city end becomes rendered face. Render cracked throughout.

PLATFORM 2/3 & CANOPIES (c.1880)
Platform 2/3 is an island platform, constructed in 1880 and extended in September 1927 and 1952. Concave terminal platform made of rendered brick. At the western end of the Platform there is a timber framed and columned structure with corrugated iron roof and decorative timber valance which covers the full width of the platform. Posts are chamfered with collar supporting timber brackets. The eastern end features a c.2008 metal framed structure.

Platform 4 (nd)
Concave terminal platform, brick with concrete surface. Platform comprises of 92m brick wall and remainder block wall with concrete deck.

SIGNAL BOX (1936)
Exterior: Newcastle Signal Box is a Type O structure that has been slightly embellished to reflect its important location. The signal box is a two-storey structure. The ground floor brick wall features recessed bays containing 16-pane steel framed windows and is extended to the east with a flat concrete roof with bituminous coating. The entrance door is in the centre of the western wall. The timber framed first floor features fibrous-cement wall sheeting and timber framed multi-pane sliding windows running the full length of the east, south and west sides. The hipped roof is tiled and features deep eaves, an unusual design feature that was possibly for appearance reasons due to its location within the Newcastle CBD.

Interior: The ground floor contains a toilet, relay room, signal wiring and a small workshop/spare parts area. The upper floor (operating level) is accessed by the original internal cast iron spiral stair and features an original fibre cement ceiling with battens. The upper level contains a compact piston-grip electro-pneumatic miniature lever frame (power interlocking machine) with 82 signal/point levers, located in a finely crafted hardwood case with glazed inspection panels at rear through which the brass machinery can be observed. Other original features include an illuminated signal indicator panel, telephones, warning lights, pneumatic pressure gauge, control switches, diagrams and a small writing table to fill in log books. All items are fully operational.

FORMER GAS WORKS (1883)
At the north eastern boundary of the site there is the remains of the 1880's former gas works building, although heavily modified. This is a two storey painted brick building (presently part of bus interchange) with simple detailing of engaged piers and brick sills. Window openings have concrete lintels and double hung multi-pane sash windows. The roof is of corrugated iron.

LANDSCAPE FEATURES
The western end of Platform 1 contains a number of mature trees including ficus hillii and plane trees, underplanted with late 20th century shrubs including murraya and African olive.

MOVABLE ITEMS
Reproduction cast iron and timber seats with the word NEWCASTLE inscribed are to be found on all platforms. A cast iron bell inscribed 1885 is also to be found on the northern façade at platform level, as are a historic engineering marker, iron bubblers (no longer working), and honour rolls from World War I and World War II. All interiors within the station building were observed to have modern equipment and facilities.
Award Plaque 1984: Heritage Design Award
Award Plaque 1985: Station Merit Award
Set of four timber rollover indicator boards with clock faces
Switchboard, timber frame (1st floor station building entry hallway)
Cast iron elements (first floor station building)
Fireplace - sections - timber, cast iron and plaster
Signal box equipment and panels

POTENTIAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL FEATURES
The site may contain archaeological evidence (footings and artefact deposits) of pre 1850s buildings along the Watt Street frontage although this is likely to have been disturbed by construction of the tracks and gas works. The area immediately adjacent to the former gasworks building, now part of the bus interchange, may contain evidence of the former gas tanks. The level of disturbance caused in this area by the bus interchange is unknown. In summary, Newcastle Station is likely to have low to moderate archaeological potential.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Station Building (1878 ) - Newcastle Railway Station is in generally good condition and has been well maintained in publicly accessible areas. The first floor of the main building is in a stable condition, with modern roofing and waterproof openings. There is no extant wall plaster, a limited number of extant ceilings and approximately 70% of floors evident.
Platform 1 (c.1880) - Good
Platform 2/3 and Canopies (c.1880) - Good
Signal Box - The signal box is in intensive, everyday use and is maintained in good condition to suit that requirement. Windows and other fittings are well maintained and add to the appearance of the building. Some cracking of the brickwork and other masonry is evident in the structure.
Former Gas works (1883) - Good
Landscape Features - Moderate
Moveable Items - Moderate
Potential Archaeological Features - unknown but likely disturbed
Date condition updated:04 Mar 09
Modifications and dates: 1880: extension and completion of Platform 2
1892: addition of canopy, new parcels office and station masters office
1897: major renovations
1923-1929: more development
1940s-1950s: minor changes
1970s-1980s: the goods yard and rail car depot were removed. The level crossing at the Sydney-end of the platforms near the Signal Box was removed and replaced by a modern footbridge.
1980: major works
mid-1980s: adjacent level crossing removed and control of the level crossing gates was removed from Newcastle Signal Box.
N.d: Various minor changes carried out to Signal Box, including improvements in communication equipment and staff facilities.
Current use: Railway Station
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 7 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. Civic was the original northern terminus, but by March 1858, the line had been extended from Civic to the final terminus at Newcastle.

The line was completed through between Sydney and Newcastle with the opening of the massive bridge over the Hawkesbury River in 1889.

In 1857, the railway was opened in the Newcastle area when a line was opened from Honeysuckle Point (near present-day Civic Station) to East Maitland. Unfortunately, neither of these locations were near sea ports, one of the main reasons for the establishment of rail transport in the Newcastle area. At the time, the terminus was known as ‘Newcastle’ and was established where present-day Civic is located today.

By 1858, the Newcastle-end had been extended to the sea port and the East Maitland-end had been extended into the town of Maitland. By the 1870s, the Great Northern Railway (GNR) had been extended further up the Hunter Valley and into Murrurundi. Initially, single lines were laid in the area, but by the 1860s, most lines had been duplicated (Love, 2009).

With the connection of this system to Sydney came the need for a new terminus. It was John Whitton, the Engineer-in-Chief of the NSW Government Railways, who insisted on the relocation of the 1856 Honeysuckle Point terminus to the present site, in order for the station to be closer to the CBD.

Under the supervision of Whitton, the new station was erected. The original building was constructed in 1878 and first used in December of that year. It consisted of a central two storey building with single storey pavilions at either end. The ground floor housed a ticket office, waiting room, ladies room, parcels office and a stationmaster's office with administrative offices on the first floor. The pavilions on each end of the main building housed the men's lavatories and porter's accommodation. This new station was designed with a layout typical of NSW railway stations at that time (although was unique in being two-storey) and forms the basis of the station as it exists today.

By the late 19th century the popularity of rail travel led to the extension and completion of Platform 2 in 1880, with the subsequent addition of a canopy in 1892 as well as a new parcels office and station master's office. The areas previously occupied by these offices were converted into a dining room and bar. In 1897 a major renovations phase resulted in the demolition of the western pavilion and construction of the two storey kitchen and staff block as well as the original single storey dining room used as a Railway Refreshment Room (RRR), the last major RRR built in the state. In addition a new single storey building was erected.

The last major phase of development occurred between 1923 and 1929. It was intended to construct a new building to improve accommodation at the station. This plan did not eventuate, but rather the replacement of the original Scott Street veranda by the current enclosed brick structure and the extension of the single dining room to three storeys. Most of the internal partitions and staircases were constructed during this time. The first floor of the 1878 building was converted to staff bedrooms, and a scullery and change rooms were added (EJE Architecture, 1996).

Other buildings, apart from the main station building on platform 1, include a two-storey brick signal box, built in 1936, and located at the Sydney-end of the platforms on the Newcastle Harbour side of the main lines. The signal box houses the first ‘power frame’ (a term used to describe the signal lever frame within the ’box) to be installed outside the Sydney area. It is now the last working ‘miniature power frame’ in service in NSW.

The station master’s residence was built in 1858 at the time of the opening of the line.

On the north side of the platform arrangement is the former administration building for the long-demolished Gas Works, which had been established near the present bus interchange.

On the north eastern end of the station, a goods yard was established and that included a carriage shed. By the late 1960s, the goods yard had been removed and the carriage shed and other buildings were then modified to allow for maintenance of two-car diesel-hydraulic rail car sets used in Newcastle commuter traffic (Love, 2009).

Minor changes were made during the 1940s and 1950s. In the 1970s and 1980s, the goods yard and rail car depot were removed. The level crossing at the Sydney-end of the platforms near the Signal Box was removed and replaced by a modern footbridge.

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. Accordingly, some minor upgrading was undertaken at Newcastle.

The adjacent level crossing was removed at the time of opening of electrification to Newcastle in mid-1980s and control of the level crossing gates was removed from Newcastle Signal Box. Various minor changes carried out over the years including improvements in communication equipment and staff facilities.

The station has expanded over the years to a maximum of 5 platforms but was reduced to 4 platforms in 2002, to make way for a new bus interchange and staff carpark. On the north side of the station, part of the administrative centre survives as the entry for vehicles to the bus interchange.

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Newcastle Railway Station Group has State significance under this criterion. The site has historical associations with the Great Northern Railway as its second terminus, built in 1859, only one year after the line was opened. As such it is one of the longest continually used railway sites in NSW, although there is no remaining fabric from that early period on the site.

Newcastle was the headquarters of the physically separated northern rail system until the construction of the Hawkesbury River bridge in 1889. The substantial first floor office space provided in the 1878 station building provides tangible evidence of this administrative arrangement and its separation from Sydney, even after the Sydney to Newcastle rail link was completed. Although internally modified, the station building is able to demonstrate the provision of passenger services including waiting rooms, parcels office and dining room.

Newcastle Station played a vital role in the economic and industrial development of the Hunter region from the 1850s to the late twentieth century as an interchange point between land and sea for the passage of primary goods such as coal, timber, wheat and livestock. The movement of the terminus of the Great Northern Railway to the current site in 1858 influenced the development of Newcastle's urban and trade centre throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as it clustered around the station and the land and sea interface.

The station has also been a focus for major social events throughout its life including acting as a major departure point for troops during the first and second world wars, when substantial temporary platforms and loading ramps were constructed.

Newcastle Signal Box was built in 1936 and was the only Type O signal box provided with a power interlocking machine, a reflection of the box's importance in what was at the time one of the State's busiest railway precincts. The signal box has been in constant use since its installation and is able to illustrate over 70 years of continuous operation by the signals branch using the original equipment. The signal box has seen duty during major changes to the railway services at Newcastle, including the transition period between steam operations and the increasing use of diesel-electric locomotives and diesel rail cars (1960s through to the early 1980s). The signal box has remained in intensive rail use during the period of electrification through to Newcastle and is still performing that service at the present day.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Newcastle Railway Station has historic associational heritage significance as the original 1878 station building, are a good example of the Victorian station architecture that was erected under the supervision of John Whitton, Engineer in Chief of the NSW Government Railways. As such they have a direct association with Whitton who was a significant figure in the history of the NSW railways.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Newcastle Station building is an example of Victorian Italianate architecture used for larger stations in NSW in the 1870s and 1880s. The two-storey construction is unusual and adds to the imposing presence of the station as the terminus to the Great Northern Railway and the Newcastle to Sydney railway line. The station has lost one of its pavilions at its southern end, which detracts from its value as an example of a symmetrical pavilion design. The three storey wing that took its place and the twentieth century Countrylink office that was attached to the northern wing also detract from the aesthetic value of the station. Nevertheless the station is still able to evoke a grander age of rail travel through the grouping of the 1878 station building, platforms and nearby railway hotels and staff accommodation (privately owned). Visually, the station is an important element in the Victorian city centre of Newcastle, which developed around the railway precinct.

The fine detailing of the Newcastle Station building remains a tangible reminder of an age of prosperity and confidence in the NSW rail system and the strategic importance of the station within the northern region of the state and its independence from the railway authorities in Sydney. This value is primarily embodied in the form and appearance of the building.

The signal box is a highly intact example of a Type O signal box design and is an integral part of the greater Newcastle Railway Station Group precinct. The signal box is in a prominent position within the city and is located on Wharf Road, opposite the Harbour Control Tower. The use of a hip-tiled roof with greater eave depth for the structure (a significant design variation for the type) is a reflection of the building's location within the Newcastle CBD. The interior of the signal box has aesthetic significance with an excellent example of a power interlocking machine in a finely crafted timber cabinet with viewing windows to the rear. The interior of the signal box is visually impressive and in a highly intact, original condition and is able to clearly demonstrate the aesthetic qualities of a 1930s signal box and its operation.

Technically, the building is not outstanding or unusual in either construction technique or architectural detail, however Newcastle Signal Box has technical significance at a State level. It is a highly intact example of a signal box from the 1930s and is still fully operational. The signal box is significant as the only Type O structure provided with an electro-pneumatic miniature lever power interlocking machine - a major technical innovation at the time of construction and an excellent, fully operational example of its type. The miniature signal lever frame illustrates the important application of miniaturisation of signal control equipment. The equipment and the style of operation was technically advanced for its time. The use of this machinery at Newcastle is a reflection of the importance of this signal box to one of the most important railway junctions in the State.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
It is likely that the station has social significance at least at a local level as the centre of railway operations in the northern part of the state for over 100 years. It has also been an important link to the rest of the state for the people of Newcastle, a significant point of arrival and departure for people and goods to and from the area and a focus for social events and trade. It is likely that the Newcastle signal box retains strong memories for the many staff who have worked there since 1936 and significance for the many people in NSW interested in railway history and technology.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The Newcastle Station site has low/moderate archaeological research potential. It is unlikely that much remains of the original station building, but any intact remains of the former gasworks on Wharf Street and housing along Watt Street may yield new information about the operation and role of the gasworks and life in Newcastle in the mid nineteenth century.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The grouping of the station building with the multiple platforms, signal box, the remains of the adjacent gas works, railway accommodation (privately owned hotel and staff housing) and archaeological remains of the former goods yard and loading docks form an outstanding railway precinct that is rare in NSW due to its urban setting and its context of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century city centre of Newcastle. Other comparative examples are in large townships or smaller rural settlements. The Newcastle Railway Station also provides rare remaining evidence of the nineteenth century operation of the Great Northern Railway, which was the first railway line in NSW.

Newcastle Station was the only regional station to have a silver service dining room for passengers (Central was the only other station in the state to have one) and the spaces for the dining room and upstairs kitchen, including dumb waiter, are still discernible.

The architectural qualities of Newcastle station are not considered rare in a state context. Newcastle station is one of a small number of grand regional station buildings built in the late nineteenth century. Other examples of large symmetrical station buildings still remaining on the NSW network include: Goulburn (early 1870s and highly intact); Albury Station (1882 and highly intact); and Junee Junction (1880s). Redfern was also an outstanding example of this style, but it has been largely removed. Redfern, Newcastle and Albury were the grandest examples of the pavilion style station buildings. Newcastle is one of the least intact stations of its period and style within the group of larger stations.

Newcastle Signal Box is considered rare at a State level. Newcastle Signal Box is the only example of a Type O signal box that was provided with a miniature lever electro-pneumatic power interlocking machine and is one of few remaining fully operational signal boxes on the Northern line and in the State generally to feature its original signalling frame. The signal box is able to demonstrate the manual operation of a miniature lever signal frame in its original setting - a process that is in danger of being lost. Commissioned in 1935, Newcastle Signal Box was built as a ‘power signal box’, meaning that operation of signals, points and other operations were carried by means of ‘power’ (as opposed to mechanical means), the ‘power’ being electro-pneumatic. Electro-pneumatic operation is carried by use of electric relays and air operated pistons to perform the required function. This is the last remaining of its type in the southern hemisphere.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The Newcastle Railway Station is representative of the small number of grand Victorian period railway stations built at key railway centres in NSW in the late 1870s and 1880s. From an architectural perspective the modifications to the station building, including the loss of the southern pavilion reduce its value as a representative example, with other better conserved sites at Albury, Goulburn, Junee and Werris Creek.

Newcastle Signal Box is an outstanding representative example of a fully operational signal box from the first half of the twentieth century. The signal box is outstanding because of its setting, condition and integrity and as part of the wider Newcastle Railway Station generally. The signal box is a significant variation to the Type O signal box design, with the hip tile roof and deeper eave used for aesthetic reasons due to its location within the Newcastle CBD. Internally, the signalling frame and interior generally is a fine example of its type.
Integrity/Intactness: The grouping - ModerateMuch of the context of the station in the former goods yard, workshops and shipping facilities have been removed although archaeological remains may still exist. Parts of the former gas works have been removed. The station does however retain its relationship to the surrounding Victorian city centre and the immediate precinct of railway accommodation (hotels and staff houses).1878 Station Building - Moderate The southern pavilion has been replaced with a three storey wing, the ground floor has undergone internal reconfiguration and modernisation of fitting and finishes and the veranda to Scott Street has been infilled. Other examples of Victorian Italianate stations remain with a higher degree of integrity at Albury, Junee, Werris Creek and Goulburn.Platforms (from 1880) - ModerateThe platform shelters are not original and the platform has been resurfaced, but otherwise the platforms retain a moderate degree of integrity.Signal Box (1936)- HighThe Newcastle Signal Box is of high integrity and intactness, both internally and externally retaining its historic fixtures and fittings.Former Gas works (1883) - LowThe tanks and other equipment associated with the gasworks have been removed and the integrity of the underground components is unknown. The integrity of the interior of the former office building (now staff quarters is unknown).
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 registerNewcastle Railway Station    

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenC. C. Singleton The Short North. The Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin. Various issues.
WrittenEJE Architecture1996Newcastle Conservation Management Plan
WrittenJohn Forsyth Line Histories
WrittenRay Love2009Historical Research for RailCorp s170 Update
WrittenRay Love2002Railway Signal Boxes in The Newcastle Area. Assessment of Cultural Significance
WrittenState Rail Authority of New South Wales1995How and Why of Station Names. Fourth Edition
WrittenURBIS2014Moveable Heritage Report and Inventory

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: 4801028


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