Wickham Railway Station Group | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

Wickham Railway Station Group

Item details

Name of item: Wickham Railway Station Group
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Beresford Street, Wickham, NSW 2293
Local govt. area: Newcastle

Boundary:

North: Station Street;South: Beresford Street;East: the edge of the former level crossing at Hannell Street (excluding level crossing);West: the Stewart Street level crossing.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Beresford StreetWickhamNewcastle  Primary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

The Wickham Railway Station Group has local heritage significance. Having been constructed much later than most of the neighbouring stations, Wickham Railway Station demonstrates increasing urban development in Newcastle during the first few decades of the 20th century. The site has aesthetic significance associated with the station buildings, being examples of small railway station buildings dating from the 1930s, with simple and traditional materials and details. While many railway stations constructed during this period were designed in a contemporary interwar architectural style, Wickham Railway Station is unusual in that it was designed with a stripped Federation character.
Date significance updated: 28 Jul 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: NSW Department of Railways
Builder/Maker: NSW Department of Railways
Construction years: 1936-1936
Physical description: BUILDINGS
Station Building, Platform 1 - type 11 (1936)
Station Buildings, Platform 2 - type 11 (1936)
Signal Box, type O (1966)

STRUCTURES
Platforms (1936)
Footbridge (c.1992)

CONTEXT
Wickham Railway Station is a small railway station which lies between Station and Beresford Streets in Wickham, a suburb of Newcastle. Wickham Railway Station comprises two roadside platforms on either side of a double track main suburban line with deep awning structures attached to single storey face brickwork buildings. At the eastern end of Platform 2 there is a modern precast concrete footbridge. Immediately east of the down line platform is a signal box. Stewart Street crosses the tracks at the western end of the platforms at a level crossing. Commuter carparking is to be found in the streets on both sides of the station.

STATION BUILDING (Platform 1) (1936)
External: The building on Platform 1 of Wickham Railway Station is a roadside platform building with an extensive awning supported by cantilevered curved cast iron brackets. The station building is of dark face brickwork and is relatively austere in detail, with simple timber framed windows and doors. The gabled roof is of corrugated iron and features timber valances to the awning. The eastern end of the station building is comprised of a brick wall with single opening and attached awning. The Beresford Street elevation has been extended at the eastern end using a slightly lighter brickwork and extending the existing roof pitch. Access to the platform is via a central doorway accessed by a brick ramp.

Internal: The building retains its original layout and some original fabric. The former ticket office retains its original ticket window with copper coin tray and original timber counter and drawers. Walls are painted rendered masonry with painted joinery. The room at the eastern end of the building has a concrete floor and is now used as a storeroom. The ceiling of this room is angled on the southern side as a result of the room being enlarged at some date (the original use of this room is unclear). The western end of the building contains toilets.

STATION BUILDINGS (Platform 2) (1936)
External: Platform 2 contains two detached gable roofed dark brick buildings of similar detail to the Platform 1 building, linked by a large cantilevered awning supported by curved cast iron brackets. At the eastern end of the structure, the awning is extended to become a gabled structure with timber valance and acts as the station entry point. The easternmost building contains a single room, while the western building contains two rooms and features a brick wall that has been extended to the west along which the awning extends.

Interior: The interiors of these buildings were unable to be inspected (2009).

SIGNAL BOX (1966)
External: The signal box is located at the eastern end of the platform on the Down line, near the former Hannel Street level crossing. Wickham signal box is an example of a Type O design and was built in stages around the former Type EO signal box that was on the site, with building works being completed c.1965. The signal box is a small two-storey face brick building with a terracotta tiled hipped roof and aluminium framed windows. The upper level is accessed by an external metal stair and has a band of windows facing the track.

Internal: The lower level contains a relay room, signal wiring and control equipment for the former level crossing while the upper level has a main area with large control console and staff facilities.

PLATFORMS (1936)
Both platforms feature brick faces and have an asphalt surface. The dark bricks are of the same type as the station buildings. Platform 1 has been extended to the east (towards Newcastle) with a modern concrete platform. The platform was resurfaced with the same materials in 2010.

FOOTBRIDGE (c.1992)
At the eastern end of the platform is a reinforced concrete footbridge.

MOVEABLE ITEMS
Original ticket window/desk
Timber desk
Safe
Signal box - interior contents/equipment (requires survey)

LANDSCAPE FEATURES
Lining the platform on the western side of the Up line (adjacent to the street) are a number of small trees and shrubs including bottle brush, umbrella tree, silky oak and Chinese tallowwood.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Station Building (Platform 1) (1936) - Good Condition
Station Buildings (Platform 2) (1936) - Good Condition
Signal Box - Good Condition
Platforms (1936) - Good Condition
Footbridge - Very Good Condition
Landscape Features - Good Condition
Date condition updated:06 Sep 04
Modifications and dates: 1965: The signal box is located at the eastern end of the platform on the Down line, near the former Hannel Street level crossing constructed to replace an earlier signal box, dating from 1928.

2010: Platform resurfaced.
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 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 August 1887. 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 Civic station 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.

The ‘new’ Newcastle Railway Station was opened on 9 March 1858. One of the original stations in Newcastle (Honeysuckle) was closed in 1872. By the 1930s, two new stations were opened in the same vicinity - Civic and Wickham (with Wickham opening on 9 February 1936).

Wickham Railway Station comprises two side platforms, one each for Up and Down traffic. A brick station building with awnings was built on each platform.

A brick / timber / fibro signal box (two storey, tile roof) was built at the Newcastle-end of the down platform in 1965, replacing the an original 1928-built signal box. This signal box was, at one time, a very important and busy installation, controlling the nearby level crossing gates, arrival and departures from the platforms and a series of industrial sidings.

Railway activities, train operations, supervision and staff were extensive in the northern areas and Newcastle was at the hub of all these activities. Signalling and safe control for the passage of these trains was also extensive in the Newcastle area and Wickham Signal Box was part of that operation.

The original Wickham Signal Box had been in use at one of the busiest junctions in the state for 37 years with its 1965 replacement remaining in use for the past 35 years.

The signal box has been described as 'Australia's First Television Equipped Level Crossing'. This closed circuit television link between the level crossing and the signal box was bought into use 19/05/1966. A set of modern electric half-boom barriers and flashing lights also replaced the original mechancial boom barriers.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Communication-Activities relating to the creation and conveyance of information Signalling and safe working-
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-
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]
Having been constructed much later than most of the neighbouring stations, Wickham Railway Station demonstrates increasing urban development in Newcastle during the first few decades of the 20th century. The station has local significance under this criterion.

The signal box was constructed in 1965, replacing an earlier signal box (dating from 1928). The newer structure continues a long-standing use, though due to replacement, and severely reduced functions during the last few years it has a low degree of historic significance at a local level.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The site has aesthetic significance at a local level, associated with the station buildings. The buildings are an example of a small railway station dating from the 1930s, with simple and traditional materials and details. While many railway stations constructed during this period were designed in a contemporary interwar architectural style, Wickham Railway Station is unusual in that it was constructed with a stripped Federation character. The footbridge and signal box do not contribute to the aesthetic significance of the site.

The signal box has technical significance as 'Australia's First Television Equipped Level Crossing'. This closed circuit television link between the level crossing and the signal box was bought into use 19/05/1966.
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 f)
[Rarity]
The scale and character of the Wickham station complex is well represented in the metro network. While Wickham Railway Station is unusual in that it was not designed in a contemporary interwar architectural style, rather employing a stripped Federation character, it is not a remarkable example of this style and is not particularly rare. It does not meet the thresholds for significance under this criterion.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The platforms and footbridge at Wickham Railway Station are representative of railway structures from the late 19th century until the 1930s but are not outstanding examples of their type. The railway station is unusual for its architectural style. The signal box is a late example of this type of free-standing signal box but is not a particularly remarkable example. The site does not meet the thresholds for significance under this criterion.
Integrity/Intactness: The station buildings remain largely intact. The Signal Box retains a typical, representative appearance internally. The external integrity has been reduced due to modifications.
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 registerSRA s.170 Register    
Heritage studySignal Box - Wickham; Station    

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
State Rail Authority Heritage Register Study1999SRA45State Rail Authority  No
Heritage and Conservation Register State Rail Authority of NSW1993400Paul Davies for SRA  No
S170 Heritage & Conservation Register Update2009 NSW Department of Commerce  Yes
Heritage Platforms Conservation Management Strategy2015 Australian Museum Consulting  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
WrittenRay Love2002Railway Signal Boxes in The Newcastle Area. Assessment of Cultural Significance
WrittenState Rail Authority of New South Wales.1995How and Why of Station Names. Fourth Edition
WrittenURBIS2014Moveable Heritage Report & Inventory: Wickham 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: 4801045


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