Fassifern Railway Station Group | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Fassifern Railway Station Group

Item details

Name of item: Fassifern Railway Station Group
Other name/s: Wyee
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: 29 Fassifern Road, Fassifern, NSW 2283
Local govt. area: Lake Macquarie

Boundary:

North: 5m from end of platformSouth: End of original platform (not including extension to platform)East: Rear of former Station Master's Yard, incorporating part of the Junciton platform, including small garden area and abutting the Fassifern - Toronto branch line and only including the westernmost area of the car park.West: Property boundary on western side of main line, including part of refuge siding.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
29 Fassifern RoadFassifernLake Macquarie  Primary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Fassifern Railway Station has significance at a local level. Fassifern is historically important in the local area as it has been a junction station to Toronto and Northumberland Colliery from its earliest days. The majority of structures at Fassifern date from 1910 when the main line was duplicated. Fassifern Railway Station has aesthetic significance as a good example of an early twentieth century station group including station building and associated structures (out of shed, men's toilet and store, etc.). The grouping of these buildings is considered rare as an intact grouping of early twentieth century railway buildings on the Metropolitan network. Although once common on the network, the variety and condition of the outbuildings at Fassifern is now unusual in the region, in particular the out of shed and signalling hut which retain their original configurations both internally and externally.
Date significance updated: 26 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 Department of Railways
Builder/Maker: New South Wales Department of Railways
Construction years: 1890-1933
Physical description: Station Building (including 1920s Signal Box), type 11(1911)
Out of Shed (c.1933)
Men's Toilet and Former Lamp Room (c.1911)
Signalling Hut (Section Hut)
Platforms (1891, later extensions)
Footbridge (1979, 1995)
Platform Shelters (c.1995)

CONTEXT
Fassifern Railway Station is located west of Fassifern Road on a small rise at the top of what is now a commuter carpark. The station features two platforms, a large modern footbridge, station building and numerous original outbuildings. The site is visually dominated by the modern footbridge. Adjacent to the station group is the former Fassifern platform for the Fassifern - Toronto branch line (see separate listing) and the former Station Master's Residence (no longer in RailCorp ownership and not included in this listing), making it a unique rail precinct on the Northern line.

STATION BUILDING (including Signal Box) (1911)
Exterior: Fassifern Station dates from 1911, and was built to a common standard design (Type A8 -A10) to which a signal box has been incorporated. The station building is of red brick construction with a rendered string course and architraves. The building features a cantilevered balcony on both sides supported by simple steel brackets springing from painted concrete corbels. The gabled roof is of corrugated iron. At the southern end of the station building is the signal box. This structure features brick walls to sill height with timber framed multi-pane windows on both sides and is very similar to the signal box at Wyong. Above the windows the frames appear to have been infilled with fibrous cement sheeting. Security grilles have been placed on the exterior of all the station windows.

Interior: The interior of the station building is divided very simply and features a number of original features. The building contains a Female Toilet, Booking Office, Ticket Office, Office, and Signal Box. The booking office is a simple room accessible from both sides of the building and features a number of original features including a wooden bench built into the wall, decorative timber surrounds to the ticket window, four-panelled external doors with original hardware, a decorative air vent and a moulded dado in the southern (rendered) wall. Both the ticket office and general office feature little original fabric and have been extensively modified to meet current operational needs. Walls are of painted rendered brick with moulded dado, while ceilings are fibre cement sheeting with battens. The signal box is located at the southern end of the station building and appears to have been added some time later (c.1920s) and contains a large amount of original fabric including a battened fibre cement sheet ceiling with decorative central air vent. The signal box still contains the original signal framework, although all original levers (with the exception of the five southernmost levers) have been removed. In order to retain this framework, the majority of the signal box floor has been raised with only the southern end maintaining the original timber floor. The original signal indicator board has been replaced by a more modern electronic version, but has remained in the signal box and is now located at the top of the eastern wall at the southern end of the room. Other original equipment to have remained includes a power supply indicator, warning bells, and a lockable key box. There is a kitchenette along the western wall of the signal box.

OUT OF SHED (c.1933)
Exterior: The out of shed is a simple gabled building with weatherboard walls and exposed rafters which was originally constructed to house goods awaiting pick up by Sydney bound trains. The building features timber doors on both the north and south sides to allow through movement of goods, with the southern elevation being raised somewhat above the ground level in order to create a loading bay from the carpark, although this use has been prevented through the construction of a pedestrian ramp immediately in front of the building. The roof is of corrugated iron and overhangs the building slightly at each end with bargeboards.

Interior: The interior of the building features no wall linings. Steel cross bracing for the structure is visible. The southern door of the building is a four panelled sliding door which hangs from a top rail by means of a large steel bracket.

MEN'S TOILET AND FORMER LAMP ROOM (c.1911)
Exterior: The southern end of the Up platform features a further small structure most likely built at the same time as the main station building. The building features a corrugated iron gambrel roof with exposed rafters, with red brick walls featuring a rendered string course and architraves. All windows have security grilles. An awning has been added to the western side of the building along the platform.

Interior: The northern end of the building contains the men's toilets with tiled walls to 2m, tiled floor and a small lockable storage space. The men's toilet has a fibre cement ceiling and exposed brick walls, with access to this room through a doorway in the northern wall. The southern end of the building contains what was originally a lamp room, with original shelving and workbench still intact. Walls are painted brick and the room features no ceiling. It is now used for storage.

SIGNALLING HUT (SECTION HUT)
Exterior: The former signalling hut is located to the east of the men's toilet building. It is a simple building with hipped corrugated iron roof and overhanging eaves. Walls are of prefabricated concrete drop panels and the whole is built upon a concrete slab footing. The building is three bays wide and five bays long, with doors in the central bay of both the north and south ends.

Interior: The interior of the building was not inspected (2009).

PLATFORM (1891, later extension)
The platform at Fassifern has been considerably extended in the south direction with new precast concrete sections. The Down platform is of brick and is likely to be the original (1891) platform.

FOOTBRIDGE (1979, 1995)
A very large scale footbridge with associated lift towers has been constructed towards the southern end of the platforms. The 1979 footbridge was upgraded in 1995 as a modern steel, glass and concrete structure whose structure, size and detailing has made it the dominant visual feature within the station precinct.

PLATFORM SHELTERS (c.1995)
Both platforms feature modern skillion roofed steel-framed platform shelters allowing wet weather protection from the lift towers towards the northern end of the platform.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Station Building (including Signal Box) (1911) - Good Condition
Out of Shed (c.1933 ) - Moderate Condition. The Out of Shed is currently used for storage and whilst the building is well maintained externally, internally the space is somewhat neglected.
Men's Toilet and Former Lamp Room (c.1911) - Good Condition
Signalling Hut (Section Hut) - Good Condition (exterior). The interior of the signalling hut was not assessed, but is assumed to be in good condition.
Platforms (1891, later extensions) - Good Condition
Footbridge (1979, 1995) - Very Good Condition
Platform Shelters (c.1995) - Good Condition
Modifications and dates: 1933: The brick station building was partially rebuilt after a bushfire
1984: Electrification of the main line between Gosford and Newcastle, with major upgrading undertaken at Fassifern, including the replacement of some buildings and the rebuilding of the platforms to suit the new rollingstock. The signal box was also made redundant
1980s: Fassifern-Toronto branch line closed.
1993: Footbridge upgraded
2010: Demolition of Battery Box
Further information: Former Station Master's Residence no longer owned by RailCorp (not assessed).
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 January 1888.

The line was completed through between Sydney and Newcastle with the opening of the massive bridge over the Hawkesbury River in 1889. Fassifern is presently located on the Northern line between Awaba and Booragul Railway Stations.

Railway construction passed through the location later to be known as Fassifern in 1887. The section between Woodville Junction and Gosford was opened for traffic in 1887 and a Post Office was provided at Fassifern in 1888. In May 1891, a railway platform was provided at Fassifern. At the time of opening of the line, Fassifern was named ‘Wyee’, but by 1891, the station was renamed ‘Fassifern’.

The line was constructed as a ‘single line’, but by 1910, the section between Teralba and Awaba had been duplicated including the section through Fassifern Railway Station.

Fassifern was a junction station from its earliest days, with a short branch line to Northumberland Colliery leading off the northern end of Fassifern station on the down side of the line, through facing points. In addition, the three-mile long branch line to Toronto, on the shore of Lake Macquarie was opened in 1891 and junctioned with the main line at Fassifern. This branch line was on the up side of the line, with the points facing up trains.

The station arrangements at Fassifern were completely upgraded when the duplication was completed in 1910, with additional platforms, footbridge, station buildings, timber ‘Out-Of’ shed and other trackwork and structures.

The complete arrangement comprised up main line and down main line side platforms, with station buildings on each platform. The principal station building, including the relatively large signal box which was located in the same brick building, was on the Up platform. The Toronto branch line junctioned with the Up main line, with the junction points facing up trains at the Newcastle-end of the platforms. The Up main line platform was widened to incorporate a platform for the Toronto line stations. Included in the station arrangements were points and crossovers to allow trains to terminate, a footbridge joining all platforms and short goods siding. A timber Station Master's Residence had been built on the top of the cutting, near the station on the Up side of the main line.

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, major upgrading was undertaken at Fassifern, and that included replacement of some original buildings. The platforms were rebuilt to suit the new rollingstock and the signal box on the platform was also made redundant about that time, replaced by a centrally located signal control centre, located near Broadmeadow station. The footbridge between the eastern side and western side of the main lines has been retained, although rebuilt. Lifts have now been installed.

For a number of reasons, the Fassifern - Toronto branch line was not electrified in the 1980s and was subsequently closed. Remnants of the widened platform at Fassifern which served the Toronto branch trains are still apparent and the area has been landscaped.

The brick station building (partially rebuilt after a bushfire in 1933) remains extant on the up platform although some modern additions have been incorporated. The 1891-built ‘Out-Of’ shed remains on the platform and the timber Station Master’s Residence is extant on the up side of the main line near the station.

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-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Fassifern Railway Station has historical significance at a local level. Fassifern is important historically as it has been a junction station to Toronto and Northumberland Colliery from its earliest days. The majority of structures at Fassifern date from 1910 when the main line was duplicated.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Fassifern Railway Station has aesthetic significance at a local level. The station is a good example of an early twentieth century station group including station building, residence, and associated structures (Out of Shed, Signalling Hut, Men's Toilet and Store, etc.). The grouping of these buildings is similar to other railway stations constructed in the early twentieth century and demonstrates the distinctive aesthetic attributes of NSW Government Railways station design at that time. The site has maintained its historic setting due to its relatively isolated setting, although the new footbridge significantly detracts from this.
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]
Fassifern Railway Station is considered rare as an intact grouping of early twentieth century railway buildings on the Metropolitan network. Although once common on the network, the variety and condition of the outbuildings at Fassifern is now unusual in the region, in particular the Out of Shed and Signalling Hut which retain their original configurations both internally and externally. Fassifern station is also considered rare as the junction station of the only passenger service branch line off the Short North line which, although no longer in operation, remains intact as a public walkway.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The buildings at Fassifern Railway Station are representative of structures built at a majority of metropolitan and suburban railway stations in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. None are outstanding examples of their type, due to later modifications and a resulting loss of integrity.
Integrity/Intactness: While the majority of the structures at Fassifern remain intact, almost all have suffered from a serious loss of integrity as a result of additions and alterations to the station in recent times. Access ramps completely obscure the southern elevation of the Out of Shed, whilst an unsympathetic steel awning obscures the original form of the Men's Toilet and Signalling Hut. Most visually intrusive of all is the oversized footbridge with accompanying lift towers, which now totally dominates the station precinct. Despite these changes the station group is still able to demonstrate the significant qualities of a junction station on the Northern line.
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    

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
State Rail Authority Heritage Register Study1999SRA46, SRA649 (Footbridge)State Rail Authority  No
Heritage and Conservation Register State Rail Authority of NSW1993401Paul 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
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: 4801046


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