Burwood Railway Parcel's Office and Underbridge | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Burwood Railway Parcel's Office and Underbridge

Item details

Name of item: Burwood Railway Parcel's Office and Underbridge
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Burwood Road, Burwood, NSW 2134
Local govt. area: Burwood


North: Property Boundary to Deane StreetEast: 5 metres from the end of the platformsSouth: Property Boundary to Railway Parade West: Underbridge across Burwood Road The Burwood Goods Yard and the former Post Office located at 1 Railway Parade (which has been recently demolished) are no longer owned by RailCorp and therefore fall outside RailCorp boundaries so these sites are not part of the heritage curtilage. A jib-crane is however still located in the vicinity of the site.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Burwood RoadBurwoodBurwood  Primary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Burwood railway group has significance for its contribution to the late 19th century subdivision and consolidation of the suburb. The former parcels office on the corner of Burwood Road and Railway Parade, the east and west elevations along Burwood Road, the station subway and the Burwood Road underbridge are original elements which have remained largely intact and forms a significant landmark in the local area.

The Burwood Road underbridge group of three parallel rail bridges is of significance as a highly visible landmark structure in the centre of Burwood, built as part of the continued expansion of the Main Line. The re-use of the original iron girders as part of the widening of the central underbridge to accommodate an additional track (with the insertion of a new central steel girder) during sextuplication of the line is a relatively rare form of construction within the NSW rail network, and provides a history of iron and steel girder fabrication during the period 1892 - 1926. The existence of a makers mark on the central bridge is also relatively rare for iron bridges within the NSW rail network.
Date significance updated: 12 Mar 10
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: John Ahearn
Construction years: 1886-1927
Physical description: BUILDINGS
Platform Building, Platform 2-3 (c.1978)
Platform Building, Platform 4-5 (c.1984)
Booking Office, (1983)
Former Parcels Office, (c.1891)

Platforms: Platform 1, (c.1891), Platform 2-3, (c.1891), Platform 4, (c.1891), Platform 5, (1927), Platform 6, (1927)
Underbridge- Burwood Road, (c.1892, 1926)
Pedestrian Subway and Lifts (c.1891, 2010)
Canopies, Platforms 1- 6 (modern)
166 Burwood Road East and West Elevations


Burwood Railway Station is located directly off, and accessed from, 166 Burwood Road. The station has six platforms, a subway combined with a concourse which runs under the tracks, a former parcels office at the corner of Burwood Road and Railway Parade, and buildings on Platforms 2, 3, 4 and 5. The station is situated in the midst of a busy commercial area.

PLATFORM BUILDING- Platform 2-3 (c1978)
External: The building on Platform 2-3 is a rectangular, stretcher bond brickwork structure which comprises of a communications and control room, toilets for male and female staff members and a station manager’s office. Part of the building has exposed brickwork and the rest has been clad with compressed fibre cement sheet panels. Compressed fibre cement sheeting has been used to extend the walls of the building all the way up to the gabled roof corrugated metal canopy of the platform, such that it appears that the roof of the building is integrated with the canopy. The building has single fixed pane windows with rolled steel frames and shutters. The windows are fitted with aluminium fly and safety screens. The control room windows have brick on edge sills. Directly above the control room windows are clerestory windows made of rolled steel frames and shutters and fixed glass and these rest on a brick on edge sill that continues at lintel level throughout the building.

PLATFORM BUILDING - Platform 4 - 5 (c1984)
External: The building is a single room structure made of galvanised metal panels and a flat roof. This building serves as a control room. It is raised 300 mm above the platform and it sits on concrete blocks placed at the building corners. It has sliding and fixed aluminium windows fitted with safety wire mesh and a fly screen door.

The existing booking office which is located in the concourse of the subway comprises of two ticketing counters that face the station entrance and a central controls area. Part of the booking office area also includes staff locker areas, a kitchen and a staff lounge. The eastern wall of the booking office incorporates an original subway wall.

External: The existing two-storey building, built in Federation Free Style, occupies the corner of Burwood Road and Railway Parade and can be accessed from both sides. Previously a shop it was converted into the former parcels office in c.1926. The rear of the building which is to the east sits in line with Platform 6 and is accessed at the first floor level from the platform. The Burwood Road façade of the building features an original round arch window opening at the first floor level and this is divided into two window sections with the upper half comprising of timber framed, fixed, multi-paned arched windows and the lower half featuring four, square, timber framed, fixed and casement windows. A mix of stucco and exposed brickwork has been used on this part of the façade. The ground floor section of this façade has been altered substantially and it has roller shutters.

The Railway Parade façade has Stretcher bond brickwork which is broken up by continuous, rendered and painted bands at sill and lintel levels, and a small pediment and embedded cornice at roof level. It has segmental, brick arched window openings which have timber framed, double hung windows and timber framed door openings which are fitted with timber doors with aluminium kick plates. A concrete awning covers the Burwood Road façade and circles around the corner to cover part of the Railway Parade façade. A lift machine room added to east part of roof is visible from Platform 6. The entrance into the building from Platform 6 is through a timber framed doorway covered by a timber and corrugated iron awning.

Internal: The former parcels office is currently used for storage and as a staff locker room. The building has an elevator shaft but the elevator, which was a goods elevator installed in 1927, has been removed as part of the access upgrade project being currently undertaken at the station, and will be replaced by a passenger elevator. There is an original cast iron spiral staircase which connects the street level of the building with Platform 6. The first floor has early timber floor boards, which have been carpeted in parts and left exposed in other parts. On the ground floor the western end of the parcels office has been enclosed off to form a staff lockers area, with the help of plasterboard partition walls.

PLATFORM (c1891, 1927)
Platform 1 (Up) is a wayside platform with in-situ concrete face. Platform 2 (Down) and Platform 3 (Up) have in-situ concrete faces and together they form an island platform arrangement. Platform 4 (Down) with brick face and Platform 5 (Up) with in-situ concrete face also form an island platform arrangement. There is a level difference between Platform 4 and Platform 5 and the difference between the two is negotiated by steps which lead down from Platform 5 to Platform 4. Platform 6 (Down) is a wayside platform with in-situ concrete face. All the platforms have asphalt surfaces.

UNDERBRIDGE (c1892, 1926)
The structure comprises three parallel bridges. The central bridge is a single span, double track, iron and steel riveted plate web girder railway bridge with 21.9 m span between brick abutments. The outer girders were part of an 1892 single track wrought iron bridge whereas the 1926 inner girder is steel, added during conversion to a double track bridge. The cross girders carry a concrete deck supporting ballasted tracks. The outer bridges are single span, double track, riveted steel plate web girder bridges, built in 1926, spanning between common brick abutments. The southern bridge is skewed significantly from parallel. On the north side of the Up outer girder along Railway Parade is the maker's plate - JOHN AHEARN 1892 GOVT CONTRACTOR.

The subway (dating from 1891) runs from north to south under the rail tracks and connects Platforms 1 through to 6. In 2010, the subway was refurbished with new materials and access points, including new glazed lifts to platform level.

CANOPIES (modern)
Platform 1 has cantilevered awnings made of corrugated roofing sheets and steel column and cantilevered beams. There are two sets of canopies over Platform 2 and 3. The canopy to the west end of the platform which covers most of the platform and forms the roof of the platform building is a gabled roof, steel truss structure supported on steel columns with corrugated iron roofing and timber fascia. The canopy towards the east end of the platform is a shallow gabled roof structure made of steel beams and columns with corrugated iron roofing and timber fascia. The canopy on Platforms 4 and 5 is a gabled roof steel truss structure supported on steel columns with corrugated iron roofing and timber fascia. Platform 6 has a corrugated iron skillion canopy which is cantilevered with the help of steel brackets that spring from steel columns.

The entrances to the station are along the Burwood Road frontage. The main entrance is to the north side and is defined by a round arched opening, a gabled roof and a metal awning. The second entrance features a segmental arched and a metal awning. The northern end of this façade is occupied by a Federation Free Style building, which currently houses a newsagent. The building has a parapeted gable with a non-pointed apex with piers on either sides, projecting over the parapet. The southern end is occupied by a two storied retail shop which is not part of the station. Some of the elements of the original 1940s façade are no longer extant namely the free standing kiosk towards the north-east end of the façade which has been demolished, the ticket window in between the two existing station entries which has been bricked in and boarded up and part of the shop front towards the south-east end of the elevation which has been modified and boarded up.

This façade is largely composed of vast expanses of blank wall surfaces which are used for advertisement displays. Part of the elevation comprises of exposed brickwork. The only building is a Federation Free Style building at the corner of Burwood Road and Railway Parade, opposite the former Parcels Office. Next to this is an existing barber's shop which was originally the tramway waiting centre and has since been modified and used as retail space.

NSW Railway heritage listed sites contain significant collections of stored movable railway heritage, including furniture, signs, operational objects, ex-booking office and ticketing objects, paper records, clocks, memorabilia, indicator boards and artwork. Individually, these objects are important components of the history of each site. Together, they form a large and diverse collection of movable objects across the NSW rail network. Sydney Trains maintains a database of movable heritage. For up-to-date information on all movable heritage items at this site, contact the Sydney Trains heritage team.

Key items at this station include but are not limited to:
- Cast Iron Safe
- N.S.W.R Signalling Notice
- Signalling Circuit Diagrams

Based on the surviving documentation and the evidence on site it is unlikely there would be any potential archaeological remains at Burwood railway station.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The platform building is in a good condition.

The platform building is in a good condition.

It is in a very good condition.

The former parcels office is in a moderate condition. The first floor exposed timber floor boards are scratched and exhibit signs of wear and tear.

The platforms are in a good condition.

The underbridge is in good condition.

The subway is in good condition.

The canopies on all the platforms are in good condition.

The elevation is in a good condition.

The elevation is in a moderate condition.
Modifications and dates: 1899: Awning erected over Burwood Road subway stairs.
1924: New parcels office at rear of no. 3 platform and old parcels office converted to refreshment room.
1926: Underbridge converted to double track bridge using new central riveted steel girder
1927: New Up and Down local platforms, stairs and extension of subway. Goods elevator connecting to new parcels office. New station building constructed on Platform 4 and 5. Mortuary removed from Platforms 4 and 5 and refixed at east end of Platform 6 along Railway Parade. Waiting shed removed from Platforms 4 and 5 and refixed at west end of Platform 6.
1928: Local and Suburban lines electrified to Homebush.
1940: Improvements made to Burwood road East and West elevations.
1955: Main lines electrified to Homebush.
1978: Station building on Platform 2 and 3 removed and replaced with existing building.
1983: Former booking office demolished and existing booking office constructed in subway.
2008: Burwood Goods Yard and former Post Office at 1 Railway Parade demolished - the two sites are no longer RailCorp property.
2010: Easy Access Upgrade
Further information: The Burwood Goods Yard (west of the site) including the former jib-crane, and location of former Post Office located at 1 Railway Parade are no longer owned by RailCorp and are outside RailCorp property boundaries.
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Nil


Historical notes: The Main Western Line to Parramatta (Granville) was originally completed in 1855. The line opened on 26 September 1855 and was double track from Sydney to Newtown and single track to Parramatta (but duplicated in 1856). The line was built as a direct connection to Parramatta and, subsequently, for the purpose of connecting Sydney with the major rural railways that were constructed across the Blue Mountains to Bathurst and across the Southern Highlands to Goulburn via Liverpool. There were few stops along the line between Sydney and Parramatta and it was not the original intention of the line to serve suburban development. Changes to the line were more often related to the line’s long distance purpose than to the communities along it.

Traffic to the west and south (and later north) of the state brought the need to amplify the line, first in 1891 when it was quadrupled and later in 1927 when it was sextupled (to Homebush) and electrified. With both of these major changes the earlier stations were usually entirely demolished and replaced with a new station. The 1927 work completed this process with the complete replacement of Strathfield and much of Newtown Stations. During this time suburban development also extended west along the line and these new stations were thus specifically designed as full-scale suburban passenger stations rather than rural ‘halts’. The Engineer for Existing Lines, George Cowdery (appointed 1863), was a particularly strong influence on the architecture of this line, building particularly elegant stations in the late 1880s ahead of the 1891 quadruplication, in addition to replacing the original stone arch viaduct at Lewisham with iron truss bridges. Sextuplication in 1927 brought less change to most local stations (which were on the southern side), the new tracks being express ones on the northern side.

Burwood station, opened with the line in 1855, was a wooden platform near a level crossing over the grassy track that was Neich's Lane (later Burwood Rd). This was beside 'the newly laid out township of Cheltenham'. Speedy transport meant subdivision and consolidation followed, filling out the area. Burwood's biggest period of early growth was between 1874 and 1900.

The now demolished building at No. 1 Railway Parade dates from 1886 and was built by the Railway Department fronting the Down platform of the then Burwood Station as a Post & Telegraph Office. It survived in its original form until c.1894, when approximately 3/4 of the structure was removed from the southern side facing Railway Parade. It is the last remaining visible fabric of the second Burwood Railway Station that occupied the site immediately west of Burwood Road from 1878-1892. Its location coincided approximately with the site of the earlier station building that was erected in 1862 and demolished in 1878. Some time after 1894, the building was adapted for use as a Railway Goods Office; it may never have been used as a parcels office, even though it was so-named.

The present station, at a new location on the eastern side of Burwood Road, was constructed in 1891 by John Ahearn as part of Cowdery’s program of reconstruction for quadruplication. The station was expanded in 1926-1927 in conjunction with track amplification and electrification.

The central underbridge across Burwood Road was first constructed as a riveted iron girder bridge in association with quadruplication of the main suburban line in 1892. During sextuplication in 1926, a new double-strength steel girder was inserted to produce a double track bridge. Such girder bridges were also built at Burren Street and Liberty Street. At the same time two additional steel, double track, plate web girder underbridges were constructed on either side of the iron and steel bridge.

In 2009-2010, Burwood underwent an $18m Easy Access upgrade with new access facilities and a new refurbishment of the concourse area, including a new entrance at street level and extension of platforms and canopies to meet new access lifts. The design of the new glass atrium ‘cubes’ shows a good example of providing high quality design which is also appropriate to its historic context. While the new elements of the station are notably contemporary, they respond to the existing scale and form of the Parcels Office, and the existing detailing of the window frames. The overall result is a sympathetic transition between the new and old.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Impacts of Railways on Urban Form-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The railway at Burwood contributed to the late 19th century subdivision and consolidation of the suburb. The Burwood Road east and west elevations namely, the former parcels office at the corner of Burwood Road and Railway Parade, the altered 1890s subway and the Burwood Road underbridge demonstrate important historical phases of the place's development.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The two-storied former parcels office is a good example of the use of Federation Free Style in late 19th and early 20th century suburban architecture. The 1890s pedestrian subway also retains some aesthetic value with its original brick walls, concrete vaulted and timber truss roofs, steps leading up to Platforms 2- 6, and the lantern windows along Railway Parade. As a group the former parcels office, the Burwood Road east and west elevations and the Burwood Road underbridge have remained largely intact and together form a significant landmark in the local area.

The central Burwood Road underbridge is technically significant in the use of the existing iron girders as part of the construction of the new double track underbridge, demonstrating the evolution of bridge construction technology and the expansion of the major rail routes over the early 20th century.
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 past.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The existence of girders from 1892 and 1926 adjacent to each other and as part of the same bridge construction provides evidence of the evolution of bridge construction from the use of imported iron to locally produced steel.
SHR Criteria f)
The 3-girder bridge along Burwood Road and the 1892 maker’s plate on its south face are both relatively rare.
Integrity/Intactness: The station complex overall has a low level of intactness as the original platform buildings no longer exist and the subway has been altered substantially. However the former parcels office, the east and west elevations along 166 Burwood Road and the underbridge along Burwood Road are in a relatively intact condition and this helps maintain some degree of integrity for the overall complex.PLATFORM BUILDING (Platform 2-3)The building is a recent construction. PLATFORM BUILDING (Platform 4-5)The building is a recent construction. BOOKING OFFICE This is a new construction but it retains within its eastern wall an original subway wall. FORMER PARCELS OFFICE The facade of the former parcels office is relatively intact; however its interiors have been altered substantially although some original fabric, namely the timber floorboards for the first floor, does exist. UNDERBRIDGE The underbridge retains most of its 1926 fabric and has a high level of integrity,with the original 1892 riveted girders still in place.PEDESTRIAN SUBWAYThe subway has been altered considerably, but it has original elements in a relatively intact state, namely the timber truss roofs over the entrance to the subway and to the steps leading up to Platforms 2,3,4,5 and 6 and the lantern windows along Railway Parade. CANOPIES The canopies are all recent constructions. 166 BURWOOD ROAD EAST ELEVATION The eastern elevations has been changed over time but it retains some original features such as the entries into the station comprising of the central round arched opening and its gable roof, the segmental arched entry, the largely intact elevation of the former parcels office and the upper part of the elevation of the retail outlet at the corner of Burwood Road and Dean Street. 166 BURWOOD ROAD WEST ELEVATIONThe western elevation has also undergone changes but it retains some original elements, namely the elevation of a Federation Free Style building at the corner of Burwood Road and Railway Parade, and the blank walls which were originally used for advertisement purposes.
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    

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
State Rail Authority Heritage Register Study1999SRA85, SRA609 (footbridge)State Rail Authority  No
Heritage and Conservation Register State Rail Authority of NSW1993183Paul Davies for SRA  No
S170 Heritage & Conservation Register Update2009 OCP Architects  Yes
S170 Heritage & Conservation Register Update2009 OCP Architects  Yes
S170 Heritage & Conservation Register Update2009 Hughes Trueman  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenFuturepast Heritage Consulting2013Burwood Railway Station, Investigation and Demolition of Brick Wall Statement of Heritage Impact
WrittenIrving, Robert & Pratten, Christopher1996No.1 Railway Parade, Burwood - the former Burwood Post & Telegraph Office (later Railway Goods Office) Conservation Plan
WrittenJohn Forsyth2007New South Wales Railway Stations: an alphabetical arrangement of railway station and place names
WrittenRobert Lee1988The Greatest Public Work: the New South Wales railways 1848 to 1889
WrittenTony Prescott2009Historical Research for RailCorp's S170 Update Project

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

rez rez rez rez rez rez
rez rez rez rez rez rez
rez rez rez rez rez rez
(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: State Government
Database number: 4801085

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

All information and pictures on this page are the copyright of the Heritage Division or respective copyright owners.