Redfern Railway Station Group | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Redfern Railway Station Group

Item details

Name of item: Redfern Railway Station Group
Other name/s: Eveleigh Railway Station
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Lawson Street, Redfern, NSW 2016
Local govt. area: Sydney


North: Up side of Lawson Street overbridgeSouth: 5 metres beyond end of platformsEast: Property boundary fence line with Gibbons and Marion StreetsWest: property boundary with Little Eveliegh Street and rear of existing warehouse building.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Lawson StreetRedfernSydney  Primary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Transport Asset Holding Entity (former Railcorp) - Transport for NSWState Government 
Transport Asset Holding Entity (former Railcorp) - Transport for NSWState Government 
Transport Asset Holding Entity (former Railcorp) - Transport for NSWState Government 

Statement of significance:

Redfern Railway Station Group is significant at a state level as a major suburban station which played an important role in the development of the surrounding residential and industrial suburbs. The overhead booking office is a rare remaining example of the Queen Anne style of railway architecture and along with the 1884 station building on Platform 1 remain as some of the last examples of these types of structures to survive in the metropolitan area. The booking office retains its overall form and much original detail.

The platform buildings on platforms 2-10 are consistent in design and represent the largest group of such buildings in the system at one site, reflecting the location's importance as a junction for commuters and for its access to the adjacent Eveleigh workshops. The addition of platforms and their associated platform buildings, including the Eastern Suburbs Railway, represent the importance of the Station as a commuter hub and reflect the expansion of Redfern Station and the Sydney network generally though the later nineteenth and into the twentieth century. Structures such as the air vents or chimneys connected to the underground engine dive, on Platform 1, are indicators of the adjacent industrial uses of the Eveleigh Yards and are unusual features on a suburban station.

The early station buildings and structures indicate the high quality of buildings provided during the mid-Victorian period of railway construction and the former importance of Redfern as an industrial and residential area in the development of the Sydney suburbs. The pair of newel posts is an example of colonial cast-iron work and represents the end of the era of ornamentation brought about by Railway Commissioner Eddy.
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.


Designer/Maker: John Whitton
Builder/Maker: Department of Railways
Construction years: 1884-
Physical description: STATION BUILDINGS
Overhead Booking Office - (Type 19) (1892)
Waiting Room, Platform 1 - (Type 3) (1884)
Store, Platform 1 - (c.1884)
Office, Platform 1 - (c.1884)
Station Buildings, Platforms 1-10 (x5) - (Type 11) (1912)
Eastern Suburbs Railway (ESR), Platforms 11-12 - (1979)

Platforms - (1884, 1912)
Lawson Street Overbridge - (1891)
Air vents to engine dive, Platform 1
ESR Steel Framework and Tunnels - (c.1960)
Footbridge, Steps and Canopies - (1999)

Exterior: Redfern Station consists of a main entrance building and ticket office, built of brick in a Queen Anne style with terracotta tiled hipped roof with central cupola and ornamental fleche. The central building is accessed from Lawson Street via the original central arched doorway flanked with sandstone columns and pediment or via a larger entrance to the east, which replaced an earlier arched window. Sandstone quoin blocks feature at the corners of the central portion of the entrance building, with sandstone keystones above the windows and doors and sandstone sills. A number of additions to the entrance building are visible along the Lawson Street frontage.

Interior: The building includes the ticket office, Station Master's office and male and female toilets. The ceiling is of timber tongue-and-groove boards with decorative ceiling roses and exposed timber beams. Electronic ticket gates lead to the overhead walkway that provides access to each of the platforms.

Exterior: The brick, Type 3, waiting room features a U-shaped floor pattern with enclosed end wings. An open waiting area with a timber bench seat spans the space between each wing. The waiting room building also features a corrugated iron hipped roof and chimneys.

Interior: The enclosed wings each have two double hung sash timber windows with double arched label moulds above and rendered sills with brackets beneath. Each wing also contains a fire place.

STORE (c.1884)
Exterior: Adjacent to the waiting room is a simple rectangular brick Store Room with three double hung sash timber windows (two facing the tracks and one facing north) and a door at its southern end. The building has a hipped corrugated iron roof hidden behind a brick parapet. Possibly former toilet.

OFFICES (c.1884)
Exterior: The third Platform 1 building is a rectangular brick office building with six timber sash windows facing the platform and a door at either end. The building has a corrugated iron gabled roof. The construction date of the building is unknown, but appears to be contemporary with other Platform 1 structures.

Exterior: Each of the island platforms (2-9) and the wayside Platform 10 all include variations on the Standard (A8-A10) Island Platform design, all with platform offices and some with public toilets. There are five in total. The buildings are constructed of face brick with rendered architraves, sills and brackets. The buildings feature a gabled corrugated sheet metal roof with a single corbelled and rendered chimney. The roof extends to form a platform awning which spans the length of the structures, and is supported on double curved cast iron brackets upon rendered brackets. The roof extends to form a covered area to the north of each building, which is supported by simple timber posts. The string course is of two small projecting rendered bands, with the rows of brick between painted to give the impression of a deep rendered string. Most original double-hung timber windows remain. Decorative features include timber valance to awning ends and coloured glass to upper panes of windows.

Platforms 11 and 12 are underground, being part of the Eastern Suburbs Railway and Illawarra Line. These are accessed via stairs or escalators from the street level. The escalator shaft ceilings are of moulded plywood. This plywood, with recessed fluorescent strip lights, is used throughout the station platform area. Station walls are tiled, with the station name in tri-level banked blue lettering. The platforms consist of an island platform divided with tiled masonry walls. The platform faces are concrete.

The station includes 12 platforms (2 underground on ESR) formed in seven island platforms, all facing two lines except Platform 1 and Platform 10 which both face single lines. Platforms 1- 8 are constructed of brick with bitumen surface, platforms 1-4 have been concrete rendered, platforms 5-8 are now rendered along upper band/coping in cement. Platforms 9 and 10 have been replaced with modern precast concrete u-shaped panel. Platforms 11 and 12 are reinforced concrete cast in situ. There is also a dock platform not in use, behind Platform 1 at Country end.

The northern end of the Station is defined by the Lawson Street Overbridge, which carries Lawson Street across the tracks. The bridge is brick laid in English bond pattern and was constructed in 1891. The bridge has been altered and extended in various stages. Construction appears to be a combination of jack arch, steel girder and concrete slab.

Platform 1 includes four brick ventilation air vents or chimneys for the engine dive line that runs underneath the station, allowing engines to traverse between the Sydney Yard and the Eveleigh Maintenance Centre.

Above Platforms 11 and 12, exposed steelwork for an unfinished platform remains in place. Unfinished tunnels also run north and south from this section of the station, indicating earlier plans for extensions that never proceeded.

The footbridge and steps to platforms was largely upgraded in 1999, and features a covered area connected to the Overhead Booking Office and glazed viewing area with access to all platforms. Platforms 2-9 also feature modern metal canopies joining access stairs to the platform buildings which forms a covered area for commuters. This was installed in 1999 as part of a new overhead walkway and access stairs to each platform. The stairs are concrete treads with steel banisters and balustrades. A pair of decorative cast iron newel posts at the bottom of the stairway to Platform 1 are all that remain from the original lattice iron stairway that was removed in c1999.

The garden on Platform 1 runs along the western wall of the platform from the base of the stairs to the first building on the platform. Some garden plantings remain but it is not maintained to a high standard.

Early, framed wall-mounted electric clock in SM office
Large set of multiple timber rollover indicator boards on concourse, one single and large row, all the metal covers.

None identified.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The station, including Overhead Booking Office, Station Buildings on Platforms 2-10, and ESR Platforms are all in good condition.

The structures at Redfern Station are in good condition with the exception of the disused tunnels at the eastern end and the exposed steelwork frames which are rusted. At least one section of tunnel has been backfilled due to threat of collapse. A condition report completed for the Lawson Street overbridge in 2006 indicated a number of structural issues that required attention.
Date condition updated:10 Jun 09
Modifications and dates: 1925-27: Platform 1 footbridge raised for electrification with two concrete steps at platform level.
1981: demolition of small timber waiting shed on Platform 1
c1993: Station platform upgrading
1994: removal of southern footbridge
c1999: station upgrades including new footbridge at northern end and stair access to platforms
2004: station damaged by fire, ticket office windows bricked up to prevent vandalism.
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Nil


Historical notes: Redfern Station was opened in 1884. At the time it was named Eveleigh Station, as the main terminus for the Sydney line was then called Redfern and was located approximately half way between the present Redfern Station and Central. The Eveleigh Station was opened to serve the new Eveleigh railway workshops, the first stage of which was completed in 1887, as well as the inner-city residential and industrial suburb of Redfern, one of Sydney's most high-density residential areas. By the 1940s, three quarters of Sydney factory workers worked within a three-mile radius of Redfern Station, and many commuted to work by train.

The original station consisted of three island platforms serving four lines. The ticket office was located on the corner of Lawson Street and Rosehill Street, with stairs down to each individual platform. Rosehill Street was demolished to make way for the later expansion of Redfern Station to the east, while the ticket office survived and was later extended.

The construction of the Redfern station was overseen by the office of John Whitton, engineer-in-chief of the NSW Railways. Whitton had been appointed in 1856 at the beginning of the NSW railway development and remained in the position until 1890, overseeing the establishment of the main body of the NSW system.

The station was extended in 1891/92 to accommodate the quadruplication of the main suburban lines, with new platforms being built during this period (Platforms 5, 6 and 7) and again in 1919 (Platforms 8 and 9) and again in 1924/25 (Platform 10). In 1913 a footbridge was erected at the southern end of the platforms to allow access to the Eveleigh workshops from the station for the workers. The footbridge extended across all the platforms with stairs down to each.

The last platforms to be built were for the Eastern Suburbs Railway (ESR) and Illawarra line. The building of these underground platforms began in the late 1940s but subsequently stopped as the program came to a halt. These platforms were rebuilt in the late 1960s as the ESR was restarted and completed.

In c1994 the southern footbridge was removed as the Eveleigh railway workshops were gradually closed down and the footbridge was no longer required.

In c1999 the station underwent a major upgrade including the demolition of the northern footbridge and stairs to the platforms. A new footbridge and stairs were built, with only a pair of iron newel posts on platform 1 remaining of the earlier stairways.

In 2004, riots in Redfern caused fire damage to the ticket office and station building. Following this, the Lawson Street windows were bricked up to prevent any future damage. Windows have since been reinstated with iron bars.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Transport-Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements Building the railway network-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities 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-
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 or architecture-
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. Railway Gardens-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Redfern Station has historic significance as a major suburban station that served Eveleigh Railway workshops as well as the surrounding industrial suburbs of Redfern, Darlington and Chippendale and as such served to promote the growth of these suburbs. The station retains a collection of early station buildings, including a prominent overhead booking office as its main entrance which is a rare example of its type, demonstrating the changing use and expansion of the station. Redfern Station is also associated with the development of the Eveleigh railway workshops for which it served as the main station for workers. The expansion of the Sydney network is evident at Redfern through the addition of platforms to cope with new lines, including the Eastern Suburbs Railway in the 1970s.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Redfern Railway Station is associated with engineer-in-chief of the NSW Railways, John Whitton who oversaw the development of the station towards the end of his long employment in the role.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Redfern Station has aesthetic significance with a collection of nineteenth and early twentieth century railway buildings built to set designs for the NSW railways and providing a consistency of style across the network. The overhead booking office on Lawson Street is a fine example of the Queen Anne style for railway architecture and is one of the few remaining examples of this type on the Sydney system. The remaining portion of the Station garden has some local aesthetic significance and demonstrates the former practice of maintaining a station garden at suburban stations.
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)
Redfern Station ticket and booking office is a rare surviving example of a Queen Anne style overhead booking office, being one of only three remaining examples on the Sydney network, Newtown and Homebush being the others. The elaborate detailing of the building, including the cupola and decorative fleche, make it unique in Sydney's railway architecture. The cast iron newell posts, remaining on Platform 1 are rare surviving examples of decorative iron work (once part of a larger iron latticework stair way) that was briefly introduced to suburban stations but discontinued by Commissioner Eddy after Redfern Station was built. The brick air vents or chimneys on Platform 1 are unusual features on a suburban station and demonstrate the connection to the Eveleigh Railyards adjacent to Redfern.
SHR Criteria g)
Redfern Station is representative of late nineteenth-century suburban railway development with a range of standard railway designed building styles and uses for the period 1890-1925. They remain the largest group of such buildings in the NSW system. It is representative of the expansion of the railway network to accommodate increasing passengers and new lines, as illustrated by the development of the Eastern Suburbs Railway. The station continues to serve as a major commuter station on the Sydney network.
Integrity/Intactness: Redfern Station has undergone a number of modifications and changes, including an upgrade of the overhead walkway and stairs in c1999, the addition of awnings to the platforms in c1999 but overall is largely intact and has a moderate to high level of integrity. The platform buildings and overhead booking office in particular retain a high level of integrity.
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 Study1999SRA95State Rail Authority  No
Heritage and Conservation Register State Rail Authority of NSW1993285Paul Davies for SRA  No
S170 Heritage & Conservation Register Update2009 Godden Mackay Logan  Yes
Heritage Platforms Conservation Management Strategy2015 Australian Museum Consulting  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenJohn Gunn1989Along Parallel Lines: A History of Railways in NSW 1850-1986
WrittenNational Trust of Australia (NSW)1993Redfern Railway Station Group
WrittenPaul Davis1978A History of NSW Railway Architecture: Thesis B Arch
WrittenRobert Lee1988The Greatest Public Work: The New South Wales Railways 1848-1889

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: 4801095

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