Canterbury Railway Station Group | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Canterbury Railway Station Group

Item details

Name of item: Canterbury Railway Station Group
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Canterbury Rd and Broughton Street, Canterbury, NSW 2193
Local govt. area: Canterbury


North: The property boundary to Broughton Street; South: The property boundary next to the timber yard; East: The eastern edge of the Canterbury Road overbridge with a southern extension approximately 22 metres long by 8 metres wide to include the signal box; West: 5 metres from the western end of the platforms. Please note this site is listed on the State Heritage Register (SHR) for which the curtilage may differ – see image gallery for more information. Any proposed development within the vicinity of the listed site should also consider the historic relationship between the listing and its surrounding area.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Canterbury Rd and Broughton StreetCanterburyCanterbury  Primary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Canterbury Railway Station possesses historical significance as it is a station on the Sydenham to Bankstown Line which was constructed to relieve congestion on the Main South Line as well as to encourage suburban development and the growth of agriculture in the late 19th and early 20th century. The main platform building represents the period of transition from the boom time of the 1880s to the standardisation of NSW railway building design from the 1890s onwards.

Canterbury Railway Station is significant at the state level as the Platform 1 Building demonstrates the high level of aesthetic design of the pre-1900 standard railway buildings, which included the use of polychromatic brickwork, decorative dentil coursing, ornate awning brackets and carved bargeboards. This platform building is relatively intact and is representative of a small group of such ornate platform buildings including Marrickville and Belmore on the Bankstown Line.

The Canterbury signal box is of historical significance as it is representative of the development of railway signalling technology in the first decades of the 20th century. As it was is intact internally it is capable of providing information about the workings of a signal box of this era.
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: N.S.W. Government Railways ( now State Rail Authority of N.S.W. )
Builder/Maker: J.J. Scouller
Construction years: 1895-1915
Physical description: BUILDINGS
Platform building, Platform 1 (Type 11) (1895)
Platform building, Platform 2 (Type 11) (1915)
Overhead Booking Office and Concourse, (late 1980s)
Signal Box (1915)

Platform 1, (1895)
Platform 2, (1895)
Canopies, (late 1980s)
Overbridge, (c.1917)
Footbridge, (1915 - later modified)

Canterbury Railway Station consists of one wayside (Platform 2) on the south and one island (Platform 1) on the north, with both original platform buildings remaining. The northern side of the island platform is not used for passenger services. The wayside platform is accessed from the footbridge via a ramp, while the island platform is accessed by stairs. An overhead booking office accessed from the Canterbury Road overbridge on the east and from Broughton Street on the north was rebuilt in the late 1980s.

PLATFORM BUILDING- Platform 1 (1895)
External: Rectangular polychromatic face brick building with gabled roof and surrounding cantilevered awning clad in corrugated roof sheeting. The face brick is in stretcher bond, with dark brick walls and lighter salmon coloured bricks forming a dado, framing the upper half of the windows and doors and with a diamond pattern dentil course at the high level. The building is eight bays in length, with the bays defined by engaged brick piers which coincide with the awning brackets. Original chimneys with cement mouldings and terracotta flues remain but have been painted.

The cantilever awning is on filigreed steel brackets supported on decorative cement capped brick engaged piers and bolt fixings to the station building brick walls. The soffit lining is the underside of the corrugated steel roof fixed to intermediate exposed purlins. There is a decorative timber moulding at junction with brick wall. The canopy returns around the western end of the building but not the eastern or stair access end. The awning edges are finished with a decorative timber boarded valance.

The external walls rise from a projecting brick plinth (now painted) with a decorative two part cement dado moulding which frames the salmon brick dado and is continuous between door and window openings. Decorative cement window and door frames rise above the dado moulding, each with a decorative keystone.

The original window and door openings have segmental arches and the windows feature a decorative moulded cement sill. The original timber windows were double hung with a double paned lower sash and a multi-paned upper sash featuring coloured glass. Much of the original coloured window glass remains as well as the original fanlights above the door openings. The doors were timber panelled.

The end brick gables feature a louvre within a round brisk window frames in salmon coloured voussoir shaped bricks with four cement keystones. Cast iron down pipes present. Faded painted black and white "Ladies" wall sign.

Internal: The building comprises a booking hall entered by a set of double doors at the bottom of the stairs with two original timber ticket windows; a booking office with timber circuit box (electrification era); station masters room; general waiting room with timber and marble topped fire surround and hearth; ladies waiting room and ladies toilet, a lamp room and men's toilet. The internal usage has now changed, and the toilets have modern fitouts, though retain mid-century tiles and original partitions and doors.

PLATFORM BUILDING- Platform 2 (1915)
External: Rectangular face brick building with gabled corrugated steel roof and integral shallower sloped cantilevered awning. The face brick is in stretcher bond. The building is four bays in length, with the bays defined by engaged brick piers which coincide with the awning supports. The original chimney with cement mouldings and terracotta flue remains.

The cantilever awning is on standard double bowed steel brackets supported on decorative cement haunches and bolt fixings to the station building brick walls. The soffit lining is the underside of the corrugated steel roofing fixed to intermediate exposed purlins. There is a decorative timber moulding at junction with brick wall. Vertical timber boards form valances at each end of awning.

The external walls rise from a projecting brick plinth three/four courses high with a decorative dado moulding run in cement which is continuous between door and window openings. Decorative cement window and door frames rise above the dado moulding.

The original window openings feature a moulded cement sill with a scalloped fringe. The original timber windows were double hung with a single paned lower sash and a six paned upper sash featuring coloured glass, with glass louvres in the toilet windows. The original window glass as well as the upper glazing bars has been removed from all but one window. Original door openings featured fanlights matching the upper window sashes. All the original timber panelled doors have been removed.

Internal: The building comprises a general waiting room with timber benches; ladies room and ladies toilets and men’s toilets. The internal usage has now changed and the toilets have modern fitouts and finishes, though retain mid-century tiles and original partitions and doors. The waiting room and ladies room have original ripple iron ceiling, ceiling rose and plaster wall finishes.

The original timber clad overhead booking office has been demolished and replaced by a new steel framed metal hipped roof structure.

External: Canterbury signal box is located beside the Bankstown suburban line, in the Canterbury Station precinct. It is a two storey timber framed structure clad in ‘checked and chamfered’ weather boards. It has a hipped, galvanised corrugated iron roof with wide eaves on all sides. The first floor (or operating level) has wood framed, sliding windows on three sides with a blank rear wall. On the eastern end of the building there is a landing, incorporating an enclosed toilet. The landing extends past the front of the building over a public walkway to a flight of metal stairs. The ground floor incorporates the interlocking room and relay room. The interlocking room has four windows in the front wall. In the rear is the relay room, featuring four windows in the rear wall. The eastern extension is flat roofed and is constructed of precast concrete panels between exposed verticals simulating timber weatherboards. There is one door at the eastern end of this extension (2009).

Internal: The interior walls and ceiling of the first floor are lined with wall boards, and the timber floor is covered in linoleum. On the ground floor, the interlocking room is unlined, and the long and narrow lined relay room houses signalling relays which control the operation of signalling circuits.

Platform 1 has an asphalt surface with its original brick face and a concrete edge. The northern or 'goods' side of this platform is constructed in the same manner. Platform 2 also has its original brick face with a concrete edge.

Haunched beam design consists of tapered cantilevers bearing on platform trestles and brick piers on each side support shallow beams over the railway tracks. The footbridge has been modified at a later unknown date.

The overbridge consists of steel girders supporting a jack arched brick and concrete deck. The girders span the Up and Down lines supported on concrete and brick abutment walls. The parapet walls are brick.

CANOPIES (late 1980)
New steel framed and metal roof clad canopies have been erected over the access stairs to the island platform and at the eastern end of the wayside station building, as well as the access ramp.

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.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Generally in good condition.
2016: Some stringline mouldings missing. Finial broken/missing. Signs of damp/salt attack. Mortar loss up to 1cm in places. Paint work unfinished/multiple schemes. Intrusive elements: badly placed ducting, air con units above doors, canopy connection to end facade.

Good condition.

The exterior is in reasonably good condition with some peeling of paint. A fire has caused some internal damage to the rear wall and ceiling of the operating level and there is evidence of past white ant activity (Jeff Moonie, 2000).

Generally in good condition.

Good condition.

Good condition.
Date condition updated:20 Oct 08
Modifications and dates: 1895: Water tanks erected on eastern end of platform.
1906: Platforms lengthened.
1915: New building on Platform 3; signal box built.
1916: Goods line laid through station.
1926: Railway electrified.
1927: Track realigned, the Down Bankstown track alongside a new Down side platform; the Up Bankstown track alongside the old Up island platform; the Down Goods track replacing the middle storage siding and the Up Goods track replacing the racecourse siding; No 1 to No 7 car sidings at the racecourse opened and all were electrified.
1937: Western annex added to signal box and constructed of timber matching the main building.
1968: Eastern annex was added to signal box in precast concrete components
Late 1980s: New overhead booking office
1996: Signal Box closed
N.d: As the timber yard to the south has been in existence for at least three decades the goods yard and goods shed between Charles Street and the station is believed to have been demolished for sometime.
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Nil


Historical notes: Canterbury is located on the Sydenham to Bankstown Railway which was opened as far as Belmore on 1 February 1895. The line had its origins in Railway Commissioner Goodchap’s 1882 recommendation that an additional line was needed between Newtown and Liverpool to relieve traffic on the Southern Line and to encourage agriculture and suburban settlement. Lobbying by local interest groups and land speculators achieved Parliamentary approval by 1890 and construction commenced in 1892. The most important stations on the line, Belmore, Canterbury and Marrickville, were built with impressive near-identical brick buildings, the other intermediate stations (Campsie, Dulwich Hill and Hurlstone Park) receiving more modest timber buildings (later replaced), possibly reflecting economies of the depression of the 1890s. The depression suppressed the profitability of the line and the extension to Liverpool did not proceed. However, suburban development followed in the early twentieth century, particularly during the interwar period when many War Service homes were built west of Canterbury. The line was extended to Bankstown in 1909 (and then to Regents Park in 1928, making it part of a loop line through Lidcombe), its justification by then being the servicing of suburban development.

Canterbury Station was expanded in 1915 in conjunction with construction of the Metropolitan Goods Line. It has three platforms, only two of which are now used. One of the platforms faces one of the two goods lines. Canterbury Park Racecourse is adjacent, and a branch line formerly led to sidings used on race days (now demolished).

Canterbury signal box was commissioned on 13 December 1915 as part of the resignalling and track alterations of Canterbury station in preparation for the opening of the new Metropolitan Goods Line from Lidcombe via Enfield Marshalling Yards to Rozelle, in April 1916. The signal box was constructed with a mechanical interlocking lever frame using 68 of the 72 possible lever positions, which controlled the operation of signals and points in a set sequence.

The signal box controlled all train movements through Canterbury on both the Bankstown suburban line and Metropolitan Goods line. Through ancillary lever frames ‘B’ and ‘C’, the signal box controlled the storage sidings for the Canterbury Racecourse special trains and the shunting of the local goods sidings.

Two extensions have been added to the signal box. The western annex in 1937, and the eastern annex in 1968 to provide additional space to accommodate signalling relays, circuits and equipment. In 1994 a start was made on replacing the life expired signalling system and equipment on the Bankstown line and the Metropolitan Goods line. This resulted in the closure of Canterbury signal box on the weekend of 30/31 December 1996. After its closure it was sealed in its ‘as closed condition’ by the Heritage Section of the State Rail Authority to preserve the building and its internal signalling equipment.

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-
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 architecture-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Canterbury Railway Station has historical significance as it is one of the railway stations on the Sydenham to Bankstown Line built to relieve the crowding on the Main Southern Line and encourage agriculture and suburban growth in the late 1800s and early 20th century. The brick building on Platform 1 represents that period which marked the transition from the boom period of the 1880s to the standardisation of NSW Railways building design of the 1890s and onwards. The signal box is of historical significance because it represents railway signalling technology in use at the time of its construction in 1915.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The platform building on Platform 1 at Canterbury station has state aesthetic and technical significance because it exemplifies the particular design and style of brick island buildings erected by the NSW Railways prior to 1900 which possessed high qualities of aesthetic features such as polychromatic brickwork, dentilled brick cornices and cement mouldings which distinguish it from other platform building types.

Canterbury signal box is technically significant as a structure purpose designed and built to house a large mechanical interlocking lever frame and its associated signalling equipment and being in 'as working' condition is well able to demonstrate the features of a signal box of this era.
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 e)
[Research potential]
At the time of its closure the signal box was fully operational and has been retained in that state, which allows the opportunity to observe early 1900s railway signalling technology in its original working environment.
SHR Criteria f)
The signal box building design is rare within the metropolitan area, though other examples exist in regional locations.
SHR Criteria g)
The building on Platform 1 is representative of the high architectural quality of a pre-1900 standard station building design. It’s styling reflected the importance of the station at that time, the other important stations on the Bankstown line with the same design being Marrickville and Belmore. The building on Platform 2 is also representative of a standard design of railway building commonly utilised by the railways during the 1910/20s.

The signal box is representative of a large elevated mechanical interlocking railway signal box.

The footbridge was identified as an item of moderate heritage significance in the 2016 ‘Railway Footbridges Heritage Conservation Strategy’.
Integrity/Intactness: PLATFORM BUILDING (Platform 1)Externally: The station building retains most of the original detailing. Some windows have been modified by the insertion of fibreglass vandal-proof sheeting into the sashes, but a number of windows and fanlights retain the coloured glazing. Original roof vents have been removed, and the face brick chimneys painted. The male toilet modesty screen has been removed and three external doors have been replaced by flush doors. Internally: Although the toilets have modern fixtures, a substantial amount of the original finishes remain. This includes plaster wall finishes, plaster ceilings and cornices, ceiling roses, the ticket window framing in the booking hall, benches and cupboards in the booking office. PLATFORM BUILDING (Platform 2)Externally: The station building retains most of the original detailing. Some windows have been modified by the insertion of fibreglass vandal-proof sheeting into the sashes, but a number of windows retain the coloured glazing, especially on the rear side. Original roof vents have been removed, and the face brick chimneys painted. The male toilet modesty screen has been removed and the external door has been replaced by a flush door. Internally: Although the toilets have modern fixtures, a substantial amount of the original finishes remain. This includes plaster wall finishes, plaster ceilings, cornices, and ceiling roses. The female toilet retains the early partitions, but with new fixtures. The original mantelpiece remains in the waiting room but the fireplace is gone. SIGNAL BOXWhen the signal box was closed in 1996 the Heritage Section of former State Rail Authority had the building sealed in its final operating state. This action had the effect of maintaining the signal box in its as closed condition, preserving the mechanical interlocking lever frame and associated signalling equipment in a complete condition and it is therefore of high integrity.FOOTBRIDGEThe footbridge retains its original haunched beam structure but has a new concrete floor, new balustrades and canopy cover. The access stairs to Platform 1 are modern. OVERBRIDGEThe overbridge retains all of its original steel beams and jack arches as well as the brick abutments, piers and parapet walls.
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 Study1999SRA100, SRA616 (stn footbridge),SRA617 (Church St f/b)State Rail Authority  No
Heritage and Conservation Register State Rail Authority of NSW1993387Paul Davies for SRA  No
S170 Heritage & Conservation Register Update2009 OCP Architects  Yes
Heritage Platforms Conservation Management Strategy2015 Australian Museum Consulting  Yes
Railway Footbridges Heritage Conservation Strategy 2016 NSW Government Architect’s Office Heritage Group  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenJeff Moonie2000Heritage Survey of Canterbury Signal Box
WrittenJeff Moonie2000Statement of Cultural Significance of Canterbury Signal Box
WrittenJohn Forsyth2007New South Wales Railway Stations: an alphabetical arrangement of railway station and place names
WrittenK. Edwards1982Beginning the Bankstown Line: a history of the Marrickville to Burwood Road Railway
WrittenTony Prescott2009Historical Research for RailCorp's S170 Update Project

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: 4801100

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