Mortdale Railway Station Group | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Mortdale Railway Station Group

Item details

Name of item: Mortdale Railway Station Group
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Coleborne Avenue, Mortdale, NSW 2223
Local govt. area: Kogarah


North: 5m north of the end of the railway station platform; East: RailCorp property boundary, including an area of roadway 2m east of the Ellen Street underbridge; South: 5m south of the end of the platform; West: the boundary of railway land along Pitt Street and rear of adjacent carpark, including an area of roadway 2m west of the Ellen Street underbridge.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Coleborne AvenueMortdaleKogarah  Primary Address
Ellen StreetMortdaleKogarah  Alternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Mortdale Railway Station - including the 1922 platform and platform building, and 1922 Ellen St underbridge - is of historical significance as its early 20th century structures demonstrate the development of the Illawarra Line in this period and also for its role as a transport hub for Mortdale since 1922. Mortdale Railway Station is of aesthetic significance for its early 20th century structures which are good examples of NSW Railways station architecture and bridge design of this period. The 1922 platform building is a representative example of Federation Queen Anne influenced railway station architecture. The 1922 brick arched construction of the Ellen Street underbridge is of research significance as this is a representative bridge structure which set the standard for railway bridge works in this period.
Date significance updated: 28 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: NSW Government Railway
Builder/Maker: NSW Government Railway
Construction years: 1922-1980
Physical description: PRECINCT ITEMS
Platform building (1922) (Type 11)
Island Platform (1922)
Ellen Street underbridge (1922)
Footbridge (c 2004)
Platform Canopies (modern)

The station entry is at the southern end via a modern pedestrian footbridge structure, lifts and modern steps, which give access from Pitt Street on the northwest (just north of Pitt St intersection with Morts Road) and access from the north-western end of Coleborne Avenue to the southeast of the station.

Exterior: The platform building has a corrugated steel gabled roof, with awnings both sides on painted steel brackets mounted on sandstone or painted stucco brackets. The building features timber framed double hung windows with 9-paned top sashes with multicoloured glazing, and a single horizontal glazing bar to the bottom sashes. The walls have a decorative stucco moulding at door header height, and also around the window and door heads. The doors are either modern timber flush doors or timber 4 panel doors with 6-paned fanlights with multicoloured glazing. There is a (late 1920s-early 1930s) brick addition to the southern end of the building, which contains the ticket office. Later fanlights (brick addition at southern end) have plain glazing with 2 vertical glazing bars. There are timber valances to each end of the awnings. The gable ends feature imitation half-timbering and timber bargeboards and finials. The building has 1 chimney. There are decorative stucco sills to windows and slate thresholds to doorways.

Interior: Ceilings are modern gyprock. A face brick originally external wall (now internal) is on the southern side of the Station Master's office. A doorway has been inserted through the original chimney breast. Original external doorways have slate thresholds. The Station Master's office has a moulded plaster chair rail.

Asphalt surface, brick edges.

The underbridge runs under the north-eastern end of the platform. This is a single large span brick arch structure at 12.2 m clear span, for road access under the line. Semi-circular arches 600 mm thick.

Footbridge structure, lifts and modern steps, providing pedestrian access from both sides of the station to the platforms.

There is a modern canopy structure leading from the southern platform entry to the main platform building, and another modern canopy structure at the northern end of the platform building. The modern canopy structures are gabled, mounted on steel posts with concrete bases. Canopy roofing is gabled corrugated steel with some perspex panels.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Platform building (1922): good
Island Platform (1922): good
Ellen Street underbridge (1922) :good
Footbridge (c 2004): very good
Platform Canopies: very good
Date condition updated:28 Jun 09
Modifications and dates: circa late 1920s-early 1930s: The platform building extended at its southern end to add a ticket office, and internally a doorway has been put through the original chimney breast,
N.d: some alterations to window/door openings are evident and infill of an originally open waiting area.
c.2004: Footbridge, stairs, lifts and platform canopies are all modern
2017: Bird Proofing, Landscaping improvements, Toilet refurbishments, Lighting LED replacements – All Vandalux and Pole top lights fittings replaced to LED fittings, KOP – Seats and Bins changed in accordance with KOP Catalogue.
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Nil


Historical notes: Originally known as Mort's Hill, the name Mortdale was accepted as official title for the suburb when the first railway station opened on 20 March 1897. The suburb was named for early industrialist Thomas Sutcliffe Mort (1816-1878) who had large land holdings in the area (the south-western section of Dr. Robert Townson's 1808 grant). Townson's property had passed to John Connell in 1830, and was subdivided in 1869 as the "Connell's Bush" subdivision, the western part of which was purchased by Thomas Sutcliffe Mort. The area remained a small farming community until 1884, when Judd's Hurstville Steam Brick Company established a brickworks (on the site of what is now Georges River College, halfway between Mortdale and Oatley stations, just east of the line).

The Illawarra Railway single line from Hurstville to Sutherland was opened in 1885 having been built by the contractors C. and E. Miller. The building of the Illawarra line cut the two main farms in the area in half. By 1894 the land of these two farms (Kemp's orange orchard and Parkes farm near Victoria Avenue) had been subdivided and sold for suburban development. Mortdale's population was approximately 40 in 1885, but rapidly increased after the construction of the railway line. The first school opened in 1889 and a post office and grocery store in November 1890.

In 1890 the line was duplicated from Hurstville to Oatley and on 20 March 1897 Mortdale Station was opened just southward of the present station site. Its construction was as two timber platforms and waiting sheds, and the line passed through the present site of the electric car sheds.

Mortdale became a popular residential suburb in the 1920s when housing was being built for returned soldiers from World War 1. In 1922 the two lines were deviated to the west with the gradient eased and the present brick standard island platform and platform building were built. The original station site was abandoned and the structures demolished.

Originally access from one side of the line to the other was by a series of overbridges, but in some localities these were too far apart, hence the construction of brick arched underbridges begun around 1905. In keeping with other contemporary railway works in the Sydney region, construction was dominated by brickwork due to the extensive deposits of Wianamatta clays so ideal for making bricks. The Ellen Street underbridge is typical, and dates from 1922 when Mortdale Railway Station was relocated to its present site. The underbridge was designed by Perway Branch staff, New South Wales Government Railways and built by day labour.

Along the formation of the original line approximately half a kilometre south of the station, the Mortdale electric car sheds were built in 1925. These were the first electric car sheds to be used on the suburban system, part of a group built under the Bradfield electrification plan, including Hornsby, Flemington and Punchbowl (closed). In their original form, the Mortdale electric car sheds had a distinctive saw-toothed roof. Just north-east of the car sheds there was a siding to access Judd's Hurstville Brick Works to the east (shown in 1943 Lands Dept aerial photo). The Mortdale sheds have been extensively redeveloped over time, and the facility, now known as the Mortdale Maintenance Centre, is essentially a modern complex.

In 1926 the line was electrified to Oatley and in 1929 a power signal box was provided adjacent to the south end of the platform building.

In circa 2005 lifts, an overhead bridge concourse and stairs were built replacing the 1928 timber overhead booking office. New metal canopies were also built over the stairs and along the platform to the station building.

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-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Evolution of design in railway engineering and architecture-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Mortdale Railway Station is of historical significance as its early 20th century structures demonstrate the development of the Illawarra Line in this period and also for its role as a transport hub for Mortdale since 1922.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The 1922 platform building, platform and the Ellen Street brick arched underbridge are of aesthetic significance as good examples of NSW Railways station architecture and bridge design of this period. The 1922 platform building is a representative example of Federation Queen Anne influenced railway station architecture, and is a standard NSW Railways platform building design used during the 1910s and 1920s. The Ellen Street underbridge is of aesthetic/technical significance as the brick arch construction of the bridge is representative of a standard NSW railway bridge design used in the 1920s. The Ellen Street brick arch was one of the last of this type built.
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 g)
The 1922 Ellen Street underbridge is a good representative example of brick arch construction of this period and was one of the last of this type built. The 1922 Mortdale platform and platform buildings are good representative examples of railway station buildings of standard designs of this period.
Integrity/Intactness: The platform, platform building and Ellen St underbridge are relatively intact (some alterations, early south extension to platform building).
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 Study1999SRA115State Rail Authority  No
S170 Heritage & Conservation Register Update2009 Paul Davies Pty Ltd  Yes
S170 Heritage & Conservation Register Update2009 Paul Davies Pty Ltd  Yes
Heritage Platforms Conservation Management Strategy2015 Australian Museum Consulting  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written  NSW Lands Dept 1943 aerial photo (from six viewer lite website). Sources: Sheedy (2008); NSW Lands Dept 1943 aerial photo (from six viewer lite website). Sources: Sheedy (2008); NSW Lands Dept 1943 aerial photo (from six viewer lite website).
WrittenC.C. Singleton1945The Illawarra Line: Hurstville to Waterfall, A.R.H.S. Bulletin Vol. XVIII, No 96, October
WrittenDavid Sheedy2009Historical Research for RailCorp S170 Register Update
WrittenFrances Pollon (ed.)1990The book of Sydney Suburbs
WrittenJohn Forsyth Historical Notes for the Illawarra Line. 1960s

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: 4801115

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