Dapto Railway Station Group | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Dapto Railway Station Group

Item details

Name of item: Dapto Railway Station Group
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Station Street, Dapto, NSW 2530
Local govt. area: Wollongong City


North: 5m north of the end of the eastern platform; East: a line parallel to the eastern platform to a point adjacent to the south boundary of the former Station Master's residence, then a line out to Station Street, along the west side of Station Street (including Hartigan Park and the circular drive adjacent to the 1887 Platform building) to Bong Bong Road; South: the north side of Bong Bong Road level crossing; West: a line parallel to the western platform.Note this curtilage excludes Bong Bong Road, excludes the former Station Masters residence (now in private ownership), and includes Hartigan Park and the circular drive adjacent to the 1887 eastern platform building.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Station StreetDaptoWollongong City  Primary Address
Bong Bong RoadDaptoWollongong City  Alternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Dapto Railway Station, specifically the 1887 Platform 2 building, early station sign, and the station's streetscape setting from Station Street - is of local heritage significance. The 1887 Dapto Railway Station Platform 2 building is of historical significance as evidence of the first phase of the construction of the Illawarra line, and for its role as a transport hub for Dapto since 1887. The 1887 Dapto Railway Station Platform 2 building and its landscape setting off Station Street is of aesthetic significance as a representative example of late 19th century railway station architecture and landscaping, though now modified. The 1887 Platform 2 building, though altered, is relatively rare, being one of four extant weatherboard '3rd class' platform buildings on the Illawarra Line.
Date significance updated: 01 Feb 17
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: D. Proudfoot & T. Logan (line), Robert Spiers (station buildings)
Construction years: 1887-1993
Physical description: PRECINCT ELEMENTS
Platform 2 modern buildings:
- Shop (c.2001)
- Skillion Roofed Building (modern)
- Toilet Block (1970)
Platform 2 Building (1887) Type 4
- Platform 1 (1993)
- Platform 2 (1887)
Platform canopies and shelter (modern)
Landscape: semi-circular entrance drive and park area to east of station (west of Station Street)
Moveable items: Early station sign

Dapto Railway Station is located to the west of Station Street, with the Bong Bong Road level crossing at the southern end of the station. The station is entered off Station Street via a semi-circular driveway. The Station perimeters are fenced with white powder coated aluminium fencing.

PLATFORM 2 SHOP (c.2001)
Exterior: A metal clad building with a hipped corrugated steel roof.

Interior: Not accessed 2009.

Exterior: A weatherboard skillion roofed building with aluminium framed sliding windows and timber flush doors.

Interior: Not accessed 2009.

Exterior: A square blond texture brick toilet block with a flat roof.

Interior: Not accessed 2009.

Exterior: Attached to the south elevation of the skillion roofed building is the 1887 weatherboard platform building. This weatherboard building is the main station building. The building has a complex corrugated steel clad gabled roof form with projecting central bay facing Station Street with a separate gabled entry porch flanked by small side verandas. On the platform (west) side the building has a platform awning supported on timber stop-chamfered posts. These posts now have concrete bases. The building has c.1920s architraves to doors, and aluminium framed double hung windows. There are timber sliding doors to both entries to the waiting area. On the station car park (west) side of the building is an awning on timber posts and a gabled weatherboard entry porch with a weatherboard wall to the street (west) side, a pendant, decorative timber barge boards and the date "1887" and a old metal station sign stating "Dapto Station" on the gable end. The gable end has detailed timberwork. There are no chimneys (these have been removed). The building is entered from a circular driveway on the Station Street (east) side.

Interior: The building has a central waiting room/booking office with Station Master’s office and ladies’ waiting room to either side. The waiting area has been modernised, with modern tiling and vinyl floor coverings, timber veneer wall panelling, a c.1970s drop-in panel ceiling, and modern ticket windows.

PLATFORM 1 (1993)
This is the west platform, which has an open concrete base and concrete decking. The platform has security mesh and aluminium powder coated fencing to the rear.

PLATFORM 2 (1887)
This is the partly original east platform which has a brick edge with concrete capping, until it joins a more modern island section of platform at the northern end. Platform 2 has an asphalt surface.

Platform 1 (west) platform has a modern corrugated steel roofed canopy with steel posts on concrete bases, and a corrugated steel platform shelter in approximately the centre of the platform’s length. The platform canopy has fluorescent strip lighting along the underside of the roof. Platform 2 (west) platform has modern canopies on steel posts with concrete bases to the posts, and a corrugated steel roof, at the north and south ends of the platform.

The circular drive to the east, off Station Street, with its strip of park (Hartigan Park) separating the drive from the street, planted with brush box and canary island date palms, is a significant streetscape setting for the main platform building. Hartigan Park contains a Korean and Vietnam War Memorial.

Early station sign on 1887 Platform 2 building.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Platform 2 modern buildings (various): good
Platform 2 (east platform) main platform building (1887): good
Platforms: good
Platform canopies and shelter (modern): good
Landscape/Natural Features: good
Date condition updated:11 Jul 09
Modifications and dates: c.1920s: Platform 2 main building joinery added
Prior to 1970s: Removal of goods yard structures.
1970: Platform 2 main building- new fitout to waiting area.
1971: Toilet block to north of Platform 2 building replaced with new brick toilet block.
c. 1990: Platform canopy additions and street awning to Platform 2 altered.
1993: .Platform No. 1 added with platform canopy and line electrified 1993.
2001: Plans show addition of a shop to the northern end of Platform 2.
N.d: The Platform 2 main building has been altered with concrete bases to early timber stop-chamfered awning posts and all chimneys have been removed.
2013: Access Upgrade, including the following works: construction of bus and vehicle turn-around access road at main entrance to platform 2; redesign access points and landscaping to Hartigan Park; constructing and widening footpaths; new ramp on east side of station; paving footpath at eastern station entrance; new wayfinding signage; upgrade lighting and CCTV.
2014: Minor maintenance including: deep cleaning signage and surfaces; repaint coping and install tactiles; replace non-significant seats & bins; tile (non-significant) waiting room floor; replace (non-significant) ceiling; upgrade (non-significant) lights to LED; repair and repaint doorframes; refurbish (non-significant) toilets.
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Nil


Historical notes: The name Dapto is said to be an Aboriginal word either from "Dabpeto" meaning "water plenty", or from "tap-toe" which described the way a lame Aboriginal chief walked. The aborigines called the area "Mookoonburro" meaning "grub".

One of the first references to the name Dapto was in instructions issued to Surveyor Knapp on 10 April 1829. Knapp was instructed "to survey ten 100 acre lots for veterans on Dapto Creek". In 1833 George Brown received a grant of 300 acres south of Mullet Creek. George Brown transferred the Ship Inn from Wollongong to Mullet Creek Farm in 1834 and thereby established the nucleus of Dapto.

With the coming of the railway in 1887, however, the centre of the township was moved south and the original Dapto, where the inn was located, later became known as Brownsville. A new town began to grow up around the station.

The line between Wollongong and Bombo opened as an isolated line in 1887 with a series of timber station buildings being constructed at each site, the size depending on the importance of the location. Dapto was the most substantial station building on that section of line.

Dapto station was opened as a typical 3rd class timber railway station building, usually built for medium sized country towns, and the station included a brick Station Master’s residence, timber goods shed, timber platform, a large road forecourt and stockyards, the yard also having a crossing loop and waiting facilities.

A plan dated 1913 shows the station as having at that time (from south to north): a Gatekeeper's residence to the southwest of the Bong Bong Road level crossing; ramps at both ends of the single (eastern) platform; the 1887 platform building, a toilet on the platform to the north, a Station Master's residence; a coal bin at the southern end of an extensive goods siding, a cattle yard, trucking yard, goods shed, and butter factory with adjacent coal bin, loading dock and tank stand.

A plan dated 1930 with later annotations shows (from south to north): a Gatekeeper's residence (annotated as having been removed in 1970) to the southwest of the Bong Bong Road level crossing; the single 1887 platform building (annotated as having "additional parcels accommodation" completed in 1970); WC to the north on the platform; on the eastern side of the line an extensive goods siding; a Station Master's residence (still extant) with well and tank behind; a coal bin; a cattle yard (annotated "stockyards abolished 17/8/1961); an area leased to Arnott's Biscuits; a goods shed (no longer extant); a produce shed for J.F. Fairley Pty Ltd; a butter factory with coal bin and tank adjacent; and a wheat hopper.

Plans dated 1971 show demolition of toilets to the north of the platform building and construction of a new brick toilet block, and to the north of the platform, a proposed new warehouse with loading dock adjacent to an area marked "proposed lease to Arnott's Biscuits Pty Ltd NSW Div".

A war memorial was installed in the park in front of the station c1996 by Dapto RSL, dedicated to those who served in WWI & WWII, the Korean and Vietnam Wars. A plaque attached to the memorial commemorates the death of 268 people in the sinking of the Australian Hospital Ship Centaur in 1943. Another plaque in the garden remembers the death of 4 servicemen in an RAAF crash near Dapto in 1942.

The major changes to the immediate station environment appear to have been caused by the electrification of the line southwards from Wollongong in 1993, which altered most of the station canopies and awnings. A concrete platform extension was also added to the original station platform, as well as the new Platform No 1 on the crossing loop.

About 15 years ago the Station Master's residence was sold, and is now used as a private residence. The goods yard structures have been removed. The 1887 weatherboard station building on Platform 2 remains. The landscape setting of the 1887 platform building from Station Street, with its semicircular drive is also significant, though this has been modified c2013. In 2001, the entire interior of the 1887 Platform building is shown as a booking office, with a toilet building to the north and a shop to the north of that, on the platform.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Forestry-Activities associated with identifying and managing land covered in trees for commercial purposes. Timber-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Pastoralism-Activities associated with the breeding, raising, processing and distribution of livestock for human use Servicing the pastoral industry-
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]
The 1887 Dapto Railway Station Platform 2 building is of historical significance as evidence of the first phase of the construction of the Illawarra line, and for its role as a transport hub for Dapto since 1887, in a relatively important location indicated by provision of a substantial 3rd class platform building and goods yard which by 1913 included a butter factory, goods shed and cattle yard.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The 1887 Dapto Railway Station Platform 2 building and its landscape setting off Station Street is of aesthetic significance as an example of a 3rd class late 19th century weatherboard platform building with a landscaped setting. The access upgrade (2013) has impacted the station's aesthetic significance, reducing the landscaped area of the park and introducing a large hard-surface area thereby impacting the station's historic and picturesque setting.
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 f)
The 1887 Dapto Railway Station Platform 2 building is a rare Type 4 weatherboard platform building, though not wholly intact, and is one of four extant on the Illawarra line. The most intact examples are at Albion Park and Bulli.
Integrity/Intactness: The 1887 Dapto Railway Station Platform 2 building is extensively altered, however retains its form and much of its external materials (chimneys are missing). Its context has lost considerable significance due to the loss of all the goods yard structures, and an accumulation of late 20th century ancillary buildings and platform canopies on Platform 2 which are of little significance. However, the Platform 2 building retains its significant landscape setting to Station Street. The access upgrade (2013) has impacted the station's aesthetic significance, reducing the landscaped area of the park and introducing a large hard-surface area. These works have also altered the original layout of the station entrance.
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 Study1999SRA136State Rail Authority  No
Heritage and Conservation Register State Rail Authority of NSW19939Paul Davies for SRA  No
Heritage Platforms Conservation Management Strategy2015 Australian Museum Consulting  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written  Brief locality history from www.wollongong.nsw.gov.au/library/localhistory.asp
WrittenAMBS2012Dapto Railway Station Group Statement of Heritage Impact
WrittenC. C. Singleton1981Railway History in Illawarra, NSW
WrittenDavid Sheedy2009Historical Research for RailCorp S170 Register Update

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: 4801136

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