Arncliffe Railway Station Group | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Arncliffe Railway Station Group

Item details

Name of item: Arncliffe Railway Station Group
Other name/s: Illawarra Road Station; Illawarra Junction
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Firth Street, Arncliffe, NSW 2205
Local govt. area: Rockdale


North: a line across the tracks 5m north of the end of the station platforms; East: boundary of railway land on the east side of the railway tracks; South: a line across the tracks 5m south of the end of the platforms; West: boundary of railway land fronting Firth Street.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Firth StreetArncliffeRockdale  Primary Address
Burrows StreetArncliffeRockdale  Alternate Address
Butterworth LaneArncliffeRockdale  Alternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Arncliffe Railway Station is of State historical significance as an important station on the Illawarra Line demonstrating its development from 1884 to 1925, including the adaptation of two wayside buildings for island use. The Arncliffe Railway Station is of historical significance as one of three remaining stations with 1880s 'second class' brick platform buildings on the Illawarra line, and is one of the best examples of suburban station architecture from the first period of construction on the Illawarra line. The platform buildings are of aesthetic significance, the Platform 1/2 building being an elaborate Victorian Italianate style building with decorative cast iron columns and brackets to awnings, and elaborate detail, the Platform 3/4 building being an 1884 wayside platform building altered in 1923 to an island platform building.

The 1919 Arncliffe Railway Station steel footbridge and stairs are reasonably intact and are considered to be good representative examples of their types. The footbridge supports a fair example of a Federation Queen Anne style overhead booking office. The footbridge and booking office contribute strongly to the overall high heritage value of the Arncliffe Railway Station Group, and are individually of high heritage significance.

The concrete and brick road overbridge is considered to be a good representative example of its type.
Date significance updated: 17 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: Contractors Alfred Mc Neill & William Clark
Construction years: 1883-1925
Physical description: PRECINCT ELEMENTS:
Platform 1/2 building (1884): type 3, second class
Platform 3/4 building (1885, 1923): type 11, (altered Type 4, third class)
Footbridge and stairs (1919)
Overhead booking office (1925)
Platforms (1884, 1923)
Platform plantings (current and prior to 1943)
Shops to Firth Street

CONTEXT: Arncliffe Railway Station is accessed via a footbridge and stairs, entered from Firth St on the west and via a footpath across a public park from Butterworth Lane on the east side.

Exterior: The Platform 1/2 building is similar in form to the Tempe Station buildings, with two gable ends facing the rail lines at each end and on each side of the building. The main (southern) section of the building has a hipped roof with transverse gables clad in corrugated steel roofing with timber louvred gablet vents to the roof. There are two painted brick chimneys. The main gable ends have timber louvred vents with stucco sills and heads. The building has painted brick walls with stucco sills and heads to arched windows. Windows are timber framed double hung. Some doorways retain timber framed fanlights, slightly arched. The main entrance to the building (formerly road entrance) is marked by a gable end projecting in the centre bay. This centre bay is shaped to form a gothic arch. There is one original timber 4 panel door on the west (Platform 1) side of the building, complete with fanlights and sidelights. On the east (Platform 2) side the building has timber panelled double doors: three pairs with timber framed fanlights with vertical glazing bars.

The northern end pavilion (former toilets) is attached to the main part of the building via a brick walled courtyard. The painted brick courtyard walls have a projecting stucco moulding at the top. On the western (Platform 2) side, there is a covered over doorway into the courtyard. The small square painted brick former toilet pavilion has brick stop chamfered corners and a hipped corrugated steel roof. There are 3 small timber-framed windows to east and west elevations, and a brick screen to the doorway at the northern end.

The west (Platform 1) awning is supported on groups of 2 or 3 cast iron columns with very elaborate decorative cast iron capitals, brackets and frieze to the underside of the awning beam. There is a central gable to the awning facing the rail lines which also features decorative timber brackets to the gable end. The awning is set back from the platform edge.

The east (Platform 2) awning has single cast iron columns with 4 radiating decorative cast iron brackets, with similar cast iron brackets attached to the building facade and unusual iron ties and decorative metal valance, mounted on elaborate stucco wall brackets. This was the original platform face of the building. There are steel security doors.

Interior: (Partially accessed). The waiting room has a chimney breast and modern floor tiles, plaster timber-battened ceiling with a plaster ceiling rose and plaster moulded cornices.

PLATFORM 3/4 BUILDING (1884, 1923)
Exterior: Similar to platform buildings at Sydenham Railway Station, the Platform 3/4 building is a single storey painted brick building. There are separate painted brick toilets with three small timber framed double hung windows each side, entered from the north end and with a brick screen to the entry doorway. The toilets are connected to the main platform building by a linking structure with a gabled corrugated steel roof and walls of corrugated steel with timber louvres.

The main (northern) section of the platform building is painted brick with a corrugated steel gabled roof, with one chimney to the north end. Windows are timber framed double hung with slightly arched heads. There are arched openings, and stucco sills and mouldings to window heads and around fanlights. The awning to Platform 4 is cantilevered on steel brackets mounted on stucco wall brackets.

Interior: The first room at the southern end of the main section of the building has a ripple iron ceiling with a metal ceiling rose. The main waiting area, to the north of the 1st room, also has a ripple iron ceiling with a metal ceiling rose. There are slate door thresholds and modern tiled floors. The toilets at the southern end have timber tongue & grooved partitions. There is one timber 4-panelled entry door to the toilets with two glazed upper panels. The ripple iron ceiling with metal ceiling rose to the first room and main waiting area.

Site Features:
- Original and early door and window hardware (locks, strike plates, handles, bolts, sash sifts, sash locks etc).
- Original timber mantels, cast iron grates, and concrete hearths
- Cast iron stormwater grates
- Slate door thresholds
- Men’s toilets: original timber cubicles, doors and cast concrete urinals, high wall-mounted cisterns with timber supports and plumbing.
- Women’s toilets and waiting room: original timber cubicles and doors, unusual timber panelled entrance privacy screen and counter

Dorman Long & Co. steel footbridge and stairs with original star pattern newel posts and railings except stairs to Platforms 3/4, which has modern railings and posts to entry steps. There are timber posts to the Platform 1/2 entry from the pedestrian overbridge.

The footbridge has a concrete floor and steps. The footbridge consists of two steel beam structures over the Illawarra line, one for street access the other for platform interchange. There is a metal screen to the north side of the footbridge.

The overhead booking office was formerly a weatherboard building, which has been reclad with panels of fibre-cement sheeting. The booking office has a hipped and gabled corrugated steel roof, and original timber framed double hung windows with 9-paned top sashes with multicoloured glazing. The top sashes of the windows are slightly arched at the top of the glazing.

Internal fixtures and fittings replaced with modern office furniture; Internal floor plan of parcels office reorganised and staff kitchen and toilet added; Roof and booking hall ceilings replaced with corrugated metal sheets; exposed rafters removed; Weatherboard siding and gable ends replaced with unsympathetic fibre cement board siding; Doors replaced; One ticket window replaced with modern ticket window, one replaced with door; Ticket collector’s cabin removed; Footbridge stairs, balusters and rails partially replaced; public footbridge partially enclosed.

Notable original attributes: covered booking hall with gable ends and timber posts; multi-pane sash windows; timber frame ticket window (season tickets) with bronze coin tray; bookstall.

PLATFORMS (1884, 1923)
Two island platforms, asphalt surfaces with some areas of modern brick paving on Platform 1/2. Platform faces are brick. Platform 1/2 has a distinctive curve on its western side. Platform 3/4 is slightly curved on its eastern side. Both platforms are entered from the footbridge and stairs located towards the southern ends of the platforms. There is an extension to the southern end of Platform 1/2.

Within the curtilage are two shops located adjacent to the footbridge. The date of the buildings is unknown, however, they do not contribute to the railway setting and are excluded from the listing.

Topiary shrub plantings on both island platforms.

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:

- Two cast iron bubblers with ribbed pedestals on platforms (non-operational)
- In storage: two-door timber cabinet with interior pigeon-holes, long free-standing timber platform bench with turned legs painted yellow, wrought iron and timber platform benches, early timber ticketing desk.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Platform 1/2 building (1884): good
Platform 3/4 building (1885,1923): good
Footbridge and stairs (1919): good
Overhead booking office (1925) :good
Platforms (1884, 1925): good
Platform plantings: good
Shops: good
Date condition updated:25 Jun 09
Modifications and dates: 1919: Footbridge reconstructed and first overhead booking office demolished
1923: Eastern side platform converted to island platform
1925: Second overhead booking office constructed
nd: Interior of overhead booking office refurbished
Circa 1996: Footbridge upgraded
N.d: Platform 1/2 building and Platform 3/4 building- addition of modern steel security doors
N.d: Extension to Platform 1/2
2012: New bus stop seating and signage; taxi rank seating and signage; kiss and ride footpath paving and signage; bicycle rack shelter; car parking signage; resurfacing of long-stay car park, adjacent footpath paving and new hand rail; tree trimming and removal of two trees from east side car park.
Further information: Sydney Model Railway Society lease a section of the platform 1/2 building.
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Nil


Historical notes: The 'Village of Arncliffe' was subdivided in the 1840s, but due to relative inaccessibility, development of the area was slow. In 1843 Sir Thomas Mitchell's line of road, later named the Illawarra Road (now Wollongong and Forest Roads) was built by convicts, following the easiest path along the ridge line.
In 1871 The Municipal District of West Botany was incorporated, and in 1872 the first Council Chamber was built at Arncliffe.

Arncliffe Railway Station was built on a duplicated line from Illawarra Junction to Hurstville constructed by private contractors C. and E. Miller and opened in 1884. Arncliffe Station was designed as the first major station on the Illawarra Line southwards from Sydney and was one of the most substantial stations of the eight built in 1884, reflecting the importance of the locality.

The station, originally known as the Illawarra Road Station, was built by Alfred McNeill and William Clark and designed by the office of the NSW Government Railways. Like Sydenham Station completed in the same year, Arncliffe was constructed with two wayside platforms: the eastern platform contained a 3rd class brick station building, while the western platform contained an impressive 2nd class brick station building having a street frontage.

Following the opening of the station, sales of land at Arncliffe were brisk: the "Innesdalo Estate" at Arncliffe was subdivided and sold in 1885 by real estate agents Hardie & Gorman (reported on page 4, Brisbane Courier, 2 December 1885). In 1906, the western platform (now Platform 1/2) was converted into an island platform with a new platform awning constructed on the western side of the building. A footbridge and small overhead booking office were also constructed as part of the works. Early photographs and plans of the Platform 3/4 building indicate it originally had no awning as it was constructed as an open waiting room. A platform awning has been added on the western side, probably also in 1906.

In 1909 the Arncliffe-Bexley steam tram began operation, and a tramway siding was added. The Station was originally a wayside station with a matching platform but was converted to its present configuration with the addition of new tracks. In 1923 the line was quadruplicated, and as part of the works an arched brick overbridge was built over Forest Road, which is now the largest single span arched overbridge of the entire railway system.

In preparation for quadruplication, the original footbridge and overhead booking office were demolished and replaced by a new footbridge in 1919. With construction of the new footbridge, the southern wing of the Platform 1/2 building was demolished. In 1923, the existing Platform 3/4 building was converted to an island platform. As such, the Platform 3/4 building underwent major alterations including new platform awnings constructed on both sides; floor levels raised; and new door and window openings and joinery. A new larger timber overhead booking office was constructed in 1925, and the line through the station to Hurstville was electrified in 1926. The Arncliffe-Bexley tram line closed in 1926.

A 1943 Lands Department aerial photo of the station shows the station in its current configuration, including shrub plantings on the platforms.

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]
Arncliffe Railway Station is of State historical significance as an important station on the Illawarra Line, demonstrating its development from 1884 to 1925, during important phases of railway construction and development. The development of the station has included the adaptation of two wayside buildings for island use.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The platform buildings are of aesthetic significance, the Platform 1/2 building being an elaborate Victorian Italianate style building with decorative cast iron columns and brackets to awnings, and elaborate detail, the Platform 3/4 building being an altered 1884 wayside platform building altered to an island platform building in 1923, with major alterations including new platform awnings, and alterations to windows, doors and joinery.
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)
Arncliffe Railway Station is considered rare for its remarkably externally intact 2nd class Platform 1/2 building dating from 1884, as only three stations on the Illawarra line retain platform buildings of this type and period (other examples at Sydenham and Tempe).
SHR Criteria g)
The footbridge was identified as an item of high heritage significance in the 2016 ‘Railway Footbridges Heritage Conservation Strategy’. The 1919 Arncliffe Railway Station steel footbridge and stairs are reasonably intact and are considered to be good representative examples of their types. The footbridge supports a fair example of a Federation Queen Anne style overhead booking office. The Overhead Booking Office at Arncliffe was identified as an item of high heritage significance in the 2014 ‘Railway OHBO Heritage Conservation Strategy’. The overhead booking office is historically associated with the rail quadruplication works to Hurstville in the 1920s. It is a fair representative example of its type, despite its recladding. The footbridge and booking office contribute strongly to the overall high heritage value of the Arncliffe Railway Station Group.
The concrete and brick road overbridge is considered to be a good representative example of its type.
Integrity/Intactness: The platform buildings are remarkably intact. The footbridge and stairs are intact. The 1925 overhead booking office, while externally reclad, retains its original form and many features such as original windows.
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 Study1999SRA150, SRA593 (footbridge)State Rail Authority  No
Heritage and Conservation Register State Rail Authority of NSW1993164Paul Davies for SRA  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
Railway Footbridges Heritage Conservation Strategy 2016 NSW Government Architect’s Office Heritage Group  Yes
Railway Overhead Booking Offices Heritage Conservation Strategy2014 Australian Museum Consulting  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written (search on Arncliffe, 1885); NSW Lands Dept. Six viewer lite website; (2009).
WrittenC.C. Singleton1945Illawarra Line- Wells Street-Hurstville’, A.R.H.S, Bulletin Vol, XVI, No 94, August
WrittenDavid Sheedy2009Historical Research for RailCorp S170 Register Update
WrittenHargreaves K & Rode K1995Arncliffe Station CMP
WrittenSharp, S. A1980The Railway Stations of NSW 1855-1980
WrittenURBIS2012Arncliff Station - Heritage Impact Statement

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: 4801150

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