Sydenham Railway Station Group | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Sydenham Railway Station Group

Item details

Name of item: Sydenham Railway Station Group
Other name/s: Formerly Marrickville Railway Station
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Gleeson Avenue, Sydenham, NSW 2044
Local govt. area: Marrickville


North: edge of railway property fronting Railway Parade; East: a line across the tracks 15m east of the ends of the platforms; South: boundary of railway property fronting Burrows Avenue; West: 1m west of the Gleeson Avenue overbridge (including the overbridge). 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
Gleeson AvenueSydenhamMarrickville  Primary Address
Marrickville RoadSydenhamMarrickville  Alternate Address
Railway ParadeSydenhamMarrickville  Alternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Sydenham Railway Station - inclusive of all platform buildings and awnings, parcels office, waiting shed, brick faced platforms, Gleeson Avenue overbridge and brick perimeter walls - is of State heritage significance. Sydenham Railway Station is of historical significance as a major junction station developed from 1884 to the present, with two 1884 platform buildings, 1925 platform building and waiting shed, 1962 parcels office, and 1920s Gleeson Avenue overbridge demonstrating its development over time, including the adaptation of the 1884 wayside platform buildings for island platform use.

Of aesthetic and historical significance, the platform building awnings demonstrate the range of awnings used on railway buildings from the small original awning of two bays on the Platform 2/3 building (the original minor platform) to the addition of cantilevered awnings in 1925. All platform buildings are of aesthetic significance as good representative examples of their types and periods. The surviving interior and exterior detailing of the 1884 platform buildings and awnings is considered rare on the Illawarra line, with other examples at St. Peters, Tempe and Rockdale.

The brick retaining wall along the freight line fronting Marrickville Rd is aesthetically significant as a streetscape element (excluded from State Heritage Register listing).
Date significance updated: 11 Dec 14
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 Railway
Builder/Maker: C. & E. Miller (original lines), William Robinson (1884 buildings).
Construction years: 1884-1962
Physical description: PRECINCT ELEMENTS
Platform 1:
- Waiting shed (1925)
- Parcels office (1962)
Platform 2/3 Building (1884) (type 4)
Platform 4/5 Building (1884) (type 3)
Platform 6 Building (1925) (type 11)
Overhead Booking Office (2012)
Platform canopies and footbridge canopy (1986)
Gleeson Ave Overbridge (c. 1920s)
Footbridge and stairs (2012)
Brick Perimeter Walls (1925)
Platforms: Platforms 1 and 6: (1925) - Platforms 2/3 and 4/5 (1884)

Brick retaining wall along Marrickville Road.

Painted brick wall to northeast side of waiting shed with a timber tongue & grooved ceiling and a modern steel structure on brick posts (structure similar to Platform 4 awning). This building is separated from and to the southeast of the brick 1962 parcels office on the platform.

Exterior: Located at the north-western end of the platform, this is a plain dark brick building with parapets to 3 sides and a cantilevered awning on steel brackets with a timber tongue & grooved ceiling (similar to the Platform 4 awning), on the platform side. On the north-eastern (Railway Parade) elevation, this building has a gabled parapet at its north-western end.

Exterior: The Platform 2/3 building is a single storey painted brick building with a gabled roof form with gable ends at each end with rectangular timber louvred vents. At the eastern end, there is a separate men's toilet building, a small square painted brick building with a hipped corrugated steel roof and 3 timber framed double hung windows on each side. This is connected to the main platform building via a recently roofed courtyard with painted brick walls both sides and a moulded stucco capping course and central curved section. There are metal double doors to one side of the courtyard. The platform building has timber framed double hung windows, some plain, some with single horizontal glazing bars to each sash. The building has timber panelled double doors with large arched timber framed fanlights above. The south awning to the platform building has a corrugated steel skillion roof, cast iron brackets and posts with very elaborate stucco wall brackets. The north awning has a timber tongue & grooved board ceiling and is clearly more recent, with modern steel posts and framing.

Interior: The interior of the main section of the platform building is divided into rooms. The current Station Master's office (which appears to have been a former waiting area) has a decorative pressed metal ceiling and cornices, a modern tiled floor, a notable marble mantelpiece to the chimney breast. The current waiting area to this building has a timber battened plaster ceiling, a chimney breast and moulded plaster chair rail, plastered walls to 3 sides, a timber tongue & grooved board wall to the 4th side, and fixed timber benches (varying styles). The fanlight to the waiting area has two vertical timber glazing bars.

Exterior: A painted brick single storey building with a hipped roof form with two prominent transverse gables, timber barge boards and finials to gable ends. There are no extant chimneys and roofing is corrugated steel. The building features timber framed double hung windows with moulded stucco heads and sills. There is a lower gable roofed section at the western end of the platform building, which appears to be an extension. At the eastern end of the building is a separate former toilets building with a hipped roof and transverse gablets at the peak of the roof. This is connected to the main section of the platform building by a now roofed brick walled courtyard. The Platform 4 (north) awning is on cast iron posts with decorative cast iron brackets and framing, with a corrugated steel skillion roof. The Platform 5 (south) awning is a skillion corrugated steel roofed awning cantilevered on steel posts and brackets, which does not extend the full length of the main section of the platform building.

Interior: The waiting area to this building has a ripple iron ceiling with moulded timber cornice and one metal ceiling rose, a chimney breast, timber floor, and fixed timber benches. The former female toilets have a plaster ceiling with a damaged plaster ceiling rose.
This is located at the far north-western end of the platform. This is a gabled brick platform building with a corrugated steel roof. Most windows are altered, however original windows are timber framed double hung with 9-paned top sashes. There is a 6-paned fanlight to one door. Mostly modern timber flush doors. The building includes a skillion awning cantilevered on steel brackets mounted on stucco wall brackets.

The former late 1980s structure was replaced during the 2012 access upgrade works.

Modern canopies extend along the overhead footbridge either side of the overhead booking office and shop, and from the overhead footbridge, over the stairs, connecting to the platform buildings on all platforms. The canopy to Platform 6 is very long due to the location of the Platform 6 building. These canopies have gabled corrugated steel roofing and steel supports with curved brackets.

Brick bridge with brick balustrades. Balustrades are painted with advertising facing Gleeson Avenue.

Replaced with access upgrade in 2012.

Dark face brick walls partially defining the station perimeters, extending from Gleeson Avenue some metres along Burrows Avenue on the south and part of the station perimeter in Railway Parade on the north. The Burrows Avenue wall tapers up in height towards Gleeson Avenue. The Railway Parade wall has a flat top and part forms the wall of the 1925 waiting shed on Platform 1. Both walls have a bullnose brick capping course.

Two wayside platforms (Platforms 1 and 6); 2 island platforms (Platforms 2/3 and 4/5). All 4 platforms have asphalt surfaces and brick faces.
Platform 1, 3 & 6 each have a maroon fluted base water bubbler. Platform 4 has a black cast iron pedestal bubbler.

There are shrub plantings at the eastern end of each of the platforms.

Tall brick retaining wall, dark drick with rounded red brick capping.

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:
Green Cast Iron ‘SRA of NSW’ safe,
Cream timber framed mirror with ‘NSWTC’ painted on surface,
Wall mounted bakelight telephone,
and existing interpretation panels on the station concourse.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Platform 1 waiting shed and parcels office: good
Platform 2/3 building (1884): good
Platform 4/5 building (1884): good
Platform 6 building (1925): good
OHBO (2012): very good
Gleeson Avenue overbridge (c.1920s): good
Footbridge (2012): very good
Brick retaining wall along Marrickville Road: Fair
Date condition updated:23 Jun 09
Modifications and dates: 1907: platforms extended.
1912: overhead booking office.
1948: alterations to station buildings (minor), platform extension to Platform 6
1986: Concrete decking and new buildings (ticket office, shop) built late 1980s on existing footbridge structure, following fire damage to previous weatherboard overhead booking office in the mid 1980s. Canopies connecting footbridge to platform buildings built at the same time as new buildings on footbridge.
2012: Station upgrade with easy access - including: removal of 1980s OHBO and footbridge; new concourse; new lifts and stairs; new canopy structure; new station building at overbridge level.
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Nil


Historical notes: Sydenham Railway Station was built on a duplicated line from Illawarra Junction to Hurstville and opened in 1884. The western platform contained a major 3rd class brick station building having a detached toilet block at each end separated by walled courtyards while the eastern platform contained a large 2nd class brick station building. The station opened as Marrickville but it obtained its present name in 1895 with the opening of the Belmore branch line. In 1907 the platforms were extended.

The impressive station was obviously intended to serve the Marrickville township proper but it was distant, surrounded by industrial and rural estates and only grew as a station by reason of the need to cope with the branch line junction. In 1907 the line from Edgeware Road to Sydenham was quadruplicated to serve the Belmore to Bankstown extension when it opened in 1909. This resulted in confining both buildings on island platforms so that passengers had to reach the platforms by an extended footbridge. A new timber overhead booking office on a steel support frame was built between Platforms 3 and 4 and steel footbridges were eventually extended to all platforms c. 1914.
The overhead footbridge at Sydenham is a haunched beam design which consists of tapered cantilevers resting on platform trestles and supporting shallow beams over the railway tracks where headroom over rolling stock can be critical. The footbridge was manufactured by Dorman Long & Co. Ltd. Middlesbrough England (stamped on posts), who also engineered the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Thirty sets of such footbridges were built from 1909 to 1935, 28 in the Sydney metropolitan area.

To provide for the proposed Eastern Suburbs Railway, two additional tracks were put in so that in 1925 the brick standard island platform building on Platform 6 was built. In 1926 the lines were electrified at Sydenham. Soon after, in 1927 the refreshment room was opened for factory workers in the area. As the additional tracks were never utilised for the Eastern Suburbs Railway they have been mainly used for the Bankstown line trains. In 1963 a brick parcels office building was constructed on Platform 1 but closed in the late 1980’s.

The weatherboard ticket office on the overhead footbridge burnt down in the mid 1980s. In the late 1980s a new brick overhead booking office and a new metal-clad shop were built on the existing c.1914 footbridge structure, and new canopies built over the stairs and connected to platform buildings.

The group currently includes all of the brick platform buildings and their awnings, the brick faced platforms, the steel footbridge structure and stairs.

An upgrade was undertaken c2012 including new concourse and station building, new lifts, new canopy, and replacement of 1980s OHBO and footbridge. The OHBO was a brick flat roofed shop and ticket office with aluminium framed glazing, and roof overhang to shelter entry from Gleeson Avenue. The 1914 footbridge was a haunched beam structure manufactured by Dorman Long & Co. engineers with star pattern newel posts to stairs.

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]
Sydenham Railway Station is of historical significance as a major junction station developed from 1884 to the present. Sydenham Railway Station is of historical significance as a station which demonstrates its development over time, retaining two 1884 platform buildings, along with a 1914 overhead footbridge structure and stairs, 1925 and 1962 platform buildings. The development of the station over time has included the adaptation of wayside buildings for island use.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Sydenham Railway Station platform buildings are of aesthetic significance as fine examples of railway platform building designs from 1884 to 1962, and the platform building awnings demonstrate the range of awnings used on railway buildings from the small original awning of two bays on the No 2/3 Platform building (the original minor platform) to the addition of cantilevered awnings on the rear of the buildings.

The 1884 platform buildings are of aesthetic significance as good representative examples of their type and the later island platforms illustrates the contrast in styles and philosophy between the different periods of construction. The 1914 footbridge structure and stairs are of aesthetic significance as a representative haunched beam footbridge manufactured by Dorman Long & Co engineers.

The brick retaining wall along Marrickville Road is of aesthetic value for its contribution to the streetscape.
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 station as a whole is rare, retaining structures from the first period of construction of the Illawarra line up to the 1960s. The Platform 2/3 building at Sydenham is rare, as only five stations on the Illawarra line retain an 1880s 3rd Class platform building (other examples at Carlton, Rockdale, St. Peters, and Wollongong). The 2nd class brick Platform 4/5 building at Sydenham is rare, as only three stations on the Illawarra line retain platform buildings of this type and period (other examples at Arncliffe and Tempe).
SHR Criteria g)
The platform buildings, awnings, footbridge, stairs, and overbridge are representative of railway structure designs over time from 1884 to 1962.

The brick retaining wall along Marrickville Road is representative of the type of wall commonly erected along urban railway lines.
Integrity/Intactness: Overall, Sydenham is remarkably intact as a station developed from the 1880s through to the 1960s, with the exception of the replacement of the overhead booking office in 1986.Platform 1: Waiting shed (1925) and parcels office (1962): intact Platform 2 /3 building (1884): remarkably intact, the interior includes an extant marble mantelpiece, considered very rare (only other example of an extant mantelpiece in a platform building on the Illawarra Line is at St. Peters).Platform 4 /5 building (1884): remarkably intact.Platform 6 building (1925): intact
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    
Heritage studySydenham Railway Station    

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
State Rail Authority Heritage Register Study1999SRA154State Rail Authority  No
Heritage and Conservation Register State Rail Authority of NSW1993307Paul Davies for SRA  No
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
WrittenC. C. Singleton1945The Illawarra Line: Wells Street to Hurstville, ARHS Bulletin, Vol. XVI, No94, August
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: 4801154

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