Cronulla Railway Station Group | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Cronulla Railway Station Group

Item details

Name of item: Cronulla Railway Station Group
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Cronulla Street, Cronulla, NSW 2230
Local govt. area: Sutherland


North: 5m north of the platform end; East: boundary of railway property fronting Cronulla Street and Croydon Street; South: boundary of railway property fronting Waratah Street; West: boundary of railway land fronting Tonkin Street. 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
Cronulla StreetCronullaSutherland  Primary Address
Croydon StreetCronullaSutherland  Alternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Cronulla Railway Station - inclusive of its 1939 platform and platform buildings, identified moveable items and landscaping - is of State heritage significance. Cronulla Railway Station is of historical significance as a major 1930s Depression period NSW government public works project, and through its relationship to the development of the suburb of Cronulla. Cronulla Railway Station is of aesthetic significance as the major terminus station on the 1939 Cronulla line, the importance of which is reflected in the size, design and high architectural quality of the railway station's collection of outstanding Inter-war Functionalist style railway buildings. Cronulla Railway Station is rare within the NSW rail network, and considered to be one of the finest examples of Inter-war Functionalist style railway station architecture in NSW. The platform buildings are noted for their use of dichromatic brickwork, parapeted roofs, curved corners, strong horizontal planes, stepped steel awnings, complex brickwork, decorative features and complex geometric massing. The station is further noted for its cohesion as a precinct with several individual elements and its overall degree of integrity. Cronulla Railway Station has a dramatic street façade to Cronulla Street with a unique central clock tower which also houses electric signalling equipment. Cronulla Railway Station is of high technical significance for its ability to demonstrate design and construction techniques of the mid-20th century.
Date significance updated: 30 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 Department of Railways
Builder/Maker: NSW Department of Railways
Construction years: 1939-1939
Physical description: PRECINCT ELEMENTS
Platform buildings and Structures (south to north):
- Freestanding brick wall with platform awning and brick ticket booth/entry building (1939, awning reconstructed 2011)
- Brick ticket booth/entry building (1939)
- Main Platform building (1939) Type 13
Platform (1939)
Landscape: planting beds, embankment plantings, Monro Park opposite on east

Cronulla Railway Station fronts Cronulla Street on the eastern side and was originally entered via three separate entry points along Cronulla Street, each with a 1939 structure. The station has a very long perimeter platform. The main platform building is located towards the northern end of the railway station. The station has some planting beds along the Cronulla Street elevation, and also a railway embankment planting to the western side of the railway tracks. The station is also located opposite Monro Park in Cronulla Street. There is a low brick retaining wall along the Cronulla street side of the platform, above which modern powder coated aluminium fencing has been installed.

A freestanding brick wall with 2 contrasting soldier courses, and a brick entry building towards its southern end, which features a cantilevered platform awning with steel posts and curved corners. The brick entry building also has curved corners and 2 contrasting soldier courses. The awning ceiling has the same stepped profile as the awning ceiling to the main platform building. The awning was reconstructed in 2011 following removal of hazardous materials and deteriorated timber structure. White clock face featured on entry brick work.

This is a freestanding brick entry building/ticket booth with curved corners, a low soldier course in contrasting brickwork, and steel framed windows with 2 horizontal glazing bars. It is located opposite (west of) the intersection of Laycock Avenue and Cronulla Street.

This is an asymmetrically proportioned brick building, a dramatic and imposing composition of Inter-war Functionalist style design with great visual impact to both the Cronulla Street (east) and platform (west) elevations. The building has 8 stepped bays with shallow pitched gabled roofs hidden behind parapets, curved corners, 2 soldier courses in contrasting brickwork, curved awnings to both the street and platform elevations of the building, and a flat roofed clock tower facing Cronulla Street. All brickwork is tuck pointed.

A series of stepped, cantilevered steel awnings to the street elevation, including bus shelters at the southern end on the Cronulla Street elevation, add to the architectural interest of the building. The main platform building entrance area is particularly well defined by two sweeping curved walls of bull nosed bricks forming a covered passageway. This entry area has a decorative Art Deco style plaster ceiling with heavily moulded cornices featuring an ocean wave motif, and features a freestanding brick ticket booth with rollover timber indicator board. The station entry area also features a brass plaque commemorating the official opening of the station in 1939.

The building has original steel framed awning windows placed in groups of three vertically and flywire fanlights. There are many original timber perimeter beaded doors. There are cantilevered steel posts with concrete bases to the platform awning. The awning ceiling has fluorescent strip lighting. There is a luggage store door bricked up. On the Cronulla Street (east) side of the main platform building there are some modern aluminium framed windows, and modern glazed doors with roller shutters. The Countrylink Travel Centre located to the north of the entry area on the street (east) elevation has modern aluminium framed glazed doors. At the far northern end of the building, opening onto both the platform and the street, is a shop, which is contained within the curved northern end of the building. There are original flat concrete awnings over the shop entry and the window on the street side of the shop. There is a 1989 plaque on the Cronulla Street (east) side, near the station entry, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Cronulla Station unveiled by the Hon. Bruce Baird on 16 December 1989.

Interior (Partially accessed 2009): The interior of the building comprises a complex arrangement of discrete spaces that are defined by the curving walls of each bay, resulting in asymmetrical and unusually proportioned rooms. These spaces comprise (from north to south): a mens toilet, store room, ladies' toilet, ladies' waiting room (now a staff room), signal equipment room (with iron spiral staircase access), general waiting room, booking hall (entrance), booking office, Station Master's office, public waiting area, parcels office, traffic staff room and drivers room. The final bay (northern end) is let as a shop. Cronulla Station retains a significant proportion of original interior fit out. Although some fit out has been removed, the bulk of interior joinery, doors and window frames have been retained along with the original signalling/track switching gear which is still completely intact. The waiting room has original seating. Interior ceilings to the shop at the far northern end of the main platform building are original.

A single very long platform with an asphalt surface and concrete edges. The platform is the second longest in NSW. Features two maroon, fluted base bubblers.

CANOPIES (modern)
There are 2 separate modern cantilevered canopies on steel posts on the Cronulla Street (east) side of the station, towards the southern end, off the station platform.

There are planting beds on both east and west sides of the station, with linear exotic planting on the rail embankment including palm trees. The visual setting includes Monro Park opposite on the east. The original building was planned with extensive gardens to the street elevation, however 1943 aerial photos do not show extensive planting.

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:
- Double-faced clock mounted on a cast iron wall bracket on the platform (west) elevation of the main platform building;
- Plaque within entry area to main platform building to commemorate the 1939 official opening of the station;
- Plaque on east elevation of main platform building, near entry area, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Cronulla Station, unveiled by the Hon. Bruce Baird on 16 December 1989;
- Timber roll-over indicator boards attached to the entry area ticket booth in the Main platform building (currently hidden behind electronic indicator boards).
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Freestanding brick wall with platform awning and brick entry building (1939): good
Brick entry building/ticket booth (1939): good
Main Platform building (1939): good
Platform (1939): good
Landscape: good
Moveable items: good
Date condition updated:15 Oct 08
Modifications and dates: 1949: Goods yard closed
1952: Goods shed demolished
1953: Milk Bar/Kiosk and brick screen wall added
c.1970: Some interior re-fitting
1995: Timber catenary supports replaced with steel
N.d: Bus shelter awnings south of the main platform building, which are located off the platform, on the Cronulla Street frontage east of the platform; Countrylink Centre fitout; some replacement of original steel framed windows with aluminium framed windows.
2010: Completion of duplication works from Sutherland to Cronulla
2011: Reconstruction of platform awnings
Further information: Pedestrian underpass to north of station group, with heritage-styled tiling and murals.
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Nil


Historical notes: Thomas Holt (1811-88) owned most of the land that stretched from Sutherland to Cronulla in the 1860s. Holt built Sutherland House on the foreshore of Gwawley Bay in 1818, on the eastern side of Sylvania. After the Illawarra railway line was built to Sutherland in 1885, the area became popular for picnics and swimming. Many regulars rented beach houses at Cronulla every year for holidays. The Cronulla area was subdivided in 1895 and land was offered for sale at 10 pounds per acre. In 1899, the government named the area Gunnamatta, which means "sandy hills". The municipality of Sutherland Shire was proclaimed on March 15, 1906, and the Post Office reopened in 1907. On the 26th February 1908 it was officially changed to Cronulla and Gunnamatta was used for the name of the bay, on the western side. The first public school opened in 1910. In 1908, the Government had approved construction of a steam tram route from Sutherland to Cronulla, with construction completed and steam trams operating along the route from June 12, 1911. The area remained mostly semi rural in the inter-war period. After World War II there was a large population increase and the area was suburbanised from the 1950s, with many of the guest houses being replaced by high rise flats.

The Sutherland-Cronulla line was constructed from 1936 and completed in 1939, under the NSW premiership of the conservative Sir Bertram Stevens. In 1936 the NSW State Parliament authorised expenditure of 300,000 pounds to construct the Sutherland to Cronulla railway line, with the men employed to receive award wages "in pursuance of the Cabinet's policy of replacing unemployment relief works by works that will provide a better return for the expenditure of public money, and at the same time create improved conditions of employment." (Canberra Times, 22 February 1936, page 1). A federal loan for "state works" including "speeding up of the construction of the Sutherland-Cronulla line" was granted to the NSW government in November 1938 (Canberra Times, 28 November 1938, page 1). The Cronulla line replaced the steam tramway.

As part of the Cronulla line, five suburban railway stations with Inter-war Functionalist style platform buildings were constructed from Kirrawee to Woolooware (Kirrawee since demolished), and Sutherland Railway Station rebuilt with a pair of Inter-war Functionalist style platform buildings. Cronulla, as the terminus of the line, was regarded as the most important station on the line, and was officially opened on 16 December 1939 by the NSW Governor Lord Wakehurst. The Cronulla terminus was unlike any other railway terminus due to the very long single side loading platform designed to take two full length electric trains end to end. Cronulla was a major tourist resort, and the railway station was constructed close to the ocean beach. The design of the station allowed large crowds to move quickly in and out of the trains and off the platform.

The Cronulla line was constructed as an electrified railway line, and was the first major use of a miniaturised relay locking system using electrical relays for electric light signalling for sections of the line (known as the electro- pneumatic system).

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-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Moving people to events and leisure activities-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Cronulla Railway Station is of state historical significance as the major terminus station on the 1939 Cronulla line, the importance of which is reflected in the size and fine architecture of the railway station. Cronulla Railway Station is also of historical significance as a major 1930s Depression period NSW government public works project, and through its relationship to the development of the suburb of Cronulla.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Cronulla Railway Station is of state aesthetic significance as a collection of outstanding Inter-War Functionalist railway station buildings and structures considered to be the finest in the NSW railway network. The buildings are noted for their use of dichromatic brickwork, parapeted roofs, curved corners, strong horizontal planes, stepped steel awnings, complex brickwork, decorative features and complex geometric massing. The station is further noted for its cohesion as a precinct with several original elements and its overall degree of integrity. Cronulla Railway Station has a dramatic street façade to Cronulla Street with a unique central clock tower which also houses electric signalling equipment.
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 e)
[Research potential]
Cronulla Railway Station is of high technical significance for its ability to demonstrate design and construction techniques of the mid-20th century and for its ability to demonstrate the use of the Inter-War Functionalist style for a railway station.
SHR Criteria f)
Cronulla Railway Station is rare as an outstanding example of Inter-War Functionalist railway station architecture, considered to be the finest in NSW.
SHR Criteria g)
Cronulla Railway Station is a fine representative example of Inter-War Functionalist style railway station architecture, both on the Cronulla line and in the NSW Railways network as a whole.
Integrity/Intactness: Cronulla Railway Station is remarkably intact. The station buildings and structures have retained a high degree of integrity externally and a moderate degree of integrity internally.
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 registerCronulla Railway Station group    

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
State Rail Authority Heritage Register Study1999SRA157State Rail Authority  No
Interwar Station Buildings: Analysis and Significance2001 Andrea Humphreys and Donald Ellsmore  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 1936Canberra Times, page 1, 22 February 1936
Written 1936Canberra Times 27 July 1936, page 2
Written  Sutherland Shire Place$file/Factsheet_6_FINAL_20030728.pdf
WrittenDavid Sheedy2009Historical Research for RailCorp S170 Register Update
WrittenFrances Pollon1990The Book of Sydney Suburbs
WrittenHumphreys A & Ellsmore D2002Inter-War Station Buildings
WrittenNoel Bell Ridley Smith & Partners Pty. Ltd2002Cronulla Line Upgrading & Duplication Project
WrittenPeter Neve Sutherland Shire Studies No.6 - Railways and Tramways of the Sutherland Shire

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: 4801157

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