Rockdale Railway Station Group | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Rockdale Railway Station Group

Item details

Name of item: Rockdale Railway Station Group
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Railway Street, Rockdale, NSW 2216
Local govt. area: Rockdale

Boundary:

North: a line across the railway tracks 5m north of the signal box (east, opposite intersection of Railway and Oakura Streets); East: boundary of railway land fronting Geeves Avenue; South: a line across the railway tracks 5m south of the platform ends; West: boundary of railway property fronting Railway Street.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Railway StreetRockdaleRockdale  Primary Address
Geeves AvenueRockdaleRockdale  Alternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Rockdale Railway Station - including Platforms 1-5 and all platform buildings, footbridge, overhead booking office and signal box - is of State heritage significance. The collection of station structures at Rockdale is considered to be of State significance as a very intact collection dating from 1887, including one of the most intact of five extant 1887 3rd class brick platform buildings on the Illawarra line (Platform 4/5 building) and a rare platform building built for a tramway (Platform 1).

Rockdale Railway Station is of historical significance as an important station on the Illawarra line developed from 1884 as a major transport hub to the Rockdale area. The development of the station has included the construction of Platform 1 to service trams (which ceased operation in 1938). The Platform 1 building and platform are of historical significance as structures which demonstrate the role of Rockdale Railway Station from 1885-1938 in connecting trains with steam (and later electric) trams.

The 1884 Platform 4/5 building is of historical significance as one of only five extant 3rd class platform buildings on the Illawarra Line. The platform buildings, overhead booking office, footbridge and stairs and signal box are of aesthetic significance as good representative examples of railway architecture and railway structures of their respective periods. The 1925 Platform 1 building, built to connect to a tram service, is very rare.
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.

Description

Designer/Maker: N.S.W. Government Railway.
Builder/Maker: William Robinson (station buildings), C. & E. Miller (original lines).
Construction years: 1884-1925
Physical description: PRECINCT ELEMENTS
Platform 1 (1925) (Type 11)
Platform 2/3 building (1908) (Type 11)
Platform 4/5 building (1884) (Type 4 with detached separate building)
Overhead booking office (1922)
Footbridge (1920)
Platforms: 5
Platform canopies, lifts, ramps, new street entry steps (2005)
Signal Box (1923)

CONTEXT
Rockdale Railway Station is located between Railway Street on the west and Geeves Avenue on the east and is accessed from both streets via a footbridge, stairs and modern lifts. The station has three island platforms. Along both Railway Street and Geeves Avenue adjacent to the station are extensive bus shelters. Adjacent and to the south of the western entry to the station (off Railway Street) is a distinctive 2-storey brick Inter-War Functionalist style retail building.

PLATFORM 1 BUILDING (1925)
Exterior: A small brick platform building with an unpainted brick wall on the main west elevation, and painted brickwork on the other elevations. The building is built to the platform edge on the east side. The building has a gabled corrugated steel roof, with gable ends to north and south, and a cantilevered awning on the west side only. The awning is on steel brackets mounted on stucco brackets and features timber valences at each end. The building features rectangular timber louvred vents to the gable ends. There are three timber framed double hung windows covered over on the east elevation. The building's west elevation features stucco mouldings, and timber double doors with glazed upper panels. An old telephone is mounted on the west elevation, below the awning.

PLATFORM 2/3 BUILDING (1908)
Exterior: The island platform building is a painted brick building with a gabled corrugated steel roof, with gable ends at north and south ends. There are no extant chimneys. The building has cantilevered awnings on east and west sides mounted on steel brackets in turn mounted on stucco wall brackets. The building has timber framed double hung windows with 16-pane top sashes with multicoloured glazing and timber 4 panel doors. There are moulded stucco sills to windows. The awnings have timber valances at north and south ends. There is one 8-paned fanlight above a timber 4 panel door which appears original.

Interior: (Partially accessed 2009). The interior features timber tongue and grooved, and later gyprock ceilings, and a chimney breast to one room.

PLATFORM 4/5 BUILDING (1884)
Exterior: The island Platform 4/5 building has painted brick walls. The building has a complex gabled corrugated steel clad roof form with two central gables, gables at north and south ends, and pairs of gablets near the north and south ends. There are no extant chimneys. The building features arched openings; one pair of original timber panelled double doors; narrow, tall, timber framed double hung windows and timber 4-panel doors with most fanlights covered over. The building features painted sandstone sills to windows. Both east and west sides of the building have skillion corrugated steel roofed awnings on cast iron posts with cast iron friezes and brackets.

DETACHED BUILDING ON PLATFORM 4/5
At the northern end of the platform is a separate small painted brick detached wing with a gabled roof (with the roof ridge in a transverse direction to the main roof ridge of the platform building), with gable ends to east and west. The roof is corrugated steel. The building features timber framed double hung windows. There is a modern awning structure wrapping around the north and west sides of the building. The asphalt platform surface is raised from the original height and partially covers some building vents. There are modern steel security screens to windows and doors.

Interior: (Partially accessed 2009). The Station Managers' office in the Platform 4/5 building (which appears to be converted from a waiting room) has an original fanlight with two vertical glazing bars, an original plaster ceiling with plaster ceiling rose, and an original chimney breast (though no fireplace).

OVERHEAD BOOKING OFFICE (1922)
A weatherboard building with a hipped corrugated steel roof with a large gable facing Platform 2/3 to the north. The building features, timber framed double hung windows with 9 paned top sashes featuring multicoloured glazing. A modern awning cuts across the top of the top sashes of the windows on the north side of the building.

Extensively remodelled and expanded during construction of modern concourse and lift access to platforms. Southern, eastern and western sides of original structure subsumed within the much larger modern concourse structure, but northern elevation substantially intact and can be seen and appreciated from the platforms; Bookstall removed: now expanded booking hall entrance, including lift access to Platform and modern ticket barriers; Ticket collector’s cabin removed; Roof replaced with corrugated metal sheets; minor gables removed; Internal staff kitchen and toilet added; Interior fixtures and fittings replaced; Ticket windows relocated to south wall; Some doors and windows removed or replaced with modern equivalent; Remaining original windows obscured by low height of modern footbridge awnings

Notable original attributes: weatherboard siding; multi-pane sash windows; covered booking hall with half-timbered gable ends, timber posts and exposed rafters.

FOOTBRIDGE (1920)
Steel, two sets of taper-haunched girders, one set for street access, the other for platform interchange. The footbridge is located towards the southern end of the platforms. The steel footbridge structure, steps, step railings and posts with star pattern detail, are original, manufactured by Dorman Long & Co., however modern railings have been added to the footbridge. The footbridge supports the weatherboard overhead booking office (1920), and modern corrugated steel clad entry buildings and lifts have been constructed at east and west ends.

PLATFORMS (1884-1925)
Three island platforms, all with asphalt surfaces and brick faces. Coping has likely been raised twice in brick and cut back, and concrete gap reduction strip attached. Evidence of previous stepped or corbelled coping.

Platform 1 (1923): Abuts the rail tracks on the east side, and has white powder coated aluminium fencing preventing access on the east side. It is ot in use, possibly as built. Platform originally brickwork laid in English bond with stepped profile and retangular weepholes. No painted marks but cement render along upper surface. Recent services attached. Platform retains older light fixtures intact. Back of platform earth filled, mostly supported by shotcrete with some brick retaining walls.

Platform 2 (c1908): Platform originally brickwork laid in English bond with rectangular weep holes. Platform has been partially renewed at City end with precast concrete post and panel section and raised. Renewed section in very bad condition. Reinforcing bars exposed and concrete heavily spalled. Raising of platform has been to detriment of platform surface features, with grated steps and underfloor building vents covered over. Drainage at base of building installed poorly and not connected to downpipes. Water pooling at base of buildings. Lever bay lintel removed or filled over with concrete.

Platform 3 (1884): Platform originally brickwork laid in English bond with rectangular weep holes. Single inset step observed. Lever bay has steel rail lintel and has been filled with concrete. Mature brush box, ginko and other trees on platform set within treated pine log planter beds.

Platform 4 (1884): Platform originally brickwork laid in English bond with rectangular weep holes. Platform has been raised and anchored along entire length. Single inset step observed. Mature cedar tree toward City end and treated pine log garden beds.

Platform 5 (1908): Platform originally brickwork laid in English bond with rectangular weep holes, now rendered along upper band in some sections. Platform has been raised, and extended or repaired at Country end, including small section repaired with standard bond brickwork. Central section of platform has been anchored, with anchor plates located near base. Drainage around base of building installed poorly and not connected to downpipes. Water pooling at base of buildings

PLATFORM CANOPIES (2005)
Various modern platform canopies with steel posts with concrete bases and green corrugated Colorbond gabled roofs. Platform 2/3: A platform canopy structure leads from the platform entry stairs at the southern end of the platform to the platform building. There is also a platform canopy north of the platform building. Platform 4/5: A platform canopy leads from the platform entry stairs at the southern end to the main platform building. There is also a platform canopy wrapping around the north and west sides of the separate small building at the northern end of the platform.

LIFTS, RAMPS, STREET ENTRY STEPS, METAL FOOTBRIDGE BUILDINGS (2005)

SIGNAL BOX (1923)
Two storey signal box with brick ground floor and fibro walls to 1st floor, hipped corrugated steel roof. Windows are timber-framed. Two metal stairs give access to a deck along the west elevation.

LANDSCAPE/NATURAL FEATURES
Shrub and tree plantings at northern end of platforms.

MOVABLE
Original and early door and window hardware (locks, strike plates, handles, bolts, sash sifts, sash locks etc).
Original and early plaster ceiling roses and decorative cornices.
In staff office: tall timber ladder, small, timber-framed mirror in kitchen, key box built into door of staff office, cast iron safe with original drawers inside, two timber booking office coin (BOC) trays one with brass hinges and dropdown sides, collection of “Rockdale” rubber stamps and other ticketing-related stamps, office telephone, click-clack credit card slider with “Rockdale CityRail” inscribed, steel bodkin with timber handle, collection of RailCorp ticket books, receipt books and ledgers, three clear plastic coin trays.
Former mail rooms: cast iron wall-mounted telephone case on Platform 1 building.
In store rooms: timber desk office organiser, original timber fire surround with cast iron grate and concrete hearth, tall timber ladder, wall-mounted timber key box, cast iron safe, green metal SRA first aid box No 741c, small timber stationery shelf, timber stool with vinyl seat, several wall-mounted timber noticeboards with glass doors.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Platform 1 (1925): Good
Platform 2/3 building (1908): Good
Platform 4/5 building (1884): Good
Overhead booking office (1922): Good
Footbridge (1920): Good
Platforms: Good
Platform canopies, lifts, ramps, new street entry steps (2005): Very good
Signal Box: Moderate
Date condition updated:23 May 09
Modifications and dates: c. 1993: Upgrading work to footbridge
2005: New overhead concourse constructed. Overhead booking office and footbridge upgraded for Easy Access.
N.d: Modern steel security screens to windows and doors to Platform 2/3 and 4/5 buildings.
N.d: Addition of white powder-coated aluminium fencing to Platform 1
N.d: Asphalt surface raised in height from original level (partially covers platform buildings' underfloor vents) on Platform 4/5
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Connecting station for steam / electric trams to Brighton, Goods Yard on East side.

History

Historical notes: From the 1870s to the 1890s Botany Bay became a tourist destination. In 1878 Mrs Mary Ann Geeves, superintendent of the post office attached to the general store in the area, gave the name ‘Rockdale’ to the area at the intersection of Bay Street and Rocky Point Road. The area became the centre of the activities of the Municipality of West Botany (incorporated in 1871) which moved its centre from Arncliffe - although the name 'Rockdale' was not formally accepted as the name of the municipality until 1888, after the railway station was built in 1884.

Rockdale railway station opened in 1884 as part of the duplicated line from Illawarra Junction (now Arncliffe) to Hurstville, with two perimeter platforms with platform buildings. At the opening of Rockdale Railway Station in 1884, a goods shed and siding was provided on the eastern side.

Rockdale station is unusual in that it initially provided a rail connection for coal transfer and passengers for Saywell’s Private Tramway. This was originally a steam powered tramway operation, which began running from Rockdale to Brighton on Botany Bay from 1885. In 1887 another tramway service from Rockdale to Sans Souci began operation. In 1899 Thomas Saywell converted his steam trams to electricity. In 1937 the tram service from Rockdale to Sans Souci was replaced by a trolley bus service, and the tramway to Brighton closed in 1938. In the latter years of the tramway's operation, the rail connection was also used for the transfer of Departmental rolling stock to the tramways in the area.

During the 1920s a siding for the State Meat Depot was added to Rockdale Railway Station, as was the Municipal Council’s siding in 1923. In 1928 a siding was added for the small companies of Carroll Lynn and finally the Warne Family Company.

In 1920 a steel footbridge from the Maitland District was re-erected, followed in 1922 by the timber overhead booking office. In 1923 quadruplication of the line was undertaken, and new platforms added for the quadruplication. The original signal box was built on the north end of Platform 2-3 but in 1923 was replaced by the present (disused) brick elevated box on the western side of the line, east of the T junction of Railway Street and Oakura Street. Also in 1923 a new Platform No. 1 with brick waiting shed was built along with another siding, both having ‘dead-end’ sidings for carriage storage. In 1926 the lines were electrified, and the tramway link was disconnected in 1938.

There were only relatively minor changes until abolition of the goods yard in 1979. In 2005 alterations were undertaken to the station to install lifts and new access stairs and additional platform and stair canopies, and canopies to the overhead footbridge and station entrance areas.

The 1925 power signal box and dead-end sidings and remains of structures relating to goods sidings and tram rolling stock, are no longer extant.

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]
Rockdale Railway Station is of State historical significance as an important station on the Illawarra line developed from 1884, which demonstrates its development over time from 1884 to the present. The development of the station has included the construction of a platform and platform building on Platform 1 to service trams (which ceased operation in 1938). The Platform 1 building and platform are of historical significance as structures which demonstrate the role of Rockdale Railway Station from 1885-1938 in connecting trains with steam (and later electric) trams. The 1884 Platform 4/5 building is of historical significance as one of a few 3rd class station buildings on the Illawarra Line (other examples at St Peters, Sydenham). The Platform 1 building and platform are of historical significance as structures which demonstrate the role of Rockdale Railway Station from 1885-1938 in connecting trains with steam (and later electric) trams. The station as a whole is of historical significance for its role as a major transport hub for the Rockdale region since 1884.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The platform buildings are of aesthetic significance as good examples of railway architecture of their respective types and periods. The 1884 3rd class Platform 4/5 building with separate toilet block is a fine example of late Victorian railway architecture with some Victorian Rustic Gothic and Victorian Filigree style influences, including an elaborate gabled roof form and awnings on elaborate cast iron posts. The 1908 Platform 2/3 building, and the 1925 Platform 1 buildings are fine representative examples of brick platform buildings from the early decades of the 20th century with Federation Queen Anne and Victorian Italianate style influences, and typical features of this type of railway structure such as simple gabled roofs and cantilevered awnings.
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)
[Rarity]
The 1884 Platform 4/5 3rd class building is rare, being one of five examples on the Illawarra line (other examples at Carlton, St Peters, Sydenham and Wollongong Railway Stations). The Platform 1 building, built for a tram service, is a rare feature of this locality (only other example on the Illawarra line of a tramway building associated with a railway station is at Sutherland).
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The platform buildings as a whole, the overhead booking office and footbridge, and signal box are representative of standard railway station buildings and structures of their respective types and periods.
The footbridge was identified as an item of moderate heritage significance in the comparative analysis from the 2016 ‘Railway Footbridges Heritage Conservation Strategy’.
The Overhead Booking Office at Rockdale was identified as an item of moderate heritage significance in the 2014 ‘Railway OHBO Heritage Conservation Strategy’. Despite substantial modifications, the overhead booking office retains some aesthetic significance and representative value, and its historical association with early twentieth century rail quadruplication works at the station can still be understood.
Integrity/Intactness: The platform buildings are relatively intact externally. Original internal features are extant to Platform 2/3 and 4/5 buildings. The overhead booking office is one of the more intact such structures on the Illawarra line.
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.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
State Rail Authority Heritage Register Study1999SRA159State Rail Authority  No
Heritage and Conservation Register State Rail Authority of NSW1993393Paul 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

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written   www.rockdale.nsw.gov.au/Pages/Rockdale_History.aspx (2009)
WrittenAustralian Museum Consulting2014Railway Overhead Booking Offices Heritage Conservation Strategy
WrittenC.C. Singleton1945The Illawarra Line: Wells Street to Hurstville, A.R.H.S. Bulletin, Vol. VXI, September
WrittenDavid Sheedy2009Historical Research for RailCorp S170 Register Update
WrittenRail Archives Footbridge drawings: Drawings 447 - 14,767

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: 4801159


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