Edgecliff Railway Station | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Edgecliff Railway Station

Item details

Name of item: Edgecliff Railway Station
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: South Head Road, Edgecliff, NSW 2027
Local govt. area: Woollahra


North: New South Head RoadSouth: Property boundary to dwelling fencesEast: Ocean StreetWest: Entrance to railway portalThe listing boundary is the whole of the underground concourse and platform system and the entrance ramps and stairs.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
South Head RoadEdgecliffWoollahra  Primary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Edgecliff Station is of local significance as one of a group of stations that make up the Eastern Suburbs Railway (ESR) line, one of the largest and most contentious post-war rail projects undertaken in the Sydney system. The stations were designed as part of a collection but with individual design and colour styles to differentiate them within it. They represent a continuation of the design principles of the underground system as first displayed in the Museum and St James stations and also represent the latest in construction and design technology at the time.
Date significance updated: 21 Jul 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: Fowell Mansfield Jarvis and Maclurcan Pty Ltd
Builder/Maker: Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation
Construction years: 1973-1979
Physical description: STATION BUILDING (1979)
Edgecliff Station consists of the concourse level and the underground island platform area below. The concourse is accessed via the Edgecliff Centre on New South Head Road. The concourse area is tiled in light grey tiles and includes manned ticket booths, automatic ticketing machines and automatic gates through to the station area.

The station platforms are accessed via two escalators from the concourse level. The escalator shaft ceilings are of moulded plywood. This plywood, with recessed fluorescent strip lights, is used throughout the station platform area. Station walls are painted yellow, with dark blue tiled sections displaying the station name in tri-level banked white lettering. The platform end walls (adjacent to the tunnel shafts) are tiled with glazed tiles in deep orange/red and station platform columns are tiled in dark blue. The platform faces are concrete.

The platform area includes three cross-passages joining the up and down platforms and allowing for passenger flow. The station group includes a bus interchange at the upper (exterior) level.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Edgecliff Station Group is in good condition.
Date condition updated:29 Apr 09
Modifications and dates: 2009: The bus interchange area undergoing upgrades.
2010: Non-original toilets refurbished, remediation of hazardous materials, upgrade of fire sprinklers and upgrade of staff amenities at Edgecliff Station

The remainder of the Edgecliff Station group appears to be in largely original condition with few changes apparent.
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Nil


Historical notes: Edgecliff Station was opened on 23 June 1979 as part of the inauguration of the Eastern Suburbs Railway (ESR). A line to the eastern suburbs had been part of the wider rail plan for Sydney since the late 1890s, with provisions made for the eventuality during the construction of the city underground stations in the 1920s, although work never proceeded past the planning phase at this time.

Since the late 1940s the ESR had been under construction on and off, with meaningful progress made from the early 1970s. In the late 1960s, to help the project along, the Commonwealth Government offered the services of the Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation for design work and supervision of contracts. The construction of the line was a contentious political issue, not only because of the extended period over which it was undertaken, but also for the resumptions and demolitions throughout Woolloomooloo that were required to build it.

Edgecliff Station was constructed by tunnelling for the station platform area. The station was also to serve as a bus interchange, one of two on the ESR, the other being Bondi Junction. These were to be part of a new approach to integrated public transport services, with buses taking commuters further into suburbs not serviced by the rail network.

The new station was built as part of a development project of the Church of England Glebe Administration Board which was developing the space above the station area. As with the other ESR stations, Edgecliff included a number of new or unique features for the Sydney rail system while maintaining a continuation of the designed underground stations of the 1920s such as Museum and St James. The ESR stations were the first stations to include automatic ticket vending machines and automatic turnstile barriers. Each of the new stations was also equipped with escalators as the primary means to access the station platforms from the concourse areas. Banks of escalators had not previously been used for Sydney rail platforms. Edgecliff included two escalators from the bus interchange and a further four down to the platforms.

Each of the new stations on the ESR, designed by Sydney architects Fowell Mansfield Jarvis and Maclurcan Pty Ltd, was given a unique colour scheme to differentiate it from the others and to give the new stations a modern look and maintaining a human scale in the underground setting. Edgecliff included terrazzo paved concourse and gallery levels, with walls of buff-coloured exposed aggregate render. The columns were tiled in deep blue glazed tiles as were the station walls where the station name was applied in tri-level banks of lettering. These were to enable the passengers on the newly introduced double-decked trains to see which station they were at.

The bus interchange is currently (2009) undergoing a major upgrade, with work proposed to be undertaken at Edgecliff Station as part of Railcorp's Easy Access Program, which will include the installation of lifts amongst other works.

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 Railway Infrastructure-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Edgecliff Railway Station has historical significance as part of the ESR, part of the first major railway extension in Sydney since the 1950s.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Edgecliff Station has aesthetic significance through its distinctive 1970s design displayed through its colour schemes, layout and use of materials and remains largely intact as displayed in the bright blue glazed tile columns, the tri-level station name signage, plywood ceilings and long escalators. The station design is a continuation of the earlier 1920s subway design of the city underground in a modern format.
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 history.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Edgecliff Station has technical significance for its design features and for the engineering techniques used during its construction.
SHR Criteria g)
Edgecliff Station is representative of 1970s underground station design and layout as one of seven stations completed for the ESR.
Integrity/Intactness: Edgecliff Station retains a number of original features and is largely intact compared to other stations on the Eastern Suburbs Railway.
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 register     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
State Rail Authority Heritage Register Study1999374State Rail Authority  No
Heritage and Conservation Register State Rail Authority of NSW1993 Paul Davies for SRA  No
S170 Heritage & Conservation Register Update2009 Godden Mackay Logan  Yes
Heritage Platforms Conservation Management Strategy2015 Australian Museum Consulting  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written 1979Easterns Suburbs Railway Now a Reality
WrittenChristopher Jay1979Eastern Suburbs Railway Brings Direction for Underground Architecture
WrittenIan Brady1979Eastern Suburbs Railway Opened

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: State Government
Database number: 4801167

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