Tamworth Railway Station | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Tamworth Railway Station

Item details

Name of item: Tamworth Railway Station
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Marius Street, Tamworth, NSW 2340
Local govt. area: Tamworth Regional


RailCorp property boundaries as shown on vesting plan, R29710. It should be noted that the original area of the railway station has been reduced, and that there is an historical and visual relationship with the surrounding area not necessarily apparent from the current property boundaries. As such, any proposed development within the vicinity of the railway station should also consider the historic relationship between the station site and its surrounding area.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Marius StreetTamworthTamworth Regional  Primary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Tamworth Railway Station is of state significance as a grand Victorian period station complex, in close to original condition with the very rare addition of a landscaped forecourt area dating from the time of construction and containing original planting and civic garden detail. The station building is an excellent example of a first-class station building with fine classical proportions, good detailing and finish, demonstrating the peak of railway construction during the late 19th century. The station building is significant as a tangible link to the development of the Great Northern Railway (GNR) line during the 19th century, with the scale and quality of building design demonstrating the importance that was attached to Tamworth as a township and railway location.
Date significance updated: 11 Nov 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.


Physical description: Station Building, type 5, first class (1882)
Forecourt (c1880) including mature trees and four separate war memorials
Platform (1982)
Dock platform (1882)

The Tamworth station building is a type 5, first class, single storey, rendered brick building of Victorian Italianate design. The road facade is composed of three classical revival pedimented gables projecting from the main platform wing. Between each was a cast iron veranda, now in-filled with masonry construction except for the central bay which retains its original veranda. A fourth originally detached gable of similar design but smaller scale is also now attached to the main structure with masonry construction. The roof is clad in corrugated, galvanised iron.

The building was face brick, now painted, with stuccoed quoins, pediments, gables, brackets and window and door details. The masonry additions constructed in 1907 at a cost of £231 were to provide a refreshment room. Part of this work was to infill the yard between the male toilet and the station building and provide a bracketed awning as an extension to the original awning which was supported on finely detailed cast iron columns and beams.

The planning of the building is linear, although larger than most country stations with an integral parcels office, luggage office, telegraph office, ticket office and station masters office. All rooms have entry from the platform with waiting and parcels being accessible from the street. Due to the size of the building it was possible to provide a substantial ladies waiting room.

Brick paved including park with plantings dating from the opening of station. The park and plantings including fountain and paths are an integral part of the area. The plantings include mature palm trees and magnolias which date from around 1880 and are of great civic significance as well as contributing to the station group. The station and forecourt were built on land that had originally been set aside to establish a market square, which might be why the plantings pre-date the construction of the station building. The forecourt area also known as the Tamworth Railway War Memorial Park. The park includes four separate war memorials in a row along Marius Street and installed at various times after 1929 – Boer War memorial drinking fountain, memorial for the Korean, Malaya and Borneo Wars, National Servicemen’s memorial and Vietnam War memorial. The 1901 Boer War memorial was originally in Peel Street and relocated to the site in 1929.

Brick/concrete. The platform face exhibits the layering of various periods of construction from the early sloping brick face at low level, to the additional brickwork on top to raise the height for modern rolling stock to the pre-cast concrete sections of platform around the carriage dock. Platform 1 is a straight side platform of made of brick and extended in concrete, with asphalt and concrete surface, coping has been cut back.
Other platforms, brick and concrete, not in use.
Site features:
- Significant mature plantings including palms and conifers
- Railway War Memorial Park with three separate war memorials including a marble fountain
- Flag poles
- Rail fencing
- Cast Iron Bubbler
- Modern goose neck lamps
- Platform extension with concrete post and panel face
- Mature shrubs along platform
- 1 x Dock platform now filled and part of garden (potential rail edging)
- 1 x Dock platform with large palm tree
- Signal levers (enclosed)
- Footbridge (managed by John Holland)

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:
- Collection of early wrought/cast iron and timber platform benches in various styles with painted “Tamworth” lettering.
- Various collection of historical artworks and photographs on display throughout station
- Collection of railway objects on display within signal box modified for use as small museum
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Very good condition.
Date condition updated:04 Dec 09
Modifications and dates: 1880 - Wool stage and stables built.
1881 - Footbridge erected.
1891 - Loading bank at extended northern end.
1902 - New loading bank provided.
1904 - Platform lengthened.
1907 - Carriage shed constructed.
1911 - Loading bank siding laid in.
1911 - Goods office built.
1917 - Refreshment room opened.
1919 - Showground platform erected.
1929 Platform lengthened.
1944 New brick gate house at White Street opened; improvements to station buildings.
1956 - Refreshment rooms closed.
1974 - Power Station siding removed.
1977 - Freight Centre opened.
Nd. - Interiors highly modified through most of building (one room with intact timber fireplace, metal ceiling rose and asbestos panelled ceiling – now used as staff kitchen)
Nd. - Signal room enclosure
Nd. - Canopy extension and bus shelters
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Nil


Historical notes: Tamworth railway precinct is located on the Main North line, running from Sydney and extending north to the Queensland border, at the town of Wallangarra. The Main North Line (also known as the Great Northern Railway) runs through the Central Coast, Hunter and the New England regions. The line was the original main line between Sydney and Brisbane; however this required a change of gauge at Wallangarra. The line is now closed north of Armidale, and the main route between Brisbane and Sydney is now the North Coast line.

Tamworth is located in the east of the region of the Darling Plains of NSW. Explorer John Oxley passed through the Peel Valley in 1818. In 1831, the first sheep stations and cattle stations were formed with most of the country subdivided into large runs by the mid-19th century. The region was used predominantly by pastoralists for cattle and sheep grazing, although the 20th century saw sheep and wheat farming dominate the region.

In the 1830s a company town began to develop on the Peel's southwest bank, the present site of West Tamworth. In 1850 a public town was gazetted on the opposite side of the river from the existing settlement. This town became the main town, called Tamworth. The town grew and, in 1861, Tamworth had a population of 654, both in the government town on the north side of the river, and in the company town on the south side. A municipality was created in 1876, when Tamworth had flour mills, a tannery, butter factory, plaster works, brick and pipe-making, brewery, clothing and furniture manufacture (Heritage Office and the Department of Urban Affairs & Planning, 1996: part 7, p.5). Its services included a hospital, post office and telegraph, court house, police station, two schools, two banks and six insurance brokers. In 1888, Tamworth was the first Australian town to use electric lighting.

The Great Northern Railway had reached East Maitland in 1857, Singleton in 1863, Muswellbrook in 1869 and Murrurundi in April 1871. Coaches ran from there to Tamworth and other New England areas. The opening of the Quirindi section took place on 13 August 1877 with the line reaching Tamworth in 1878. The official opening of the railway platform at West Tamworth took place on 15 October 1878. The Tamworth railway station at West Tamworth was only named West Tamworth after the line was extended across the river to East Tamworth and the opening of the present Tamworth railway station in 1882.

The single line from West Tamworth to Kootingal opened on 9 January 1882, with the station officially opened for service on the same day. The construction contract for the West Tamworth to Uralla section was awarded to A & R Amos on 12 September 1879 (Forsyth, 2009).

The two towns of Tamworth prospered as a traffic centre when the railways arrived in1878, as it drew much of the northern wool traffic by dray to the rail head. As each new section of the Main North line was opened, the settlement at the temporary terminus suddenly became a busy centre as horse or bullock teams carried supplies from the railway yard to all the settlements beyond and returned with wool, minerals and other produce. Generally, the arrival of railway gangs to extend the line to the next town provided a final flutter before the town returned to slumber. Tamworth, however, was one of few larger towns to receive a sustainable boost from the arrival of the railway.

The uniquely designed 1880’s station building featured fine classical Victorian proportions and good detailing and finish. Internally, the building originally comprised of a central waiting room, station master’s, ticket, parcels, and telegraph offices, ladies waiting room, and detached toilet block and lamp room wing. Although the station building has been added to, as is evident on the platform awning, and the use and composition of rooms has changed over the years, the building remains in close to original condition. The station building also incorporated the very rare addition of a landscaped forecourt, with many of the original plantings surviving to the present day.

The station master’s residence is unique in that it was purchased after its construction, and therefore does not conform to the typical railway structures from this period. It was built in 1877 as the manse for the nearby Wesleyan Church and was separated from the church by the construction of the railway when it was extended from Tamworth in 1881. This coincides with the purchase of the property by NSW Railways to serve as the station masters residence (Cottee, 2004).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Transporting crops-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Transporting agricultural supplies and machinery-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Pastoralism-Activities associated with the breeding, raising, processing and distribution of livestock for human use Servicing the pastoral industry-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Pastoralism-Activities associated with the breeding, raising, processing and distribution of livestock for human use Transporting livestock and their products-
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 Transport of goods-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Tamworth railway precinct is significant for its historical values as a tangible link to the development of the Great Northern Railway (GNR) line during the 19th century. The GNR was an important achievement in transport and engineering within NSW. As the third main trunk rail route in NSW stretching from Sydney to the Queensland border, the line linked townships to one another as well as to Sydney leading to significant economic and social impacts for those individual townships as well as for NSW more generally. The development, importance and impact of the NSW railways is illustrated at Tamworth through the fine and intact example of a first class railway station, constructed in the 1880s as the rail head at the height of railway construction activity and development in NSW.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Tamworth railway station building has high aesthetic significance as a unique and finely detailed first class station contributing to the townscape of Tamworth, which is further enhanced by the forecourt area and gardens. The building is a first class, single storey, rendered brick building of Victorian Italianate design. The building consists of painted face brick with stuccoed quoins, pediments, gables, and rendered window and door cornices and sills. The road facade is composed of three classical revival pedimented gables projecting from the main platform wing. Unlike other similar scaled buildings Tamworth station building has equal attention to detail and facade treatment on both the platform and road faces.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The site is of social significance to the local community on account of its lengthy association for providing an important source of employment, trade and social interaction for the local area. The site is significant for its ability to contribute to the local community’s sense of place, is a distinctive feature of the daily life of many community members, and provides a connection to the local community’s past.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The station building, residences and other precinct elements provide an opportunity to research the development of the NSW railways and the role and importance of Tamworth.
SHR Criteria g)
The Tamworth railway station building has representative significance has a fine and intact example of a first class railway station building in NSW. Although each of the 19 first class station buildings constructed in NSW differed in design, each demonstrate in scale, quality and decorative detail the importance of the railways and the importance of these stations constructed at major regional centres throughout NSW.
Integrity/Intactness: The station buildings have a good level of integrity.
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 studyTamworth Railway Station    

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
State Rail Authority Heritage Register Study1999SRA183State Rail Authority  No
Heritage and Conservation Register State Rail Authority of NSW199385Paul Davies for SRA  No
S170 Heritage & Conservation Register Update2009 ORH  Yes
Heritage Platforms Conservation Management Strategy2015 Australian Museum Consulting  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenCottee, J.M.2004Stations on the track: selected New South Wales country railway stations: an historical overview
WrittenForsyth, J.H2009NSW Railway Stations - An Alphabetical Arrangement of Railway Station and Place Names
WrittenMcKillop, R2009NSW Railways (RailCorp) Thematic History
WrittenTamworth Regional Council2006Tamworth and Districts: Early History

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: 4801183

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