Macksville Railway Station | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Macksville Railway Station

Item details

Name of item: Macksville Railway Station
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Station Street, Macksville, NSW 2447
Local govt. area: Nambucca


RailCorp property boundaries as shown on vesting plan, R29727. 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
Station StreetMacksvilleNambucca  Primary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Macksville railway station building is of state significance as a rare pre-cast concrete drop slab building, being one of only a few examples of a once common building type to remain in NSW. This type of building was constructed throughout regional NSW railway locations, with the use of precast concrete widely employed during the Interwar period as a functional and economical material which enabled ease in the construction of standardised building designs. Macksville station building remains in use and is significant as a tangible link to the development of the North Coast line and the expansion of industrial growth in the area.
Date significance updated: 06 Aug 08
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.


Construction years: 1919-1919
Physical description: MAJOR STRUCTURES - Managed by RailCorp
Station building, type 12 (1919)
Platform (1919)
Detached toilet block (modern)
Store room (modern)

The Macksville station building is a type 12, Ac4 standard design. It is a small single storey station building constructed of concrete drop panels with a gabled roof clad in colourbond steel. The platform awning is supported on simple timber brackets. Fenestration comprises timber framed double hung sash windows.

The internal layout comprises a waiting room; station master’s office; meal room and toilets.

Concrete face. A straight side platform with open steel rail frame and concrete deck.

Detached modern brick former toilet block. Currently used as a store. Constructed out of polychromatic bricks with hollow concrete bricks used for ventilation near the roof line. The roof is skillion and slopes away from the platform. Excluded from listing.

The store room is constructed out of concrete blocks and has a flat roof. Excluded from listing.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Generally in good condition.
Platform - Good
Date condition updated:11 Nov 09
Modifications and dates: The station building remains with excellent integrity, although it appears that the original diamond pattern tiles have been removed and replaced with colourbond steel.
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Nil


Historical notes: Macksville railway precinct is located on the North Coast line, the major trunk line from NSW to Queensland. Although originally constructed as an isolated line from Lismore to Murwillumbah in 1894, the importance of connecting the North Coast to the general railway system led to the extension of the line southward to Maitland in 1903. In 1930 the line was connected to the Queensland railway system at South Brisbane (Cottee, 2004).

Macksville is a small town on the Nambucca River in Nambucca Shire. The town was named after Angus Mackay and Hugh McNally, who built the Star Hotel in 1885. The town became Macks Village before changing to Macksville.

The single line from Kempsey to Macksville opened on 1 July 1919, with the station opening on the same day. The Kempsey to Macksville section was constructed by the Public Works Department from 27 October 1913. Work was taken over by Messrs Norton Griffith Co from 24 April 1915. The contract was cancelled on 15 May 1917 and the work reverted to the Pubic Works Department (Forsyth, 2009).

The Macksville station building is a type 12, Ac4 prefabricated concrete slab building. Standard designs of precast concrete drop slab panel station buildings were introduced from 1919- 1932 in regional locations. The standard designs range from the Ac1 which was a simple waiting room, through to larger station buildings such as the Ac5 which featured five rooms in a U-shape form with front verandah.

The NSW Railways made several breaks with their own traditions in the years following WWI including pioneering a new form of prefabrication based on the use of reinforced concrete elements (which was itself a new material). The first break with traditional architectural materials was made in 1917 with the erection of a pre-cast concrete station building at Lake Cargelligo in the state's west. This building was
an experimental prototype that was not immediately successful but resulted in the erection of 142 pre-cast concrete stations throughout NSW. These buildings were located almost exclusively in rural locations and were also influenced by Functionalist philosophies. Nonetheless, their primary significance lies in their engineering origins and their pioneering use of early 20th century concrete technology. They represent the SRA's first attempts to experiment with new architectural forms and ideas (Humphreys, A. and Ellsmore, D; 2001).

The Macksville station building is linear in design and plans dating c.1919 show the building as internally comprising of a general waiting room, station master’s office, storeroom, and ladies waiting room and lavatory. The station building includes a timber platform awning, and was flanked by two water tanks with timber shelters. The original station precinct additionally included a station master’s residence and pig trucking yards.

Modern photographs and plans indicate the internal composition and exterior of the 1919 station building has remained in near original condition. However, it appears that the original diamond pattern roof tiles and terracotta ridge capping have been removed and replaced with colourbond steel. Modern photographs (2003 and 2006) also indicate the existence of a modern brick toilet block on the platform, accompanied by a pre-cast concrete slab signal box (construction dates of both buildings unknown).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Forestry-Activities associated with identifying and managing land covered in trees for commercial purposes. Transporting timber and forest products-
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 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 architecture-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Macksville railway precinct is significant for its historical values as a tangible link to the development of the North Coast line as well as the development of the NSW railways. The North Coast line was significant in linking the logging, agricultural and pastoral industries of the north coast to markets in both Sydney and Brisbane leading to significant economic and social impacts for individual townships as well as for NSW generally. The station building and platform date from the opening of the single line from Kempsey to Macksville.

The Macksville station building has historical significance as it demonstrates architecturally, in both design and construction, the movement in the first decades of the 20th century by the NSW railways to modernise and economise railway station design. This was achieved in part through the adoption of new technologies, such as pre-cast concrete, which enabled the easier construction of standardised building designs.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
As a prefabricated concrete drop slab building, Macksville (along with the other examples of this design) was designed to imitate the look of timber buildings to fit into the rural aesthetic context. Macksville has a rural design aesthetic.
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]
As a rare and good example of a type 12, Ac4 station design, in excellent condition and good integrity, the Macksville station building has research potential for this type of railway building as well as the development of the NSW railways generally.
SHR Criteria f)
There were originally 142 'type 1'2 concrete drop slab buildings planned throughout NSW with only a few extant today, other examples include Ivanhoe, Robertson, Unanderra and Broken Hill. Macksville is a rare and good example of a once common station building design.
Integrity/Intactness: The precinct has a moderate level of integrity with a number of original elements no longer extant. The original station building has 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    

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
State Rail Authority Heritage Register Study1999SRA190State Rail Authority  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
WrittenHumphreys, A. and Ellsmore, D2002Interwar Station Buildings
WrittenJohn H Forsyth2009NSW Railway Stations - An Alphabetical Arrangement of Railway Station and Place Names
WrittenMcKillop, R2009NSW Railways (RailCorp) Thematic 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: 4801190

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