Murrurundi Railway Station | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Murrurundi Railway Station

Item details

Name of item: Murrurundi Railway Station
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Victoria Street, Murrurundi, NSW 2338
Local govt. area: Upper Hunter


RailCorp property boundaries as shown on vesting plan, R29706. 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
Victoria StreetMurrurundiUpper Hunter  Primary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Murrurundi Railway Station is of historic significance, providing a tangible link to the early development of the Great North Railway (GNR) line and the arrival of the railway in the area. Early changes to the original station buildings to accommodate further offices, refreshment rooms and facilities, reflects the evolution of the buildings during the late 19th century to accommodate increased services in conjunction with the site’s former role as an important locomotive depot along the GNR.
Date significance updated: 04 Dec 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.


Construction years: 1872-1917
Physical description: MAJOR STRUCTURES - Managed by RailCorp
Station buildings: type 3, second class, brick building (1872); type 18, brick building, non-standard (c1872); and infill between buildings (c1891)
Signal box (1917)

The station building is a composite of three structures: a type 3, second class building and a brick, double, gabled roof building, both built in 1872, adjoined by an infill structure c1891. It is not possible, using available plans and pictures, to exactly define the individual structures or their original layouts.

The main structure is a type 3, second class, rendered brick station building with a hipped, corrugated, galvanised iron roof with two chimneys and a cast iron, cantilevered awning. The windows are timber, double hung sash with stone lintels and sills. The doors are timber and panelled.

The original building layout provided for separate men’s and ladies’ toilet facilities. The men’s toilets are located in a separate building, now disused.

The adjacent structure has a double, gabled roof of corrugated, galvanised iron (possibly suggesting two separate buildings adjoined). The platform side of the building includes a short verandah of corrugated, galvanised iron extending partially over the platform and supported by timber braces. The rear section of the structure (with its own gabled roof) is longer than the platform-side of the building, extending a few metres towards the Sydney end of the platform, from which an awning extends to the platform face of the building. The awning is constructed of corrugated, galvanised iron and has been enclosed at the side with an entrance from the platform.

The two buildings are joined by an infill structure consisting of rendered brick.
The existing facilities include a parcels office, kitchen, store, waiting room, booking office, traffic office, Station Master’s and Assistant Station Master’s offices, and two additional offices.

The signal box is a timber framed, weatherboard signal box with a non-standard roof.

Straight side platform. Platform comprises brick wall throughout. Platform has been raised with concrete deck. 2m lever bay opening filled with ballast. Wall in good condition.
Site features:
• Large mature trees
• Semaphore signal and points on display in garden
• Rose bush with new garden beds and Lions Club commemoration from 2017
• Electronic signalling panel in SMs Office
• Ticket window and timber fitted SM desk in booking office
• Timber mantel in female bathrooms
• Timber benches in waiting room
• 2 x Timber fitted cabinets (in former parcel’s office)
• Original urinals and timber pan toilets in Mens WC
• Water tank (modern) on timber stand

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 a green cast iron safe in the booking office.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Station buildings are in good condition.
Platform: Good
Date condition updated:22 Oct 09
Modifications and dates: N.d: Platform raised; building altered; roadside awning removed.
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Nil


Historical notes: Murrurundi railway precinct is located on the Main North line, which runs from Sydney and extends as far as Wallangarra on the Queensland border. The Main North Line (formerly known as the Great Northern Railway) runs through Central Coast, Hunter and 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 became the North Coast Line when it was opened in 1930.

Murrurundi township was planned by the NSW Government in 1840, however most of the land was privately owned. Thomas Haydon subdivided a large block, 'The Commodore Block', and established Haydonton. Murrurundi was gazetted as a municipality in 1890 and amalgamated with Haydonton in 1913 (NSW H.O., 1990).

Before the arrival of the railways, Murrurundi was a road village at the edge of the 'settled districts'. However, when the railways arrived in 1872, Murrurundi became an important railway centre with a second class station building and locomotive depot (Kass; 2005: 47).

The section of the Northern Line between Wingen and Murrurundi was one of the most difficult to build. Running through a narrow valley close to the Pages River, the line included frequent elevations and steep grades, which required heavy earthworks (Cottee, 2004). With the arrival of the railway at Murrurundi, goods/produce from the surrounding districts that were previously transported by road was increasingly moved via the more efficient rail network (Cottee, 2004).

The original layout of the station and yard included a station building, comprising of a railway refreshments room, two bedrooms, a waiting room, post office, Station Master’s office and booking office, a single platform, goods shed, and wool loading bank. Major changes to the station precinct included the addition of a parcels room in 1879, station alterations in 1891 (including the construction of a toilet block), extension and widening of the platform in 1895 and 1912 respectively, erection of a 22.5kL water tank in 1912, and a 180kL tank the following year, and the installation of an inhalation chamber in 1919 in response to influenza epidemic (Forsyth, 2009).

Plans from 1888 also show the existence of a 3-bedroom timber Gatekeeper’s cottage built within the station precinct, with a front verandah, rear living room, washroom, and tank.

Until closure in 1965, Murrurundi was the site of an important locomotive depot. Opened in 1891, the Murrurundi depot provided locomotives to assist trains in negotiating the steeply graded Northern Railway and through the Ardglen tunnel in the Liverpool Ranges (Cottee, 2004). The Depot originally included a timber four track engine shed, barracks building, coal stage, turntable, and an ash pit. In 1899 a new engine shed, coal stage, and water tank were added, and an 18.288m turntable and ash pits were installed. All structures within the former depot have since been removed (Forsyth, 2009).

Between 1911 and 1915, Murrurundi was well known for shale mining, with the town’s population peaking in 1914. Murrurundi is now a service centre and is sustained by quality sheep, beef and horse studs and by both crop and meat production (Upper Hunter Shire Visitor Information Centre Network website).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Communication-Activities relating to the creation and conveyance of information Signalling and safe working-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Industry-Activities associated with the manufacture, production and distribution of goods Railway workshops-
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-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Servicing and accomodating passengers-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Utilities-Activities associated with the provision of services, especially on a communal basis Provision of railway water supplies-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Murrurundi railway station has historical significance as one of the early railway stations, originally built in 1872, of the Great North Railway (GNR) line. The original station building remains and provides a tangible link to the early construction of the GNR as well as the development of the NSW railways generally. 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. Early changes to the original Murrurundi station building to accommodate further offices, refreshment rooms and other facilities, reflects the evolution of the site during the late 19th century to accommodate increased services in conjunction with the site’s former role as a locomotive depot along the GNR, although all elements have since been removed.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The station buildings remain as an important landmark in the town of Murrurundi, although the individual station buildings have been highly altered.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The place 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 tangible connection to the local community’s past.
SHR Criteria f)
The arrangement of the station buildings is unique in NSW, resulting from modification that were implemented to accommodate increased services at Murrurundi.
SHR Criteria g)
The station buildings are not considered to have representative significance as they do not demonstrate any clear particular style or type of railway building. The original form of the 1870s second-class building remains partially distinguishable but there are many better examples of this type of building that remain intact at other NSW railway locations.
Integrity/Intactness: The station buildings have a moderate level of integrity. The buildings have evolved over time to accommodate service changes at the station. As such, the buildings are not good examples of any particular style or design. Furthermore many of the original decorative features have been removed, including the roadside verandah.
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 studyMurrurundi Railway Station    

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
State Rail Authority Heritage Register Study1999SRA192State Rail Authority  No
Heritage and Conservation Register State Rail Authority of NSW1993120Paul 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
WrittenJ.M. Cottee2004Stations on the track: selected New South Wales country railway stations
ElectronicUpper Hunter Shire Visitor Information Centre Network2009

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: 4801192

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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