Narrabri Railway Station | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Narrabri Railway Station

Item details

Name of item: Narrabri Railway Station
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Bowen Street, Narrabri, NSW 2390
Local govt. area: Narrabri


RailCorp property boundaries as shown on vesting plan, R29717. 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
Bowen StreetNarrabriNarrabri  Primary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Narrabri Railway Station is of local significance as a tangible link to the development of the NSW railways and supporting agricultural activities and commerce, such as the transport of grain along the Mungindi line. The station buildings are surviving remnants of a larger station complex and demonstrate the past importance of this rural railway station in servicing the local community and surrounding region. The station buildings demonstrate typical railway architectural styles of the late 19th and early 20th Century found in other NSW railway locations and display elegant decorative details such as verandah awnings, tuck-pointed brick work and multi-pane, arched transom windows.
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: 1897-1908
Physical description: BUILDINGS - Managed by RailCorp
Railway Refreshment Rooms (1897)
Station Building - type 11, standard ‘A5’ (1908)
Signal Box (c1908)
Platform (c1897?)

RRR (1897)
This building is a timber weatherboard construction with a corrugated iron gable roof. The doors include single and double timber doors with moulded panels. The double doors are topped by multi-pane transom windows. The windows include double hung timber sashes with the upper sash in a 4x4 pane arrangement as well as aluminium windows. The timber windows are all located on the rail elevation of the building and are framed by decorative moulded timber. The platform is covered by a cantilevered awning clad in corrugated iron and supported by steel brackets. The road side entrance is accessed by steel stairs. The building has been highly altered, and in its current state is only a remnant of the former railway kitchen, refreshment and staff facilities at Narrabri.

This building is a standard ‘A5’ station constructed of tuck-pointed brick in Flemish bond. The design consists of a main body, with roof line parallel to the platform, ended by two pavilions with transverse gabled rooves. The roof is clad in diamond pattern fibrous cement tiles with terra cotta ridge capping. There are two brick chimneys projecting upwards with rough cast cement collars topped with terra cotta pots. The gable ends are finished with painted rough cast cement infill and include vents. The windows are timber, double hung ovolo moulded sash windows with sloping lintels. The doors are timber with moulded panels, some with panels of glass, fanlights and arched lintels. The platform is covered by a cast iron cantilevered awning supported by moulded corbels. The road entrance of the building has been modified to allow disabled access and main entrance way has modern sliding doors. Some doors/windows have been partially filled in.

The internal layout of the station building consists of a training room; parcels store; parcels office; parcels booking office; locker room; kitchen; safeworking room; toilets and bathroom; offices; store rooms; a waiting room, and a female and disabled toilet. Some early inbuilt timber cabinetry remains.

Adjoining the station building at the northern end is a c. 1970s brick annex building with a skillion roof sloping from the platform to the rear of the building. It houses a male toilet; store room, and traffic inspector’s office.
SIGNAL BOX (c1908)
The area between the two station buildings has been closed in to form the signal box. This is a skillion roof weatherboard structure with one door and one window to rail side (originals have been replaced). Internally, no signalling equipment remains.

PLATFORM (c1897?)
Straight side platform. Platform is of brick construction from 0-145m, 145-150m precast concrete and 150-214m steel post/concrete panel from city end. Repairs to coping at bay end walls repaired in 2010. Bitumen surface sunken. Black and white ‘Narrabri’ signage on platform.

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:
- NSWTD timber framed mirror
- Various tail discs
- Narrabri branded fabric stretcher
- Cast iron safe
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The buildings appear to be generally in good condition.
Date condition updated:22 Oct 09
Modifications and dates: 1898 Platforms raised and lengthened.
1899 Trucking yards erected.
1901 Refreshment room provided for £729.
1901 Waiting shed renewed.
1902 Cart weighbridge installed for £101.
1902 Platform extended 18.2m.
1902 Refreshment rooms opened.
1903 Gantry crane installed for £160. WN9.
1904 Carriage shed built.
1908 Station building rebuilt for £826.
1909 Platform extended.
1912 Station master’s residence built for £694.
1914 Providing nine additional 1800 litre water tanks for station usage, also facilities for heating foot warmers.
1918 Well and pump house erected for water supply to station
1920 Platform extended 33.5m.
1920 22.5kL water tank provided to replace 18/1800 litre square tanks for station water supply.
1922 Platform and crossing loop extended.
1923 Modifications to refreshment rooms
1934 Wheat silo built.
1941 Coal loading dump and rest house provided.
1946 Goods shed extended 7.3m on Moree end.
1946 Modifications to 1908 station building
1950 Closure of level crossing and extension of platform
1955 Wheat depot opened.
1968 Wheat second silo opened.
1986 Refreshment room closed.
1987 Trolley shed demolished.
1988 Refreshment room and residence demolished.
2005 Per-way building destroyed by fire.
(Forsyth, 2009)
Pre-2018 - Signal Box removal of small signal lever frame, staff instrument and yard diagram.
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Nil


Historical notes: Narrabri Railway Station is located on the Mungindi line, branching from the Great Northern Railway at the major rail centre of Werris Creek, and heading north to the remote town of Mungindi, on the Queensland border. Today the line is utilised for almost its entire length for grain transport, and for coal from the Preston and Gunnedah collieries (

In 1832, explorer John Oxley surveyed the Liverpool Plains area that was to later include the town of Narrabri. The first squatting run in the region of Narrabri was the 'Nurrabry', taken up in 1834. A town site was first recommended in 1848 at what had become a road junction to the south and west. A hotel was licensed in 1858 and the town was proclaimed in 1860. A post office and police station were established but a major flood devastated the township in 1864. An early sign of the town's importance was the transfer of court services from Wee Waa and the building of a courthouse in 1864-65. A coach service commenced in 1865 and the first public school opened in 1868 ( website).

After the Robertson Land Act of 1861 the area was slowly opened up to smaller selectors and wheat-growing began in 1873. Consequently, the population climbed from 313 in 1871 to 1,977 in 1891. Bridges over Narrabri Creek were built in 1877 and the Namoi in 1879. The railway arrived at Narrabri West in 1882 and a settlement began to develop around it. Narrabri was declared a municipality in 1883 ( website).

The single line from Narrabri Junction to Moree opened on 1 April 1897. The construction contract for the Narrabri Junction to Moree section was awarded to W Finlayson, H Smith & J Timms on 10 July 1895. The station was officially opened on 9 Apr 1897 (Forsyth, 2009).

Although no details of the original station building exist, plans of the 1901 Refreshments Room show the timber building as having a corrugated iron roof, a cantilevered awning with timber curtain boarding, and internally comprising of a refreshments room, attendants room, kitchen, pantry, and detached lavatory. In 1908 the main station building was rebuilt for £826. The new building was of brick with fibro cement roofing, and featured a bracketed awning, terracotta capping, and stone detailing. The building internally comprised of a ladies room and lavatory, general waiting room, telegraph and booking offices, and a parcels store. The building also featured an in-set rear verandah.

The space between the new building and the Refreshments Room was bridged by the extension of the roof and the addition of corrugated iron walls, within which the signal levels were installed.

In 1912 a Station Master’s residence was constructed on Bowen St, north of the main station complex.

By 1923, changes had occurred to the Refreshments Room, including the demolition of the previous kitchen and attendants room, and the addition of a timber mangers office, sitting room, and bedroom, a storeroom, scullery, bathroom facilities, and a new kitchen and pantry. A separate building was also constructed, containing three bedrooms and a latticed veranda. A decade later, the station precinct included a trolley shed, a goods shed and platform, a weighbridge, wheat silo, carriage shed, a detached toilet block and out-of shed on the passenger platform, along with a Resident Engineer’s Office.

In 1946 further changes occurred to the main station building, namely the extension and partial closing in of the rear verandah to create a parcels office and an open public space, with a ramped approach. Plans of the extension also suggest that the telegraph office had by this period been converted into a Station Master’s office. The station building was extended again in c.1970 with new bathroom facilities and stores.

Most of the RRR facilities were demolished in 1988, and the remaining weatherboard building reduced back to its original configuration.

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 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 Pioneer lines-
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-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Narrabri Railway Station is significant for its historical values as a tangible link to the development of the NSW railways and supporting agricultural activities and commerce, such as the transport of grain along the line Mungindi line. Narrabri assumed the role of the major station for the town from Narrabri West (now demolished) when the branch line was extended from Narrabri Junction to Moree in 1897. The two extant station buildings are remnants of a larger station complex and affiliated structures and demonstrate the past importance of this rural railway station in servicing the local community and surrounding region.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The two station buildings are of aesthetic significance having been built with attention to decorative detail. The weatherboard station has a rustic aesthetic through the timber construction and corrugated, galvanised iron cladding but also includes elegant features such as moulded timber window frames and corbels supporting the awning. The brick building also displays elegant decorative details such as tuck-pointed brick work and multi-pane, arched transom windows.
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 f)
The location of the signal box, between two station buildings is an unusual arrangement for platform buildings.
SHR Criteria g)
The station buildings demonstrate railway architectural styles of the late 19th and early 20th Century found in other NSW railway locations.
Integrity/Intactness: The station buildings have been highly altered and have a moderate 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 Study1999SRA198State Rail Authority  No
Heritage and Conservation Register State Rail Authority of NSW1993137Paul 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
WrittenAndrea Humphreys and Donald Ellsmore2002Inter-War Station Buildings
WrittenCottee, J.M.2004Stations on the track: selected New South Wales country railway stations: an historical overview
WrittenForsyth, J.H.2009NSW 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: 4801198

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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