Artarmon Railway Station Group | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Artarmon Railway Station Group

Item details

Name of item: Artarmon Railway Station Group
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Hampden Road, Artarmon, NSW 2064
Local govt. area: Willoughby


North: 1m past the end of the platform; West: Hampden Rd; East: Elizabeth St and along rail ownership boundary; South: 1m past the end of the platform.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Hampden RoadArtarmonWilloughby  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

Artarmon Railway Station is historically significant for its ability to demonstrate phases of development in policy and practice of the NSW railways, with the building mirroring the expansion of the railway network in the 1890-1930 period. The station is one of the original stops on the North Shore line, and it is historically linked to the political situation at this time, with its establishment at this location directly linked to a local estate development by Mayor Thomas Broughton. The station is also significant for its association to Broughton, who was a landowner, businessman and Mayor of Sydney City Council. Aesthetically the station has undergone some considerable changes, it has been significantly altered internally and externally, however it retains some of its original form and features. Whilst the station building can be considered to contribute to the significance of the North Shore line with its similar station sites, it is not considered to be a particularly good example of its type, due to a number of alterations, modifications and extensions. The subway is mostly original and able to demonstrate its original form and function.
Date significance updated: 18 Nov 14
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: New South Wales Department of Railways
Builder/Maker: New South Wales Department of Railways
Construction years: 1916-1916
Physical description: COMPONENTS:
Station building (1916)
Subway (1916)
Platform 1 (1898, modified 1928, 1946)
Platform 2 (nd, modified 1928, 1946)
Footbridge (2015)

A standard linear island platform structure, brick with corrugated iron roof and awning to each platform supported on simple fabricated metal cantilevered brackets. Recent additions have provided covered access to the platform but the station building retains its prominence. Significant fabric includes: external brickwork, with tuck pointing, the original roof alignment, platform verandahs, the stepped nature of the floor, fenestration, internal glazing & joinery. The south end awning (former toilet access) has been bricked in and is now a store room. New ticket windows have been added, and the originals sealed but left in situ. A number of original openings (doors) have been bricked up, and new ones made. There have been new awnings added connecting the north end of the building with the subway. There is a lot of advertising throughout the station and subway and an external air-conditioning unit has been fitted.

The internal layout has been significantly modified, what was once an open space now divided with internal partition walls into a number of rooms. The stepped floor remains.

PLATFORM 1 (1898, modified 1928, 1946)
Concave island platform. Platform comprises 132m brick wall and 28m concrete post and panel. The platform has some tree plantings, though the trees themselves are replacements of the originals.

PLATFORM 2 (nd, modified 1928, 1946)
Platform consists of 26m brick and 134m steel post and concrete panel construction.

SUBWAY (1916)
Access to the platform is via a brick lined subway and stairs which is an excellent example of brick construction and an increasingly rare example of a subway. As with the platform, covered access has been recently added to the subway.
The additions of two lifts and a pedestrian footbridge from the eastern side of Hampden Road to the island station were added in 2015 as part of a station accessibility upgrade.

The site is surrounded by landscaped gardens to the west facing the shopping centre, which enhance the setting of the station and are reminiscent of the early pride taken in station buildings with garden competitions and quality landscaping.

There is no moveable heritage remaining at this location.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Station Building - Fair
The station building is in fair condition only, with a number of defects. The brickwork has some cracks, chips, a number of holes and extensive signage that has been applied directly to the brickwork. Paintwork is peeling.

Platform - Good/Fair. Some deterioration of concrete posts.

Subway - Fair
The Subway has significant cracks in the brickwork, as well as chips in the stone wall cappings. There is mould along the base of the tunnels indicating a damp issue.
Date condition updated:24 Jul 09
Modifications and dates: 1898: Originally opened - single sided platform on down side, waiting shed and separate men’s toilet (Sydney end).
1900: Line duplication.
1900: New island platform, buildings? Possibility of being a transfer from Old Glenbrook [no more improvements till 1916).
1916: Only station between St Leonards and Hornsby with a timber platform building (Berala last timber building, built 1911);
WW1 – Artarmon only building replaced in year ending June 1917.
1910s: Massive increase in patronage, 1916 – 2nd busiest after Chatswood on NS/line.
1926: Platform lengthened to accommodate 8 car electric trains.
1929: Formal agreement with Willoughby Council (unusual for rail) to share maintenance, lighting and cleaning of subway; retaining wall to subway on Hampden Rd is partly formed by old rails (recycling).
1946: Shelter at top of stairs, weather proofing for junior porter (collecting tickets).
Late 40s / early 50s: Newsagency concession adjacent to ticket barrier.
1953: Land for Scout Hall near McMillan Rd requested, and given FOC.
1982: Signal box at down end demolished, former SM office converted to new booking office; roof not altered.
1989: Ticket collection rail at approx. location of concession and ticket booth (top of stairs).
1989: General upgrading elimination of separate public toilets and general waiting room (canopies constructed, pedestrian subway paved, new platform lighting, station furniture upgrade, public telephone installed; painting).
1998: Air rights developments: EOIs called for including Artarmon.
1994: New workstations, bullet proof ticket windows, and replacement of 2 windows in down end with a new single window.
1999: Employees toilet within ticketing office, for security reasons.
c.2000: Some relatively modern additions such as shelters / awnings have been provided on the platform during general CityRail station upgrading.
2015: Addition of pedestrian overbridge, two lifts and other minor works as part of station accessibility upgrades.

Significant features no longer extant include: general waiting room, the ladies' waiting room, the original public toilets with discrete entries on different walls, the parcels office, the Station Master's office, the ticket office, the ticket windows, original floor in booking office, signage, seats and bins & the signal box.
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Nil


Historical notes: Source: Artarmon: The Mystery of the Moving Station Buildings, S. Sharp.

Located between Chatswood and St. Leonard’s Railway Stations, Artarmon remains in service as a busy passenger railway station on the North Shore line. The ‘North Shore’ of Sydney can be defined as a relatively narrow strip of land extending from Milson’s Point to Waitara, a distance of approximately 20km.

In 1887, tenders were called for construction of a branch line extending south from Hornsby to the North Shore. The 16.8km single section of line between Hornsby and St. Leonard’s was opened on 1 January 1890. The line between St. Leonard’s and Milson’s Point (the terminus at the edge of the harbour) was completed 1 May 1893.

Artarmon was opened as a passenger station on the North Shore line on 6 July 1898 to serve a nearby newly developed land estate. It was Mayor Thomas Broughton and his land development, known as Broughton Estate, which directly resulted in the timing of the establishment of Artarmon station. The Railway Commissioner took four years to respond to Broughton’s pressure and opened the station at Artarmon on 6 July, 1898. At that time, the line was known within the railway organisation as the “Milsons Point line”.

At Artarmon there was a single sided platform on the down side of the line. Very little is known about the first station building on the platform but the evidence indicates that the Commissioner did in fact erect a “waiting shed”. An undated plan of the proposed duplication of the line shows a small building approximately 15' x 12'. There was also a separate men's toilet towards the Sydney end of the platform. Duplication of the section through Artarmon occurred on 17 October, 1900. It is plausible that the buildings that existed on the single side platform at the opening of the station in 1898 were transferred to the adjacent new island platform in 1900.

The first buildings at Artarmon were likely to have been simple affairs. All other buildings on the North Shore line, except the terminus at St. Leonards, were of timber construction. This was a reflection of the Depression then gripping NSW. It can be assumed that those at Artarmon were timber framed and clad in either horizontal weatherboards or corrugated iron. Park and Singleton wrote in 1945 that the "island building was originally timber". The use of the singular number to describe the structure is of particular note for in 1959, when Singleton expanded the 1945 article, he again referred to a single building but drew a plan on the following page showing two small structures in addition to the men's toilet.

A photograph in State Rail Archives of Artarmon station building is dated 1900. The puzzle with the image is that the caption reads “Artarmon first station building - re-erected from Old Glenbrook station 1900". Historical research reveals that there was a spare building at Old Glenbrook at the time that Artarmon needed a new structure - both projects related to duplication works. It is possible that the Old Glenbrook building could have been moved to Artarmon, but it is also equally possible that the Artarmon building was enlarged and rebuilt at the time of duplication using the existing Artarmon buildings. This treatment was known to have applied at Oatley and Penshurst. Perhaps the most significant piece of evidence is a plan, dated 10 February 1916, for the present Artarmon station which under the plan heading has the words "from Glenbrook". While the evidence seems to suggest this occurred, it is unusual that the railways would relocate a brick building. With the use of cement for mortar, the task of cleaning every brick would have been very substantial, especially since labour was at a premium in World War One when the relocation occurred. It should also be kept in mind that, ever since 1855, the NSW railway administration was a major recycler of materials of all types and the re-use of the bricks from Old Glenbrook is consistent with the prevailing Departmental philosophy.

The severity of the gradient at Artarmon station is reflected by the three different floor levels in the current building. Even today in its truncated form, there are steps down from the booking office into the entrance corridor, dropping 12" and down again 6" into the Station Master's office.

In the late 1920s, Artarmon was still the third busiest station on the North Shore line and even did more business than both Hornsby and Milsons Point stations at each end of the lines.

Duplication came to this section of the North Shore line in October 1900, and accordingly an island platform was provided at Artarmon and opened on that date. The new platform was relocated a short distance toward St. Leonard’s on an easier graded section of the line. The original timber building was re-built on the island platform. Signalling was provided at Artarmon in 1908, and in 1916 a new ‘standard’ brick station building was provided with a signal frame mounted under an awning at the Hornsby-end of the structure.

The Railway Commissioner made only two improvements to Artarmon station over the next 50 years, both being approved in 1946. These were the asphalting of the platform surface and the provision of a shelter at the top of the stairs to protect the junior porter collecting tickets in the rain. At some time in the late 1940s or early 1950s, the Department granted a tenancy for a newsagent to occupy space adjacent to the ticket barrier, this facility being known in Departmental language as a "concession".

In the 1970s the ticket office windows were relocated. Two windows for the sale of tickets were provided in the northern wall of the Artarmon building in 1982, where the present single window exists. The two ticket windows that faced into the general waiting room and a third window facing the up side of the platform were closed. The signal box at Artarmon had laid idle since 1928 when automatic signalling, in conjunction with the introduction of a full service of electric trains, replaced the former block telegraph system. The former signal box at the down end was demolished and the former Station Master's office was converted into the new booking office.

A station upgrade was completed in 1989. The most fundamental and controversial aspect of the work was the elimination of separate male and female toilets (though they were later reinstated). As well the general waiting room was demolished.

In 2015, as part of a program to improve station accessibility for the public, the station received a footbridge from the eastern side of Hampden Road to the island platform (with weather and impact protection); a lift from Hampden Road to the footbridge; a lift from the footbridge to the island platform; and a gated and alarmed emergency egress stair from the footbridge to Hampden Road;

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 Building the railway network-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Utilities-Activities associated with the provision of services, especially on a communal basis (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
(S. Sharp) Artarmon station is historically significant as it demonstrates a number of the policies and practices of the NSW railways, with the history of the Artarmon station buildings mirroring the history of the overall railway administration in NSW. The buildings on the site were erected in the 1890-1930 period when there was much expansion of the network. Artarmon grew when the system grew, involving easing of the gradient through the station, duplication of the line and electrification. The architecture of the station is Australian and emerged during the matching period of the development of Australian cultural identity. When that expansion was over, so too did things settle at Artarmon station. After 1930, there was virtually no change to the size of the overall State network and pattern of administration of the NSWGR and this was reflected in an almost absence of developments at Artarmon station.
The station has historical links to the early formation of the suburb of Artarmon, including the land development of Mayor Thomas Broughton (Broughton Estate), that directly resulted in the timing of the establishment of Artarmon station. The station is also of historical interest for its potential historical links with Old Glenbrook station.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The station is associated with Mayor Thomas Broughton, whose early estate development and political position influenced the establishment of the station at this location. As well as a politician, Broughton was a businessman and landowner, and he was elected mayor on 9 November 1846 and served on the council until 31 October 1851.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The station building is an island platform, well proportioned and detailed. In saying this, there have been a number of modifications and upgrades, that compromise its aesthetic and architectural value. It does retain some significant features and fabric, including external brickwork, with tuck pointing, the original roof alignment, platform verandahs, the stepped nature of the floor, fenestration, internal glazing & joinery, and ticket windows. The station is also within a natural setting that contributes to its aesthetic appeal and north shore line character. The subway is mostly original, and features arched brickwork and stone capping, though its condition is deteriorating.
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]
The station is also of interest because of its location on an embankment well above the surrounding township and with its subway access demonstrating the variety of ways of access to stations.
SHR Criteria g)
Artarmon station is an example of a standard late period island station building in the suburban area and has representative features of the North Shore Line stations. While significant as part of the larger group of similar stations on this line, it is not considered a particularly good example due to a number of changes and modifications. The subway is representative of this form of access to stations and is able to demonstrate this.
Integrity/Intactness: The station has a low degree of integrity. The internal and external form has been significantly modified such that the original is difficult to read. Some external features and the subway remain.
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 registerArtarmon Railway Station Group4801894   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Heritage Platforms Conservation Management Strategy2015 Australian Museum Consulting  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenStuart Sharp Artarmon: The Mystery of the Moving Station Buildings

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: 4801894

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