Berowra Railway Station Group | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Berowra Railway Station Group

Item details

Name of item: Berowra Railway Station Group
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Pacific Highway, Berowra, NSW 2081
Local govt. area: Hornsby


North: Northern edge of road bridge; South: Southern (Up) edge of the island platform;East: Eastern edge of the Up line; West: Western edge of the Down line.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Pacific HighwayBerowraHornsby  Primary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Berowra Railway Station Group has local heritage significance. Like many historic railway stations in NSW the station complex is able to evoke a former era of travel, communication and trade provided by the grouping of the station building, island platform and overbridge. The station is one of the original stops on the first section of the Short North Line constructed between Homebush and the Hawkesbury River in 1887. As such it has historic associations with the rail linkage of Sydney and Newcastle and like many railway stations, it affected the urban development of the local township with the early commercial centre of Berowra clustered around the station. The site has aesthetic significance, associated with the station building - an example of early twentieth century railway station design with fabric and details typical of this period and similar to other rail buildings of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in the Sydney region.
Date significance updated: 20 Mar 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.


Designer/Maker: NSW Department of Railways
Builder/Maker: NSW Department of Railways
Construction years: 1909-
Physical description: BUILDINGS
Station Building, Platforms 1-2, (1909)

Platforms 1-3, (1909, 2007)
Footbridge, (c1990s)
Overbridge, (1909)

Berowra Railway Station is located east of the Pacific Highway at Berowra. It has: three platforms, the westernmost of which (closest to the road) is modern (Platform 3); a large modern footbridge with lift towers at the northern end of the platforms; an early 20th century station building on an island platform (Platforms 1-2); and a road bridge at the northern tip of the station. There is also an easement approximately 10m wide on either side of the railway tracks, but no visible evidence of former sidings or the original station buildings. The station is sitting slightly down slope of the Pacific Highway and is screened from the road by trees. There is a small commercial strip on the western side of the Pacific Highway immediately across the road from the station.

External: The Berowra Railway Station building is located between the two lines on the island platform (Platforms 1-2) and comprises a single storey face brick building in English bond with a corrugated iron gable roof. On each platform is a large awning, supported on cast iron brackets, which are in turn supported on painted stone brackets, which are part of the brick engaged piers of the station building. Timber valances fill the ends of the awnings. The station building features rendered detailing including cornices, architraves, string-courses and sill, timber-framed double hung sash window. A modesty wall has been added to screen the entrance to the men's toilets, which are directly accessed through a door in the southern end of the building. The ticket window has been relocated to the northern end of the building and a modern awning erected above the window. The building is circled by a concrete box drain with cast iron grate covering. Some of the doorsteps are standard SRA concrete with metal foot scraper inserts.

Internal: The building has painted plaster and cement rendered walls, painted joinery of a high quality and ceilings of fibrous plaster sheeting. Floors are wooden with linoleum or concrete. All of the office furniture and fittings as well as the ticket window are modern. The Station Managers office and current ticketing room, one of which was probably the original waiting room, retain evidence of former fireplaces and an early electric signal box. The building generally retains its original double-hung windows and decorative air vents. None of the doors appear to be original and fanlights have been replaced with fixed glass or wooden panels. Floor finishes and light fixtures are modern.

PLATFORMS (1909, 2007)
The western platform (Platform 3 - adjacent to down line for express and continuing northern trains) is a modern structure built in 2007 with a concrete platform, supported on a steel structure. This platform has a modern open shelter structure in steel with a skillion roof.

The island platform dates from the early 20th century. Platform 2 retains its original brick faces, while Platform 1 has been extended in concrete (c1957?). The original faces may still be behind the concrete extension, but were not visible. All platforms include standard modern SRA furniture, bins and fences.

At the northern end of the platforms between the platforms and overbridge is a modern concrete footbridge with steel lift structures, providing access from the Pacific Highway to all three platforms.

At the northern end of the station is a brick overbridge, with two arches over the railway lines. A wider arch spans two tracks on the western end of the bridge and a narrower arch is over the single track to the east. The concrete arches are supported by brick piers laid in Colonial bond. There is evidence, in the form of an infilled opening in the parapet of the bridge, of a former set of stairs that went from the road bridge to the platform. The deck of the bridge is modern concrete.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Station Building - Good Condition
Platform - Good Condition
Footbridge - Very Good Condition (modern)
Overbridge - Moderate Condition

Platform 3, which was built on the western side of the through line (closest to the Pacific Highway) in 2007, is located in the former location of the original timber waiting shed, platform, office and stores buildings. There was also a railway siding in this area. The construction of this new platform and access way is likely to have removed or substantially disturbed any archaeological evidence of the original station complex. The former Station Master's Residence fronted the Pacific Highway immediately adjacent to the current pedestrian entrance on its southern side. Some archaeological evidence of this building and artefact deposits associated with it may remain, but these are likely to have been disturbed by levelling and the introduction of vegetation in this area. The archaeological potential is considered to be low.
Date condition updated:19 Mar 09
Modifications and dates: 1957: Platforms were modified to allow for operation of the wide electric rollingstock when the electrification was extended from Hornsby to Cowan.
1990s: Down relief line was provided, allowing fast north-bound passenger and express trains to pass around local trains which had terminated at Berowra. (Local trains now terminate at Berowra in lieu of the previous arrangement, whereby local trains terminated at Cowan). As part of the upgraded facilities, access to the platforms is provided by a new pedestrian overbridge and steps at the northern end, in lieu of the former access from the brick vehicle overbridge which remains essentially intact apart from the removal of the station steps.
2007: A new passenger platform provided allowing faster through passenger trains to provide a passenger service even though a local train is standing at the island platform. The relief road diverges from the down main line south of the platform and rejoins the down line near the present-day brick overbridge.
N.d: In recent years, some minor modifications and improvements have been carried out to platform lighting, seating, shelters and other features to provide better facilities for train passengers.
N.d: Internal modifications have been made following the change in operational requirements. Waiting rooms have been eliminated. The parcels office has been removed. The ticket office window has been relocated to the Down platform side wall. A stud wall has split the former Ladies' Waiting Room diagonally.
2010: New carpark constructed adjacent to the station curtilage
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Nil


Historical notes: The Strathfield to Hornsby section of the Northern line was opened for traffic on 17 September 1886. The line was constructed as a ‘single line’ and Hornsby became the temporary terminus and remained so until the extension to Hawkesbury River was opened in 1887. Two intermediate stations were opened within a few months of the opening (Colah and Berowra, with Colah later renamed ‘Mount Colah’).

Berowra Railway Station was opened in 1887, a few months after the official opening of the line from Hornsby to Hawkesbury River. At the time of opening, Berowra station was an unattended platform on the down side of the line opposite the location of the present station. A goods siding was opened on the down side of the line near the original single platform.

Duplication of the main line reached Berowra in 1909 when the various sections between Hornsby and Hawkesbury River were completed. A new island platform was opened at Berowra on 28 February 1909, opposite the original single line platform. Access to the station was via a set of steps down from a new brick overbridge at the northern end of the island platform. The current station building dates from this period and was erected as a standard NSWGR design using a linear floor pattern.

Automatic signalling was installed in the Berowra area in 1928 and the suburban electrification network was extended from Hornsby to Cowan (including Berowra) in 1958.

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 Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Impacts of railways on urban form-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Like many historic railway stations in NSW the station complex is able to evoke a former era of travel, communication and trade. The site's ability to demonstrate the historic age of rail travel is provided by the grouping of the station building, island platform and overbridge, but is diminished by the modern footbridge and awning and the modifications to the layout of the station building - in particular the loss of the waiting rooms, original ticket office and parcels office.

The station is one of the original stops on the first section of the Short North Line constructed between Homebush and the Hawkesbury River in 1887. As such it has historic associations with the rail linkage of Sydney and Newcastle and like many railway stations, it affected the urban development of the local township with the early commercial centre of Berowra clustered around the station.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The site has a moderate degree of aesthetic significance, associated with the station building. The building is an example of early twentieth century railway station design with fabric and details typical of this period and is similar to other rail buildings of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in the Sydney region.
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 archaeological research potential of the site is low. Evidence associated with the Station Master's Residence is unlikely to yield significant new information about the design of Station Master's Residences or domestic life in the late nineteenth century, there being ample examples of extant residences and numerous late century domestic sites having been subject to archaeological investigation in Sydney. Information about rural life in the late century may be of interest in a local context, but the evidence is likely to be compromised by the disturbed nature of the site.
SHR Criteria g)
The platform building, island platform and overbridge are representative of structures built at Sydney railway stations between 1892 and 1929 and especially the period between 1909 and 1917. None are outstanding examples of their type, due to later modifications and a resulting loss of integrity. Other examples of station buildings of this type remain with a higher level of integrity in the Metro North region, including Hawkesbury River and Ourimbah stations.
Integrity/Intactness: While the exterior is largely intact, the interior has been modified to meet ever-changing operational requirements. The original access to the station via the overbridge has been removed along with the original 1887 platform and station shelter. The site as a whole is considered to have only a moderate degree 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 register     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
State Rail Authority Heritage Register Study1999SRA897State Rail Authority  No
S170 Heritage & Conservation Register Update2009 NSW Department of Commerce  Yes
Heritage Platforms Conservation Management Strategy2015 Australian Museum Consulting  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenC. C. Singleton The Short North. The Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin. Various issues.
WrittenHeritage Concepts Pty Ltd2005Historic Archaeological Research Design and Methodology in Support of s140 Permit Application: Berowra Railway Station Platform 3 and Easy Access Upgrade Project
WrittenJohn Forsyth Line Histories
WrittenMayne-Wilson & Associates2009Combined Heritage,Visual &Archaeological Impacts Assessments of Communter Car Park
WrittenRay Love2009Historical Research for RailCorp s170 Update
WrittenS.A. Sharp1982The Railway Stations of NSW 1855-1980, M. Ec (Hons) thesis
WrittenState Rail Authority of New South Wales1995How and Why of Station Names. Fourth Edition

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

rez rez rez rez rez rez
rez rez rez
(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: State Government
Database number: 4801897

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.

All information and pictures on this page are the copyright of the Heritage Division or respective copyright owners.