Denistone Railway Station Group | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Denistone Railway Station Group

Item details

Name of item: Denistone Railway Station Group
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: West Parade, Denistone, NSW 2114
Local govt. area: Ryde

Boundary:

North: a line across the tracks 50 metres north of the overbridge; South: a line across the tracks 15 metres south from the end of the platform;East: the property boundary at East Parade and Symonds Reserve;West: the property boundary at West Parade.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
West ParadeDenistoneRyde  Primary Address
East ParadeDenistoneRyde  Alternate Address
Gordon CrescentDenistoneRyde  Alternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Denistone Railway Station is of local significance as one of a number of inter-war railway stations in NSW that collectively demonstrate changes taking place in society between the wars, a time of great social upheaval in the aftermath of WWI and the Great Depression, with WWII looming. Its design tangibly demonstrates the railway's response to these wider social changes and the impacts they had on architectural design at the time. As an example of an austere, domestic-scale, Inter-War railway station the place has direct associations with Chief Civil Engineer, Albert Fewtrell, whose appointment in 1932 signalled a departure from old architectural notions (based on Victorian & Edwardian period styles) as the railways began to experiment with new domestic architectural models and adapting them for railway use.

Denistone is the only station of its type in NSW to retain all its original elements in largely unmodified form and in a setting of domestic housing of a similar period and scale, which retains its historic setting with a rare and exceptional degree of integrity. It is in near-original condition and retains all of its key elements from the opening of the station in 1937. The high degree of integrity of Denistone Station, enhances its ability to demonstrate Fewtrell's influence on railway design in the Inter-War period and the integrity of the station within its historic setting, effectively retains the ability of the site to evoke life in suburban Sydney in the mid twentieth century. The footbridge and overhead booking office are of exceptional heritage significance, and contribute strongly to an intact Sydney suburban ensemble from the 1930s.
Date significance updated: 17 Feb 17
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.

Description

Designer/Maker: New South Wales Department of Railways
Builder/Maker: New South Wales Department of Railways
Physical description: Former Booking Office, Type 19 (1937)
Station Building (Conveniences Building), Type 13 (1937)
Station Building (Shelter Shed), Type 13 (1937)
Platforms (1937)
Retaining Walls (1937)
Overbridge (1937)
Footbridge (1937)

CONTEXT
The Inter-War Denistone Railway Station is situated between Eastwood and West Ryde Railway Stations on the Short North line. It is located at the intersection of Gordon Crescent and East and West Parades. The station is entered from the Gordon Crescent overbridge, past a former Booking Office with access to a footbridge with stairs leading to two wide platforms, set within a deep cutting with brick retaining walls. The station is centrally located in an area of predominately Inter-War and post WWII residential development with a number of parks and no adjacent commercial zone. Many of the surrounding houses date from the same period as the station and are built from similar materials, forming a cohesive suburban group. All of the major elements of the station date from the opening of the station in 1937 have had few modifications since that time.

FORMER BOOKING OFFICE (1937)
Exterior: Forming a link between the overbridge and the footbridge is the former booking office. This is a weatherboard building with a hipped Marseille tiled roof, supported on steel girders linking the footbridge to the overbridge. The building provides a large covered area to the north, supported on timber columns, providing a covered access to the footbridge. At the rear of the building, the roof similarly extends over the footbridge on timber posts. Some weatherboards have been replaced with acrylic siding, but the building retains it original form, though some openings have been removed. Extant windows are double-hung timber-framed sash windows with the exception of one former ticket window, now obscured by a security roller.

The building has no decorative elements and is characterised by an overall severity of form that is typical of 1940s domestic architecture.

The 1937 drawings indicate that this structure originally had three windows for ticket sales (one on the overbridge and two on the side passage), a door to a small parcels office facing Gordon Crescent and a small room for the ticket collector at ticket control gates. These drawings also indicate that the station had a horizontally ribbed galvanised iron awning with an illuminated sign facing Gordon Crescent, which is no longer extant: the building now has a simple cantilevered awning of corrugated metal sheeting and lined on the underside with plasterboard.

On the north-western corner of the former booking office is evidence of a former bookstall. Original drawings indicate that this was a small structure, partly cantilevered over the platform, with a counter facing the booking office. Structural steel framing, indicating the footprint of this structure is still extant.

Interior: The interior of the building could not be accessed as the station is unattended. It is likely to be one single space, originally used as a combined ticket office and station masters room.

STATION BUILDING - CONVENIENCES BUILDING (1937)
Exterior: Located on Platform 1/2 is a small Conveniences Building, dating from 1937. This is essentially a larger version of the Shelter Shed on Platform 3/4, with a similar form, materials and details. Both of these buildings are austere in character and in near original condition. The walls of the Conveniences Building are constructed in red face brick with single courses of perpendicular stretcher bond at ground level, as a string course, and at the top of engaged piers. The side elevations have a wide infilled opening, indicating the location of windows now obscured. The hipped roof is cantilevered to the south with two large steel brackets, forming an awning over the main opening. The shallow pitched roof is clad in Marseille patterned terracotta tiles.

Interior: The original drawings indicate that this building originally provided a Ladies waiting room with toilet, Men's toilet and a storeroom. All of these spaces were inaccessible, so the condition and nature of these spaces were not inspected. The Ladies waiting room could be inspected through a large steel gate and it was similar in materials, details, finishes and layout to the waiting room in the Shelter Shed on Platform 3/4. The original drawings indicate that this waiting room originally had timber flooring and a curving in-built timber seat, which has been replaced by three standard SRA bench seats, affixed to the floor.

STATION BUILDING (SHELTER SHED) (1937)
Exterior: Located on Platform 3/4 is a small shelter shed, dating from 1937. This building is very similar to the building on Platforms 1/2, but smaller, with a similar form, materials and details. Both of these buildings are austere in character and in near original condition. The walls of the shelter shed are of red face brick with single courses of perpendicular stretcher bond at ground level, as a string course, and at the top of engaged piers. The side elevations have a wide infilled opening, indicating the location of windows now obscured. The hipped roof is cantilevered to the north by means of two large steel brackets, forming an awning over the main opening. The shallow pitched roof is clad in Marseille patterned terracotta tiles.

Interior: The interior of the building comprises a single room with seating for passengers. All walls are rendered with a moulded string course and the ceiling is painted plasterboard with battens, with a simple painted timber quad moulding as a cornice. Two inside walls have three timber framed windows which have been boarded up. The concrete floor is tiled, with later tiled skirting. The waiting room is not currently accessible (2009), with a large steel gate filling the entrance opening.

The original drawings indicate that this Shelter Shed originally had timber flooring and a curving in-built timber seat, which has been replaced by three standard SRA bench seats, affixed to the floor.

PLATFORMS (1937)
Denistone has two wide island platforms with projecting cantilevered platform edges over concrete faces. The surfaces are of asphalt. Documentary evidence indicates that when constructed the two platforms had brick faces on each side, making provision for additional tracks, which were added in 1978 and 1987. It is likely that these original brick faces are extant but obscured by the more recent concrete faces. Its unclear if Platform 4 has original steel rail post and concrete cast in situ panels - style is very similar to Platforms 2-3, but details suggest later c1950s construction. Concrete foot steps out at base of wall below panels and open box drain runs along base of wall. Also 8 large concrete boxes along base of wall associated with drain.

Each platform has a small austere building, providing facilities for travellers, original double-headed lights, two small garden beds and standard SRA bins and seating.

RETAINING WALLS (1937)
Starting low at the eastern end of the station and gaining in height until the Gordon Crescent overbridge, there are brick retaining walls lining the cutting and forming the edge of the railway corridor. Along the northern edge, this retaining wall continues along the railway corridor towards Eastwood Station for over 50 metres.

OVERBRIDGE (1937)
At the northern end of the station is a brick overbridge with a concrete deck on steel girders supported on brick piers and concrete abutments with some additional steel supports. It has a brick parapet wall with some wire mesh openings every second bay.

FOOTBRIDGE - INCLUDING TICKET OFFICE (1937)
Providing access to the two island platforms and linking to the overbridge is a steel footbridge with concrete treads and decking. The footbridge has a steel truss frame structure and cast iron star-type newell posts. Steel is from BHP Port Kembla. The footbridge retains most of its original balustrading, comprising wrought iron panels of steel flat steel rectangular sections, painted with micaceous paint. The original handrails are also extant, terminating in an elegant curve of diminishing size.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Former Booking Office (1937) - Good condition
Station Building (Conveniences Building) (1937) - Good condition
Station Building (Shelter Shed) (1937) - Good condition
Platforms (1937) - Good condition
Retaining Walls (1937) - Good condition
Overbridge (1937) - Good condition
Footbridge (1937) - Good condition
Date condition updated:15 Oct 08
Modifications and dates: 1945: Minor modifications to overbridge
1980s: Quadruplication of the main line thorugh Denistone- arrangement altered to include two island platforms
N.d: mininal CityRail modifications.
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Nil

History

Historical notes: The Sydney suburb of Denistone is located within the Ryde LGA, which lies to the north-west of the centre of Sydney between the Parramatta and Lane Cove Rivers.

The Field of Mars Common, established by Governor King in 1804, covers most of the present-day Ryde Local Government Area. Originally comprising 5050 acres, it was established to provide local settlers with additional grazing land to free up their own grants for cropping. Land was gradually released from the Common from the early 1830s onwards and transferred to private individuals. Land in and around the Common began to be known as Ryde from the early 1840s.

The present-day suburb of Denistone is to the south of the former Field of Mars Common and north of the Parramatta River. Land on the riverbank was granted to William Balmain in 1799. This land grant was named Meadow Bank, giving the suburb of Meadowbank its name. Balmain also owned land to the north of the Meadow Bank Estate, which was named Chatham Farm. By the 1820s, both the Meadow Bank and Chatham Estates were in the ownership of the Bennett family. In 1855, Major Edward Darvall purchased the Chatham Farm Estate, which encompassed land to the south-west of today’s Denistone railway station. (Pollon 1996: 93, 169; http://www.ryde.nsw.gov.au/ryde/history.htm accessed 10 June 2009).

Ryde was proclaimed as a municipality in 1870. During the nineteenth century, this part of Sydney remained largely rural and was sparsely settled due to its isolation. It was opened up to settlement in the second half of the century when a bill was passed in 1874 for the resumption and sale of the remainder of the Field of Mars Common. However, it was not until 1885 that the Government surveyed and subdivided the common for sale. It was hoped that these land releases would help fund the new northern railway from Strathfield to Newcastle via Hornsby (the Short North), which was to snake through the former Common and would provide access to properties on the new subdivisions.

A single railway line between Sydney and Hornsby was completed and officially opened in 1886. The following year, the line was extended from Hornsby to the Hawkesbury River. The Hawkesbury River Bridge was completed in 1889, completing the railway link between Strathfield and Newcastle and the line was duplicated by 1892. The railway line between Strathfield and Hornsby, through the former Field of Mars Common, encouraged land speculation in the area and led to increased settlement and land subdivisions into the early twentieth century. Denistone was not however, one of the original stops along this line.

The appointment of Albert Fewtrell as Chief Civil Engineer in 1932 signalled a departure from old architectural notions (based on Victorian & Edwardian period styles) as the railways began to experiment with new domestic architectural models and adapting them for railway use. An organisation that had been obsessed with standardisation produced such a variety of architectural styles in a comparatively short time frame. Whilst standardisation did continue, within the design parameters of Functionalist style, the railways were able to create several recognisably different styles, which did not exist outside the Railways. The domestic scale buildings introduced hipped roofs on station buildings, which was a significant departure from the Victorian/Federation/Edwardian period styles that had preceded it, where the gabled roof was dominant. Although the buildings were well executed, they failed to set the architectural world on fire and did not become the dominant form for station buildings of this period. Denistone Station was an early example of this type. Most examples of this style were erected in the mid-1930s but the style was spasmodically revived in the 1940s and 1950s for single stations such as Gerringong. Civic, Griffith, Dulwich Hill, Denistone, Morisset, Carramar and Kempsey Stations are all examples of 20th Century Generic Domestic station buildings. They represent the Railways' first attempts to embrace and experiment with new architectural forms and philosophies. Denistone, Mullumbimby and Griffith Stations in particular exemplify this style, developed by the SRA and unique to the NSW railways. The buildings are characterised by monochromatic brickwork, hipped tiled roofs, steel framed windows and architectural elements that are more commonly associated with domestic construction of the 1925-1960 period.

The subdivision of the Rydedale Estate began 1900 and at the Denistone Estate in 1913. The Outlook Estate, on the south-western side of the railway line, was offered for sale by subdivision in 1929. One of the building covenants for the estate was for all buildings to be constructed using brick, which led to the distinctive architectural character of the area. Sales were initially slow due to the economic Depression of the 1930s and the Second World War, which led to shortages in building materials and labour. As a result, most of the houses on the Outlook Estate were built in the late 40s and 1950s. (http://www.ryde.nsw.gov.au/WEB/SITE/RESOURCES/DOCUMENTS/Planning/outlook_estate.pdf accessed 10 June 2009).

Suburban development along the Strathfield-Hornsby railway line into the 1920s and 30s facilitated the need for a new railway station to serve the growing population between West Ryde and Eastwood. The Short North railway line was electrified in 1929, which reduced the travel time to the city. The train station at Denistone, between West Ryde to the south and Eastwood to the north, was officially opened on 26 September 1937. There is some suggestion that this later construction date was due to the steep gradient of the station site, compared to other railway stations on the line; the steep gradient also accounts for the unusual configuration of the tracks and sidings at this station. When constructed, the station had two island platforms, with the tracks running between the two platforms, making provision for additional tracks: the third track was added on 23 October 1978 and the fourth track added in 1987.

The arrangement of the platforms and station buildings appears to be in near-original (1937) condition, with few modifications having been made since. This is unlike most of the other stations in the Metropolitan network and along the Short North line. Denistone Railway Station was threatened with closure in 2001 due to low patronage. Following community pressure, it was decided to keep the station open, due to its proximity to Ryde Hospital.

Quadruplication of the main line between West Ryde and Epping (through Denistone and Eastwood) was completed by the 1980s. As a result, Denistone Railway Station now comprises two island platforms. One island platform serves the Down main line and the Down relief line, while the other island platform serves the Up main line and the Up relief line.

The original small brick station buildings (Waiting Rooms) remain extant, as do the two sets of access stairs.

The Booking Office remains in near original condition on the overbridge with only minor modifications in 1945. Even though a general modernisation of station facilities has been completed at most CityRail railway stations, the modifications and modernisation at Denistone has been minimal.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Creating railway landscapes-
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-
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 engineering and architecture-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Denistone Railway Station has local historical significance. While there was some development in the local area prior to the construction of the station, it encouraged the increasing subdivision and suburban residential development of the immediate vicinity.

Denistone Station is also one of a number of Inter-War railway stations in NSW that collectively demonstrate changes taking place in society between the wars, a time of great social upheaval in the aftermath of WWI and the Great Depression, with WWII looming. Its design tangibly demonstrates the railway's response to these wider social changes and the impacts they had on architectural design at the time.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Denistone station appears to be one of the earlier domestic scale station designs of Railways Chief Civil Engineer, Albert Fewtrell, whose appointment in 1932 signalled a departure from old architectural notions (based on Victorian & Edwardian period styles) as the railways began to experiment with new domestic architectural models and adapting them for railway use. The high degree of integrity of Denistone Station, enhances its ability to demonstrate Fewtrell's influence on railway design in the Inter-War period.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Denistone Railway Station has aesthetic significance as an example of an austere, domestic -scale, Inter-War railway station in near original condition. Comparison to original drawings of the station indicate that very limited change has occurred on this site since the station was opened in 1937. The shelter shed and conveniences building, are particularly notable for their use of face brickwork, severe design and atypical features within the context of extant Inter-War Stations on the network.

The aesthetic value of the group is enhanced by the setting of the station in an area of Inter-War to early 1950s housing using similar materials and forms as the station. This grouping effectively retains the historic setting of the station group and the ability of the site to evoke life in suburban Sydney in the mid twentieth century.

The configuration of the platforms demonstrates the technical limitations of the steam engines originally using this line, which had difficulty negotiating the steep gradient on this part of the line.
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]
Denistone Railway Station has research significance as it is an important reference site as an interesting and austere example of an domestic style Inter-War Railway Station in near-original condition. It one of only six stations in the state to demonstrate the key characteristics of the railway domestic style and appears to be the most intact group.

The site has no known archaeological research potential.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Denistone Railway Station is rare as an example of an austere Inter-War railway station in near original condition. Civic, Griffith, Dulwich Hill, Denistone, Mullumbimby and Morisset Stations are the only surviving examples of 20th Century Domestic architecture in a railway setting in NSW and Denistone is the only station of its type in NSW to retain all its original elements in largely unmodified form and in a setting of domestic housing of a similar period, which retains its historic setting with a rare degree of integrity.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Of the seventy odd planned stations of the Inter-War period, more than forty are extant of which thirty are located in the Sydney Metropolitan network. Civic, Griffith, Dulwich Hill, Denistone, Morisset, Carramar and Kempsey Stations are all examples of 20th Century Generic Domestic station buildings. They represent the Railways' first attempts to embrace and experiment with new architectural forms and philosophies. Denistone, Mullumbimby and Griffith Stations in particular have value as excellent examples of this style. This is unique to the NSW railways.

The footbridge was identified as an item of exceptional heritage significance in the 2016 ‘Railway Footbridges Heritage Conservation Strategy’. The footbridge contributes strongly to an intact Sydney suburban ensemble from the 1930s.

The Overhead Booking Office (OHBO) at Denistone was identified as the best example of an Interwar OHBO in the 2014 ‘Railway OHBO Heritage Conservation Strategy’ and of potential state significance. The OHBO has aesthetic significance as part of a cohesive group of standard Inter War period railway station structures, representative of suburban station design in the early twentieth century, and located in a residential setting with housing of a similar period and scale. The OHBO is particularly rare insofar as it retains much of its original internal cabinets substantially intact.
Integrity/Intactness: Denistone Railway Station has a high degree of integrity. It is in near-original condition and retains all of its key elements from the opening of the station in 1937. Very few modifications have been made since this time. The setting of the station also retains a high degree of integrity with its mid-twentieth century housing stock using similar materials and scale to the station itself.
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.

Recommendations

Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Statutory InstrumentNominate for State Heritage Register (SHR)17 Feb 17

Listings

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 Study1999SRA907, SRA857 (footbridge)State Rail Authority  No
Interwar Station Buildings: Analysis and Significance2001 Andrea Humphreys and Donald Ellsmore  No
S170 Heritage & Conservation Register Update2009 NSW Department of Commerce  Yes
Heritage Platforms Conservation Management Strategy2015 Australian Museum Consulting  Yes
Railway Footbridges Heritage Conservation Strategy 2016 NSW Government Architect’s Office Heritage Group  Yes
Railway Overhead Booking Offices Heritage Conservation Strategy2014 Australian Museum Consulting  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAndrea Humphries and Donald Ellsmore2002Inter-War Station Buildings: Analysis and Significance
WrittenC. C. Singleton The Short North. The Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin. Various issues.
WrittenCity of Ryde Council The History of Ryde- accessed 10 June 2009
WrittenCity of Ryde Council Treasures of the Outlook Estate- accessed 10 June 2009
WrittenJohn Forsyth Line Histories
WrittenRay Love2009Historical Research for RailCorp s170 Update
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.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: State Government
Database number: 4801907


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