Bankstown Railway Station Group | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Bankstown Railway Station Group

Item details

Name of item: Bankstown Railway Station Group
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: North Terrace, Bankstown, NSW 2200
Local govt. area: Bankstown


North: 5 metres past the edge of Platform 1South: A line that extends 5 metres past the former Parcels Office and runs in the east-west directionEast: 5 metres past the end of the Platforms West: 5 metres past the edge of the Platform 1 (excluding the overbridge and street level shops)
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
North TerraceBankstownBankstown  Primary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Bankstown Railway Station complex has local significance as a station which dates from the early 20th century expansion of the railways between Belmore and Bankstown undertaken to accommodate suburban development, particularly the war service residential development which took place during the interwar period. The collection of railway structures dating from the 1909 opening of the station and its expansion in the 1940s reflect the real estate boom in the area and the development of Bankstown into a major centre. The ‘initial island’ platform building, Railway Stripped Functionalist style former parcels office, timber overhead booking office and footbridge collectively characterise the type of construction and architectural style employed in early 20th century railway station buildings and associated structures in the Sydney region.
Date significance updated: 14 Jul 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 Government Railways
Builder/Maker: George Leggo
Construction years: 1908-1948
Physical description: BUILDINGS
Platform building, Platform 1-2 (Type 11) (1909, 1923)
Overhead Booking Office (Type 19) (1948)
Former Parcels Office, (1948)

Platform 1/2, (1909, modified 1923, 1926)
Canopies, (modern)
Footbridge, (1948)
Overbridge, (1909)

Bankstown Railway Station is accessed from North Terrace and Old Town Centre Plaza. It has one island platform, an original building on the platform, an overhead booking office, a footbridge and a former parcels office which is located on the south side of the station opposite the east end of the platform. There is a considerably high level of commercial activity on either side of the station.

External: Rectangular building eight bays long with stretcher bond brickwork. The bays are defined by engaged brick piers that have decorative concrete corbels and standard steel double bowed brackets that support cantilevered awnings. The awnings which have curtain board fascia are integrated with the gable roof of the building and the roofing material for both the awning and the roof is corrugated steel. The roof has original timber finials. The brickwork is polychromatic with dark bricks throughout and a dado of lighter ochre coloured bricks which are also repeated at a ceiling level as a moulded course. Original chimneys with cement mouldings and terracotta flues have been retained.

The external walls rise from a projecting brick plinth with a decorative two part cement dado moulding which is continuous between door and window openings. Cement window and door frames rise from the dado moulding. Most of the door and window openings are original and the windows feature a decorative moulded cement sill. The original timber windows were double hung with double paned lower sashes and in some cases louvred upper sashes and in others multi-paned upper sashes featuring coloured glass. The doors are timber panelled and had fanlights fitted with multi-paned coloured glass sashes. The eastern end brick gable wall features a louvre within a round brick window framed in voussoir shaped bricks, with four cement keystones. Most of the original windows have been retained, while some have been fitted with steel safety grills towards the inside and in other cases a few windows have been removed and the openings have been bricked in. Most of the original doors have been retained, and some have been fitted with flyscreen meshes towards the outer side and aluminium safety grills towards the inside. The original door opening to the eastern end gable wall has been readjusted so as to centre it, and it has been fitted with a new timber panelled door and fanlight. Part of the western end gable wall has been demolished and the openings created have been fitted with two new multi-paned windows and fanlights.

Internal: The building was originally six bays long and comprised of a booking office, a general waiting room, a ladies waiting room with an attached lavatory and male toilets. In 1923 two bays were added to the eastern end of the building and a parcels office was incorporated as part of the building. Currently the building comprises of a control room, staff locker and lounge areas, public toilets and a store. Original pressed metal ceilings with ceiling roses have been retained in some of the rooms.

External: It is a weatherboard structure occupying most of the western side of the footbridge and it includes an office space to the north. The booking office has ticket windows facing onto the concourse. The attached office space has an original timber double hung window with multi-paned upper and lower sashes and an original timber multi-paned pivot fanlight. Both the windows have been fitted with steel safety grills to the outside. Adjacent to the booking office is a three storey brick shopping centre which is not included in this listing.

Internal: The original booking office was larger than it is currently. Part of the southern end of the original booking office was partitioned off and integrated with the tenancy space next to it. All the original windows along the western face of the booking office have been removed. There were initially five ticketing windows and one has been retained. Other original fabric that remains includes the original internal wall between the booking office and office space to its north and all steel structural columns.

External: The parcels office is a Railway Stripped Functionalist style building. It is a polychromatic brick face, flat roofed structure with asymmetrical massing. The building is accessible from the tracks and from the street as it has an entrance portal to its western face, a brick and concrete entrance portico to its eastern face and a timber and metal platform facing the tracks. The building has a number of Interwar Functionalist influenced elements such as steel-framed circular porthole windows, steel-framed, multi-paned ribbon windows which are set within recessed and continuous stretches of concrete sills and lintels. The parcels office is currently used as a storage facility.

PLATFORM (1909, modified 1923, 1926)
Platform 1 (Up) and Platform 2 (Down) have brick faces and together they form an island platform arrangement. PLatform 1 coping has been raised in concrete.

CANOPIES (modern)
The canopy which covers the space on the platforms between the platform building and the stairs leading down from the footbridge is a recent structure. It is composed of a series of overlapping canopies. The central canopy has two sections, one is a gabled roof structure made of aluminium and glass, the other is corrugated steel, flat roofed structure, and it is flanked on either side by corrugated steel, skillion roofed canopies. All the canopies rest on steel I columns and beams.

The footbridge runs over the western end of the platforms. The entrances to the station are from Old Town Centre Plaza and North Terrace via the footbridge. However unlike this north-south orientated entrance, the original entrance to the station was along the east-west central axis of the footbridge connecting the existing stairs to the overbridge to the west. The footbridge comprises of a concourse area and stairs that lead down to the platforms. It is made of in-situ reinforced concentre slabs resting on a system of steel columns, girders and braces and is a fully covered structure. It has weatherboard walls and a combination of roof types including pyramid roofs and hipped roofs and all the roofs are made of corrugated steel sheeting. The original functions on the footbridge included a booking office and newsagency along its western end, two porter cabins and a staff room to the eastern edge. Currently the footbridge accommodates the booking office, a newsagency along its west end, the station manager’s office at its south-western corner, a lift and ticket barriers to its north-western end. A large c1980s SRA acrylic red and white "Railway Station" sign faces the small retail arcade between the station and North Terrace.

The North Terrace overbridge crosses over the western end of the railway station and runs parallel to the footbridge. The structure is a modified steel jack-arch overbridge which comprises of filled in arched brickwork between steel web-girders, supported by central brick piers and side brick abutments. The bridge has been widened and modified with new concrete structure and has new surfacing. The overbridge is currently being converted into a pedestrian-only area. It has commercial activity on either side.

There is a palm tree planted next to the eastern end entrance portico of the former parcels office and it is possible that the tree was planted at the time of construction of the parcels office.

Cast metal lettering on exterior walls of Parcels Office
Painted lettering on interior walls of Parcels Office
Cast iron safe in Parcels Office
Reproduction heritage-style lamp posts on platform
Red and white "Railway Station" sign in retail arcade between station and North Terrace.

Based on the surviving documentation and the evidence on site it is unlikely there would be any potential archaeological remains at Bankstown Railway Station.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The building is in a good condition externally and internally.

The Booking Office is a good condition.

The building is in a moderate condition. It has plant growth over its east, west and south facades and organic growth at the south-east and south-west corners of the building.

The platforms are in good condition.

The canopies are in good condition

The footbridge is in a good condition

The overbridge is in a good condition

The palm tree is in a good condition
Date condition updated:06 Jul 09
Modifications and dates: 1909: Platform building constructed with six bays
1910: Water tank constructed on south side of station
1915: Parcels Office erected.
1923: Platform building extended by addition of two new bays to its west
1925: New Booking and Parcels Offices at entrance from overbridge.
1926: Railway electrified and platforms extended.
1948: Existing Overhead Booking Office, footbridge and existing former Parcels Office constructed
c.1970s: Water tank demolished
1981: Airspace development over tracks at western side of overbridge.
1998. Station upgrade. New large openings formed in west wall, symmetrically placed in elevation. Steel framed awning erected adjacent to west gable end, partially obscuring timber detailing, but gable end timber work remains intact.
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Nil


Historical notes: Bankstown was named after Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820), the botanist with Captain James Cook. Governor Hunter selected the site near the Georges River for a town and named it Banks Town in 1798.

The Sydenham to Bankstown Railway was opened with the initial terminus station at Belmore on 1 February 1895. The line had its origins in Railway Commissioner Goodchap’s 1882 recommendation that an additional line was needed between Newtown and Liverpool to relieve traffic on the Southern Line and to encourage agriculture and suburban settlement. Lobbying by local interests groups and land speculators achieved Parliamentary approval by 1890 and construction commenced in 1892. The most important stations on the line, Belmore, Canterbury and Marrickville, were built with impressive near-identical brick buildings, the other intermediate stations (Campsie, Dulwich Hill and Hurlstone Park) receiving more modest timber buildings (later replaced), possibly reflecting economies of the depression of the 1890s.

The depression suppressed the profitability of the line and the extension to Liverpool did not proceed. However, suburban development followed in the early twentieth century, particularly during the interwar period when many War Service homes were built west of Canterbury. The line was extended to Bankstown in 1909 and to Regents Park in the 1920s, making it part of a loop line through Lidcombe, its justification by then being the servicing of suburban development.

The construction contract for the Belmore to Bankstown section was awarded to Monie Bro on 13 November 1907. Bankstown Station was opened as a terminal on 14 April 1909, with Lakemba and Punchbowl Stations also opening at the same date. The extension of the line to Bankstown triggered a huge real estate boom in the area from 1909 until the late 1920s.

The original island platform was 145m long, with the tender for construction of the original brick buildings being awarded to George Albert Leggo on 25 August 1908. A contract was also awarded around this time for the construction of a Station Master’s Residence, which was to be located on the northern side of the tracks, near the goods yard and a goods shed built to the west of the old Chapel Road overbridge.

During 1910 a single tier water tank on a steel stand was erected on the south side, at the western end of the platform, near the overbridge, for the use of locomotives off terminating trains. The tank was removed in c1970s. In the early 1920s, a pillar water tank and ash pit were provided for the Up track locomotives.

The station expanded as Bankstown developed into a major centre. The station was provided with a parcels office in 1915, though this was superseded by a new parcels office and booking office in 1925, as well as platform extensions in 1926 for the electrification of the railway.

There was an accident at the station on 20 July 1936, when a rail motor collided with an electric train. In the 1980s there was development of airspace over the railway.

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 Making Railway Journeys-
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]
Bankstown Railway Station is historically significant at a local level as a station which dates from the early 20th century expansion of the railways between Belmore and Bankstown undertaken to accommodate the suburban development particularly the War Service residential development that took place during the interwar period along this line. The collection of railway structures dating from the 1909 opening of the station and its expansion in the 1940s reflects the real estate boom in the area and the development of Bankstown into a major centre. The extant 1909 ‘initial island’ platform building, platform and North Terrace overbridge exist alongside 1940s structures namely the Railway Stripped Functionalist former Parcels Office, timber Overhead Booking Office and footbridge, thereby representing the different phases of development of the station.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Bankstown Railway Station has local aesthetic significance with its 1909 ‘initial island’ platform building which has characteristic features of this type of station, namely the linear form, gable roof and integrated awnings. The Overhead Booking Office dating from 1940s has been altered considerably but it retains characteristic features namely the weatherboard construction and its continuing location on the footbridge. The former Parcels Office, with polychromatic brickwork, Interwar functionalist influenced steel-framed circular porthole windows, steel-framed, multi-paned ribbon windows and concentre lintels and sills, is an excellent example of the use of Railway Stripped Functionalist style in early 20th century suburban railway station architecture. The 1940s footbridge has been significantly altered in terms of its configuration and in terms of the stairs leading down to the platforms. However the original fabric, namely steel girders and concrete slabs and a superstructure comprising of steel beams, columns and trestles, has been retained and this is typical of such footbridges within the suburban network. The jack-arch overbridge has been altered with the removal of its brick parapets and the development of commercial strips along its east and west ends. However it retains typical features of such overbridges within the suburban network, namely the jack-arch and steel girders structure, brick piers and brick abutments. Therefore the form, fabric and detailing of the platform building, former Parcels Office, footbridge and overbridge characterises the type of construction and architectural style employed in early 20th century railway station buildings in the Sydney region.

The station does not have technical significance because the station, platform, footbridge and lines are examples of well documented types of railway structures from this period with no significant, unusual or innovative design variations or subsequent modifications.
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 past.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Based on existing evidence it is unlikely there would be any significant archaeological remains to be found at Bankstown Railway Station which would yield any further information about the cultural history of NSW Railways which could not be found in other surviving railway buildings or historical documentation.
SHR Criteria f)
The initial island platform building at Bankstown Railway Station is a common type of station building. There are 70 known examples of this type within the Sydney Metropolitan area (2009). The Overhead Booking Office is a common type of post 1900s timber Overhead Booking Office. There are approximately 21 known examples of this type within the Sydney Metropolitan area (2009). The footbridge and North Terrace overbridge are common examples of such structures within the suburban network. The only item at Bankstown Railway Station which has aesthetic rarity is the former Parcels Office which is constructed in Railway Stripped Functionalist style. Although the style is commonly employed for platform buildings throughout the Sydney Metropolitan area, the Bankstown former Parcels Office is amongst the few instances in which this architectural style has been employed for a building not located directly on the platform which therefore makes it a relatively uncommon example.
SHR Criteria g)
Bankstown Railway Station has an extant platform building which has been altered but it is still retains characteristic features of standard early 1900's platform building and is therefore representative of this type. An excellent example of this type of building which was built around the same time and retains a high level of integrity is located at Petersham Railway Station.
Although the footbridge has been altered it retains the characteristic superstructure of footbridges and is representative of standard footbridge design. The footbridge was identified as an item of little heritage significance in the 2016 ‘Railway Footbridges Heritage Conservation Strategy’. However, the strategy recommended detailed physical analysis prior to any change to confirm the significance of the structure.
The Overhead Booking Office has been altered but it retains characteristics features of this type of building and is therefore a representative example. The OHBO has not been assessed as part of a network-wide comparative analysis of similar structures, and further assessment is required.
Although the overbridge retains characteristic features of jack-arch overbridges it has been altered considerably with the removal of its brick parapets and the development to its east and west sides, and is therefore not a good representation of jack-arch construction.
Integrity/Intactness: PLATFORM BUILDING The building is externally in a relatively intact condition and although it has been considerably altered it retains internally original pressed metal ceilings and roses have been retained in some rooms. OVERHEAD BOOKING OFFICEThe Overhead Booking Office has a moderate level of intactness. Its location and external appearance has been largely retained. FORMER PARCELS OFFICE Externally the former Parcels Office has been retained in its original condition.PLATFORM The platforms retain their historical form. FOOTBRIDGE The footbridge has been significantly altered. Part of the footbridge which connected the platform to the overbridge has been incorporated within the commercial building that abuts the footbridge to the west. The stairs leading down to the platform have been modified in terms of modern corrugated metal roofing, in-situ concrete slabs, treads and risers, recently installed safety meshes and metal handrails. However the footbridge retains original fabric in terms of the steel girders and concrete slabs and parts of the original superstructure comprising of steel beams, columns and trestles. OVERBRIDGE The overbridge which is currently undergoing upgrading has been altered considerably over time such that most of its original fabric is hardly visible. Bankstown Railway Station has a moderate level of integrity as the former Parcels Office, platform building, Overhead Booking Office and the footbridge are in a relatively intact condition. Subsequent developments and removal of original fabric including the section of the footbridge connecting the platform to the overbridge has impacted the overall intactness of the station.
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 Study1999SRA596 (footbridge)State Rail Authority  No
Heritage Platforms Conservation Management Strategy2015 Australian Museum Consulting  Yes
Railway Footbridges Heritage Conservation Strategy 2016 NSW Government Architect’s Office Heritage Group  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenJohn Forsyth2007New South Wales Railway Stations: an alphabetical arrangement of railway station and place names. 3rd. Edition
WrittenK. Edwards1982Beginning the Bankstown Line: a history of the Marrickville to Burwood Road Railway
WrittenTony Prescott2009Historical Research for RailCorp's S170 Update Project

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: 4802067

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