Liverpool Railway Viaduct | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Liverpool Railway Viaduct

Item details

Name of item: Liverpool Railway Viaduct
Other name/s: Collingwood Viaduct
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Bridge/ Viaduct
Primary address: Shepherd Street, Liverpool, NSW 2170
Local govt. area: Liverpool


North: A line across the rail corridor 5 metres past the abutments at the northern end of the viaductSouth: A line across the rail corridor 5 metres past the abutments at the southern end of the viaductEast: The property boundaryWest: The property boundary
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Shepherd StreetLiverpoolLiverpool  Primary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

The brick viaduct at Shepherd Street, Liverpool has local historical significance as it was constructed as part of the upgrading and duplication of the Granville to Liverpool railway line and its extension to Campbelltown in the early 1890s. The viaduct represents the earliest examples of brick arched viaducts built by NSW Railways from the 1890s using local building materials during the cost-cutting period of the 1890s depression.

While the viaduct is aesthetically distinctive and has landmark qualities because of its size, number of spans and its location in a relatively open setting where it is easily viewed from surrounding roads and residential streets, the structure suffers from the addition of a concrete viaduct on its eastern side which impacts upon its aesthetic integrity and impairs views from this aspect.
Date significance updated: 01 Jun 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: NSW Government Railways
Physical description: VIADUCT (1891)
The brick viaduct consists of 11 approximately 7.7 metre arched spans clear between piers and carries the single Up line over Shepherd Street. For the track duplication a separate Down line has been constructed on a haunched beam concrete viaduct which abuts the original brick structure. This concrete structure replaced an earlier steel trestle bridge. The semi-circular brick arch is 5 brick courses deep, and springs from a brick impost 4 courses high, topped by a course of splayed plinth bricks. Both intermediate piers and abutments are constructed in solid red brick. Coursing is in English bond. A continuous projecting band of brickwork above the crown of the arch has been obscured by the addition of later steel mesh walkway, bracketed off the western side of the viaduct. The bottom of this band is a course of bricks laid as a triangular dentil course.

The bricks used in this viaduct are not as hard as the bricks used in other viaducts such as the ones at Casula and Cabramatta and appear to be a variety of sandstock and this has caused them to be more susceptible to damage. The abutments are U-shaped in plan.

There is a second concrete bridge on the east side of the viaduct, constructed as part of the South Sydney Freight Line.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The viaduct is generally in good condition. There is evidence of cracking on the eastern side of some of the piers, which may be as a result of the addition of the eastern concrete viaduct. Also on this side the growth of vegetation and algae has been exacerbated by the seepage of water at the junction with the concrete viaduct and its trapping at this junction. Some arrises at the lower level have been damaged and the bricks need replacement. There is much staining and efflorescence from the seepage of water through the brick joints from above.
Modifications and dates: N.d: Addition of steel cantilevered walkway to western elevation
N.d: Addition of concrete viaduct to eastern elevation
c2012: Construction of concrete bridge on eastern side as part of SSFL.
Further information: The SSFL concrete bridge does not have heritage significance.
Current use: Railway Viaduct
Former use: Nil


Historical notes: The original single-track railway from Liverpool to Campbelltown was completed in 1858 and had timber beam bridges. By the 1880s, the volume of traffic was such as to justify duplication of the line and an upgrade. All the major bridges were rebuilt in brick arches, which was in keeping with an 1861 Government edict to use local materials rather than expensive imported iron bridges. The Sydney region has extensive deposits of Wianamatta clay, ideal for making bricks.

This brick arch viaduct was built as one of a group of such railway bridges, being associated with the first duplication and upgrading of the original 1857 Granville to Liverpool railway and then with the 1858 extension to Campbelltown. In addition, they were the first examples of a major use of brick arch constructions by the Railways that continued through to the early 1920s. About 90 examples of these bridges were built during a time when imported steel was in short supply due to the first world war. Nearly all of the brick arch bridges are still in use and Liverpool (also known as Collingwood) Viaduct is the second longest of the group.

c2012 the South Sydney Freight Line was constructed to remove freight traffic from the main line. This involved building an additional track along the east side of the existing line, and associated infrastructure, including the concrete bridge at this viaduct.

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-
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. Creating railway landscapes-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The brick viaduct at Shepherd Street, Liverpool has local historical significances as it was built as part of the duplication and upgrading of the single track Granville to Liverpool line and the extension line to Campbelltown in the early 1890s. It is also significant as it represents one of the first examples of brick arch construction employed by the Railways that continued through until the 1920s. Its brick fabric reflects the period of the 1890s depression when cost-cutting included the substitution of local materials in place of imported steel bridges.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The viaduct exemplifies the particular brick arch viaduct design employed by the NSW Railways during the period from the 1890s to the 1920s. The viaduct is aesthetically distinctive and has landmark qualities because of its size, number of spans and its open setting, though this has been impacted by the adjacent later additions.
SHR Criteria f)
The brick viaduct is not considered rare as there are a number of similar structures still remaining in the Metropolitan area.
SHR Criteria g)
The viaduct at Shepherd Street, Liverpool has a high level of integrity and is a good representative example of this type of arched brick viaduct which was constructed by NSW Railways from the 1890s to the 1920s and which were the first examples of their type. This viaduct is a good example because of the number of arches and its long length, being the second longest of this series of viaducts, and because it is highly visible from the surrounding roads and residential area on the western side.
Integrity/Intactness: The bridge retains its original fabric but has been substantially compromised on the eastern side by the addition of the later concrete viaducts as well as the steel cantilevered walkway on the western elevation.
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  18 Mar 10   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
S170 Heritage & Conservation Register Update2009 OCP Architects  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenJohn Forsyth1983Historical Notes on Railway Lines
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: 4803255

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