Casino Railway Precinct and Locomotive Depot | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Casino Railway Precinct and Locomotive Depot

Item details

Name of item: Casino Railway Precinct and Locomotive Depot
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Canterbury Street, Casino, NSW 2470
Parish: North Casino
County: Rous
Local govt. area: Richmond Valley


The listing boundary for the station is formed by Railway Ave to the south, the property boundaries to the east and west of the tracks and a line crossing the tracks to the north approximately 20 metres past the end of the platform. The roundhouse and coal stage are enclosed by the existing triangle arrangement and the whole of that enclosed area is included in the individual items such as the signal box are listed in isolation.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Canterbury StreetCasinoRichmond ValleyNorth CasinoRousPrimary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Casino Railway Precinct is of state significance. The station buildings form an imposing and significant group of buildings in a major country location. The station building is one of the largest examples of the standard railway buildings constructed in NSW throughout the early 20th Century, and along with the adjacent refreshment rooms, forms a cohesive and largely intact group. The precinct also consists of a variety of significant elements, which demonstrate the former extent and importance of Casino as a major junction station, goods yard and locomotive depot. The unique elevated coal stage was one of two of the last built in NSW in the early 1950s. The roundhouse is rare as one of only seven extant roundhouses in New South Wales.
Date significance updated: 30 Nov 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.


Construction years: 1930-1947
Physical description: MAJOR STRUCTURES - Managed by RailCorp
Station Building and RRR (1930)
Platform (1930)

Signal Box (1946)
Roundhouse (1928), and associated buildings
Office Buildings - associated with the locomotive depot
Brick Rest House (c1944)

Water tank and column - steel
Water column in yard
Turntable - 75`, (1933)
Coal stage - timber and steel `Harmon`, (1947)
Gantry Crane

The station building is a large, modified, brick island building (similar in design to a type A8 station building) with a long cantilevered awning. The design was a standard and therefore common design, which in some cases incorporated signal boxes to one end (the layout of the Casino Railway Station included a Station Master’s office and signal box). A8 was the simplest design featuring a linear building with all rooms contained under the single gable roof with awning extensions at either side.

Casino is one of the largest standard station buildings in NSW consisting of a meal room, toilet facilities, Station Master’s office and signal box, luggage room, store rooms, manager’s office, waiting room, and a refreshment room.

Main line platform featuring a brick face. Straight side platform. Platform consists of insitu concrete wall with 20m steel grate extensions at each end. The branch line platform has been filled in and covered over.

Elevated fibro with tiled, hipped roof overhanging building. The signal box superseded the original signal box, which was located on the station platform.

The extant roundhouse building at Casino was a standard 1915 design constructed in 1928. The structure is part circular in form, providing cover over eight radiating roads (1-8), with the remaining roads, including the access/egress roads being uncovered. Roads 12-19 are diametrically opposite the shed roads. The structure was constructed out of timber beams, trusses and columns, steel bracing and straps, with corrugated sheet steel cladding, and had a saw-tooth roof profile.

The principal dimensions: length of side wall (i.e. from front doorway to rear wall of roundhouse) is 70 feet; approximate outside diameter of semi-circle of the roundhouse was 340 feet

The rest house (barracks) is a single storey, brick building located near the Casino locomotive depot. It is likely that the existing rest house (c1944) replaced or augmented an earlier rest house.

The building includes six bedrooms, a toilet, showers, a linen room, dining room, kitchen, and truncated verandas on each main elevation. It is arranged with an accommodation wing consisting of the bedrooms, toilets, showers, and a linen room, which are all linked by a central corridor. The kitchen and dining room are accessed via short, concrete-floored verandas on each side and linked to the bedrooms by a transverse passageway. There are also remains of the separate coal storage area and the laundry & attendants’ room behind the rest house.

Steel water tank with column attached

75` turntable

This is the only extant elevated locomotive coal stage in NSW. Built in 1947, it was the second last steam locomotive coaling facility to be built. Despite its relatively recent construction, it demonstrates traditional building technology and materials. It represents one of the small number of Harman-type facilities built in NSW in which the coal bin was loaded by a conveyor belt on a continuing cycle.

Reproduction heritage-style lamp posts
Wall-mounted timber shelves and metal hooks
Iron stormwater grates
Cast iron Ajax safe
Fitted timber cabinet in office
Early wall-mounted bells
Bakelite lights and switches and timber mounting blocks
Corner desk with timber stationery shelves
Timber-framed noticeboard
Tall timber two-door cabinet with 4x8 partition shelves inside
A-frame blackboard
Timber fire surrounds and brick chimneys
Green Laminex table
Painted platform number signs
Cast concrete keg-style platform flower pots
Timber-mounted, double-sided Smiths electric platform clock
Timber window shelf
Ex-refreshment room cast iron stove and exhaust hood
Early speaker horns, brackets etc in storage
Miscellaneous objects in storage
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Generally good to moderate condition.
Date condition updated:30 Nov 09
Modifications and dates: STATION PRECINCT
In the 1990s, the stairway access to the station from the street was removed, along with the overhead booking office. The Murwillumbah branch track was removed from the platform with the ground built up to platform level and a tarred forecourt area provided. A booking office was provided within the 1930 station building, which was left mostly intact in its original form (Dunn, 2001).
The former refreshment room has been modified for use as a waiting room, though the fuel stove is extant.
2009: New platform canopies
2015: Minor essential repair works across the station (fencing, coping/tactiles, grouting, gutters, conduits, lighting, platform surface, bird proofing, redundant service pipes, garden picnic benches, metalwork, glazing, sash windows, awning capping, flashing, modern roof sheeting, stonework, slate thresholds, timberwork [using like for like materials and matching profiles] etc); Relocate existing fire service (hose reel) to nearer existing water tap along same facade; Deep cleaning of all surfaces (excluding historic fabric); Reinstating missing historic features (eg finials and interior cornices); Minor garden and tree maintenance / repairs (including re-fixing of timber garden beds if possible); Replacement of modern platform seating and bins; Painting (like for like overcoating) in accordance with the ESB 010 Heritage Paint Specification; Installation/replacement of strip lighting to LED; Refurbishment of modern toilet facilities (tiling, basins, mirrors, toilets, cisterns mirrors, hand dryers etc).

While the signal box stands, it is now out of use.

Dec 1933 Depot opened, replacing a small servicing depot at Lismore.
26 Jun 1936 180kL tank replacing 90kL tank installed.
(Forsyth, 2009)
Further information: See separate listing for Old Casino.
Current use: The station building is operational. The loco depot is leased by InterRail.
Former use: Major railway junction passenger station, goods yard and locomotive depot


Historical notes: Casino Railway Precinct is located on the North Coast line, the major trunk line from NSW to Queensland.

Railways in the far north coast region of NSW had been proposed as early as the 1870s. The main aim was to divert rural products in the region to a safe shipping port on the coast, using rail transport. The early farming settlements on the North Coast of NSW began in the late 1830s with the expanding pastoral industry forming the basis for several towns such as Casino and Kempsey. It was not until 1894 that a 62 mile section of railway line was opened between Lismore and Murwillumbah, preceding the extension of the line southward to Maitland in 1903.

Railway construction in the area continued over the next eleven years and by 1905, an isolated railway system was in service, linking Grafton on the north bank of the Clarence River to Casino, through Lismore and on to Murwillumbah. In 1930 the line from Casino was extended north into Queensland to meet with the narrow gauge Queensland railway system at South Brisbane (Cottee, 2004).

The centre of rail activity and headquarters of railway administration for the region was Lismore, with locomotive servicing and repair, carriage storage sheds and senior officers based there. This changed when, in 1932, the Clarence River bridge was completed and the isolated far north coast rail system was joined to the rest of the New South Wales Government railways network. With the opening of the Clarence River bridge, the importance of Lismore declined and the junction station at Casino became the principal railway centre in the region.

The construction of the station buildings at Casino was commenced under a contract dated 2 January 1903, but was terminated and the work finished by the Public Works Department. The current Casino railway station was built to a design similar to the standard A8 design (see description below) and was officially opened 22 September 1930. All the extant facilities were constructed between 1930 and 1956. In the 1940s, through to the 1950s (arguably the pinnacle of steam locomotive operations on the North Coast of the state), the railway precinct at Casino consisted of a large railway station with an island platform, a relatively important shunting yard, a large and modern signal box, junction arrangements for the Casino-Murwillumbah branch line and a modern locomotive depot. The depot comprised a roundhouse, mechanised coal hoist (for fuelling steam locomotives) and a substantial amount of equipment essential for the rapid and efficient servicing and repair of the steam locomotives working in the district (Dunn, 2001).

The platform building consisted of a general waiting room, ladies waiting room, ladies lavatory, men’s lavatory, broom room and a Station Master’s office which was also a signal room. Cantilevered awnings ran the full length on both sides of the building and a separate brick refreshment room was provided at the north end of the station building (Dunn, 2001).

Sidings were added to the yard in 1937 and 1944. Other significant additions included the loco depot (constructed in 1928 and modified in 1935 with the addition of four bays), and the 1947 coal hoist (coal stage) which was constructed within the depot. In 1947, the coal stage was the only one of its type on the NSWGR but it saw little use as the North Coast line was one of the first lines in NSW to be dieselised (Dunn, 2001).

Most siding accommodation was removed by the mid 1990s and in the same decade the access to the platform was altered with the removal of the stairway from the bridge and the overhead booking office. The Murwillumbah branch track was removed from the platform, the ground built up to platform level and a tarred forecourt area provided. A booking office was provided within the 1930 station building which was left mostly intact in its original form (Dunn, 2001).

The original station is still in use and is managed by RailCorp. The signal box was decommissioned in c1992. The loco depot was still in use in 2008 and the barracks and nearby buildings used for office accommodation.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Industry-Activities associated with the manufacture, production and distribution of goods Railway Workshops-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Pastoralism-Activities associated with the breeding, raising, processing and distribution of livestock for human use Servicing the pastoral industry-
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 Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Servicing and accommodating railway employees-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Servicing and accommodating passengers-
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 Shaping inland settlement-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Utilities-Activities associated with the provision of services, especially on a communal basis Provision of railway water supplies-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Casino railway precinct is significant for its historical values as a tangible reminder of the development of the North Coast line as well as the development of the NSW railways. The North Coast line was significant in linking the logging, agricultural and pastoral activities of the north coast to markets in both Sydney and Brisbane, leading to significant economic and social impacts for individual townships as well as for NSW generally. With the opening of the Clarence River bridge at Grafton in 1932 and the resultant decline in importance of Lismore rail facilities, Casino became one of the principal railway centre in the region. The importance of Casino is illustrated by the extent of the facilities, which included a large railway yard, island platform with overhead booking facilities, large modern signal box, junction arrangements and the large locomotive depot. Regionally, Casino was significant particularly during the height of the steam era (1930s-1950s) due to the locomotive depot, although this function was phased out gradually from the 1950s as the North Coast line was one of the first lines in NSW to be dieselised (Dunn, 2001).
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The station building is one of the largest type A8 station buildings in NSW and is a good example of its type with some variations from the standard design. Principal elements within the precinct include the coal loader, which is unique in NSW, and the roundhouse, one of 7 remaining in NSW.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The site is of social significance to the local community on account of its lengthy association for providing an important source of employment, trade and social interaction for the local area. The site is significant for its ability to contribute to the local community’s sense of place, is a distinctive feature of the daily life of many community members, and provides a connection to the local community’s past.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Given the uniqueness of the coal loader, the rarity of the roundhouse, and the various remnant elements within the railway precinct, Casino holds potential research value to provide information about various railway facilities and about the operation of regional rail centres generally.
SHR Criteria f)
The timber coal loader is the last structure of its type in NSW and the roundhouse is one of only seven extant roundhouses in NSW. The Casino railway precinct displays rare items from the era of steam railway operations.
SHR Criteria g)
The place has representative significance for its collection of railway structures including the coal loader, roundhouse/locomotive depot and other related items that collectively demonstrate mid 20th century railway customs, activities and design in NSW, and are representative of similar items that are becoming rare.
Integrity/Intactness: The station buildings have a moderate level 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 Study1999SRA172State Rail Authority  No
S170 Register Update Project2009 ARTC/ ORH  Yes
Heritage Platforms Conservation Management Strategy2015 Australian Museum Consulting  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenCottee, J.M.2004Stations on the track: selected New South Wales country railway stations: an historical overview
WrittenDunn, Ian. A.2001Railway stations: Grafton to Border Loop and Old Casino to Tuncester
WrittenJohn H Forsyth2009NSW Railway Stations - An Alphabetical Arrangement of Railway Station and Place Names
MapRailCorp RailCorp Historic Plans, various

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: 4806172

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