Paterson Railway Precinct | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Paterson Railway Precinct

Item details

Name of item: Paterson Railway Precinct
Other name/s: Paterson Station Group
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Goods shed/crane
Primary address: Railway Street, Paterson, NSW 2421
Parish: Houghton
County: Durham
Local govt. area: Dungog


The listing boundary is formed by a line to the east of the station 10 metres from the building, to the north across the tracks 50 metres to the north of the bridge, to the west along the rail boundary from the rear of the goods shed and to the south 50 metres to the south of the goods shed.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Railway StreetPatersonDungogHoughtonDurhamPrimary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Paterson railway precinct is of local significance as a good, representative example of a small, regional railway complex which includes an uncommon station building, a former signal box and a small goods shed surviving as a group with little alteration and still in active use. The Paterson railway station building is rare as one of a few extant regional examples of a small skillion roof type timber platform building in good condition with a high level of integrity. The precinct forms a good example of a once typical, small country station arrangement. The Paterson railway precinct is of social significance to the local community and the Rail Motor Society who actively conserve and promote rail heritage in the area.
Date significance updated: 27 Oct 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.


Physical description: MAJOR STRUCTURES - Managed by RailCorp
Station Building, type 7 (1911)
Signal Box (1911)
Platform, concrete deck (1980)

Station Master's Residence, type J1 (c1911)
Goods Shed, type G2 (1911)

The Paterson railway station building is a type 7, small, timber building. It features a corrugated, galvanised iron, skillion roof sloping towards the platform; two brick chimneys; a simple awning without any ornate decoration, with extended rafters and timber braces, and platform access. The rear of the building features three double hung sash windows (each sash with two panes of glass) with corrugated, galvanised iron hoods and timber braces; three small timber windows, two of which are located near the roof line to allow light egress, and a timber door and stairs. The interior has been remodelled, but had originally included a parcels office.

A small, timber and fibro building with a gabled, corrugated, galvanised iron roof, located immediately adjacent to the station building. The signal box was converted for use as a storage area c1980s.

Side platform, concrete deck with steel piers and concrete surface.

STATION MASTER’S RESIDENCE (c1911- extended c1920)
The Paterson Station Master’s residence is a type J1, timber building with a low gabled corrugated, galvanised iron roof with rafters extending to form a verandah across the front of the building. The verandah includes a simple railing constructed by crossing timber beams to form an X shape. The roof includes a decorative, sawtooth timber valance to the awning end.

The building was standard in design with three bedrooms, a living area with a rear kitchen and wash shed until it was extended laterally, increasing the layout by 50%. The original design had two rooms divided by a hallway with the current layout having a room, hallway and another two rooms.

Type G2 good shed with timber and corrugated iron cladding, and a gabled, corrugated, galvanised iron roof. The roof overhangs the building forming eaves which partly cover loading stages on both sides of the building. The loading stages are timber platforms extending 1m from the building. The shed is standard in its dimensions (36’ x 16’) and design, and included a small office with a skillion roof annexed to the northern end of the shed.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The station building is in good condition.

The goods shed is in fair condition and the former Station Master's residence is in good condition (major repairs were carried out in January 2005). The goods shed and Station Master's residence are both leased to the Rail Motor Society.
Date condition updated:15 Jan 09
Modifications and dates: c1980s: Signal box converted for use as a storage area.
N.d: The interior of the station building has been remodelled.
Current use: Goods shed and former Station Master's residence in use as part The Rail Motor Society's depot
Former use: Goods shed used for rail freight traffic to 1980s; Station Master's residence occupied by Station Master until unknown date


Historical notes: Paterson 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 of the proposed railway line was to divert rural products in the region to a safe shipping port on the coast. The early farming settlements of the North Coast region of NSW began in the late 1830s with the expanding pastoral industry forming the basis for several towns along the north coast (McKillop, 2009).

Paterson was initially settled by timber-getters in search of red cedar along the Paterson River, then known as the Cedar Arm due to the abundance of timber. Paterson was proclaimed in 1833 and soon became an important river port. As such it also became a service centre to the surrounding community. Considerable supplies of tobacco were grown, as well as grains, grapes, wine, citrus fruits and cotton. Shipbuilding also commenced with the development of the river trade, however by the time the railway arrived in 1911, river transportation was declining. Construction of the North Coast Railway further north from 1913 led to the managed logging of productive State Forests, particularly in the Great Lakes, Stroud, Wauchope and Coffs Harbour districts (McKillop, 2009).

The single line from Maitland to Dungog opened on 14 August 1911, with Paterson railway station opening for service on the same day. The construction contract for the Maitland to Dungog section was awarded to Carson, Cary & Simpson on 28 April 1908 (Forsyth, 2009).

The original station precinct comprised of a standard A3 station building, a timber and corrugated iron class E cream shed, C2 men’s toilet and lamp room building, J1 timber Station Master’s residence, G2 goods shed and platform, trucking yards, 5-tonne gantry crane, and a weighbridge and office (RailCorp historic plans).

Plans dating form 1920 show the timber station building as internally comprising of a ladies room and lavatory, a parcels office, booking office, and a general waiting room. The building also featured a platform awning and was flanked by two water tanks. The station building has survived with few external alterations, along with the timber former signal box adjacent to the station building, the original goods shed and platform on the opposite side of the tracks, and the Station Master’s residence.

Recent alterations and additions to the station precinct include the provision of a new concrete deck platform in 1980, the removal of the gantry crane in 1988, and the removal of the trucking yard (date unknown).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Forestry-Activities associated with identifying and managing land covered in trees for commercial purposes. Transporting timber and forest products-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Pastoralism-Activities associated with the breeding, raising, processing and distribution of livestock for human use Transporting livestock and their products-
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 Transport of goods-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Rail heritage volunteers-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Paterson railway precinct is significant for its historical values as a tangible link to 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. The Paterson railway precinct has local significance as a significant part of Paterson's history and townscape. The Paterson railway precinct has been historically important to the township in supporting logging and pastoral activities, particularly in the first half of the 20th century.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Paterson precinct has aesthetic qualities as a small, regional railway precinct in good condition and with good integrity. The small station building is distinctive with its timber construction and skillion roof and is accompanied by the former signal box and goods shed.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The Paterson railway precinct is of social significance to the local community having performed an important role in supporting the town as a regional centre for agricultural commerce and thereby being the site of significant activity and employment. The railway station remains in general use while the Station Master’s residence and goods shed are maintained and used by the Rail Motor Society, a volunteer group who actively conserve and promote rail heritage. The site is significant for its ability to contribute to the local community’s sense of place and provides a connection to the local community’s past.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The Paterson station buildings have potential as items that can be used for researching materials and methods used in the construction of timber railway buildings, especially in the context of the rarity of small, intact regional railway precincts.
SHR Criteria f)
The Paterson railway station building has local significance as a rare station building type in good condition with good integrity. There were 414 Type 7 station buildings planned in NSW. Today there are only 8 known Metropolitan examples and a small number of regional examples.
SHR Criteria g)
The Paterson railway precinct has local significance as a good representative example of a small regional railway complex with an uncommon station building type. The collection of buildings retain good integrity and are still in use.
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 Study1999SRA211State Rail Authority  No
S170 Register Update Project2009 ARTC/ ORH  Yes
Heritage Platforms Conservation Management Strategy2015 Australian Museum Consulting  Yes
Heritage Platforms Conservation Management Strategy2015 Australian Museum Consulting  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenJ.M. Cottee2004Stations on the track
WrittenJohn H Forsyth2009NSW Railway Stations - An Alphabetical Arrangement of Railway Station and Place Names
WrittenMcKillop, R2009NSW Railways (RailCorp) Thematic History
WrittenState Rail Authority of NSW Archives1993How and why of station names

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: 4806211

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.

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