Singleton Railway Precinct | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Singleton Railway Precinct

Item details

Name of item: Singleton Railway Precinct
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Munro Lane, Singleton, NSW 2330
Parish: Whittingham
County: Northumberland
Local govt. area: Singleton


The listing boundary is formed by the John St overbridge to the west, the far side of the tracks along the south west side, Munro St to the north east and a line across the tracks 20 metres to the south east of the end of the platform. Please note this site is listed on the State Heritage Register (SHR) for which the curtilage may differ – see image gallery for more information. Any proposed development within the vicinity of the listed site should also consider the historic relationship between the listing and its surrounding area.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Munro LaneSingletonSingletonWhittinghamNorthumberlandPrimary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Singleton railway precinct is state significant as the oldest surviving station building in the Hunter Valley region and as a tangible link to the development of the Great Northern Railway (GNR), an important achievement in the development of transport and engineering within NSW. The station is historically significant and remains as a remnant of a once large and thriving railway precinct that included a locomotive depot, goods shed, residences and cottages, and other associated facilities and infrastructure. The building retains good integrity and intactness and is an excellent representative example of a rural, second class railway station building. The station building is a prominent and important civic building in Singleton.
Date significance updated: 20 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.


Designer/Maker: John Whitton (attributed)
Construction years: 1863-1926
Physical description: MAJOR STRUCTURES - Managed by RailCorp
Station building, type 3, second class (1863);
Platform (1863)
Signal Box, type K (1926)

Weighbridge and hut
Jib crane

The Singleton station building is a type 3, second class, brick building, which consists of a long rectangular section (main station building), with a hipped roof, ending at the eastern end in a squarish building (refreshment rooms) with a transverse hipped roof. The roofs are clad in corrugated, galvanised iron and feature three brick chimneys. The station building also features a skillion, corrugated, galvanised iron roofed verandah supported by timber posts on the road-side; a cast iron, cantilevered awning with a corrugated, galvanised iron roof covering the platform, and small wing housing the toilet block at the western end. The brickwork is Flemish bond.

The layout of the station building is linear and includes: toilets, ladies waiting room, general waiting room, porter’s room, telegraph room, clerks room, parcels and luggage room, and the Station Master’s office. Several rooms still retain wooden in-built cabinetry. The refreshment room building included a main refreshment room, kitchen (now demolished), pantry (now demolished) and a bedroom. The space formerly occupied by the refreshment room was taken over in the 60s to be used as an enlarged Parcel’s office. The original grand refreshment room counter was used in the Parcels office and still survives.

The windows are large timber, double hung sash with moulded heads and sills. The doors are timber.

Straight side platform, brick faced with ramped ends. Has been extended a number of times, in brickwork, precast concrete post and panel, open steel frame and concrete deck.

The Singleton signal box is a type K, prefabricated, concrete dropslab building with a gabled Colorbond, roof, located on the platform adjacent to the station building. The building has timber, double hung sash windows and a timber entry door. Some original cupboards are still extant.

NSW Railway heritage listed sites contain significant collections of stored movable railway heritage, including furniture, signs, operational objects, ex-booking office and ticketing objects, paper records, clocks, memorabilia, indicator boards and artwork. Individually, these objects are important components of the history of each site. Together, they form a large and diverse collection of movable objects across the NSW rail network. Sydney Trains maintains a database of movable heritage. For up-to-date information on all movable heritage items at this site, contact the Sydney Trains heritage team.
Key items at this station include but are not limited to:
Various heritage station signage (in storage and on display), platform benches with station name, signage and notices conveying relationship of station and nearby Australian infantry, and various in-built cabinetry.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Station buildings are in good condition.
Date condition updated:28 Sep 09
Modifications and dates: (Forsyth, 2009):
1878 - Platform extended.
16 Jun 1891 Cart weighbridge authorised.
1895 - Water pumping plant from Liverpool re-erected.
1895 - 180kL water tank from East Maitland transferred to Singleton.
1897 - Carriage shelter shed constructed.
1898 - Platform extended.
1899 - 13.5kL tank erected.
1900 - Brick platform constructed at the Wallangara end.
1904 - 22.5kL and 135kL tanks installed.
1905 - 22.5kL tank and stand erected.
c1910 - Platform awning added to station building
1915 - Erection of over bridge at John Street ordered and for level crossing to be closed.
1918 - Cattle unloading bank provided.
1924 - Platform extended.
1924 - Goods shed transferred from Raglan and re-erected as the Railway Institute building.
1925 - Platform extended.
1934 - Platform renewed.
1941 - Subway constructed to replace level crossing.
1957 - Shell siding and ballast siding closed.
1961 - Refreshment room closed.
1968 - Dock siding removed.
1973 - Rest house closed.
1975 - Refreshment room kitchen and pantry demolished.

1875 - Depot opened as a two-track 12.19m x 6.09m through type shed with a capacity for ten steam locomotives.
1897 - Engine shed extended for £3542.
1899 - Shed extended and ash pit constructed.
1901 -15.24m diameter turntable replaced by 18.28m unit.
1905 - New engine shed, 6-road roundhouse type for £4720.
1916 - Dwarf drop pit installed.
1923 - Six-track roundhouse enlarged.
1926 - 22.86m diameter turntable ordered.
Current use: Operational Railway Station
Former use: Nil


Historical notes: Singleton railway precinct is located on the Main North Line, which runs from Sydney and extending as far as Wallangarra the Queensland border. The Main North Line (also known as the Great Northern Railway) runs through the Central Coast, Hunter and New England regions. The line was the original main line between Sydney and Brisbane, however this required a change of gauge at Wallangarra. The line is now closed north of Armidale, and the main route between Brisbane and Sydney is now the North Coast line. Since 1930 the North Coast line has been the main Interstate line.

Singleton is located in the Upper Hunter Valley. The town is named after Benjamin Singleton, one of the first settlers in the region. The town of Singleton originated as a small settlement on some of the land granted in 1821 to Benjamin Singleton for the part he played as a member of explorer John Howe’s expedition, who pioneered a trail from the Sydney lowlands over the Bulga Range to the Patrick Plains in 1819. Many land grant recipients followed the expedition to raise stock on the rich fertile land on the banks of the Hunter River. The settlement of Singleton spread slowly and by about 1840, some thirty buildings were grouped between and around George, John and Macquarie Streets (NSW H.O., 1990).

When the railways arrived in Singleton in 1863, the town became a more important sales centre, while dairying and vines, took over the alluvial flats (Kass; 2005: 31). Singleton became a municipality in 1866 and the town thrived during the late 19th century with an emphasis on manufacturing, which included soap and candles, tin ware, furniture, blacksmiths, wheelwrights, carriage builders, a foundry, and a tinned meat works (Kass; 2005: 48).

The single line from Branxton to Singleton opened on 7 May 1863, with Singleton Station officially opened for service on the same day. The construction contract for the Lochinvar to Singleton section was awarded to Peto, Brassey & Betts in December 1859. The line was duplicated from Whittingham on 16 October 1951 (Forsyth, 2009).

Historic plans show the station precinct as comprising of two weighbridges, a 10,000 gallon tank and two water columns, crew barracks, two 2-ton cranes, a goods shed and platform, signalling branch depot, horse dock, rest house, 60’ turntable, gang shed, and coal stage, accompanied by several miscellaneous buildings including offices and cottages. The original brick station building internally comprised of a Station Master’s office, parcels room, booking office, central hall, a porter’s room, waiting room, ladies room, and a toilet block (RC Historic Plans).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Transporting crops-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Communication-Activities relating to the creation and conveyance of information Signalling and safe working-
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 Mining-Activities associated with the identification, extraction, processing and distribution of mineral ores, precious stones and other such inorganic substances. Transporting coal and minerals-
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-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Singleton railway precinct is significant for its historical values as a tangible link to the development of the Great Northern Railway (GNR) line during the 19th century as well as the development of the NSW railways generally. The GNR was an important achievement in transport and engineering within NSW. As the third main trunk rail route in NSW stretching from Sydney to the Queensland border, the line linked townships to one another as well as to Sydney leading to significant economic and social impacts for those individual townships as well as for NSW more generally. Built in 1863, the Singleton station building is of state significance as the oldest railway station building in the Upper Hunter, one of the oldest remaining in the state and part of the early development of the GNR.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Singleton station building has aesthetic significance as an extensive, mid-19th century station building, and is a prominent and important civic building in Singleton.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The Singleton railway station building has social significance to the local community having performed an important role in supporting the town as a regional centre for commerce and thereby being the site of significant activity and employment. The railway station contributes to the local community’s sense of place and provides a connection to the local community’s past.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
As an early railway station building and the oldest in the Hunter Valley with good integrity and condition, Singleton possesses research potential into the construction and design of the earliest development of the Great Northern Railway and NSW railways generally.
SHR Criteria f)
Singleton railway station is rare as an early, rural example of a second class station building that remains highly intact.
SHR Criteria g)
Singleton railway station has representative significance as an early example of a second class station, with good integrity and condition, demonstrating railway architectural design of the mid-19th century.
Integrity/Intactness: The station buildings have a good level of integrity/ intactness.
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 Study1999SRA212State 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
WrittenJ.M. Cottee2004Stations on the track
WrittenMcKillop, R2009NSW Railways (RailCorp) Thematic History
MapRailCorp Historic Plans, various
WrittenRobert Lee2000Colonial Engineer
WrittenState Rail Authority of NSW1993How and why of station names

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: State Government
Database number: 4806212

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.

All information and pictures on this page are the copyright of the Heritage Division or respective copyright owners.