Yass Junction Railway Precinct | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Yass Junction Railway Precinct

Item details

Name of item: Yass Junction Railway Precinct
Other name/s: Yass; Oak Hill Junction
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Faulder Avenue, Yass Junction, NSW 2582
Parish: Yass
County: King
Local govt. area: Yass Valley


The listing boundary is the fence line behind the buildings on the north side running east west, the road frontage to the south running east west, to the west a line approximately 10 metres to the west of the platform running north south and to the east a line running north south beyond the perway shed.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Faulder AvenueYass JunctionYass ValleyYassKingPrimary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Yass Junction Railway Precinct is of state significance as an early railway precinct constructed on the Main Southern line, demonstrating the importance placed on railway development in country NSW as evidenced by the quality and scale of buildings constructed at this isolated location. The siting of the station, 4km from the established town of Yass, and the construction of the branch line during the 1890s, demonstrates railway policy of the period, with cost effective construction methods taking precedence over practical planning. The original 1870s Victorian Italianate station building is the earliest, albeit modified, example of a two-storey combined office/residence on the Main Southern line, and is one of only a few to be constructed in NSW, demonstrating the past custom of providing accommodation for railway staff. The c1915 station building, signal box and footbridge are good examples of standard early 20th century railway structures employed for line duplication in various locations in NSW and demonstrate the need for a second platform with additional facilities for increased traffic.
Date significance updated: 28 Sep 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.


Builder/Maker: Frederick Horn
Construction years: 1878-1915
Physical description: MAJOR STRUCTURES - Managed by RailCorp
Station Building - type 1, combined station building and residence (1878), extended (1891)
Toilet (c1914)
Down Platform (1878, 1904)
Movable items - desk, safe, clock

Station Building - type 11, brick building with refreshment room (1914)
Signal Box - type I, timber hipped roof (1915)
Up Platform (1915)
Footbridge (1915)
Station Master's Residence

The original station building is a two-storey Victorian Italianate building, originally designed as a combined station building and residence for the Station Master with offices and facilities on the ground floor, and a residence above. The building was originally face brick but has been painted, and features a symmetrical composition of three upper windows and three doors under featuring rendered arch surrounds. Some double-hung timber sash windows remain. It has been painted cream and green.

The ground floor originally comprised a central waiting room, ladies room, and booking office, and was flanked on either side by parapeted single-storey wings. One of these survives, the other was extended in 1891 to two-storeys for additional accommodation for passengers and refreshment room staff. A modern one-storey addition has also been added to the roadside elevation of the building.

The hipped roof, originally clad in slate has been replaced with concrete tiles, no chimney stacks remain. A port cochere extending from the southern roadside of the building (an early addition to the building) is supported by cast iron columns with iron lace brackets. On the platform side is a long verandah supported by simple timber posts (appear to be non-original). Both structures are clad in concrete tiles.

The timber awning posts appear to have been re-made resulting from platform concrete works (raising platform level) rather than reinstated. Older posts are still present which butt against the building wall.

Modern CountryLink signage has been installed. A large mast has been constructed at the side of the 1870s station building and fixed to the wall.

TOILET (c1914)
Small brick building with gabled corrugated roof and timber framed windows. Arched brickwork to door.

The 1914 platform building features a standard-design long brick island platform building with attached refreshment rooms. The buildings are constructed of face brick with rendered surrounds, sills and brackets. The buildings feature a gabled corrugated iron roof with clerestory roof to the refreshment rooms, decorative gable ends and rendered chimneys. The roof extends to form a platform awning which spans the length of both structures, and is supported on double curved cast iron brackets upon rendered brackets. The string course is of two small projecting rendered bands, with the rows of brick between painted to give the impression of a deep rendered string. The building contains offices, waiting room and a refreshment room, with a raised clerestory roof over a dining area. Decorative features include curved finials to the gable ends, timber valance to awnings and coloured glass to upper panes of windows. This building also has unpainted stone or rendered quoins/details. Building contains old ticketing desk.

A timber signal box on two levels with hipped roof. The upper level is accessed by a timber set of stairs to a landing giving access to the signal control area. The box has windows around three sides.

A steel riveted through Warren truss Footbridge on angle iron trestles with timber deck and channel iron stair stringers. The footbridge joins the two platforms, but is no longer in use. Older style ornate lampposts and timber decking.

PLATFORMS (1876, 1904, 1915)
The platforms are a combination of brick and concrete and illustrate changes to the platform over time. Platform 1 (1915) is a junction platform made of brick with brick corbelled coping. Platform 2 (1876) is a brick and stone side platform that has been raised in concrete, extended in 1904. Other 1915 brick junction platform (ARTC) not in use.

Older style lamp posts and fittings present throughout station. The older platform has a stone base. Modern bins and seats. Small modest garden planter boxes.

This is a simple timber Station Master's cottage of standard design with corrugated iron roof and simple detailing and brackets to the verandah posts. It is unusual to find a simple residence at an important site, but this reflects the main residence being in the station building and the need for another station officer in a location well away from the township. It is a good example of a secondary residence in unusually close proximity to the station building.

Part of branch line into Yass Town is extant. Bango Creek Dam which was built to provide the water supply for locomotives, is located a short distance from the station.

Decorative gooseneck light posts
Early timber office desk with turned legs
Brown cast iron Ajax safe in office
Wrought iron and timber platform bench
Station signage
“Yass Junction” incised timber platform benches
Rusticated stone-edged garden beds
Flower pots on platform
Suspended destination indicator boards on Platform 1
Remnant brackets on wall
Green metal light shade under footbridge
Iron rails used as platform and garden edging
Cast iron and concrete door thresholds and boot scrapers
Original and early door and window hardware (locks, handles, sash locks and lifts etc)
Fitted timber ticket desk and shelving
Cast iron wall-mounted sink
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Footbridge - good (2015)
Date condition updated:27 Aug 08
Modifications and dates: 1877 Ash pits and porter’s cottages constructed
1879 New yard crane
1881 Foot warming facilities and name boards
1891 Station interlocked, additions to station building for RRR
1902 Further additions to station building
1904 Platform extended
1910 Ash pits extended
1911 Rest house provided
1913 Stockyards relocated for duplication of track
1914 Four ash pits 13.7m long built
1917 Refreshment rooms on Up and Down platforms altered
1918 Down Relief siding provided
1952 Re-erection of lamp room from Enfield
1956 Replacement of 30.1m long ash pit by a standard 18.2m long unit
1966 Ash pits removed
(Forsyth, 2009)
Further information: The dam remains and the pump house may be extant but are no longer in rail ownership.
Current use: Operational railway station
Former use: Passenger railway station and refreshment room


Historical notes: Yass Junction Railway Precinct is located on the Main South Line.

Following the completion of the first railway from Sydney to Parramatta Junction in 1855, proposals for the first railways to the rest of NSW were driven by pastoral communities seeking improved transport for their produce from the inland centres such as Goulburn, Bathurst, Singleton and Muswellbrook. When John Whitton arrived in Sydney in 1856 to take up his position as Engineer-in-Chief of the NSW Railways, "he understood his job was to plan the extensions which would take the infant railway into the interior of Australia. At that time only the railway from Sydney to Liverpool was open, just twenty-one miles (34km) in length" Lee, 2000, p98). It wasn’t until 1860 that definite plans were made to extend the Great Southern Line to Picton, with an extension to Goulburn in 1869 (Lee, 2000).

By 1867 the Main South Line had reached Moss Vale, continuing to Marulan in 1868 and opened to Goulburn in 1869. In April 1873 John Sutherland, the Minister for Public Works, set out a policy to complete ‘the main trunk railways’; both the main southern line to Albury and the Western trunk route to Bourke on the Darling River were responses to the threat that wool from the Riverina and the west would be diverted to Melbourne via river boats and the Victorian railway to Echuca on the Murray River, which opened in 1864 (Lee, 1988).

By 1869, the southern line had reached Goulburn, prompting Yass residents to establish the Yass Railway Extension Committee. Discovering in 1871 that Whitton’s proposed route would bypass the town, the Committee orchestrated the first great campaign designed to influence the State Government on a matter of local railway policy. However, as had previously been the case when Whitton’s proposals conflicted with local interest, it was his view that triumphed, having decided that taking the line into Yass was too difficult owing to steep grades, sharp curves and an additional river crossing. Despite fierce local protests, Yass Junction Station opened as 'Yass' in July 1878, situated over 4kms north of the actual town centre (Lee, 1988).

The construction contract for the Goulburn to Yass Junction section of the southern line was awarded to Daniel Williams & W Rolfe on 5 September 1873 (Forsyth, 2009). On 24 March 1876, a building contract was awarded to Frederick Horn for the erection of a combined station building/residence on the south side of the single track, which is now the Down Main, Horn also constructing a goods shed on site in 1875 (Cottee, 2004).

In 1876 a Tangye and Holman steam pump near Bango Creek was used for the supply of water to locomotives, delivering water to a station tank (complete with jib). A dam was built on Bango Creek in 1903.

Temporary refreshment rooms were built in 1883, with extensions to the station building in 1891 to accommodate new refreshment rooms. This coincided with the construction of the short branch line built to link Yass Town and Yass Junction in 1891. The branch line to Yass Town opened on 20 April 1892 (the name 'Yass Township' was used initially but was changed to 'Yass Town' in 1895). In 1892 a name change was also required for the junction station, with first 'Oak Hill Junction' and later 'Yass Junction' replacing the original 'Yass' station. Additions and alterations in the 1890s and early twentieth century included an additional siding in 1896, improvements to the refreshment room (1902), erection of a Station Master's residence (1902) and extension of the platform in 1904 (SRA, 1993; Cottee, 2004).

The line was duplicated from Coolalie to Yass Junction on 18 May 1914. With duplication of the line, a new platform and facilities were constructed. The 1914 station building was a standard-design building with standard detailing, containing offices and a refreshment room (Cottee, 2004).

The refreshment rooms were closed in 1956, a passenger services between Yass Junction and Yass Town were discontinued in c1958, and all services suspended in September 1988. Yass Junction remains an operational station.

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 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 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 Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Shaping inland settlements-
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]
Yass Junction Railway Precinct is of historical significance as an early railway precinct on the Main South Line. The South Line was instrumental in opening up the pastoral industry of the area during the mid-to-late 19th century to trade with the rest of NSW. The original station building constructed during the 1870s demonstrates the importance placed on railway development in country NSW during the earliest period of railway construction in NSW, as evidenced by the quality and scale of buildings constructed at this isolated location.

The siting of the station, 4km from the established town of Yass, has the ability to demonstrate railway policy during the 1870s, with cost effective construction methods taking precedence over practical planning. The provision of facilities for passengers to join the branch line to Yass is a powerful reminder of problems created by cost cutting when by-passing the town of Yass, which was originally not connected to the Great Southern Railway.

The place also provides evidence of the change from single track operation to duplication and the need for a second platform with additional facilities for increased traffic, including refreshment rooms.

The combined station/residence is also significant for demonstrating the past custom of providing accommodation for railway staff.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The 1870s station building is significant as a representative example of a Victorian Italianate railway building, demonstrating the prosperity and wealth of railway development during the earliest period of railway construction. However, later alterations and modifications have compromised the aesthetic values of the building.

The 1915 station building is significant for demonstrating a variation of a standard (A8 – A10) design employed throughout NSW, adapted to accommodate Railway Refreshment Rooms for the high level of traffic at Yass Junction.

The signal box has aesthetic significance as a utilitarian structure with original detailing and fabric typical of standard railway design.
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 g)
The site has representative significance for its collection of railway structures including the footbridge, signal box and station buildings that collectively demonstrate widespread 19th and early 20th century railway customs, activities and design in NSW, and are representative of similar items that are found at many other railway sites across the state.

The 1876 station building is the earliest surviving two-storey combined office/residence on the Main South line, and is one of at least ten to be constructed in NSW. Other examples include Bowning, Emu Plains, Orange and Wallerawang. The building however has been highly altered, with the extant example at Bowning being a better example of its type.

The 1914 station building is a good example of a standard early twentieth century station design with fabric, form and details typical of many other station buildings constructed for line duplication throughout NSW in the early 20th century. The inclusion of the RRR is a significant variation to the standard design for railway refreshment rooms.

The signal box is significant as one of approximately 11 Type I Signal Boxes, and remains highly intact and in its original form. Other examples are extant at Harden and Moss Vale.

The footbridge is a standard Warren truss structure, noted as one of 24 in NSW (1996), and remains highly intact including the timber deck which is becoming is rare as many footbridge structures are upgraded with concrete decks.
Integrity/Intactness: The station buildings, in particular the 1870s station building, have a moderate level of integrity, having being altered considerably.
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 Study1999SRA252State 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: selected New South Wales country railway stations: an historical overview
WrittenMcKillop, R2009NSW Railways (RailCorp) Thematic History
MapRailCorp Historic Plans, various
WrittenRobert Lee1988The Greatest Public Work: The New South Wales Railways 1848 to 1889
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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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: State Government
Database number: 4806252

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