The Rock Railway Precinct | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


The Rock Railway Precinct

Item details

Name of item: The Rock Railway Precinct
Other name/s: Hanging Rock; Kingston
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Railway Street, The Rock, NSW 2655
Parish: Burke
County: Mitchell
Local govt. area: Lockhart


The listing boundary extends from the level crossing at the north east end of the site, down each property boundary of the railway site and crossing the tracks in a line extending John St to intersect with Olympic St.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Railway StreetThe RockLockhartBurkeMitchellPrimary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

The Rock Railway Precinct is of state significance as a tangible reminder of the place's important role in the growth and prosperity of the local area following the NSW Government Railway’s ambitious programme to open up the agricultural regions of the state to commerce and trade in the late 19th century. The weatherboard ‘third class’ station building has aesthetic significance as a good example of standard late Victorian railway architecture. The station building remains as an important feature within the local townscape, particularly due to its prominent position near the axis of the main street and is complemented by the adjacent Out-of-shed. The Station Master's residence also contributes to the setting of the area. The grain bag shed is a prominent structure that reveals the use of standard designs by the NSWGR for the temporary storage of bags of wheat and other grains for transportation via rail.
Date significance updated: 02 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: 1880-1909
Physical description: MAJOR STRUCTURES - Managed by RailCorp
Station Building - type 4, ‘Third-class’ (1880)
Out-of-Shed (c1880)
Platform (1880)
Platform signs (c1880)

Station Master's Residence - type 5, brick (1880)
Grain Bag Shed (1909)
Crane (1881)

The Station Building is of timber construction with a large awning over the platform supported on timber columns. The walls are clad in weatherboard and the roof is clad in corrugated iron and features two brick corbelled chimneys. Windows are timber framed with double hung sashes. The building is linear in plan and originally contained three rooms only. The main waiting room was extended forward on the street side to give a prominent break-point with a transverse gable to the main roof and central double door below. The Station Master’s office and ladies waiting room were located off the main waiting room. To the western end is a detached transverse gable roofed structure housing the men’s toilet and yard between the two structures, thus giving an asymmetrical arrangement of buildings. The symmetry of the building is further altered with the later addition of an extra room with hipped roof to the east.

OUT-OF-SHED (1880)
Standard design with a skillion roof, timber frame and corrugated iron sheeting on the walls.

Straight side platform of brick with concrete coping, has been raised.

Small residence with corrugated iron roof, timber weatherboard walls, symmetrical with pyramid roof and two chimneys. The building has an extension to one side. A verandah extends across the front of the building.

The Bag Shed or ‘Grain Shed’ is a wide-open structure with timber truss roof frame, 97.7m long by 7.9m, with a galvanised iron roof. The building comprises a concrete slab floor, and is 32 equal bays in length.

Platform benches with incised “The Rock” lettering
Cast iron and timber platform bench
Timber framed noticeboard and blackboard on platform
Timber-framed blackboard on external wall
Tall, two-door cupboard with shelves
Timber-framed “The Rock” line diagram and associated cabling
Wall-mounted telephone / switchboard, c1980s
Wall-mounted cast iron and enamelled sinks
Wall-mounted timber racking / shelving
Timber fire surrounds, hearth and grates (one with shelf missing)
Original and early door and window hardware (locks, handles, sash locks and lifts etc), including brass SRA SL padlock
Wall-mounted platform telephone
Fitted timber ticket desk and overhead wall shelf
Fitted timber shelving and simple fitted steel sink and wall tiling
Pink cast iron and enamelled pedestal basin, c1950s
Wall-mounted, timber-framed mirrors x 2
Fitted corner shelves
Early light fittings, switches and timber mounting blocks

Soft-edged gravel driveway
Early, original and reproduction timber fences
Signal levers on display in garden bed
Fencing made out of iron rails
Terraced garden beds
5-ton jib crane on concrete plinth in yard
Large square concrete planter pots
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The Station Buildings are in good condition.
The Grain Bag Shed is in fair condition.
Date condition updated:25 Aug 09
Modifications and dates: In preparation for the construction of a branch line, a new room was added to the eastern end of the station building in 1903 to serve as a postal room. The room was converted into a parcels office in 1905, when a permanent post office was opened in the town.
Current use: Operational Railway Station
Former use: Nil


Historical notes: The Rock 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 inland centres such as Goulburn, Bathurst, Singleton and Muswellbrook (Lee, 2000, p98).

The 1870s and 1880s saw a boom in railway construction, and by 1878 the Great Southern Railway had reached Bomen (North Wagga) and a year later it crossed the Murrumbidgee River on the longest and then most expensive bridge in Australia through to Wagga Wagga. The construction contract for the Wagga Wagga to Albury section of the Great Southern Railway was awarded to George Cornwell & F Mixner in 1878 and was completed in 1881, with the station opening at ‘Hanging Rock’ on 1 September 1880. It is unknown to what extent the surrounding area had been settled prior to the arrival of the railway. It is noted that Hanging Rock, dominated by a massive granite rock outcrop, comprised in 1880 only a small inn and a feed shed to serve horses operating coaches to Urana (McKillop, 2002).

The station building, Station Master’s residence and goods shed at Hanging Rock were all constructed in 1880, and in 1881 a yard crane was installed along with a lamp room and station name board. The station was briefly renamed ‘Kingston’ on 28 December 1882 before assuming its current name, ‘The Rock’, on 10 February 1883 (Forsyth, 2009; Love, 2001; SRA, 1993).

Between 1890 and 1892, stockyards were constructed, signalling at the station was interlocked and a weighbridge installed. A steam locomotive depot was also established at The Rock as a result of the opening of the branch line to Lockhart in 1901 and a signal box was added to the station precinct. Further changes at The Rock included the addition of a grain bag shed in 1909. In 1912 and 1913, extensions were made to the main passenger building, and in the yard a wheat stacking site, 20 ton weighbridge and additional sidings were added along with other changes (Love, 2001; McKillop, 2002)

Wheat soon became and remains the dominant industry in The Rock and surrounding districts. Between 1916 and 1918 further improvements were made for handling wheat, including the construction of a loading bank. Wheat silos were constructed at The Rock in 1920 and in 1922 an additional dam was built to supply water for locomotives. Additional railway dwellings were constructed by 1933, including an Assistant Station Master’s residence, and a Night Officer’s residence (McKillop, 2002; Love, 2001).

As in many other parts of NSW, the 1970s and 1980s saw a decline in passenger services and freight in regional NSW and the closure of many branch lines. The crew wash room and kitchen were removed in 1974 and in 1976 the engine shed and an office were also removed. In 1980, major sections of the former locomotive and rail motor servicing areas were removed, in 1985 the weighbridge, signal box and Assistant Station Master’s residence were sold along with the Night Officer’s residence and in 1986 the goods shed was removed. The 1980s also saw the removal of manually operated signal boxes with the introduction of the centralised Traffic Control Signalling System between Junee and Albury. Today, the area once occupied by the locomotive depot at The Rock is totally devoid of any visible traces of structures or remains (Love, 2001; McKillop, 2002).

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 Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Transporting agricultural supplies and machinery-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Communication-Activities relating to the creation and conveyance of information Mail trains and parcels service-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Forestry-Activities associated with identifying and managing land covered in trees for commercial purposes. Utilising timber for railway purposes-
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-
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-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Rock Railway Precinct has historical significance as a tangible reminder of an important and prosperous period in the history of The Rock and surrounding districts. The grain bag shed is a tangible reminder of the precinct’s important role in the growth and prosperity of the local area following the NSW Government Railway’s ambitious programme to open up the agricultural regions of the state to commerce and trade in the late 19th century. The Station Master’s residence is significant for demonstrating the past custom of providing accommodation near the station for railway staff.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Rock Railway Precinct has local significance and is part of a designated urban conservation area. The railway precinct (including the Station Master's residence) remains an important feature within the local townscape, particularly due to its prominent position near the axis of the main street. The station building has aesthetic significance as a simple ‘third class’ weatherboard building demonstrating the a common style of late Victorian railway architecture. The grain bag shed is a prominent structure that reveals the use of standard designs by the NSWGR for the temporary storage of bags of wheat and other grains for transportation via rail.
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]
The place has research significance for providing information about the past custom of transporting wheat by rail in NSW.
SHR Criteria f)
The grain bag shed at The Rock is rare as only one of five similar open-sided grain bag sheds known to be extant in NSW.
SHR Criteria g)
The station building is a good representative example of third-class railway architecture in NSW. The site has representative significance for its collection of railway structures including the Out-of-shed and Station Master’s residence 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 other railway sites across the state.
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 Study1999SRA256State 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
WrittenRay Love2001The railway history of The Rock N.S.W
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: 4806256

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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