Gunning Railway Precinct | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Gunning Railway Precinct

Item details

Name of item: Gunning Railway Precinct
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Grovenor Street, Gunning, NSW 2581
Parish: Gunning
County: King
Local govt. area: Upper Lachlan


To the north east the boundary is the road bridge, on the north west the boundary is behind the perway shed around the rear of the cattle yard and across the tracks approximately 50 metres south west of the platforms. Along the south east the boundary includes the rear yard of the station building, the property boundaries of the station masters residence and diagonally back in a northerly direction to the road bridge.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Grovenor StreetGunningUpper LachlanGunningKingPrimary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Gunning Railway Precinct is of state significance as a good example of a small country station complex which retains significant elements from both the opening of the line in 1875 and from 1913 when additions were made to the site for line duplication. Extant structures within the yard clearly demonstrate the change from single track to double track operation in 1915 with the addition of a second platform and more complex signalling arrangements. The site also reveals the importance placed on railway development in country NSW in the late 19th century, as evidenced by the scale of extant buildings at Gunning. The original station building is also significant as an example of an early, albeit altered, prototype for a standardised design of station buildings.
Date significance updated: 01 Dec 15
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)
Builder/Maker: F. Horn (station building); D. Williams (platform)
Construction years: 1875-1875
Physical description: MAJOR STRUCTURES - Managed by RailCorp
Station Building - type 4, standard roadside station (1875)
Station Building - type 11, station building, duplication (1913)
Signal Box - type E (type 3), timber skillion roof building on platform (1913)
Out of shed - (1913)
Platforms - (1875, 1915)
Original station sign

Per Way shed - corrugated galvanised iron
Jib crane - 10 tonne
Dock platform
Goods shed - remains

The 1875 wayside station is a 5 bay, symmetrical, gable ended English bond painted brick building. The roof is clad in corrugated sheet metal and features corbelled brick chimneys. Most original double hung timber windows have been bricked up. The original platform awning has been replaced and now features modern steel posts. The building originally featured a detached toilet block containing male and female toilets, the female toilets attached to the main building via a corridor. A service yard was located between the two blocks, which has now been removed. The building is linear in plan and originally contained a parcels room, booking office, waiting room and ladies waiting room. The building has been modified internally. Awning support posts seems to have been replaced when platform was raised with concrete. Some windows have been boarded up and painted.

The station building is an A1 standard design and is a simple timber waiting shed with cantilevered awning on curved brackets. The roof is clad in corrugated sheet metal. The plan form is one open waiting shed with fixed seats around the perimeter and a large opening to the platform. It has a single window to the rear. Exposed interior cross braces and timber floor. This building also has modern small concrete ramp with fence type balustrade around it.

Early platform Gunning sign (concrete posts and (?) panel) is painted modern Countrylink blue colours.

A standard timber skillion roof box with corrugated metal roof sloping towards platform edge (equipment is reported to be removed).

OUT OF SHED (1913)
A simple timber building for freight storage on the Up platform. It has a skillion roofed shed with double front doors and small roof overhang to the platform side supported on angled timber braces.

The Down platform face is brick built, and the Up platform is brick with concrete edging. The platform surfaces are white gravel, which was typical of early platforms and which have now largely been covered with asphalt. Modern seats and bins (some seating is blocking doors). Some metal fencing along platform between buildings present. Early fencing behind station (old rail and timber).

A simple corrugated iron clad shed with corrugated iron skillion roof.

“Gunning” incised timber platform benches
Reproduction heritage-style lamp posts on platform
Original and early door and window hardware (locks, handles, sash locks and lifts etc)
Timber and iron window and door hoods
5-ton jib crane with pulley and hook in yard
Fitted timber benches in waiting shed
Concrete and timber platform station name sign
Iron rail and timber fencing

Remains of fence behind the station building.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The station buildings are in a good to moderate condition.
Date condition updated:25 Nov 09
Modifications and dates: 1880: Platform 2 lengthened; nd Platform raised
1915: new platform 1 constructed and line duplicated from Cullerin
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Nil


Historical notes: Gunning 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 pastural 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". 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, p98).

By 1867 the Main Southern 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 and other produce from the Riverina and the west of NSW would be diverted to Melbourne via river boats and the Victorian railway to Echuca on the Murray River, which opened in 1864 (McKillop, 2009)

The construction contract for the Goulburn to Yass (Junction) section was awarded to A & R Amos & A Kerr on 20 May 1874 with the line opening to Gunning on 9 November 1875. The original arrangement at Gunning included a loop on the Up side, a goods siding behind the loop, and a platform on the Down side of the single main line. Construction of the 91 metre station platform was let to a D. Williams and construction of the station building and goods shed to F. Horn on 6 August 1875 (Forsyth, 1989; Forsyth, 2009).

It is likely that the original station building was completed before or soon after the opening of the Goulburn to Gunning section of the Main Southern Line in November 1875. This building was the first application of a distinctive NSW station design, approved by John Whitton in 1874. It stands as a simple brick rectangular structure, with an awning and detached toilet block to assist in the management of unpleasant odours. In later decades of the 19th century, this design became known as the 'standard roadside station', though in practice there were many variations between individual stations.

In c1876 a two-storey Station Master’s residence was constructed within the station precinct, which included a ground floor bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and laundry, three additional bedrooms on the first floor, and a double storey front veranda. Other early or original structures (including those relocated from or to other locations) included sheep yards, enginemen’s rest house (moved to Bowning in 1876), goods office (moved to Goulburn in 1876), and 5 tonne yard crane (relocated from Binalong, re-erected at Gunning in 1878), platform lengthening, a new ladies toilet within the main station building (1889) and station interlocking (1891) (Forsyth, 1989).

The line was duplicated from Cullerin on 24 October 1915, and in preparation for duplication of the line a new platform was constructed at Gunning on the Up side in c1913, and a timber waiting shed was provided. In the same year, a timber signal box was constructed on the original platform. Plans from this period also indicate the existence of a small Out-of shed adjacent to the original footbridge; although it’s exact date of construction is not known.

Later additions and modifications to the precinct included installation of a 10 tonne yard crane (1919), and the introduction of a wool loading dump (1924). A coal stage appears in early station diagrams and may have been located in the yard until 1920 (Forsyth, 1989).

The station building closed on 24 November 1989.

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 agricultural supplies and machinery-
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 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 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-
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 Maintaining the railway network-
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 Gunning Railway Precinct includes buildings dating from both the opening of the Gunning section of the Southern Line in 1875 (twenty years after the first railway in Sydney), and from duplication of the line in 1915. The precinct has historical significance for its ability to clearly demonstrate the change from single track to double track operation in 1915 with the addition of a second platform and more complex signalling arrangements. The site also reveals the importance placed on railway development in country NSW in the late 19th century, as evidenced by the scale of the extant main station building at Gunning.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The 1875 station building has associations with John Whitton, Engineer-in-Chief of NSW Railways from 1856-1890. The station design at Gunning by Whitton was the first to use of a distinctive NSW station design which became known as the 'standard roadside station'.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The collection of railway structures at Gunning have aesthetic significance as a representative and cohesive rural station precinct. Although the original station is the first of its type, the building is a representative structure with a restrained aesthetic and utilitarian design that does not exhibit any particularly unique aesthetic or technical values.
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 Gunning Railway Precinct has representative significance for its collection of railway structures including the station buildings, signal box, sheds, platforms and crane that collectively demonstrate widespread 19th and early 20th Century railway customs, activities and design in NSW. The site is representative of many similar locations in country NSW built in the late 19th century, whereby relatively grand station buildings and other facilities were built at locations with only modest populations. The 1875 station building is also significant as an example of an early, albeit altered, prototype for standard (third-class) roadside station buildings. The 1915 station building is typical of standard design buildings constructed for line duplication throughout NSW in the early 20th century. The signal box is one of approximately 35 similar signal boxes in NSW.
Integrity/Intactness: The station buildings have a moderate 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 Study1999SRA268State 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.H. Forsyth1989Stations and tracks Volume 2: Main Southern Line: Granville Junction to Albury
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, Archives Section1993How 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: 4806268

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