Griffith Railway Precinct | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

Griffith Railway Precinct

Item details

Name of item: Griffith Railway Precinct
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Railway Street, Griffith, NSW 2680
Parish: Jondaryan
County: Cooper
Local govt. area: Griffith

Boundary:

The listing boundary is the Macarthur St crossing to the east, the Wakaden Ln frontage to the north, the Railway St property boundary to the south and the level crossing on Ulong St to the west.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Railway StreetGriffithGriffithJondaryanCooperPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Griffith Railway Precinct is of local significance as an important group of structures within the town of Griffith. The passenger building at Griffith railway station is a typical example of an Interwar station building that displays many typical stylistic elements found at similar station buildings in New South Wales. The remaining railway structures (including the signal box, and turntable) collectively demonstrate widespread 20th century railway customs, activities and design in NSW. The site of the railway precinct is important for its historic link to the design of the town of Griffith by architect Walter Burley Griffin, with the railway station opening in the same year as the town’s proclamation in 1916. The construction of the railway station was an integral component of the NSW government's ambitious Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (MIA) Scheme which provided the opportunity for new agricultural resources to be grown and freighted by rail to the rest of NSW. Following World War I, the town became a settlement for migrants and returned soldiers, who travelled by train to Griffith to embark on a new life.
Date significance updated: 29 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.

Description

Builder/Maker: Public Works Department
Construction years: 1916-1937
Physical description: MAJOR STRUCTURES - Managed by RailCorp
Station Building - type 13, second side building brick (1935).
Platform.

MAJOR STRUCTURES - Managed by John Holland
Signal Box - elevated fibro (1937).
Turntable (1916).


STATION BUILDING (1935)
The building is of masonry construction and uses dichromatic brickwork as a simple decorative effect. The building is comprised of two hipped-roofed blocks, off-set against one another with the projecting block or bay forming the focal point for the approach elevation. This bay contains the booking office and has a separate entry to the main station building, as well as providing disabled access to the platform. The roofs are covered with multi-coloured terracotta tiles that may or may not be original. The roof is hipped with a low eaves overhang and timber lined soffit, all typical details from this period of construction. The building employs simple bands of dichromatic brickwork as its main decorative detail and this is typical of modest station buildings of this period. Wall construction is of standard stretcher bond with dichromatic "perp" end courses every 12th course and 6 courses below the roofline. Each band is flanked by a "perp" end course in the main colour, laid at right angles to the decorative band. The building foundations are enclosed with a masonry wall, rendered and painted to form a strong contrast against the dark brickwork. The fenestration on the approach façade is regular and almost severe in its simplicity. Windows are timber sashed and double hung or timber sashed and louvred with three panes to each frame.

The platform elevation of the building is simple and unadorned, relying on dichromatic brickwork for decorative effect. The awning is of corrugated Colorbond supported on steel rails. This structure is a replacement for the original awning but appears to follow the original plan. It was probably erected in the 1990s. The fenestration to this elevation is regular but not symmetrical.

Internally, the building is designed as a series of discrete spaces with specific functions arranged on a linear plan. From east to west these spaces consist of: out-of-room, parcels office, parcels storage room, men’s toilet, ladies toilet, waiting room and booking office. The scale of the building and emphasis on passenger comfort suggests that Griffith was more than just a wayside station and also reflects the NSW Railways growing concern for passengers at this time. Virtually all of the original interior fitout has been removed with only a few ceiling cornices and window frames remaining. The interior has recently been repainted, obscuring any remnants of the original paint scheme.

PLATFORM
Platform wall comprises of steel post and concrete panels. Coping slabs slightly uneven and conc deck joints breaking up toward city end. Construction date not known possibly c1916 - 1935.

SIGNAL BOX (1937)
Located at the eastern end of the platform is an elevated signal box. This building is of timber framed construction, clad with asbestos cement sheeting on masonry foundations.

MOVABLE
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:
Original and early door and window hardware (locks, handles, sash locks and lifts etc.)
Original and early light fittings, switches, chains and timber mounting blocks
Bakelite telephone and small switchboard
Various timber furnishings
Two safes - Ajax and Milner
Seth Thomas clock – “2304”
SRA NSW electric Timatic wall clock
Set of brass and Bakelite bells
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Generally, the station building is in good condition. It has been well maintained over its life and new work has been carried out competently and sympathetically. There is no evidence of structural problems and the masonry is in excellent condition. The condition of the signal box could not be ascertained as access to the interior and sub-floor spaces was not permitted (Interwar Stations, 2001). Platform - good (2015)
Date condition updated:10 Aug 09
Modifications and dates: The 1935 station building was altered in 1943, and has since undergone further extensions, probably since the 1970s.
Further information: The goods shed and gantry crane are not in railway ownership.
Current use: The station building is used as a Countrylink coach terminal/booking office.
Former use: Railway station and yard

History

Historical notes: Griffith Railway Precinct is located at the junction of the Temora - Roto and Yanco to Griffith lines. The single line from Barellan to Griffith was constructed by the Public Works Department with work commencing on 7 November 1913 as part of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (MIA) Scheme.

The NSW Government’s plans for the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (MIA) Scheme, commenced with the Barren Jack Dam and Murrumbidgee Canals Construction Act 1906. Construction of the dam commenced in March 1907 with the construction of initial site facilities. Much of the work was to be undertaken by the Public Works Department, which included the construction of canals, weirs, channels and bridges. With this irrigation system in operation, the Government hoped to attract hundreds of new immigrants to a new farming region. The building of a narrow gauge railway to provide access to the site was also commenced in 1907 (McKillop, 2008).

The Murrumbidgee Irrigation Act 1910 established the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Trust. Minister for Public Works, Arthur Hill Griffith, was appointed as first chairman of the Trust in 1911. It was soon obvious that the grand scheme was beyond the competency of the Trust, and so the Irrigation Act 1912 saw the Trust superseded by a Commissioner for Water Conservation and Irrigation (the WC&IC). The first Commissioner, Leslie Wade, was appointed from 1 January 1913 (McKillop, 2008).

Wade's vision for the MIA was "looking to new railways to service the area, new business enterprises to handle and market the produce, processing facilities, power generation, and domestic water supplies and commercial service centres to support the expected population...Two urban designs were required. The town of Leeton, named after the prominent MIA supporter Charles Lee and (the town of) Griffith after Sir Arthur Griffith." Wade saw an opportunity for his vision in 1913 when Walter Burley Griffin came to Australia after winning the international competition for the design of the new National Capital in Canberra (McKillop, 2008).

"Griffith was to be developed on a greenfield site and the vision was to be on a grander scale than Leeton. Like Canberra, the urban design featured a distinctive radial pattern with wide tree-lined streets, ring-roads and parks... with the focal point to be a grand circle, the centre of government administration, crowning the central hill... The plan envisaged Griffith as a significant railway focal point that would 'carry on effective exchange and transfer business arising through its special facility for direct shipment'. The railway station was to be a prominent feature at the centre of the town and the yards were to be designed to achieve a minimum of switching and re-handling" (McKillop, 2008).

"During 1914 Griffin was sending blueprints of the Griffith railway line...and was also undertaking the urban design for Griffith, including the terminus for the Barellan to Griffith railway then under construction." Leslie Wade suddenly died on 12 January 1915. With the project’s key promoter gone and Australia's involvement in a world war imminent, enthusiasm for the grand project waned (McKillop, 2008).

Griffin's road pattern was adopted for the town of Griffith, proclaimed in 1916, but the scale of the centre and its architecture fell far short of the early vision (McKillop, 2008).

The line to Griffith opened on 3 July 1916, with Griffith station opening on the same date, to coincide with the proclamation of the town. The configuration of the yard consisted of a crossing loop, weighbridge, loading bank, stockyard, goods shed, and gantry crane on the Up side, a 90kl water tank on steel stand (located 14 metres past the end of the platform at the rear of the station), and an Up side single road engine shed, coal shed, turntable, ash pit, and additional 90kl water tank in the loco area. Early additions to the yard included an 18.288m diameter turntable in 1916, a signal box (1916), rest house (1916), goods shed (relocated from Melinga in 1920) and cart weighbridge (1920) (Forsyth, 1992).

Griffith became a settlement for Post World War I migrants and returned soldiers who came to work in the MIA. In the 1920s, further agricultural lines were opened with the line from Yanco - Griffith completed in 1922 and extended to Hillston in 1923. Vegetable and horticultural produce from Griffith in the MIA were important crops hauled by rail to Sydney markets and ports (McKillop, 2009).

The first station buildings at Griffith were erected in 1921 and altered between 1922 and 1928. Other additions to the precinct included a Station Master’s residence (1925), parcels office (built adjacent to ladies waiting room in 1927), and stockyard (1927) (Forsyth, 1992).

A new station building replaced the original building in 1935, with a new signal box erected in 1937. The station building was altered in 1943, and has since undergone further extensions, probably since the 1970s.

The last rail motor service between Griffith and Hillston departed in 1974 while a limited passenger service continued between Temora and Griffith until 1986 when a road coach replaced the passenger train service to Griffith (Forsyth, 1992).

A once weekly passenger train service now operates from Sydney via Junee - Narrandera and Leeton to Griffith, and return.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Migration-Activities and processes associated with the resettling of people from one place to another (international, interstate, intrastate) and the impacts of such movements Moving migrants inland-
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 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-
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 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]
Griffith Railway Precinct is important for its historic link to the design of the town of Griffith by architect Walter Burley Griffin, with the station opening for the town’s proclamation in 1916. The construction of the railway station was an integral component of the NSW government's ambitious Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (MIA) Scheme which provided the opportunity for new agricultural resources to be grown and freighted by rail to the rest of NSW. Following World War I, the town became a settlement for migrants and returned soldiers, who travelled by train to Griffith to embark on a new life.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The place has significance for its historical associations with Walter Burley Griffin, prominent architect and the town planner of Griffith, Leeton and Canberra.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Griffith railway station has aesthetic significance as a good example of an Interwar station building in regional NSW. The building displays many typical stylistic elements of similar station buildings constructed during this period throughout NSW.
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)
[Representativeness]
Griffith railway station is a good representative example of an Interwar railway station in regional NSW. The site has representative significance for its collection of railway structures including the signal box and turntable that collectively demonstrate widespread 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.
Integrity/Intactness: The precinct has 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.

Listings

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 Study1999SRA294State 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
WrittenAndrea Humphreys and Donald Ellsmore2001Inter-War Station Buildings
WrittenCottee, J.M.2004Stations on the track: selected New South Wales country railway stations: an historical overview
WrittenForsyth, J.H.1992Stations & tracks: volume 3B: Southern branch lines
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: 4806294


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