Dubbo Railway Precinct | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Dubbo Railway Precinct

Item details

Name of item: Dubbo Railway Precinct
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: , Dubbo, NSW 2830
Parish: Dubbo
County: Lincoln
Local govt. area: Dubbo


The listing boundary is formed by Talbragar St to the south, the rear boundary of the station master's residence to the west until the rear of the station buildings then continuing west until the end of the platform, crossing the tracks in a northerly direction and heading east on the far side of the tracks until the eastern end of the platform, then crossing south and heading west behind the platform structure to the edge of the parking area where it heads south to meet Talbragar St.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
 DubboDubboDubboLincolnPrimary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

The Dubbo Railway Precinct is a state significant railway station and yard. The station building, Station Master’s residence and platform faces form a rare example of a major late Victorian period station complex in NSW, constructed substantially in stone. The 1881 station building and Station Master’s residence are fine examples of Victorian railway design and are important elements within the townscape of Dubbo. The railway refreshment rooms and accommodation, signal box, locomotive straight shed, water supply pump house and locomotive depot are significant elements within a mostly intact major railway complex and are closely linked to the development and history of Dubbo. The former locomotive depot is also significant as an extant example of a depot at a major station which retains several significant industrial buildings.
Date significance updated: 25 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.


Designer/Maker: John Whitton (attributed)
Builder/Maker: Henry Albert Brigg
Construction years: 1881-1924
Physical description: MAJOR STRUCTURES - Managed by RailCorp
Station Building - type 5, first class (1881)
Platforms (1881, with later extensions)
Station Master’s Residence - type 4, (1881)
Signal Box - type F (c1920)
Platform awnings

Locomotive straight shed and associated buildings
Water Supply Pump House - corrugated iron attached to bridge (c1881)
Gantry Crane

MAJOR STRUCTURES - Managed by Pacific National
Railway Refreshment Room and Accommodation (1924)

The station building is built of stone quarried from the Macquarie River and was constructed in 1881. The single-storey building features rock-faced ashlar blocks with dressed quoins, architraves, sills and lintels. The building appears to have been designed by John Whitton’s office and is a linear building symmetrically planned with a central waiting/booking hall with other functions to each side. A long verandah runs along the street face of the building with a central entry. The verandah awning is supported on cast iron posts with cast iron brackets and valance.

The roof form is unusual in that the projecting wings at each end have truncated hipped roofs giving the building a distinctive and unique form for a railway building. The roof originally in diamond pattern slate has been re-clad in corrugated iron and features four large chimneys. An 'oeil de boeuf' and two arched double hung windows are located on each projecting wing.

The smaller detached toilet block to the west is also in stone with similar detailing and is connected by a corrugated iron infill section.

The original 1881 platform face is the stone section in front of the station building, the extensions to either end are in brick including the major platform extension to the west. There are two brick carriage dock platforms at each end of the main station platform although the dock at the western end is no longer visible (Sheedy, 1990).

Constructed in 1881 by Henry Albert Brigg of Glebe the building is similar in design to other two storey residences at major locations, except that this structure is constructed of stone to match the station. The location of the Station Master's residence facing the entrance courtyard and to the side of the station is typical of many country locations and reinforces the integrity of adjacent related buildings. The Station Master's residence has a substantial decorative two storey verandah to the front with decorative timber columns and cast iron valance and railings. The building is symmetrical with a U shaped roof with central box gutter and retains its original yard.

SIGNAL BOX (c1920)
Small timber weatherboard structure under platform awning.

The platform awning is an unusual design covering much of the platform including the freight handling area and is supported on steel columns for its free standing length and brackets in front of the station building.

Two-storey rendered brick building. This is an unusual building that has undergone extensive alterations. Originally constructed in 1924 as a single-storey building, the railway refreshment room features a later 1973 second storey addition. The building presents as an Interwar stripped classical building with a stepped parapet and simple square masonry columns supporting a front verandah. The railway refreshment room originally incorporated a Telegraph office, and was later converted to become railway barracks.

“Dubbo” incised timber platform benches
Reproduction timber fire surrounds and cast iron grates
Original and early door and window hardware (locks, handles, sash locks and lifts etc)
Station signage
Concrete flower pots
Large wall-mounted electric clock
Blue RailCorp platform trolleys
Cast iron stormwater grates
Dubbo line diagram, framed
Set of signal levers
Wall-mounted bells and timber block
Early Bakelite power switch
Early bell attached to platform canopy bracket
Timber and cast iron station name boards suspended from canopy
Plaque – Dubbo Centenary of Rail 1 February 1981
Plaque – Dubbo Station improvements 17 August 1994
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
All structures are generally in good condition.
Date condition updated:25 Nov 09
Modifications and dates: Erection of a lamp room (1891), wool stage (1891), Dubbo West siding (1893), carriage shed (1897), platform extended at western end (1898), opening of Dubbo-Coonamble branch line (1903), installation of 20-tonne cart weighbridge (1904), extension of platform at Sydney end (1904), erection of transhipping shed (1906), and addition of grain shed (1909). Addition of wheat stacking site (1917, height raised 1919), wheat silo (1920), Railway Institute Building (1920), additional siding (1923), opening of railway refreshment room (1925), opening of Dubbo-Molong line (1925), addition of 270 kilolitre water tank and water columns (1925), new buildings for telegraph office (1925), rail motor shed, pit and workshop (1928), and several new sidings and other additions up until the late 1940s (Cottee, 2004). Repairs to stonework of station completed 2008.
Current use: Operational railway station
Former use: Passenger station and goods yard


Historical notes: Dubbo Railway Precinct is located on the Main Western line. A contract was let to a William Watkins in 1877 for construction of railway infrastructure between Orange and Dubbo. The single track railway from Wellington to Dubbo was opened on 1 February 1881 with Dubbo station opened on the same day. The grand ceremony to mark the extension of the Great Western Railway to Dubbo on 1 February 1881 was also marked by Corroborees performed by local Aboriginal tribes on the eve of the opening (Dormer, 1981).

The coming of the railway to Dubbo in 1881 was one of the most important events in the development of the town. The town received a sustainable boost in activity and development from the arrival of the railway, with the station precinct becoming a major junction for a number of new lines to the North West and central north of NSW (Sheedy, 1990).

Most or all of the stone buildings at Dubbo railway precinct were constructed between 1879 and 1881 ready for the opening of the station, including the station building, goods shed and turntable pit. The Station Master’s residence was also completed in 1881 was a grand two-storey stone residence, befitting a prominent citizen of the town (Sheedy, 1990).

Some early additions to the station precinct and surrounds in Dubbo in the late 19th century and early 20th century included the erection of a lamp room (1891), wool stage (1891), Dubbo West siding (1893), carriage shed (1897), platform extended at western end (1898), opening of Dubbo-Coonamble branch line (1903), installation of 20-tonne cart weighbridge (1904), extension of platform at Sydney end (1904), erection of transhipping shed (1906), and addition of grain shed (1909) (Cottee, 2004).

Numerous additions and changes occurred throughout the 20th century, particularly in the 1910s and 1920s, including for example: addition of wheat stacking site (1917, height raised 1919), wheat silo (1920), Railway Institute Building (1920), additional siding (1923), opening of railway refreshment room (1925), opening of Dubbo-Molong line (1925), addition of 270 kilolitre water tank and water columns (1925), new buildings for telegraph office (1925), rail motor shed, pit and workshop (1928), and several new sidings and other additions up until the late 1940s (Cottee, 2004).

The royal visit by Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh to Dubbo on 10 February 1954 generated frantic activity by railway officials to transport people, especially school children, from all over the vast western portion of the state to Dubbo and then home again in 19 special trains. In total, some 50,000 people turned out for this event (McKillop, 2009).

By 1975 passenger services to Bourke, Cobar and Coonamble were replaced by a road coach service connecting with trains at Dubbo. The municipal gas siding was removed in 1982, the stockyards demolished in 1983, the livestock loading facility removed in 1985, the Darling Street gate house demolished in 1988, the Institute hall sold and relocated in 1987, and the Dubbo-Molong line decommissioned in 1988 (Cottee, 2004).

The station building remains an operational station managed by RailCorp. The residence at 106 Darling Street is now privately owned, as are the goods sheds and barracks (which are owned by Pacific National).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Aboriginal cultures and interactions with other cultures-Activities associated with maintaining, developing, experiencing and remembering Aboriginal cultural identities and practices, past and present. Railway imapcts on Aboriginal culture-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Industry-Activities associated with the manufacture, production and distribution of goods Railway Workshops-
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 settlement-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Evolution of design in railway engineering and architecture-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Moving people to events and leisure activities-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The site has historic significance; demonstrating the late 19th and early 20th century development of the NSW railways. The station building dates from the opening of the line at Dubbo in 1881, and along with other related structures has the ability to provide evidence of a major, late 19th century working railway precinct. The scale and detailing of the station building reflect the importance and size of Dubbo as a major country railway station in NSW. The complex of related railway structures are significant as evidence of a major railway station that are key elements in the development and history of Dubbo.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The station building has significance for its association as a first class station designed under the direction of John Whitton, Engineer-in-Chief of the NSW Government Railways. Dubbo railway precinct is also significant for its association with the historic royal visit by Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh on 10 February 1954, where some 50,000 people travelled by train from across the western region of NSW to Dubbo to attend the event.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The stone station buildings and extensive yard are important elements within the townscape of Dubbo and form an important civic precinct. The station building with its unique roof form, and the grand two-storey Station Master’s residence have aesthetic significance as a cohesive and largely intact group of fine Victorian railway buildings constructed from stone that reveal the typical standard of railway design at a major country location in NSW in the late 19th century.
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 former locomotive depot has research significance as an extant example of a depot which retains some significant industrial buildings and provides an insight into past railway practices.
SHR Criteria f)
The site has rarity significance as the station building, Station Master’s residence and platform faces are a rare example of a station complex in NSW constructed from stone, with few such places extant outside of the Blue Mountains.
SHR Criteria g)
The site has representative significance for its collection of railway structures including the station building, Station Master’s residence, railway refreshment rooms and accommodation, signal box, locomotive straight shed, locomotive depot and other related items 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 in several other railway precincts across the state.
Integrity/Intactness: The station buildings have a high 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 Study1999SRA342State 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
WrittenCottee, J.M.2004Stations on the track: selected New South Wales country railway stations: an historical overview
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: 4806342

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