Orange Railway Precinct | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Orange Railway Precinct

Item details

Name of item: Orange Railway Precinct
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: Peisley Street, Orange, NSW 2800
Parish: Orange
County: Wellington
Local govt. area: Orange


The listing boundary is formed by Peisley St to the west (including the buildings fronting Peisley St included in the listing), the northern side of the footbridge, Endsleigh Avenue to the east and the extension of Warrendine Street to the south.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Peisley StreetOrangeOrangeOrangeWellingtonPrimary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Orange Railway Precinct is of state significance for its historic, aesthetic and rarity values. The 1877 two-storey Victorian station building is a fine and rare combined residence/station building, one of only four similar buildings in the state. The site is significant as a major railway complex comprising several rare, representative, and/or otherwise significant railway buildings and other structures including the goods shed (1877), Station Master’s residence (1885), Railway Institute building (c.1921), administration building (c.1950) signal box (1938) and the transhipment shed (c.1959). The cast iron footbridge is a rare structure reflecting a style of construction once similar to other pedestrian bridges and related structures built during the Whitton era in the late nineteenth century.
Date significance updated: 27 Aug 08
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: 1877-1950
Physical description: MAJOR STRUCTURES - Managed by RailCorp
Station Buildings - type 1, sub-type 3, brick combined office and station (1877) with additions (1902, 1907,1915)

MAJOR STRUCTURES - Managed by John Holland
Station Master’s Residence - type 11, 158 Peisley St (1885)
Railway Institute Building - timber, 156 Peisley St (c.1921)
Administration Building - 154 Peisley Street (c.1950)
Goods Shed - through shed, Piesley St (1877)
Rail Motor Shed- Piesley St (c1950)
Signal Box (1938) (The signal box has been identified for removal as part of a state-wide strategy to manage redundant signal boxes)
Transhipment Shed- Endsleigh St (c1959)
Perway Inspector’s Office and Depot- Endsleigh St

OTHER ITEMS - Managed by John Holland
Footbridge - iron with concrete deck (c1910) & extension (1938)
Jib Crane - 5 ton

STATION BUILDING (1877, modified 1902, 1907, 1915)
The brick station building was built with a combined two-storey residence for the Station Master with upstairs bedrooms. The building has since undergone a series of modifications but retains its Victorian form and character.

The building houses the central booking office, with extended wings along the platform for parcels, refreshments, waiting rooms and toilets. The building is constructed of brick in Flemish bond with label moulded rendered heads for openings, and corbelled and moulded render sills to double hung sash arched windows. The verandah is long and low to the platform and is supported on cast iron composite Corinthian style columns with cast iron angle brackets supporting roof in four directions (B Cubed Sustainability, 2007). Platform 1 is a straight side platform with brick face, coping has been raised. There is also a short carriage dock and a long back road platform, not in use.

The former Station Master’s residence is located at 158 Peisley St. It was built c.1885, is late Victorian and includes the following features: gabled front end and octagonal bay with pitched slate roof; main roof of hipped and gable form; four panel glazed entrance door; glazed French verandah doors; sloping iron verandah roof supported on square stop chamfered timber posts, and fine moulded rendered chimneys (B Cubed Sustainability, 2007).

Federation style weatherboard house with pitched corrugated iron roof and brick chimney. The verandah extends over the front porch only supported by timber posts and brick columns (B Cubed Sustainability, 2007).

The Administration Building is a symmetrical three storey polychromatic, brick building with a pitched tiled roof. It has evenly spaced windows around all sides of both levels, and the entrance way is marked with a neo-classical portico. Internally there have been some modifications, particularly to the first floor where offices and equipment relating to train controls have been installed. Security grates have been fitted to some windows and air-conditioning installed, unsympathetically in some instances. Window frames have been replaced with aluminium frames. The building has all new floor coverings and toilets have been installed. A glass panel and door has been added inside the entrance arch. The general internal layout is likely to be similar to as built, as are ceilings, some skirting, doors and stair banisters (B Cubed Sustainability, 2007).

GOODS SHED (1877) (John Holland)
The goods shed consists of an internal frame of long Oregon hardwood timber beams clad in corrugated iron with a pitched roof. The roof has skylights along the enclosed section. The original shed was almost twice as long as it is today having extended northward to the end of the Orange railway station platform to where the jib crane still stands. The current dimensions are approximately 42m x 11.4m. The building has also been modified through the introduction of aluminium windows, roller doors and an awning extending from the northern end of the western side of the structure, along with landscaping. During its time of operation, a rail line passed through the eastern side of the building. The line is now covered over, and has possibly been removed. A wooden platform remains through the centre of the shed. The goods shed is being leased to Australian Native Landscapes as a storage and display centre for the retail of landscaping supplies. The tenants have constructed an office at the northern end of the building and a sales point in the centre. (BCubed Sustainability, 2007).

RAIL MOTOR SHED (c1950) (John Holland)
Located in the goods yard adjacent to the goods shed. The shed is constructed using iron beams and trusses and corrugated iron cladding. Disused railway tracks run into the shed and there is a diesel tank sitting aloft iron stilts to the southern end of the eastern side of the structure. The type and condition of the materials used in the rail motor shed would suggest the provenance of the rail motor shed to be mid 20th century. Currently, the shed is part of the Australian Native Landscapes lease but is not being used for any function (B Cubed Sustainability, 2007).

SIGNAL BOX (1938) (John Holland)
The signal box is a two storey timber board building located between the crossing loop track and the Main line south of the Orange railway station. The majority of the signals have been disconnected and decommissioned. Some levers have been removed. Air-conditioning has been installed (B Cubed Sustainability, 2007).

TRANSHIPMENT SHED (c1959) (John Holland)
The transhipment (OPR) shed was constructed c.1959 by the Orange Producers Rural Association and is located on the eastern side of the rail precinct opposite the Orange railway station and goods shed. The building is an open style shed consisting of an iron support structure covered over with corrugated iron. The OPR shed spans over track that was previously the eighth line of 8 marshalling sidings at Orange. The shed is in a good condition though its integrity is diminished (B Cubed Sustainability, 2007).

The Permanent Way Depot is located opposite the Administration Building on the eastern side of the Orange rail precinct to the north of the station. The buildings include an office and various sheds. The office area roof is constructed using corrugated iron and has an uneven pitched roof and verandah covering the entrance on the western side of the building (B Cubed Sustainability, 2007).

FOOTBRIDGE (1910, extended 1938) (John Holland)
The footbridge is a pedestrian overbridge that provides pedestrian access over the tracks. The original bridge was constructed c1910, of composite plain cast iron posts and brown brick piers, riveted iron beams and cast iron railing. It was then extended with the new section being obviously distinct from the original (BCubed Sustainability, 2007). The 1938 section of the bridge is noted as being the first welded truss bridge in the rail system. The original component of the bridge is recorded as the oldest surviving footbridge in NSW and the only example of its type (B Cubed Sustainability, 2007).

JIB CRANE (John Holland)
Class No. 1, 5 tonne, hand operated jib crane. The crane was used to load and unload goods to and from rail wagons and road vehicles. Previously, the goods shed extended right up to where the jib crane still stands. (B Cubed Sustainability, 2007).

Honour board on platform– Orange Railway, Ambulance and Rifle Club
Large terracotta/concrete pots on platform
SRA suspended double-sided electric Timatic clock on platform
“Orange” incised timber platform benches
Decorative gooseneck light posts, singles and doubles
5-ton jib crane with pulley and hook
Timber stop block in yard
Cast iron bollards in car park and station forecourt
Timber fencing and iron rails used as posts
Early timber notice boards
Various photos and interpretation around station precinct.

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:
Cast Iron Safe
NSWTD Timber framed mirror
SRA wall-mounted electric Timatic clock in office
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
All structures appear generally to be in good condition.
Date condition updated:22 Jun 09
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Nil


Historical notes: Orange is located on the Main Western line. The single line railway from Blayney to Orange was opened on 19 April 1877. The line was duplicated from Spring Hill to Orange on 5 November 1916.

In 1874 a contract was awarded for construction of the line from Bathurst to Orange and in 1876 a contract let for construction of a combined station/ residence building, goods shed and station verandah at Orange. The design for the new station building/residence was finalised in 1876 and the building completed the following year, being officially opened on 19 April 1877. A Guards’ rest house was also provided in 1877, and in 1885 a branch line was opened from Orange East Fork to Molong (Cottee, 2004; SRA, 1993).

In the year of the railways arrival to Orange, 20,170 acres of land was under cultivation, wheat being the primary crop. It was the wheat farmer, therefore, that stood to benefit most from the opening of the line. Accordingly the initial planning of the precinct included a goods shed, which still stands today, for the loading of Orange grown grains onto rail trucks destined for Sydney markets. The original goods shed was much longer than it is today, extending northward almost to the end of the railway station platform, where the carpark is now, and utilizing the jib crane (B Cubed Sustainability, 2007).

The original 1875 plans for the station arrangement for Orange show that the Orange precinct was intended to service more than just passenger trains. The precinct included a depot and carriage shed with a turntable opposite the railway station and goods shed. The depot was subsequently moved in 1937 to East Fork and the area was converted for use as a marshalling yard (B Cubed Sustainability, 2007).

The 1930s saw significant developments to the rail infrastructure at Orange. With the Railway Institute already established, it was announced in 1936 that the new headquarters for the District Superintendent of Railways was to be constructed next to the station on the north-western side. As the town of Orange grew, the rail activities at Orange were being divided between the station in town and the depot at East Fork and accordingly the coal shed (perhaps only a coal dump or an elevated loading facility) and engine shed were relocated from an area opposite the station to East Fork in 1937 (B Cubed Sustainability, 2007).

In 1938, a signal box was added to the precinct, south of the goods shed and in-between the bifurcated main line and the lines of the marshalling area. The construction of the signal box represented the modernization of the 19th century railway station and yard and a new mechanized system of signalling to better cope with the increased number of trains travelling through Orange (B Cubed Sustainability, 2007).

Over time, the arrangement of the rail precinct at Orange has changed as a result of the development of Orange as a major regional centre, and due to changes in railway technology and practices. Once the rail head moved on from Orange in 1880 and the railways continued into far western NSW, Orange turned to the production of fruit, finding it increasingly difficult to compete with the wheat production in the drier climate wheat districts. The production of grain in the Orange district in the 19th century was replaced to a large extent with fruit by the 1950s. A reflection of this change was the construction of the Orange Producers Rural Association (OPR) transhipment shed (c1959) within the Orange railway precinct (B Cubed Sustainability, 2007).

Other additions and alterations within the Orange railway station and yard included the installation of a gantry crane (1896), erection of a carriage shed (1897), extension of the awning over the station platform (1898), alterations to station buildings (1918), provision of a wheat stacking site in the triangle (1918), construction of institute building (1921), new stockyards (1935), and at least one new rest house for Loco staff (1939) (Cottee, 2004; SRA, 1993).

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 Industry-Activities associated with the manufacture, production and distribution of goods Railway Workshops-
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-
6. Educating-Educating Education-Activities associated with teaching and learning by children and adults, formally and informally. Educating people in regional locations-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Railway administration-

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 Orange in 1877, and along with other structures within the yard precinct, has the ability to provide evidence of a late 19th century railway precinct. The scale and detailing of the station buildings reflect the importance and size of Orange as an important country location in NSW. As the Orange agricultural economy developed and railway technology progressed, so too did the use and layout of Orange Railway station, and the precinct demonstrates this historical growth.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The station building has aesthetic significance as a fine Victorian railway station building that demonstrates railway design in the 1870s.
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 f)
The 1877 two-storey, brick station building is a rare combined residence/station building, with only four other similar buildings in the state, the others being Bowning, Emu Plains, Wallerawang and Yass junction. The cast iron footbridge is a surviving rare structure reflecting a style of construction similar to Whitton's river bridges and pedestrian bridges from the late 19th century.
SHR Criteria g)
The site has representative significance for its collection of railway structures, including the goods shed (1877), Station Master’s residence (1885), Railway Institute building (c1921), administration building (c1950), signal box (1938) and the transhipment shed (c.1959) 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 other railway sites 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 Study1999SRA345State 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
Writtenb Cubed Sustainability2007Orange rail precinct subdivision conservation management strategy
WrittenCottee, J.M.2004Stations on the track: selected New South Wales country railway stations: an historical overview
WrittenState Rail Authority of NSW Archives1993How 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: 4806345

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