Coolamon Railway Precinct | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Coolamon Railway Precinct

Item details

Name of item: Coolamon Railway Precinct
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Primary address: , Coolamon, NSW 2701
Local govt. area: Coolamon


The listing boundary is formed by a line running parallel to the northern edge of the platform that extends (east and west) at a distance of 20 metres past each platform end and a line behind the station building, parallel to the building at a distance of approximately 50 metres distance.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
 CoolamonCoolamon  Primary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Coolamon railway precinct is of local significance as an extant reminder of the longstanding and important role of the railways in the development of Coolamon and surrounding districts since the late nineteenth century, and is significant for its association with an important phase in the history of railway development and expansion in NSW in the 1880s. The station building is an excellent example of a highly intact and well conserved third-class timber railway station complex, representative of similar station buildings at other small regional centres in NSW. The place is also important for its ongoing cultural use by the Coolamon Heritage and Advancement Society, Coolamon Council and the wider community.
Date significance updated: 27 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)
Construction years: 1881-1925
Physical description: MAJOR STRUCTURES - Managed by RailCorp
Station Building - type 4, timber, third class (1881) and Platform - brick (1881, extended 1913)
Signal Box - type K, on platform (1925)

OTHER ITEMS - Managed by John Holland
Landscape - former goods yard
Jib Crane
Station Signs

The Coolamon station building is single storey and constructed of weatherboard. The corrugated iron roof is gabled with a central transverse gable featuring timber finial and pendant. The roof features two corbelled brick chimneys. The main building is symmetrical with central waiting room flanked by a ticket office and ladies waiting room. A gabled roof toilet wing with similar detailing to the main building is located to the western end and connected to the main building by a small yard enclosed by corrugated walls.

The platform awning was reconstructed in 2002/3 and is supported on simple timber posts with timber brackets. Timber framed windows feature recent security screens. The original 1881 platform face is constructed of brick and was extended in 1913. Wall comprises of brick face and coping throughout with asphalt surface. Small signal opening still in operation.

Small precast concrete drop slab building with timber framed windows. The roof is gabled and clad in corrugated sheet metal.

Located on brick base opposite station platform adjacent to location of former goods shed.

The site is well landscaped with many recent plantings introduced after closure of the station to enhance the setting of the area.

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:
All station signage
Cast iron and timber platform benches
Various timber furnishings
Wall-mounted timber-framed blackboard on platform
Polished and painted timber fire surrounds with original hearths and cast iron grates
Early suspended chain light fittings
Original and early door and window furniture and locks, including large SRA padlock
Plaques/history panels – “In the beginning …” and “The hay days”

Galvanised iron farm gates and iron rail posts
5-ton jib crane on brick plinth in yard
Original, early and reproduction timber fencing
Corrugated iron rail fencing
Set of signal levers and other objects on display in yard
Brick edged garden beds, established gardens, and mature trees
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The site is in excellent condition and is well maintained by the Coolamon Heritage and Advancement Society (CHAS).
Date condition updated:27 Nov 09
Modifications and dates: 1913: Platform extended
2002-3: Awning reconstructed.
Current use: Operational railway station/ coach stop
Former use: Passenger station and railway goods yard


Historical notes: Coolamon Railway Precinct is located on the Hay Branch Line. The line opened from Junee to Coolamon and on to Narrandera in 1881.

The decision to construct a railway line to Narrandera was influenced and advanced by pastoral communities that led to the overthrowing of the ‘Trunk Railways Policy', a policy established in April 1877 to complete the main trunk railways prior to the construction of branch lines. The overthrowing of this policy laid the foundations for the era of ‘railway mania’ between 1877 and 1887 when railway leagues were established in towns and villages across regional NSW to lobby for branch lines to serve their area. In the five years from December 1879, the NSW railway network increased 136 per cent from 1174km to 2771km in length, dubbing the period as the ‘Great Railway Years’. The other beneficiaries of the decision to abandon the trunk line policy included Narrandera and eventually Hay in the Riverina, which were served by a long branch line from Junee (McKillop, 2009).

The station and yard at what is now Coolamon originally opened as ‘Cowabbie’ on 28 February 1881, changed to ‘Coolaman’ in September 1881 and finally changed to ‘Coolamon’ on 1 December 1895. Archival records reveal that the station and yard originally consisted of a 137.1 metre long platform and station buildings on the Down side of the main line; a Station Master’s residence to the south of the station; an ash pit, water tank and jib crane near the platform; and a goods siding loop, stock loading platform, wheat silos, goods shed, dead-end siding, grain sheds, and a loading bank on the Up side of the track. It is not clear if all of these items had been built when the station opened in 1881 but it is likely that they were all constructed in c1881 or soon after (Forsyth, 1992; SRA, 1993).

Additions to the station and yard in the late 19th century and early 20th century included a water supply pumping plant which was transferred from Albury in 1896, provision of a crossing loop in 1904, erection of an additional siding in 1906, a grain shed in 1909, and extension of the platform in 1913. Wheat stacking sites were provided in 1915, 1917, and 1918. The station was interlocked in 1920 and a concrete wheat silo erected in 1922. The ash pit was filled in and the water tank removed in 1969 (Forsyth, 1992).

By the 1970s and 1980s rail services in the south and south west of NSW had declined, with the Narrandera to Jerilderie line closing in December 1988. The goods shed at Coolamon was demolished in 1988 with the jib crane remaining as the only remnant of the former goods area. Rail passenger services were discontinued in 1989. Although passenger services are now provided by road coaches, a weekly passenger train service operates from Sydney via Junee to Coolamon and Griffith (Cottee, 2004; SRA, 1993).

The former Station Master’s residence remains to the south of the station, but is now in private ownership.

Coolamon Railway Station is now the home of the Coolamon Heritage and Advancement Society (CHAS). With the support of Coolamon Shire Council, CHAS not only maintains and promotes this historic building, but also assists with many other community projects and initiatives (Coolamon Council, 2008)

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 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-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Rail heritage volunteers-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Railway tourism-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Coolamon railway precinct is of historical significance as an extant reminder of the longstanding and important role of the railways in the development of Coolamon and surrounding districts since the late nineteenth century, and for its association with an important phase in the history of railway development and expansion in NSW in the 1880s.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
As with many railway buildings, structures, and locations constructed in NSW in the nineteenth century, Coolamon railway precinct has a peripheral association with Engineer-in-Chief of the NSWGR, John Whitton, who personally signed all of the construction drawings associated with the 1881 station building at Coolamon.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Coolamon station building has aesthetic significance as a fine example of a late Victorian third-class station building. The station building remains highly intact and features decorative elements typical of the period such as the prominent gabled roof with timber finials and pendants.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The place is important for its ongoing cultural use by the Coolamon Heritage and Advancement Society (CHAS), Coolamon Council and the wider community who continue to use the site as a centre for local tourism and community events. The CHAS were instrumental in the conservation of the building and its ongoing maintenance.
SHR Criteria g)
The place has representative significance for its collection of railway structures including the Station Building, Signal Box and Crane 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 precincts across the state.
Integrity/Intactness: The station building retains a high level of intactness, with minimal alterations since its construction.
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 Study1999 State 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
WrittenCoolamon Council2008
WrittenCottee, J.M.2004Stations on the track: selected New South Wales country railway stations: an historical overview
WrittenJohn H Forsyth2009NSW Railway Stations - An Alphabetical Arrangement of Railway Station and Place Names
WrittenMcKillop, R2009NSW Railways (RailCorp) Thematic History
MapRailCorp RailCorp Historic Plans, various

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: 4806790

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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