Blackheath Railway Station Group | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Heritage

Blackheath Railway Station Group

Item details

Name of item: Blackheath Railway Station Group
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Location: Lat: -33.6334348450 Long: 150.2843243160
Primary address: Main Western railway, Blackheath, NSW 2785
Local govt. area: Blue Mountains
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Deerubbin
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
PART LOT103 DP1167899

Boundary:

West: RailCorp property boundary to properties at 141A Station St & 2 Murri St, and along Station Street including landscaped area; East: RailCorp property parallel to Great Western Highway (excluding Shops and Relay Hut); North: 5 metres from the end of platform; South: 5 metres from the Footbridge. Note: Blackheath Shops have a separate listing.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Main Western railwayBlackheathBlue Mountains   Primary Address
Great Western HighwayBlackheathBlue Mountains   Alternate Address
Station StreetBlackheathBlue Mountains   Alternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government21 Oct 98

Statement of significance:

Blackheath Railway Station is of state significance as part of the early construction phase of railway line duplication on the upper Blue Mountains, demonstrating the technological and engineering achievements in railway construction at the end of the 19th century. The building is significant for its contribution to the scenic qualities of the Blue Mountains railway landscape, forming part of a cohesive group of intact stations along the line. The platform building at Blackheath station is an excellent representative example of a standard Federation era railway building and is one of only two timber railway buildings along the Blue Mountains line. Partial reconstruction of the building following a fire in 1985, together with the restoration of Mortuary station, marked the beginning of heritage management in the NSW railways. The place is also significant for its local setting within well landscaped gardens and adjacent to the historic town centre.

The Blackheath Railway Station Shops have historical significance as an important and distinctive component of the precinct around Blackheath Railway Station. The buildings have some aesthetic significance as small Federation-era buildings with similarities in scale, detail, and form and are important elements in the local townscape. The buildings are also of significance for their associations with the prominent and influential identity Tomas Rodriguez, former Station Master at Blackheath Railway Station.
Date significance updated: 22 Feb 12
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

Designer/Maker: NSW Government Railways
Builder/Maker: NSW Government Railways
Construction years: 1897-1985
Physical description: BUILDINGS
Station Building - type 11 (1898, partially reconstructed 1985)

STRUCTURES
Island Platform - brick faced (1898)
Footbridge - steel framed (1911, 1990)

STATION BUILDING
External: This station building is a rare example of a large (type 11) timber island platform building. It has eight bays with cantilevered bracketed awnings to each platform elevation. Verandah brackets are plain with standard circular bracing sitting on decorative timber supports. Detailing is generally restrained with rusticated weatherboard siding and V-jointed timber panelled gable ends. Doors and windows are panelled with decorative architraves and sills, similar in design to rendered details on brick buildings from the period. A corrugated iron roof with timber fretwork gables with decorative finials to flying gable ends is a distinctive feature of the building. Two brick chimneys with corbelled tops are extant.

Internal: The internal original layout of the building as well as a number of original finishes remain, however the Station Master's office together with the parcels office (at the Sydney end) have been reconstructed after the 1985 fire. The planning is linear with booking office, Station Master's office, parcels office (formerly enclosed signal box with no surviving equipment) , ladies waiting and toilet and at the far end with access from the gable wall, the men's toilet. Original features include decorative moulded pressed metal ceiling to the general waiting room, double-hung sash windows with multi-paned upper sashes and coloured glazing, timber panelled doors with multi-paned fanlights, and chimney breasts. Later modifications included changes to all other room finishes including plasterboard ceilings with simple cornices, tile and carpet flooring and new toilet fittings.

ISLAND PLATFORM (1898)
Blackheath Station has an island platform in slightly curved form, which is wide at the centre and narrow at both ends of the platforms. This form is typical of Blue Mountains stations dictated by the topography and the deviation of the railway line. The platform is brick faced with brick projecting edge at the top and asphalt finish to the concrete deck. Platform furniture including period light fittings, and modern signage, timber bench seating and aluminium palisade fencing at both ends of the platform are other features along the platform. A number of small garden beds with small plantings and shrubs are scattered along the northern end of the platform.

FOOTBRIDGE (1911, 1990)
A modified standard steel beam bridge supported on steel trestles with bracing extending from the street ramp over the highway and over the Up main tracks with stairs to the island platform and to both streets. With the exception of original steel structure all components of the bridge have been replaced since the 1990s. The footbridge has contemporary canopies and metal balustrades.

LANDSCAPE
Station gardens, mature trees and landscaped surrounds within property boundaries adjoining the Council landscaped gardens.

The plantings on the platform are not considered significant.

SHOPS
266 Great Western Highway consists of a pair of similarly scaled and configured retail buildings. Both have gabled roofs that assume a broken backed form above verandahs that span the footpath on the eastern sides of the buildings. The external surface walls are of textured cement render and symmetrical facades are designed with central doors flanked by large display windows. The varandah roofs are supported off similarly detailed chamfered timber posts.

The roof of the northern building is covered with fibro slates and features terracotta cresting and rams horn finials along the ridge. The display windows on the eastern side of the building have architraves and sills of cement render, the sills being formed into decorative scrolls and the heads being wide and splayed at each end. The door is partially glazed and divided into a number of glazed and solid panels; both door and windows have highlights over. The window at the southern end of the building is set into an arched opening and has a multi paned highlight over the main sash. The word "Auctioneer" has been formed in the cement render lining the northern wall.

The roof of the southern building is covered with terracotta tiles. The architrave around the windows and door in the eastern faade are more simple in design than those of the northern building, while the building has windows in each end consisting of casement type sashes with highlights over.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
CONDITION
Station Building: Good
Platform: Good
Footbridge: Good

POTENTIAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL FEATURES
There are no known archaeological features.
Date condition updated:08 Sep 08
Modifications and dates: c1982: original timber platform building was severely burnt c1982 and approximately 40% of the structure that is extant today (at the Sydney end of the building) is new fabric.
post 1990: footbridge upgraded with covered deck etc.
Further information: Also see separate listing for Blackheath Railway Station - Shops (266 Great Western Highway).

The Relay Hut is not considered to be of significance and has been excluded from the listing.

The nearby railway residence is in private ownership and is not part of this listing. Constructed in c1890s the Station Master's residence is a type 5 standard railway residence (officially known as the ‘J1’ or ‘K1’). It is of brick construction with two corrugated metal hipped roofs over the main structure and the projecting bay presenting an asymmetrical facade with a side verandah featuring hipped awning supported on turned timber posts. Fenestration includes narrow tall sash windows with segmental arch lintels.
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Aboriginal land

History

Historical notes: The contract for extending the railway from Lawson to Blackheath was awarded in 1863 to W. Watkins, who completed the track a year ahead of schedule in 1866, although the ballasting of the line by a separate contractor took longer. Blackheath was to be the temporary terminus because of its level site and good water supply, but before the station was finished the destruction of the road bridge over the Nepean River at Emu Plains in the flood of 1867 prompted John Whitton, in charge of railways, to open the line as far as Wentworth Falls to assist stranded travellers to the west. (Blue Mountains Heritage Register Review, 1999).

Wentworth Falls, therefore, was for a short time the terminus. In the meantime, Watkins had won the contract to extend the line from Blackheath to Mount Victoria and the completion of this stretch in May 1868 led to Wentworth Falls being replaced by Mount Victoria, not by Blackheath, as the temporary terminus of the Western line. Plans to build a two-storied station at Blackheath were abandoned and this grander building was erected instead at Mount Victoria (ibid, 1999).

Blackheath station opened in 1868 as a 'halt' (an 'intermediate stopping place' soon after teh line was opened to Mt. Victoria on 1/5/1868, though the platform was not erected until December of that year (Yeamen et al, 1976, 57) and as a platform in 1869.

1870 saw erection of a waiting shed, which was replaced in 1878. Both were on the 'down' or eastern side of the single line then operating. In 1883 a new station and platform, costing 1070 pounds and 311 pounds respectively, were built. In 1884 the station was improved with a lamp and parcels room, booking office, ladies' waiting room, general waiting room and toilets added. In 1885 the level crossing was moved to Bundarra Street and the present (disused) goods shed was provided - all still on the east side of a single line. In 1884 Blackheath station had a staff of two, sold 4254 tickets and 323 tons of goods were shipped out - including 238 bales of wool, presumably from the Megalong Valley. In addition, 16,000 tons of coal were dispatched. This increased to 26,500 tons in 1885 but fell to zero in 1886 when North's Siding at 'The Crushers' (Katoomba) came into being. The coal came from Narrow Neck area in Megalong Valley (ibid, 1976, 57).

The Great Western Railway was intended to initially reach Bathurst but, beyond that town, its terminus was not stated. The line (an isoloated section of it, only - by building a new deviation with an easier grade up to Mt. Victoria and using hte old line for the return 'down' trip: ibid, 1976, 57) was duplicated between Blackheath and Mt. Victoria in 1898 and the present platform building was erected on an island platform to serve both lines at that time. A signal frame was provided at the Sydney end of the building and would appear to have been open-air, later enclosed. When duplication extended from Medlow Bath to Blackheath in 1902, a new platform building was not provided.

There was an enormous increase in ticket sales from 5000 in 1909 to 26,000 in 1910. This trend continued up to 1920 when 70,000 were sold. Sales declined from this point, and in 1940 tickets sold numbered 40,000. This was no doubt due to the advent of the motor car (ibid, 1976, 57).

The Footbridge at Blackheath Station that provides access to the platforms was built in 1911. Its twin beam construction is typical of NSWGR practice. Since 1990, every component of the bridge, except the steel structure, has been replaced.

In 1976 the goods shed is closed and goods traffic in and out is practically non-existent. Ticket sales are 12,000 a year. (ibid, 1976, 57)..

Then Chief Executive, David Hill, authorised in 1985 the reconstruction of the 1897 building when fire virtually destroyed much of the platform building. The Blackheath reconstruction, together with the restoration of Mortuary station, marked the start of heritage management in the NSW railway organisation.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Gardens-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Other open space-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Changing the environment-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Developing local, regional and national economies-National Theme 3
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes of institutions - productive and ornamental-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences Developing local landmarks-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Forestry-Activities associated with identifying and managing land covered in trees for commercial purposes. Shaping inland settlement-
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. Building settlements, towns and cities-National Theme 4
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Changing land uses - from rural to tourist-
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 Developing suburbia-
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 19th Century Infrastructure-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Railway work culture-
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. State government-
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. Developing roles for government - conserving cultural and natural heritage-
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. Developing roles for government - building and administering rail networks-
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. Landscaping - Victorian period-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Blackheath Railway Station is of historical significance as part of the early construction phase of railway line duplication on the upper Blue Mountains demonstrating the technological and engineering achievements in the railway construction at the end of the 19th century.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Blackheath Railway Station is a good representative example of a Federation free classical railway station. The building predates the issue of standard plans, but is similar to a standard design known as Type 11 (standard A8-A10) island platform buildings. It is one of only two timber railway stations in the Blue Mountains and adapts the standard elements found in other Blue Mountains island platforms such as the wide cantilevered awning supported on steel brackets to a timber construction.

The place is also significant for its local setting within well landscaped gardens and adjacent to the historic town centre.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The place has the potential to contribute to the local community's sense of place, and can provide a connection to the local community's past.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Blackheath Railway Station has limited research potential due to its partial reconstruction and being an example of well documented type of railway structures from this period.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Blackheath Station building is a rare timber 'type 11' station building, and is one of two timber railway stations in the Blue Mountains, the other is Katoomba.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The Station is a representative example of a group of stations associated with the construction and duplication of the railway across the Blue Mountains. The footbridge is also a representative example of a standard steel beam structure with trestle supports dating from the early 1900s.
Integrity/Intactness: Although intact, the building has partially been reconstructed after the 1980s fire. Thus its integrity is moderate. Similarly, other than its steel beam structural elements the fabric of the footbridge has also been replaced in 1990 and has moderate integrity. The overall integrity of the station as a group is moderate.
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:

Recommendations

Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Recommended ManagementProduce a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) 
Recommended ManagementPrepare a maintenance schedule or guidelines 
Recommended ManagementCarry out interpretation, promotion and/or education 

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0108802 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenARHS2009Historical information prepared for S170 update project
WrittenCroft and Walker1982Heritage Study, Blue Mountains
WrittenDavies, Paul1978History of New South Wales Railway Architecture 1890-1915
WrittenFraser, D1996Survey of Railway Footbridges, internal report
WrittenJack, R.I, University of Sydney1999Blue Mountains Heritage Register Review
WrittenNSW Railways1928Signal diagram Circular 453-16
WrittenOffice of Rail Heritage2012Railway garden and landscape conservation guide
WrittenSharp, S.A.1982The Railway Stations of NSW 1855-1980
WrittenSingleton, C.C1958Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, no. 246, April
WrittenTropman and Tropman1992Heritage Study Review, Blue Mountains
WrittenYeaman, John; Clement, George; Hatswell, Ross; Hume, Bill; Bennett, Tom; Griffiths, Arthur (ed's)1976The Station and its Staff

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: Heritage Office
Database number: 5011931


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