Bathurst Railway Station, yard group and movable relics | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Bathurst Railway Station, yard group and movable relics

Item details

Name of item: Bathurst Railway Station, yard group and movable relics
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Location: Lat: -33.4271579562 Long: 149.5831660740
Primary address: Havannah Street, Bathurst, NSW 2795
Local govt. area: Bathurst Regional
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Bathurst
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT1 DP1006386
LOT17 DP1184045
LOT301 DP1194865


The listing boundary is formed by a line parrallel to the rear of the down platform crossing the line to the north of the end of the station , returning in a westerly direction to intersect the rear boundary of thr station master's residence then turning north along that boundary to Havannah Street then heading west along Havannah St to Piper St then following the SRA property Boundary south to the far side of the Rocket Street overbridge then across the tracks to meet the SRA property Boundary on the southern side of the tracks.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Havannah StreetBathurstBathurst Regional  Primary Address
Main Western railwayBathurstBathurst Regional  Alternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government21 Oct 98

Statement of significance:

Bathurst Railway Precinct is of state significance as a major country railway precinct in NSW that contains a substantial first-class station building, residence and important workshop group with a range of related railway structures. The 1876 station building is a unique Victorian Tudor style railway building and is a fine example of a first-class railway station building with original fabric and fine detailing typical of the period. The scale and detailing of the building reflects the importance of Bathurst as the largest city west of the Blue Mountains. The station is located at the end of Keppel St, one of the main streets of Bathurst and the buildings form a significant civic group in the town of Bathurst, particularly with the location of the residences and Engineer's Office in Havannah St and the orientation of the station building to the town. The station has rarity significance as the design of Bathurst station building is unique to any other building on the NSW rail system. The site is also significant for its association with Ben Chifley, former Prime Minister of Australia, whose early career and education at Bathurst Railway Precinct were instrumental in shaping his trade union and Labor politics.
Date significance updated: 18 Jul 13
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: 1875-1876
Physical description: Extant items within (and outside) the existing curtilage include:

BUILDINGS- Managed by RailCorp
Station Building - type 5, brick, first class passenger station (1876)

Waiting Shed - type 11, timber duplication building (1914)
Station Master's Residence - type 4, brick two-storey (1880)
Residence on Havannah and Keppel Sts - timber (stores branch office) (c1902)

Forecourt and landscaped approach to station entrance
Signal Box
Goods shed
Various additional structures

OTHER ITEMS - Privately Owned
Water Reservoir

The main building is an outstanding example of a first class station building. The single storey rendered brick building is Victorian Tudor in style with two gabled wings projecting forward towards the forecourt with stuccoed quoins and a facetted bay window. The gabled bays feature curvilinear shaped parapets with the 1876 construction date prominently displayed on each of the gables, on top of which is a finial. The roof is clad in slate with gablet vents and octagonal coupled chimneys.

The original building, now extended, was symmetrical with a verandah to the street side supported on paired decorative timber columns and prominent decorative brackets The central section of the building between the wings, has stuccoed window and door surrounds. The platform side has been altered with the addition of a new awning on cantilevered brackets, built at the time of the northern extension to the building for refreshment rooms and luggage. The main station building is on the axis of one of the major roads in Bathurst and is a key visual element in the city.

The waiting shed on the Down platform dates from 1916 and is a simple weatherboard shed, in juxtaposition to the grand building on the other platform.

This is a grand two storey Gothic Revival style brick residence with a projecting gabled front bay with bay window to the ground floor surmounted with a false decorative plaster balustrade. The building is constructed from the typical red brick used throughout Bathurst. The building has rendered quoins, fretted barge boards and rendered detail around windows and doors. The verandah is supported on cast iron columns and brackets and has a bel cast roof. It is one of the best surviving station master's residences in the State.

This is a small building now used for offices with a central doorway and 4 rooms. The building is timber with a corrugated iron roof and a return verandah on the Havannah St side, with good joinery details.

The brick subway linking platforms 1 and 2 is no longer in use. It features a disused stair leading to the brick vaulted subway which passes under the tracks and a portion of the platform. Possibly constructed/ extended with line duplication in 1915.

Woodframed mirror, 0.6/1.1/1.3 (AM01) C west community college
Bookcase glass/timber doors, 2.4,(BA06) C west community college
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
All structures appear generally to be in good condition apart from the subway which is in a poor condition and no longer in use.
Date condition updated:18 Jul 13
Modifications and dates: Many buildings and structures have been removed from the site at Bathurst railway precinct over time.
Current use: Operational station (RailCorp) and provisioning centre (ARTC), redundant buildings
Former use: Station and yard


Historical notes: Aboriginal people and colonisation.
Aboriginal occupation of the Blue Mountains area dates back at least 12,000 years and appears to have intensified some 3000-4000 years ago. In pre-colonial times the area now known as Bathurst was inhabited by Aboriginal people of the Wiradjuri linguistic group. The clan associated with Bathurst occupied on a seasonal basis most of the Macquarie River area. They moved regularly in small groups but prefered the open land and used the waterways for a variety of food. There are numerous river flats where debris from recurrent camps accumulated over a long period. European settlement in this region after the first documented white expedition west of the Blue Mountains in 1813 was tentative because of apprehensions about resistance from Aboriginal people. There was some contact, witnessed by sporadic hostility and by the quantity of surviving artefacts manufactured by the Aborigines from European glass. By 1840 there was widespread dislocation of Aboriginal culture, aggravated after 1850 by the goldrush to the region (HO and DUAP, 1996, 88).

Prior to European settlement in Australia, the Wiradjuri Aboriginal group lived in the upper Macquarie Valley. Bathurst was proclaimed a town by Lachlan Macquarie on 7 May 1815, named after Lord Bathurst, Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies (Barker 1992:25). Bathurst is Australia's oldest inland township. It was proclaimed a town in 1815 with the discovery of gold.

Governor Macquarie chose the site of the future town of Bathurst on 7 May 1815 during his tour over the Blue Mountains, on the road already completed by convict labour supervised by William Cox. Macquarie marked out the boundaries near the depot established by surveyor George Evans and reserved a site for a government house and domain. Reluctant to open the rich Bathurst Plains to a large settlement, Macquarie authorised few grants there initially, one of the first being 1000 acres to William Lawson, one of the three European explorers who crossed the mountains in 1813. The road-maker William Cox was another early grantee but later had to move his establishment to Kelso on the non-government side of the Macquarie River (GAO, 2005, 8).

A modest release of land in February 1818 occurred when ten men were chosen to take up 50 acre farms and 2 acre town allotments across the river from the government buildings. When corruption by government supervisor Richard Lewis and acting Commandant William Cox caused their dismissal, they were replaced by Lieutenant William Lawson who became Commandant of the settlement in 1818 (ibid, 8).

Macquarie continued to restrict Bathurst settlement and reserved all land on the south side of the Macquarie River for government buildings and stock, a situation that prevailed until 1826. In December 1819 Bathurst had a population of only 120 people in 30 houses, two thirds being in the township of Kelso on the eastern side of the river and the remainder scattered on rural landholdings nearby. The official report in 1820 numbered Bathurst settlers at 114, including only 14 women and 15 children. The government buildings comprised a brick house for the commandant, brick barracks for the military detachment and houses for the stock keeper, and log houses for the 50 convicts who worked the government farm. Never successful, the government farm was closed by Governor Darling in 1828 (ibid, 8).

Governor Darling, arriving in Sydney in 1825, promptly commenced a review of colonial administration and subsequently introduced vigorous reforms. On advice from Viscount Goderich, Darling divided colonial expenditure into two parts: one to cover civil administration, funded by New South Wales; the other for the convict system, funded by Britain (ibid, 10).

By this time, J.McBrien and Robert Hoddle had surveyed the existing grants in the vicinity. Surveyor James Bym Richards began work on the south side of the river in 1826. But the town was apparently designed by Thomas Mitchell in 1830 and did not open until late 1833 after Richards had completed the layout of the streets with their two-road allotments. The first sales were held in 1831 before the survey was complete (ibid, 10).

In 1832 the new Governor, Major General Sir Richard Bourke, visited Bathurst in October. He instructed the Surveyor General Major Thomas L. Mitchell to make arrangements for 'opening the town of Bathurst without delay' and he in turn instructed the Assistant Surveyor at Bathurst J.B. Richards to lay out the blocks and streets. This was done in September 1833. It is believed that Major Mitchell named the streets, with George Street being named after King George III.

Bathurst Railway Station:
Bathurst is located on the Main Western line. The single line railway from Kelso to Bathurst was opened on 4 April 1876 and continued the same year to Blayney. Bathurst had already been established as a major centre based on large pastoral holdings and the 1850s gold rush which boosted the population of the town. Much of the civic building in Bathurst took place following the gold rush. Proposals for the first railways in NSW were largely driven by the interests of large land holders seeking improved transport for their wool from the inland centres of Bathurst, Goulburn, Muswellbrook and Singleton. The town received a sustainable boost in activity and development from the arrival of the railway which allowed the town to communicate and trade quickly and cheaply with Sydney.

Bathurst station opened on 4 April 1876 with the station building, goods shed and Divisional Engineer's office all completed in 1876. The Station Master's residence (also completed in 1876) was a grand two-storey residence, befitting a prominent citizen of the town (Cottee, 2004).

Other early buildings included the Stores office (c1876), coal stage (relocated from Raglan in 1877), a new coal stage (1878), blacksmith's shop (1878-1879), turntable (relocated from Rydal in 1879), depot (1879), engine shed (1881) and the West signal box (1885) (SRA, 1993; Simpson Dawbin, 2002; Cottee, 2004; Forsyth, 2008).

The workshops, established during the 1880s, started a large railway workers' community and a rail institute to educate the hundreds of workers at Bathurst. Ben Chifley, later Prime Minister of Australia, was born in Bathurst and joined the railways when he was 17, becoming the youngest First Class locomotive driver at the age of 24. In the early years of the 20th century, Chifley attended night school and extension classes at the Institute. The union meetings Chifley attended at the Institute helped to shape his trade union and Labour politics. Chifley was also one of the founders of the AFULE (the Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Enginemen) (Dickson, 2009; AFULE, 2009).

Numerous changes and additions were made to the site in the late 19th century and 20th century, examples of which include the original stockyards (c1900), a wagon repair shed (1891), a new turntable (1897), platform lengthened (1897), waiting shed erected on the Down platform (1902), Down platform extended and widened (1911), line duplicated (1915) elevated coal storage (1916), refreshment room (1917), new T6 trucking yards (1927), and an additional signal box in 1944 (Simpson Dawbin, 2002; Cottee, 2004; Forsyth, 2008).

The post-war period (between 1945 and 1960) saw as many as 500 staff working at Bathurst station and yard at its peak. However, by the 1970s, changes in freight transportation and the move to diesel services resulted in the redundancy of many buildings and former functions on site and the rationalisation of many structures (Simpson Dawbin, 2002).

The refreshment room closed in 1968 and The Railway Institute in 1975. While many former buildings remain unoccupied, the former District Engineer's office is now used by the Bathurst Community College and the Station Master's residence is occupied by a private tenant (Simpson Dawbin, 2002).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Industry-Activities associated with the manufacture, production and distribution of goods (none)-
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 Public tramline system-
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. (none)-
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 (none)-
6. Educating-Educating Education-Activities associated with teaching and learning by children and adults, formally and informally. (none)-
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. (none)-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The site has historic significance to demonstrate the late 19th and early 20th Century development of the NSW railways. The station building dates from the opening of the line at Bathurst in 1876, and along with other related structures has the ability to provide evidence of a late 19th Century working railway precinct. The scale and detailing of the station buildings reflect the importance and size of Bathurst as the largest city west of the Blue Mountains.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The site is significant for its associations with Ben Chifley, Prime Minister of Australia, whose early career and education at Bathurst Railway Precinct were instrumental in shaping his trade union and Labor politics.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The site has aesthetic significance as a first class railway station that demonstrates railway design in the 1870s. The 1876 station building is a unique Victorian Tudor style railway building and is a fine example of a first class railway station building with original fabric and fine detailing typical of the period. The station is located at the end of Keppel St, one of the main streets of Bathurst and the buildings form a significant civic group in the town of Bathurst, particularly with the location of the residence in Havannah St and the orientation of the station building to the town.
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 station has rarity significance as the design of Bathurst station building is unique when compared to other buildings on the NSW Railway system.
SHR Criteria g)
The site has representative significance for its collection of railway structures, including the SM’s residence, waiting shed, signal box, 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 many other railway sites across the state.
Integrity/Intactness: The station group including the station buildings, platforms, SM’s residence, signal box, and other structures 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.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
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.

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


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0107802 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenGovernment Architect's Office2005Bathurst Hospital Conservation Management Plan
WrittenThe Architecture Company2002Archival Recording - Gasworks Building, Bathurst NSW

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

rez rez
(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5011945

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.

All information and pictures on this page are the copyright of the Heritage Division or respective copyright owners.