Narrandera Railway Station and yard group | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Narrandera Railway Station and yard group

Item details

Name of item: Narrandera Railway Station and yard group
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Location: Lat: -34.7400934308 Long: 146.5527155960
Primary address: Whitton St (Newell Highway), Narrandera, NSW 2700
Local govt. area: Narrandera
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Narrandera
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT2 DP1183565


The listing boundary is formed by the overbridge at the east end of the site, Whitton St to the south, Ferrier St and the boundary of the water reservoirs to the north and the Adams St overbridge to the west.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Whitton St (Newell Highway)NarranderaNarrandera  Primary Address
Junee-Hay railwayNarranderaNarrandera  Alternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government05 Nov 98

Statement of significance:

The Narrandera Railway Precinct is of state significance as a tangible link to the NSW Government Railway's ambitious programme to open up the agricultural regions of the state to commerce and communication in the late 19th century. Constructed during the railway boom of the 1880s, Narrandera Railway Precinct is significant for its role in the end of the riverboat trade which secured the Riverina wool trade by providing a direct link to the Sydney markets and ports. The precinct remains as a partly intact late Victorian railway complex with items dating from the opening of the station in 1881, namely the station building which is a dominant civic landmark that demonstrates the historic importance of Narrandera as a strategic and significant station in the NSW network.
Date significance updated: 19 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.


Designer/Maker: John Whitton (attributed)
Builder/Maker: Charles Hardy
Construction years: 1880-1880
Physical description: MAJOR STRUCTURES - Managed by RailCorp
Station Building - type 3, brick, second class (1881) and stone Platform (1881)
Signal Box - type K, on platform (1925)

Engine shed

Turntable (1910)
5 ton Jib Crane
20 ton Weighbridge
35 ton Weighbridge
Water Tank

The Narrandera station building is single storey and constructed of painted brick. There are rendered quoins and rendered surrounds to windows and door openings. Both the recessed entrance porch and the platform verandah have stop chamfered timber posts and iron lace brackets. The main roof is gabled with two transverse gables at either end and clad with corrugated iron; the roof extension at one end of the station is a mixture of a hipped form and gable hipped form. Both roofs have eaves supported by paired brackets. There is simple timberwork to the gables, together with finials, and there are round vents with render trim on the gables as well. The station has four chimneys with bracketed cornices.

The original 1881 platform face is constructed of stone with later brick extensions.

Small precast concrete drop slab building with timber framed windows. The roof is gabled and clad in corrugated sheet metal.
Date condition updated:19 Jul 13
Modifications and dates: 1912 and 1917: station building extended and altered to incorporate Railway Refreshment rooms.
Current use: Railway Station and Yard
Former use: Railway Station


Historical notes: The Narrandera Railway Precinct is located on the Hay Branch Line. The line opened from Junee to Narrandera in 1881. Charles Hardy was issued a contract for construction of the railway station at Narrandera on 1 September 1880 with the second-class station building completed for the opening of the line on 28 February 1881 (Forsyth, 1992).

In April 1873 John Sutherland, the Minister for Public Works, set out a policy to complete 'the main trunk railways'; both the Main Southern line to Albury and the Western trunk route to Bourke on the Darling River were responses to the threat that wool from the Riverina and the west would be diverted to Melbourne via river boats and the Victorian railway to Echuca on the Murray River, which opened in 1864. The construction of the line to Narrandera, however, was perpetuated by pastoral interests that overthrew the 'Trunk Railways Policy'. This laid the foundations for the era of 'railway mania' between 1877 and 1887 when railway leagues were established in towns and villages across the inland 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'. Narrandera was one of many centres in NSW (along with Hay and other towns in surrounding districts) to benefit from the 'railway mania' of the 1870s and 1880s (McKillop, 2009).

The opening of the Narrandera-Hay line played a major part in bringing about the decline of the riverboat trade in southern NSW and helped secure the trade of produce from the Riverina for Sydney, whereas it had previously gone predominantly to Melbourne. Narrandera's prosperity increased considerably following the arrival of the railway (RNE, 2009).

In 1884 a grand two-storey residence was constructed for the Station Master, indicating the importance of Narrandera as a key town in the NSW network and the prominence attributed to the position of the railway Station Master (Freeman Collett and Partners, 1995).

Some of the early changes to the station at Narrandera included: the erection of the Junction name board (1891), provision of horse posts at front of station building (1891), office for the Traffic sub-inspector (1891), Hay line brought in to Narrandera independently of Tocumwal branch line, construction of overbridge at Junee end of station (1892), installation of 20 tonne cart weighbridge and an additional coal stage (1900), loop erected for stock loading (1902), provision of an 18.2m turntable (1910), conversion of the ladies waiting room into a refreshment room (1912), and many other additions (Forsyth, 1992).

Initially, the main freight moved to Sydney included wool, sheep and small amounts of wheat. During the early decades of the 20th century the quantities of wheat freight increased greatly with a wheat stacking site provided in 1916. The station building was extended in 1912 and again in 1917 with the opening of the Railway Refreshment rooms. A cottage was also built in 1917 for refreshment room staff (Forsyth, 2009).

From 1910-1950 special trains were used to transport football players and spectators within the Riverina district, with women doing the weekly shopping at the same time. Trains also carried passengers to Narrandera for swimming carnivals and the Easter sporting carnivals and cycling races. Special trains were also used to carry passengers to the district railway picnic days (Freeman Collett and Partners, 1995).

During the 1940s and 1950s, activity at the Narrandera station and yard was at its peak. A new barracks building was constructed in 1941 and the platform was extended at the Sydney end in 1942.

By the 1970s and 1980s rail services in the south and south west of NSW had declined, with the Narrandera to Tocumwal line closing in December 1988. Narrandera station is no longer attended by station staff and is serviced by road coaches connecting with trains at Junee, and a once weekly passenger rail service (Cottee, 2004; SRA, 1993).

The two-storey Station Master's residence is still extant, but was sold in 1988 and is now in private ownership.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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 (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The site is significant as a partly intact late Victorian railway complex with items dating from the opening of the station in 1881. Railway operations at Narrandera date back to the 'Great Railway Years' in NSW in the late 19th century, with the station opening during the time of the earliest development of railway infrastructure in south western NSW in the 1880s. Narrandera Railway Precinct has historic significance for its connection to the NSW Government Railway's ambitious programme to open up the agricultural regions of the state to commerce and communication in the late 19th century. The penetration of the railway into the Riverina area also reveals inter-colonial rivalry in the late 19th century, namely concerns by the NSW government about Victorian competition for agricultural produce in this region. The site is significant for the role it played in the decline of the riverboat trade which helped secure the Riverina wool trade for Sydney, instead of Melbourne. Narrandera prospered greatly after the arrival of the railway, with the railway enhancing transport, communications and commerce in the Narrandera area. Narrandera is also significant as the junction for the branch line to Jerilderie and Tocumwal.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
As with many railway locations constructed in NSW, Narrandera Railway Precinct has associations with the Engineer-in-Chief of the NSWGR, John Whitton, who personally signed all of the construction drawings associated with the 1881 station building at Narrandera. The station is also located on Whitton Street, named after John Whitton, demonstrating his prominence in NSW during the 1880s.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Narrandera station building has aesthetic significance as a fine example of a late Victorian second-class station building. The station building is a substantial and aesthetically significant structure with a large awning to the platform and includes some notable decorative features such as bargeboards, finials and pendants.
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 stone platform face is rare, and are found at only 12 other station sites in NSW.
SHR Criteria g)
Narrandera railway precinct is a notable example of a late Victorian second-class station building, similar in design and scale to other railway stations at comparable locations in southern and western NSW. The place also has representative significance for its collection of railway structures including the signal box, barracks, engine shed, crane, turntable, weighbridge 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 building retains a high level of intactness.
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 0120902 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     

References, internet links & images


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

(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: 5012120

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.