Oatley Railway Station group | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Oatley Railway Station group

Item details

Name of item: Oatley Railway Station group
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Location: Lat: -33.9809411268 Long: 151.0790639420
Primary address: Illawarra Railway, Oatley, NSW 2223
Local govt. area: Hurstville
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
PART LOT14 DP839742


North: 5m north of the northern edge of the Mulga Road rail underbridge, extending east along the northern edge of Mulga Road to Oatley Parade; East: a line on the west side of Oatley Parade to the southern edge of Lot 5, DP 803349, incorporating the whole of this park (excluding corner shop), then the eastern edge of railway land behind properties fronting Oatley Parade and edge of rail corridor (including location hut, excluding yard); South: a line across the railway tracks 5m south of the concrete location hut southeast of the platform; West: the western boundary of railway land, behind properties on River Rd and the whole of Railway Reserve at Lot 11, DP 803349.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Illawarra RailwayOatleyHurstville  Primary Address
Oatley ParadeOatleyKogarah  Alternate Address
Mulga ParadeOatleyKogarah  Alternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government05 Nov 98

Statement of significance:

Oatley Railway Station - its island platform, platform building with signal box extension, moveable items, Mulga Road underbridge, pedestrian subway, and concrete location hut - is of heritage significance. Originally constructed in 1885 and relocated in 1905, Oatley Railway Station is of historical significance as a transport hub with a close relationship to the development of the suburb of Oatley since 1885, including the development of Judd's Hurstville Brickworks which operated nearby from 1884 till 1972. Oatley Railway Station also has historical association with Oatley Memorial Gardens, a series of linear parks to the east, which represent the pre-1905 alignment of the railway line.

Oatley Railway Station is of aesthetic significance for its landscape setting, flanked by parks to east and west at its northern end, and for its simple yet attractive weatherboard platform building, one of only two weatherboard platform buildings on the Illawarra line. The Mulga Road underbridge and pedestrian subway are of historical significance as part of a series of railway works for upgrading the railway system, undertaken from 1905 into the 1920s.
Date significance updated: 15 Apr 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: NSW Government Railway
Builder/Maker: NSW Government Railway
Construction years: 1905-1992
Physical description: PRECINCT ELEMENTS
Platform building(1890, 1905) (Type 11 - altered from Type 4), with signal box extension (1918)
Mulga Road underbridge and pedestrian subway (1905)
Island Platform (1905)
Concrete drop-slab location hut (1920s)
Platform canopies (1992)
Moveable items (1918)

The entry to Oatley Railway Station is via a subway entered from the southern footpath of Mulga Road below the arch of the Mulga Road rail underbridge (road tunnel). There is one island platform, which is curved, has brick edges and asphalt surface. Modern canopies roof the pedestrian subway in the middle of the underbridge, and connect to the platform building.

PLATFORM BUILDING (1890, 1905, 1918)
Exterior: Original 1890 building was rebuilt at its current location and altered to an island platform building in 1905. This is a weatherboard island platform building with a 1918 signal box extension at the northern end to protect the original signal levers. There is also a signalling board (not operational). The building has timber posts and brackets to awnings on each side, with timber valances to awning ends. The waiting area has timber panelled double doors, 9-paned timber framed double hung windows with fanlights and sidelights to the waiting area doors on both sides. Doors are modern timber flush. There are timber framed double hung windows at the northern (entry) end of the platform building, in front of which are a modern telephone and modern vending machine.

Interior: Original ceilings are ripple iron with metal ceiling roses, and original internal walls are also weatherboard. Modern toilets are accessed from within the waiting area (at southern end).

A single large span brick arch structure at 7.32 m clear span, for road access under the line, with semi-circular arches 600 mm thick. The underbridge is unusual in incorporating the pedestrian subway entry to the station, with the subway roof in the middle of the bridge (between the railway tracks). The subway is accessed off the southern footpath of Mulga Road, under the Mulga Road underbridge.

This is a curved island platform, which has brick faces and an asphalt surface.

This is a small prefabricated concrete location hut to the southeast of the southern end of the station platform. It has a hipped corrugated steel roof.

A modern platform canopy connects the pedestrian subway entry to the station to the platform building. Another modern platform canopy extends south of the platform building. Both canopies have gabled corrugated steel roofs, steel posts with concrete bases.

The station has a parkland setting near its entry point, with parks to east and west of the Mulga Road underbridge, adjacent to the northern end of the station.

Signalling equipment within signal box: a signal panel (not operational), signal levers and 3 early telephones mounted on the wall.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Platform building (1890): good
Signal box (1918): good
Mulga Road Brick underbridge and pedestrian subway (1905): good, though some damage to underbridge from vehicle
Island Platform (1905): good
Platform canopies (1992): very good
Moveable items (1918): signalling equipment- good
Date condition updated:20 May 09
Modifications and dates: 1905: Platform building (1890) moved and converted to island platform building
1918: weatherboard signal box added to platform building by extending northern end beneath an existing awning
1992: extension to waiting room and new toilet; modern doors and security screens to windows. At various places around the building there is clear evidence of doors and windows having been either blocked up or completely removed and re-sheeted over to match the adjoining weatherboarding.
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Railway Station


Historical notes: The Oatley area was named after James Oatley, who was granted 300 acres in the area, called Needwood Forest, in 1833. Oatley never built on the grant and it passed to his 3rd son after his death in 1839, who sold the land to Charles Cecil Griffiths in 1881. The property extended from Gungal Bay on the western edge to the later Boundary and Hurstville Roads.

In 1881 the proposed route for the Illawarra Railway line was published and approved. In 1882 works began at Marrickville (now Sydenham) on railway construction. In 1884 the railway to Hurstville opened (double track) with stations at Arncliffe, Rockdale, Kogarah and Hurstville. In 1885 the first single track line (built by C. & E. Miller) was opened as far as Sutherland, with railway stations opened at Como, Penshurst, Mortdale, and Oatley. The small platform at Oatley, with a timber platform building, opened on 26 December 1885.

Judd's Hurstville Brick Works opened in 1884, on a site north of Oatley (now the site of Georges River College). The location of Judd's brick works appears to have been a major reason for the building of Oatley railway station in 1885 in what was then a very sparsely populated area.

The railway station was first called "Oatley's Grant" (up to 1886) and then "Oatley's Platform" (by 1889). In 1890 "Oatley's Platform" finally changed to "Oatley". The line was duplicated in 1890. The Station Master's residence was built in 1891. Development in the area was slow - in 1893 there were only nine houses in the vicinity of the railway station. In 1903 a post office was established at the railway station.

In July 1905 regrading of the railway line led to the station being moved 400 yards to the west of its original location, away from the Oatley town centre at Frederick St and Letitia St to the east. This relocation of the line was due to the steep gradient leading down to the Georges River bridge which the goods trains had difficulty climbing. The 1890 weatherboard platform building was relocated to the new station, onto a long curved brick island platform. The platform building is now only one of the two such weatherboard platform buildings of this type in Sydney (the other being at Penshurst).

Access from one side of the line to the other was initially via a series of overbridges at various locations along the line. In some localities these were too far apart, and construction of a series of brick arch subways was begun around 1905 and completed during the 1920s. Construction was in brickwork due to the large number of nearby brickworks. The 1905 brick arched Mulga Road underbridge at Oatley was designed by Per way Branch staff, New South Wales Government Railways. The platform is reached via a subway stair leading off Mulga Road which is part of the underbridge. The underbridge has a semi-circular brick barrel arch spanning 58 feet (17.3 metres) over a 2 lane roadway, and is thought to be the second largest brick arch underbridge in the NSW rail system. The centre of the bridge is now roofed, between the railway tracks (over the subway) however was unroofed in 1943.

In 1918 the present signal box was incorporated within the then open north end awning area of the platform building. The electrification of the line from St James to Oatley was undertaken in the 1920s, and the first electric train ran on 16th August 1926. This was the first line to be electrified.

In December 1930 disused railway land (the former railway alignment to the east) was officially transferred to Kogarah Council, and this became Oatley Memorial Gardens. When first built in 1905, the double track station had an engine road and goods siding on the eastern side but these were closed in 1940.

The platform building arrangement stayed the same until 1992, when State Rail replanned the remaining part of the platform building, providing new toilet facilities and a larger waiting room at the southern end of the building. This resulted in major change to the platform building both externally and internally (except to the signal box, which remains unaltered), including changes to windows and doors. Also in 1992, a new steel platform canopy was built, connecting the platform building and the entrance to the pedestrian subway.

On 3 March 2001 a commemorative trip, utilising RailCorp’s heritage electric fleet, was made by the Governor Professor Marie Bashir and invited guests to mark the 75th anniversary of the inaugural journey from St James to Oatley in 1926.

In 2005 some of the 1992 changes to the platform building were reversed. The 1918 signal box remains in a near original state despite being superseded for electric light signals in 1926.

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)-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Utilities-Activities associated with the provision of services, especially on a communal basis (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Oatley Railway Station, originally constructed 1885 and relocated 1905, is of historical significance as part of the second phase of construction of the Illawarra railway line, and through its relationship to the development of the suburb of Oatley from 1885. Oatley Railway Station appears to have been located in what was then a sparsely populated area due to the opening of Judd's Hurstville Brick Works nearby in 1884. The Mulga Road underbridge and pedestrian subway are of historical significance as part of a series of railway works undertaken to upgrade the line from 1905 into the 1920s. Oatley Railway Station also has historical association with Oatley Memorial Gardens, a series of linear parks to the east between Oatley Parade and Oatley Avenue, which became available as parkland after the realignment of the railway line in 1905.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Oatley Railway station is of aesthetic significance for its landscape setting, flanked by parks to east and west at its northern end, and for its simple yet attractive Federation Queen Anne style-influenced weatherboard platform building.
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]
The signal box demonstrates signalling technology of the early 1900s, however there are a number of other examples of this technology on the Illawarra line and elsewhere within the NSW Railways network.
SHR Criteria f)
The weatherboard 1905 platform building is considered a rare example for an urban context, and reflects the semi-rural nature of the area when it was built (the only other example on the Illawarra line of a weatherboard platform building in metropolitan context is at Penshurst), and it is one of only four extant weatherboard platform buildings of its type on the Illawarra line.
SHR Criteria g)
The Oatley platform building is an example of a standard roadside building converted to an island platform building. The building is one of four weatherboard standard island platform buildings on the Illawarra line with other examples at Austinmer, Penshurst and Thirroul. The Oatley platform building is the most altered of the four extant examples (note there are 12 stations on the Illawarra line with brick examples of this type of platform building).

The Mulga Road underbridge is a good representative example of brick arch construction. The Mulga Road underbridge is thought to be the second largest brick arch underbridge in the railway system.

The concrete location hut is a good representative example of an Inter War period pre-cast concrete railway structure, one of many examples in the NSW Railway network.
Integrity/Intactness: The platform building has intact awnings and intact original form, however windows and doors have been altered. Original weatherboard walls and ripple iron ceilings remain in the interior. The Mulga Road bridge retains its original fabric. The signal box retains its original fabric.
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 0121402 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Oatley Railway Station group View detail

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5012124

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