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

Culture and heritage


Tamworth Railway Station, yard group and movable relics

Item details

Name of item: Tamworth Railway Station, yard group and movable relics
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Location: Lat: -31.0876324401 Long: 150.9311043390
Primary address: Main Northern railway, Tamworth, NSW 2340
Local govt. area: Tamworth Regional
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Tamworth
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT37 DP1006137
LOT38 DP1006137
LOT18 DP456158
LOT19 DP456158


The listing boundary is formed by Marius St at the front of the site, at the western end of the gardens the boundary turns south and then east around the garden boundary until a point opposite the dock platform where it turns south across the line at the end of the dock platform and then east along the railway line parallel to the station building. At the western end of the platform adjacent to the footbridge, it turns south-east joining the south-west corner of the residence fence. From here the boundary follows the fence line until reaching the tracks where it follows them east, crossing the line to pick up the street boundary at Marius St.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Main Northern railwayTamworthTamworth Regional  Primary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government16 Nov 98

Statement of significance:

Tamworth Railway Station is of state significance as a grand Victorian period station complex, in close to original condition with the very rare addition of a landscaped forecourt area dating from the time of construction and containing original planting and civic garden detail. The station building is an excellent example of a first-class station building with fine classical proportions, good detailing and finish, demonstrating the peak of railway construction during the late 19th century. The station building is significant as a tangible link to the development of the Great Northern Railway (GNR) line during the 19th century, with the scale and quality of building design demonstrating the importance that was attached to Tamworth as a township and railway location.
Date significance updated: 04 Sep 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: 1882-
Physical description: BUILDINGS
station building - type 5, first class - 1882, RNE, LEP
- 34 Bourke St, station master's, type 4, 1877 (resumed 1881)
- gatehouse, type 3 brick, 1882

platform face - brick/concrete
dock platform - 1882
footbridge - undated
timber level crossing gates and gatehouses, Sydney end of loop

park and plantings in forecourt area - circa 1880 including trees from opening of station

Platform lamp oil, (AA01), signal box
3 x cane hoops 2 large, 1 small, (AA04, AA05), signal box
Collected tickets box, (AA13), Compactus in Training Room
Sign - pillows for hire 1/-, 0.5/0.5, (AS01), signal box
Circuit phone wall mounted timber, (AT01), signal box
Rotating chair timber with leather cushion and central cut-out, (CA03), signal box
Timber table and ruling rod, 0.9/0.7/0.8, (TA01), signal box
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Railway Station


Historical notes: Tamworth railway precinct is located on the Main North line, running from Sydney and extending north to the Queensland border, at the town of Wallangarra. The Main North Line (also known as the Great Northern Railway) runs through the Central Coast, Hunter and the New England regions. The line was the original main line between Sydney and Brisbane, however this required a change of gauge at Wallangarra. The line is now closed north of Armidale, and the main route between Brisbane and Sydney is now the North Coast line.

Tamworth is located in the east of the region of the Darling Plains of NSW. Explorer John Oxley passed through the Peel Valley in 1818. In 1831, the first sheep stations and cattle stations were formed with most of the country subdivided into large runs by the mid-19th century. The region was used predominantly by pastoralists for cattle and sheep grazing, although the 20th century saw sheep and wheat farming dominate the region.

In the 1830s a company town began to develop on the Peel's southwest bank, the present site of West Tamworth. In 1850 a public town was gazetted on the opposite side of the river from the existing settlement. This town became the main town, called Tamworth. The town grew and, in 1861, Tamworth had a population of 654, both in the government town on the north side of the river, and in the company town on the south side. A municipality was created in 1876, when Tamworth had flour mills, a tannery, butter factory, plaster works, brick and pipe-making, brewery, clothing and furniture manufacture (Heritage Office and the Department of Urban Affairs & Planning, 1996: part 7, p.5). Its services included a hospital, post office and telegraph, court house, police station, two schools, two banks and six insurance brokers. In 1888, Tamworth was the first Australian town to use electric lighting.

The Great Northern Railway had reached East Maitland in 1857, Singleton in 1863, Muswellbrook in 1869 and Murrurundi in April 1871. Coaches ran from there to Tamworth and other New England areas. The opening of the Quirindi section took place on 13 August 1877 with the line reaching Tamworth in 1878. The official opening of the railway platform at West Tamworth took place on 15 October 1878. The Tamworth railway station at West Tamworth was only named West Tamworth after the line was extended across the river to East Tamworth and the opening of the present Tamworth railway station in 1882.

The single line from West Tamworth to Kootingal opened on 9 January 1882, with the station officially opened for service on the same day. The construction contract for the West Tamworth to Uralla section was awarded to A & R Amos on 12 September 1879 (Forsyth, 2009).

The two towns of Tamworth prospered as a traffic centre when the railways arrived in1878, as it drew much of the northern wool traffic by dray to the rail head. As each new section of the Main North line was opened, the settlement at the temporary terminus suddenly became a busy centre as horse or bullock teams carried supplies from the railway yard to all the settlements beyond and returned with wool, minerals and other produce. Generally, the arrival of railway gangs to extend the line to the next town provided a final flutter before the town returned to slumber. Tamworth, however, was one of few larger towns to receive a sustainable boost from the arrival of the railway.

The uniquely designed 1880’s station building featured fine classical Victorian proportions and good detailing and finish. Internally, the building originally comprised of a central waiting room, station master’s, ticket, parcels, and telegraph offices, ladies waiting room, and detached toilet block and lamp room wing. Although the station building has been added to, as is evident on the platform awning, and the use and composition of rooms has changed over the years, the building remains in close to original condition. The station building also incorporated the very rare addition of a landscaped forecourt, with many of the original plantings surviving to the present day.

The station master’s residence is unique in that it was purchased after its construction, and therefore does not conform to the typical railway structures from this period. It was built in 1877 as the manse for the nearby Wesleyan Church and was separated from the church by the construction of the railway when it was extended from Tamworth in 1881. This coincides with the purchase of the property by NSW Railways to serve as the station masters residence (Cottee, 2004).

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 Tamworth railway precinct is significant for its historical values as a tangible link to the development of the Great Northern Railway (GNR) line during the 19th century. The GNR was an important achievement in transport and engineering within NSW. As the third main trunk rail route in NSW stretching from Sydney to the Queensland border, the line linked townships to one another as well as to Sydney leading to significant economic and social impacts for those individual townships as well as for NSW more generally. The development, importance and impact of the NSW railways is illustrated at Tamworth through the fine and intact example of a first class railway station, constructed in the 1880s as the rail head at the height of railway construction activity and development in NSW.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Tamworth railway station building has high aesthetic significance as a unique and finely detailed first class station contributing to the townscape of Tamworth, which is further enhanced by the forecourt area and gardens. The building is a first class, single storey, rendered brick building of Victorian Italianate design. The building consists of painted face brick with stuccoed quoins, pediments, gables, and rendered window and door cornices and sills. The road facade is composed of three classical revival pedimented gables projecting from the main platform wing. Unlike other similar scaled buildings Tamworth station building has equal attention to detail and facade treatment on both the platform and road faces.
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 e)
[Research potential]
The station building, residences and other precinct elements provide an opportunity to research the development of the NSW railways and the role and importance of Tamworth.
SHR Criteria g)
The Tamworth railway station building has representative significance has a fine and intact example of a first class railway station building in NSW. Although each of the 19 first class station buildings constructed in NSW differed in design, each demonstrate in scale, quality and decorative detail the importance of the railways and the importance of these stations constructed at major regional centres throughout NSW.
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 0126002 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Heritage Express Jouneys View detail

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: 5012235

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