Albury Railway Station and yard group | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Albury Railway Station and yard group

Item details

Name of item: Albury Railway Station and yard group
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Location: Lat: -36.0839227240 Long: 146.9245761780
Primary address: Railway Place, Albury, NSW 2640
Local govt. area: Albury City
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Albury And District
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
PART LOT1 DP1051882
LOT2 DP1109126
LOT1 DP1177553
LOT2 DP1177553
LOT3 DP1177553
LOT4 DP1177553
LOT1 DP715439
LOT2 DP715439
LOT50 DP748217
LOT51 DP748217
LOT1 DP862288
LOT2 DP862288
LOT4 DP862288
LOT5 DP862288
PART LOT75 DP862288


The listing boundary is the rail property along Young street to the west, the Hume Highway (previously Parkinson Street) to the east, to the north a line across the tracks aligning with Wilson Street and to the south a line across the tracks aligning with Hovell Street.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Railway PlaceAlburyAlbury City  Primary Address
Main Southern railwayAlburyAlbury City  Alternate Address
Parkinson StreetAlburyAlbury City  Alternate Address
Young StreetAlburyAlbury City  Alternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government20 Oct 98
State Property AuthorityState Government 

Statement of significance:

The railway precinct at Albury is of state significance as one of the major railway precincts in NSW which includes one of the most prominent station buildings in NSW. The grandeur of the station building at Albury reflects the importance attributed to this location by the NSW government in the late 19th century and reflects important historical themes, particularly the rivalry between NSW and Victoria and the competition for trade between Australia's colonies in the 19th century. The station building, platform and former Station Master’s residence are prominent civic buildings in Albury which, along with less prominent structures (the former barracks building, signal box, transhipment shed and other items) are extant reminders of the important and continuing role of the railways in Albury since the 1880s.

The place is significant as the point at which there was a break-of-gauge between the different gauges used in Victoria and NSW and where, from 1881, the transfer of passengers and goods took place near the border between Victoria and NSW. The railway precinct at Albury was also a significant location during World War II when the transfer of freight and military personnel at Albury made an important contribution to the war effort, particularly through the operation of the transhipment area, where military supplies were loaded and unloaded.

The barracks building at Albury is an excellent, representative example of late 19th century accommodation for railway workers and is one of the oldest remaining railway barracks in NSW. It demonstrates standard late 19th century and 20th century railway practices, namely the accommodation of railway crews at strategic locations throughout the state, and reveals the use of a standard design for rest houses in the late 19th century.
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)
Construction years: 1880-1881
Physical description: MAJOR STRUCTURES - Managed by RailCorp
Station Building - type 5, brick Italianate first-class (1881) and refreshment room (1880s)
Platform (1881)

Signal Box - elevated brick and timber with gabled roof located opposite platform (1885)
Signal Box - brick, located at southern end of platform (1962)
Station Master's residence - two-storey located at Railway Place (1881)
Barracks, brick engine drivers' barracks at 508 Young Street (c1890)
(Lots 1 to 6/DP808502) Privately owned, sold 1995, and removed from railways SHR entry
(Lot 7/DP808502) Privately owned since 1995, and removed from railways SHR entry
Footbridge at northern end of platform
Transhipment Shed (covered with central platform, c1920).
Gantry cranes
Broad gauge cripple sidings located in dock platform (interpretive display)

A grand symmetrical Victorian Italianate style station building with a tall central tower topped with a decorative cupola. The building features load bearing brickwork with face brick and stuccoed and painted detail for pilasters, arches, quoins, pediments, string courses and architraves. The building has a pitched roof with hipped ends and hipped transverse bays at the ends of the building. The roof over the booking hall is elevated. The road-side of the building features the clock tower and two verandahs between the projecting bays supported on double cast iron columns. The platform side has a series of gabled roofs running at right angles to the main building; all supported on trusses over cast iron, decorated, fluted columns. Timber valances are still intact on the exterior of the building. The awning over the platform extension at the south end is of later design than the station building awning. The platform is covered for its entire length (and with Flinders St, Melbourne is the longest platform in Australia) (Pennay, 2006).

Internally the building is arranged along the platform with a central booking hall and ticket office which contains most of its original cedar detailing and panelling. Opening off this space are a number of offices. Along the platform there is access to the ladies waiting room (divided into first and second class sections), the parcels office (also accessed from the street), stores, porters room, lamp room and male toilets. The stores and toilets are separated from the main building by a passageway and are under separate hipped roofs with dormer gables (Pennay, 2006).

A refreshment room was added to the station building in the 1880s at the Sydney end of the main building and in a similar style to the main building. It has a separate awning structure of later construction which extends beyond the station building. Also the north end of the building has been extended by the addition of a second storey to provide additional accommodation space for the refreshment rooms (Pennay, 2006).

A large two-storey brick residence with a slate gabled roof. The building has an asymmetrical design with a projecting bay at the front and a two storey verandah with decorative cast iron railing and detail to posts. The verandah roof is reverse curve corrugated iron. The arrangement of the building includes a sitting room and dining room with staircase in the front part of the ground floor area with attached kitchen, scullery and pantry at the rear. Upstairs there are two large bedrooms, one with closet, two smaller bedrooms, all with fireplaces and one very small bedroom under a lower roof, probably for a servant or used as a study.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The station buildings are in very good condition. Other structures are generally in good condition with some repairs required to the signal box and transhipment shed (April 2008).
Date condition updated:19 Jul 13
Modifications and dates: 1984 - gatekeeper's residence demolished
1986 - Institute building demolished
c1991 - Residences at 528-538 Young Street sold to private ownership
c1991 - Barracks at 540 Young Street sold to private ownership
pre-2000 - Goods shed, tripod crane and various other railway buildings and structures in northern yard demolished
2006 - Wilson Street footbridge and Dean Street road overbridge demolished as part of works for Hume Highway bypass.
Current use: Passenger railway station, with most former railway owned buildings and structures
Former use: Break-of-gauge station where passengers changed trains and where freight was transferred


Historical notes: The railway precinct at Albury was the terminus for the Main Southern Line from 1881 until 1962. It remains as an operational railway yard and passenger station and is the last station before the NSW/Victoria border.

By the late 19th century, colonial rivalry between Victoria and NSW, particularly with regard to the competition for wool trade from the Riverina, was the catalyst for the rapid expansion of rail networks in both states in the direction of the Victoria/ NSW border. In Victoria, a proposal for a line to Belvoir (Wodonga) was approved in 1869 and completed by 1873. In April 1873 John Sutherland, the Minister for Public Works, set out a policy to complete ‘the main trunk railways’. The policy included the Great Southern Line and was in response to the threat that wool from the Riverina and the west would be diverted to Melbourne via river boats and the Victorian railway. By 1877 the Great Southern Railway extended from Sydney to as far as Cootamundra and rapidly continued on to Bethungra (1878), Junee (1878), Bomen (1878), Wagga Wagga (1879), and Gerogery (1880) (Forsyth, 1989; SRA, 1993; Pennay, 2006; Lee, 2000, p98).

The construction contract for the Wagga Wagga to Albury section was awarded to George Cornwell & F Mixner on 14 February 1878. The single line opened from Gerogery to Albury on 3 February 1881. The line finally reached the border with the extension across the River Murray on 14 June 1883 as a single track, the contract being awarded to Alex Frew on 1 May 1882 (Forsyth, 2009).

The station and yard at Albury opened with a loop, stockyards, toilet, wool stage and a temporary platform on 1 March 1881. Albury and Wodonga were both used as change stations, with the interchange of passengers and goods to take place at Albury and livestock at Wodonga (Forsyth, 1989; SRA, 1993; Pennay, 2006).

A contract for construction of a temporary station building, crew barracks, porters’ cottages, Station Master’s residence, and carriage shed at Albury was let to a J. Stevens in May 1880. In 1882, a 10 tonne crane and a cart weighbridge were installed, the temporary passenger platform converted to a loading stage, and the signal box moved from the temporary platform to a new location near the station (Forsyth, 1989).

On 26 February 1882 the new station building was opened. Designed in an Italianate style under the direction of John Whitton, the grandeur of the new building stood as a symbol of NSW's colonial pride (Pennay, 2006).

Early changes to the station precinct included construction of refreshment rooms, a goods shed and a temporary customs office in 1883, and an engine shed, new covered platform and new goods shed in 1884. In 1887, the station and southern end of the yard were interlocked and the southern yard remodelled. Other changes at Albury in the late 19th century included alterations to the barracks (1890), provision of a furnace for heating foot warmers (1890), provision of a special booking office on the platform for sleeping berth tickets for passengers from Victorian trains (1890), new drivers’ barracks (1890), interlocking of the North Yard (1891), and the extension of the platform (1892 and 1902) (Forsyth, 1989).

A contract for the construction of an engine shed, turntable pit, and coal stage was let to A. Frew in October 1880, with the original engine shed built as a two-track structure with the capacity to accommodate eight locomotives. The original 15.240m turntable was increased in size to 18.288m in 1904 and then to 22.860m in 1926. A coal stage was introduced in c1950 (Forsyth, 1989).

Numerous changes were made to the station and yard in the 20th century, with some of the major alterations or additions including extension of the carriage shed (1905), extension of the platform and awning at the Country (southern) end (1907), erection of an additional carriage shed (1912), provision of an Institute building (1921), and extension of the awning (1944) (Forsyth, 1989).

Major improvements were made to railway infrastructure at Albury and Wodonga during, and immediately prior to, World War II. The importance of improving railway links between states had been understood by military planners since Federation and became more acute after Japan entered World War II. The threat posed to coastal shipping by enemy ships and submarines, combined with restrictions on petrol and rubber, made rail transport increasingly important during the war. Rail traffic (for civilian and military purposes) increased significantly between Victoria and NSW during World War II with the number of passengers at Albury trebling from 1938 to 1941 and goods traffic increasing from 25,000 to 123,000 tonnes during the same period. The increased volume of traffic and the military presence at the border had significant implications for Albury with the Australian defence forces virtually commandeering the station for the duration of World War II (Pennay, 2006).

Many changes were made to the station precinct and goods yard at Albury prior to and during World War II. Some of the major changes included the addition of a timber transhipment platform, lengthening of the station platform by 66m, and expansion of the goods yard on the western side of Parkinson Street. The railway transhipment platform remained in use after the war but activity within the Albury yard declined as road transport gradually displaced rail transport in the second half of the 20th century. Another important change was the introduction of standard gauge track between Wodonga and Melbourne in 1961, reducing the need for transhipment facilities at Albury, although not entirely as the transhipment platform remained in use after the introduction of standard gauge in Victoria. However, by the 1970s and 1980s some of the transhipment facilities at Albury were demolished (including the goods shed, wool depot and engine house) (Pennay, 2006).

In recent decades, major changes to the station precinct at Albury included conservation works to the RailCorp owned station building in 1995 and the construction of the Hume Highway bypass in 2005 and 2006 which involved the demolition of the Wilson Street footbridge and Dean Street overbridge, and modifications to the eastern end of the footbridge at the station (Pennay, 2006; Dreghorn, pers.comm 2008).

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 Engineering the public railway system-
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. Federating Australia-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with John Whitton, Chief Engineer, NSW Government Railways-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Albury Railway Precinct is of historical significance as a major location that when completed marked an important milestone in the history of the NSW railways, that being the completion of the Southern Line to the Victorian border following the rapid expansion of the railway network during the second half of the 19th century. The grandeur of the station building at Albury reflects the importance attributed to this location by the NSW government in the late 19th century and is a tangible reminder of the rivalry between colonies during this period in Australia's history, particularly in relation to competition between colonies for trade. The goods yard at Albury (particularly the transhipment shed) was an important location for defence activities during World War II when military equipment and other materials important to the war effort were moved by rail and transferred from broad gauge Victorian trains to standard gauge NSW trains.

The Station Master’s residence and barracks buildings are significant for demonstrating the past custom of providing permanent and temporary accommodation for railway staff. The c1890 former engine drivers' barracks is significant as one of the oldest remaining barracks extant in NSW.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The design of the station building is associated with John Whitton, Engineer-in-Chief of NSW Railways (from 1856-1890). The place is also associated with the work of Australian artist Russell Drysdale who, during World War II, completed many paintings of the station and yard including defence related activities within the railway precinct.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The railway station at Albury (including the platform awning) is one of the largest and more significant station buildings in NSW with a high level of aesthetic significance. The building is a fine example of a large Victorian Italianate style first-class brick station building and remains largely intact with many original decorative features. The building with its landmark tower remains as a prominent element within the Albury townscape. The former Station Master's residence, railway barracks and 1885 signal box also have varying levels of aesthetic and technical significance and contribute to the setting of the place.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The site is of social significance to the local community on account of its lengthy association as an important source of employment, trade and social interaction for the local community. The site is significant for its ability to contribute to the local community’s sense of place, is a distinctive feature in the daily life of many community members, and provides a tangible connection between Albury's history and present day community.
SHR Criteria g)
The station building is a good representative example of first-class railway architecture in NSW. The precinct is a good representative example of a large yard which includes a range of railway structures: a Station Master’s residence, 1885 signal box, a footbridge, and other structures 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 precincts across the state.
Integrity/Intactness: The station buildings, signal box and Station Master's residence have a high level of integrity/ 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 0107302 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     
Local Environmental Plan 199504 Apr 96 0431536
Register of the National Estate  21 Mar 78   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
National Federation Heritage Project1999 Michael Pearson et al  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Tourism 2007Albury Railway Station View detail
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Albury Railway Station and yard group View detail
WrittenOHM Consultant2009Albury Station change of gauge : archival photographic recording

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: 5045002
File number: H06/00078

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