Picton railway viaduct over Stonequarry Creek | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Heritage

Picton railway viaduct over Stonequarry Creek

Item details

Name of item: Picton railway viaduct over Stonequarry Creek
Other name/s: Stonequarry Creek Railway Viaduct
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Bridge/ Viaduct
Location: Lat: -34.1776600646 Long: 150.6118253520
Primary address: Main Southern Railway, Picton, NSW 2571
Local govt. area: Wollondilly
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Tharawal

Boundary:

The listing boundary commences at the north end of the Picton Viaduct and runs parallel to the viaduct on each side. On the western side of the station the boundary follows the top of the embankment, crossing the road bridge and then turning across the tracks, returning north at the back of the platform then turning towards the east to include the parking area and following the property boundary until reaching the viaduct.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Main Southern RailwayPictonWollondilly  Primary Address
Menangle RoadPictonWollondilly  Alternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government05 Nov 98

Statement of significance:

This 1867 viaduct is significant because it is the oldest stone arch railway bridge in New South Wales. It is associated with John Whitton the 'father of new South Railways', it is an imposing sandstone structure, a landmark for the historic town of Picton, its construction contrubuted significantly to the subsequent railway extension to Albury in 1883 to link with the Victorian line and to the development of Southern Western new South Wales and when John Whitton was denied funds to continue with the expensive wrought iron girder bridges he chose the stone arch viaduct for his major bridge works. It has proved to be a most cost-effective structure. It is unique being the first double track stone arch viaduct and retains its original fabric and function. It represents a major technological achievement in the construction of the Great Southern Railway line by John Whitton.
Date significance updated: 15 Mar 06
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.

Description

Designer/Maker: John Whitton, Engineer-in-Chief for Railways
Builder/Maker: Murnin and Brown
Construction years: 1863-1867
Physical description: A sandstone viaduct carrying the double track Main South Railway (was great Southern Railway) over Stonequarry Creek just south of Picton Railway Station.

There are five arches of 40 feet clear span which together with pier widths and abutments gives the viaduct a total length of 276 feet. The middle arch is the highest above the creek bed at 78 feet.

The piers are solid stone, founded at shollw depth into rock, tapering to the springing levels of the arches which are solid semi-circular, 20 feet radius and 2 feet 6 inches thick.

At the piers, the internal 'V' formed by the adjoining arches is filled by stone rubble to about 15 feet and dished to form a drain. There is a pipe drain down the middle which dishcharges at the springing level. By this arrangement the ballastered tracks are drained and do not get water logged.

There is a low stone parapet wall on each side of the viaduct supplemented by a timber fence for the safety of train shunters.

The abutments are U-shaped in plan with 3 internal buttresses.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The viaduct is in excellent condition and carries rail traffic that is considerably heavier and faster then when built. No strengthening works or modification have been necessary.
Date condition updated:15 Mar 06
Modifications and dates: There have been only minor railway attachments to suit chnaging operations over the years, but those that remain do not detract from the significance of the bridge.
Current use: Viaduct that carries the double track Main South Railway
Former use: Aboriginal land, Viaduct that carries the double track Main South Railway

History

Historical notes: Picton:
The town of Picton was named by Major Antill after Sir Thomas Picton in 1841. The location was previously known as 'Stonequarry'. The Duke of Wellington described Picton as a 'rough foul-mouthed devil as ever lived' but very capable. He was 'respected for his courage and feared for his irrascible temperament'. He was chiefly remembered for his exploits under Wellington in the Iberinan Peninsular War displaying great barvery and persistence. He was killed at the battle of Waterloo and was the most senior officer to die there. He was buried in the family vault at St. George's, Hanover Square in London. In 1859 Picton was re-interred in St. Paul's Cathedral, London, lying close to the body of the Duke of Wellington (Wheeldon, 2015, 3).

Great Southern Railway:
The 'Great Southern Railway' originally opened from Picton to Mittagong via a loop line in 1867.

Picton Railway Viaduct:
The Stonequarry Creek railway viaduct was built for the Picton to Goulburn railway extension, 1862-1869.

John Whitton signed the plans in July 1862 but the first contractor failed so Murnin and Brown took over the contract in December 1863. The work was supervised by George Cowdery (a future Engineer-in-Chief for Existing Lines) and was opened for traffic on 28 February 1867 for the first section of extension to Mittagong. It cost (Pounds)10,437.

It is the oldest railway arch bridge in New South Wales and the first one built for two tracks, the second is over James Street, Lithgow. Economic constraints forced Whitton to build the others for single track. They were progressively bypassed by double track brick arch bridges whereas Stonequarry Creek viaduct continues its original function.

The viaduct is accessible from Menangle Road.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Other open space-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Changing the environment-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Cultural: Rivers and water bodies important to humans-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Developing local, regional and national economies-National Theme 3
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes of institutions - productive and ornamental-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Technology-Activities and processes associated with the knowledge or use of mechanical arts and applied sciences Technologies of bridge building-
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 Building the railway network-
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 Building and maintaining the public railway system-
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 Bridging rivers-
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. Building settlements, towns and cities-National Theme 4
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. A Picturesque Residential Suburb-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Early land grants-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Townships-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Early farming (Cattle grazing)-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Administering and alienating Crown lands-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Changing land uses - from rural to suburban-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Resuming private lands for public purposes-
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 Developing suburbia-
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 Beautifying towns and villages-
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 Developing private towns-
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 Shaping inland settlements-
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 Creating landmark structures and places in regional settings-
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 19th Century Infrastructure-
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 Impact of railways on suburban development-
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 Impacts of railways on rural development-
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 Railway Suburbs-
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 Roadside Villages-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Utilities-Activities associated with the provision of services, especially on a communal basis Building Bridges-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Utilities-Activities associated with the provision of services, especially on a communal basis Railways to inland settlements-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Utilities-Activities associated with the provision of services, especially on a communal basis Public Transport - suburban railway lines-
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. State government-
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. Developing roles for government - administration of land-
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. Developing roles for government - building and administering rail networks-
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. Developing roles for government - conserving cultural and natural heritage-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Murnin and Brown, builders-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
This viaduct is the oldest stone arch railway bridge in New South Wales. It is still in use without any restriction on railway operations.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
It is associated with John Whitton the 'father of New South Wales railways'.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The viaduct is an imposing sandstone structure, a landmark for the historic town of Picton and a photo stop for tourist.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Its construction contributed significantly to the railway extension to Albury to link with the Victorian line and to the development of South Western New South Wales. It continues as a major item of railway infrastructure for the commercial and social wellbeing of that region and for land transport to Melbourne.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
When John Whitton was denied funds to continue with the expensive wrought iron girder bridges he chose the stone arch viaduct for his major bridge works. The former at Menangle cost £94,562 whereas the Stonequarry Creek viaduct cost £10,437. It has proved to be a most cost-effective structure.

This viaduct was a prelude to his extensive use of stone arch viaducts across the Blue Mountains to Lithgow.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The only double track stone arch viaduct.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
It is a magnificent representative example of a class of railway bridge built during 1862-69.
Integrity/Intactness: The viaduct retains its original fabric and function.
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.

Recommended management:

Recommendations

Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Recommended ManagementProduce a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) 
Recommended ManagementPrepare a maintenance schedule or guidelines 
Recommended ManagementCarry out interpretation, promotion and/or education 

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
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.

FRANK SARTOR
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

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0105102 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     
Register of the National Estate  28 Sep 82   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Tourism 2007Picton Railway Viaduct over Stonequarry Creek View detail
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Picton railway viaduct over Stonequarry Creek View detail
WrittenWheeldon, Paul2015(Picton section, in) 'Waterloo - those who left their mark on Australia - Part 2' View detail

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

rez
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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5045123
File number: EF14/5865


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