Museum Railway Station | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Museum Railway Station

Item details

Name of item: Museum Railway Station
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Location: Lat: -33.8753024626 Long: 151.2099560290
Primary address: City Circle railway, Sydney, NSW 2000
Local govt. area: Sydney
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan

Boundary:

The listing boundary is the whole of the underground structure and the above ground entrances including all finishes. The boundary includes 5 metres either side of the Liverpool Street entry building and the street entries to the former Mark Foy entry on Castlereagh Street.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
City Circle railwaySydneySydney  Primary Address
Elizabeth StreetSydneySydney  Alternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Transport Asset Holding Entity (former Railcorp) - Transport for NSWState Government05 Nov 98

Statement of significance:

Museum Station has state significance as the first underground station in Australia ( with St James opened the same day) and demonstrates the adaptation of the London tube style station to the Australian situation. The station is well constructed, proportioned and detailed and represents the culmination of many years of political lobbying to have a city railway system in place.

The station complex is an important part of the larger NSW railways network, particularly the inner-city system, and has associations with prominent persons such as JJC Bradfield and organisations such as the Department of Railways. It played an important part in the development of the CBD in Sydney as evidenced by direct pedestrian subway connections to adjacent department stores such as Mark Foys.

The Museum Station entry building (Liverpool Street) is a fine and largely intact example of a small-scale Inter-War Stripped Classical style building which adds to the general character of the immediate area. It has significance as one of two buildings of its type and style remaining in the city (the other being St James). The combination of the entry portals, pedestrian subways and decorative interiors including light fittings, tiling and signage contribute to the aesthetic significance of the place and evoke a former era of railway travel.
Date significance updated: 01 Nov 10
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: JJC Bradfield
Builder/Maker: Department of Railways
Construction years: 1922-1934
Physical description: BUILDINGS
Underground Station, (1926)
- entry buildings
- concourse

STRUCTURES
Pedestrian subways, (1926)
Subway to Platforms 1/2, (1926)
Platforms 1/2 including concrete ceiling and finishes, (1926)
Entries and Exits (1934) as the southern portion of Hyde Park was only handed back to Sydney City Council in 1932 (GML, 2016, 11).

CONTEXT
The Museum Railway Station complex consists of the entrance building, two concourse areas, platforms and pedestrian tunnel/subway areas.

ENTRY BUILDINGS (1926)
The entry building located diagonally across the corner of Liverpool and Elizabeth Streets is a "L" shaped brick building in the Inter-War Stripped Classical style and features rectangular timber panelled windows and sandstone detailing. Sandstone columns feature in the entrance which is covered by a bracketed awning clad in pressed metal sheeting. Roman numerals denoting 1926 are carved in the sandstone frieze and a modern brick and glass restaurant has been added to the north faade.

Apart from the main entrance building, access to Museum Station is via six other subway entries, one in Hyde Park adjacent to the obelisk , one via 227 Elizabeth Street, one via 229 Elizabeth Street, one via 297 Elizabeth Street, one at 149 Liverpool Street and one from Downing Centre in Castlereagh Street. The Downing Centre entrance was the former Mark Foy's department Store subway entrance and retains the original sandstone entrance building and large tiled wall sign inside the entrance.

CONCOURSE (1926)
Concrete stairs lead down to the concourse area which contains many original features, including hanging light fittings, timber doors and ticket windows, decorative metal barriers, timber hand rails and station clocks. The male and female toilets on the concourse also feature original fitouts, including timber doors, stall dividers and wall tiling.

PLATFORMS AND PLATFORM SUBWAYS (1926)
Narrow, barrel vaulted tunnels and stairs with tiled walls connect to the platforms which are located within a single reinforced concrete barrel vault. The walls are clad in the same distinctive ceramic tiles, being a cream body tile and red top and bottom courses. The platforms have new cement finish and period advertising signage. Some original signage, such as directions to exits also remain on the platforms. Lighting has recently been upgraded to return the platform area to its original 1930s look.

MOVABLE ITEMS
In the Station Master's office two original timber painted signs remain. One is on the Station Master's door and has 'Station Master/NSWR' painted on it. The second is a direction sign for the men's and ladies' retiring rooms.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL POTENTIAL
Some archaeological potential exists in Hyde Park in relation to the railway construction, however the massive intrusion of the railway open cut excavation in the 1920s removed any archaeological evidence of periods prior to this.

GENERAL

St James station is located beneath the northern end of Hyde Park near St James Road. Rail level is approximately 14 metres below ground level.

The station complex includes the Elizabeth Street entrance building, concourse, platforms, pedestrian entry/exit and a male public toilet.

The main entry to the station is situated on the Elizabeth Street side of Hyde Park. The single storey "stripped classical" style sandstone entrance building faces west down Market Street and has a male public convenience located immediately behind it which is under the control of Sydney City Council. There are also entry points on the Queens Square side of the intersection of St James Road and Macquarie Street and on the opposing side of St James Road in Hyde Park. A brick entry building at this location, similar in design to that of the remaining Museum station portal building, was demolished in the 1970's. The building had a well detailed and proportioned sandstone and brick faade with a decorated copper sheet awning supported by wrought iron brackets. The design of the portal buildings at St James and Museum were integrated, yet inversely reflective - the main St James portal building being of sandstone and the secondary portal building being mainly brick while the reverse was the case at Museum station.

Pedestrian subways direct commuters to and from a central concourse area above the station platforms.

The remaining sandstone entry building provides access, by way of a stairway and tiled passage, to the central concourse.

The large concourse area, with a 5 metre high ceiling, provides the scene for the administrative and passenger processing facilities of the station including a booking office, parcel office, cloakroom, Station Master's Office, staff room, porter's room, male and female toilets and space for concessional uses. The concourse area is linked to the platform area by two stairwells to the northern and southern ends of the platform.

Beneath the concourse area there are four platforms and four tunnels of which only two are used for train purposes.

The outer walls of the station at platform level are approximately 36 metres apart. The two operational platforms are each approximately 5 metres in width and 170 metres long. The roof structure consists of four 8.5 metre reinforced concrete arches.

EXISTING CONDITION OF STATION ENTRANCE BUILDING

The sandstone entrance building in Elizabeth Street is remarkably intact and suffers no major structural or water penetration problems. There is deterioration of some elements such as the entry canopy and the need for cleaning and maintenance of the facades. The condition of different elements is listed as follows:

External Walls:
Ashlar sandstone - generally good condition except:
- surfaces are dirty
- some graffiti defacing parts of wall
- pointing has deteriorated
- holes from signs, fixtures, etc.

Sandstone coping - generally good condition except:
- surfaces are dirty
- pointing has deteriorated

Cement topping to front corner piers - badly deteriorated:
- cracked and spalling

Lead damp-course - evidence of water leaking through eastern wall at the pavement level above the main stairs.

Roof:
Corrugated iron pitched roof with lead sheet flashing and capping. Installed over original tile battens. Generally in good condition except some surface rust to corrugated sheets.

Roof Framing:
Timber rafters and battens - the spacing of the battens indicates the roof was originally tiled as indicated on the original drawings.

Gutters:
Folded lead sheet gutters - gutters are full of rotting leaves and other debris making detailed inspection difficult.

Downpipes:
Copper outlet and cast iron rainwater heads and downpipes - some fixings have come away and parts are broken or missing.

Awning and Awning Brackets:
Pressed copper sheeting to fascia and soffit. Timber sub-frame deteriorating due to water penetration - jointing in poor condition. Cladding coming away from frame in several locations. Original pendant lighting, luminaries replaced by fluorescent lighting.

Wrought iron brackets - evidence of minor rusting.

Corrugated iron roof sheet - rusted surface resulting from contact with non-compatible metals (i.e. copper flashings) Gutter full of leaves and debris.

ORIGINAL INTERIOR ELEMENTS

1920's photographic records and an account of the station provided in a paper by Bradfield dated 1927 afford a detailed description of the interior spaces of St James station as completed.

The interior walls of the station concourse lavatories and pedestrian subways were finished with hard glazed tiles to a height of 1.8 metres and platforms tiled to 2.4 metres. Above the tile level, concrete was spray painted with mill white on the upper walls, ceilings and exposed beams. Cream tiles were used for the body of the tiled wall section and green for moulding tiles. The moulding colour used was designed to be different in each of the three stations opened in 1926 in order to "assist the passengers in a rapid realisation of their location" (Bradfield 1927 p351). Moulding varied according to location within the station. In the concourse, platform and lavatory spaces green tiles were used to effect two parallel lines as a dado section. The upper line rose to emphasise the top of door openings. Ticket windows were also emphasised by a green tile surround. Larger green tiles were used at skirting level. Pedestrian subway spaces followed the tiling scheme but without the skirting detailing. The tiling pattern was maintained on all support columns.

Concrete flooring of the concourse area, platforms and subways was covered in a continuous layer of mastic asphalt approximately 3cm thick the mixture comprising:

- 50% neuchatel rock asphalt
- 25% bluestone chip
- 10% bluestone screemings
- 15% Trinidad bitumen

Treads and landings of stairways were coated in a 1:1:2 mix of carborundum, sand and cement. All steps had a 30cm tread and a 15cm riser with the height of any one flight of steps never exceeding 2.5 metres. Stair framework was of hot-rolled Z section risers spanning between steel channel stringers.

Wrought iron balustrading enclosed the stairwells, the pattern consisting of simple upright bars with geometric designs every 1.5 metres. Balustrading was 1.3 metres high with either extruded brass coated timber or polished trachite as capping. Handrailing in subways and stairs was of 5cm diameter oxidised brass piping. Over 250 lineal metres of this brass capping was used within the station, greatly enhancing the appearance of the ironwork. Entrance and exit barriers consisted of cast iron posts with Doric style caps and bases. Large iron concertina gates, mounted from iron cross members with Doric style caps at intervals, were used for passenger traffic control.

Timber framing enclosed ticket windows fitted with iron safety grills. Cast iron crush barriers with timber caps were mounted directly in front of all ticket windows.

Lavatory cubicles, doors and framing was of timber, the partitions being in 2.5cm marble. Light grey 2cm thick terrazzo paving covered lavatory floors.

Lighting used was of the pendant type, the light consoles being of period style and attached to the ceiling by chain supports.

Signage used was in stove enamelled lettering and designed on 1.4mm "Arrnco" iron plate. Green and white colours were used to co-ordinate with the tiling. Provision was made for timber framed advertising panels varying between 5.6 and 6.6 metres in length. The panels were mounted at a height of 2.4 metres along platform areas. Advertising panels were also found in subway areas.

Timber indicator boxes provided train information for passengers.

EXISTING CONDITION OF INTERIOR ELEMENTS

The interior of the station at concourse, subway and platform level is remarkably intact although damaged in places. The main issue of concern is related to structural cracking and tile damage in the pedestrian tunnel areas under Elizabeth Street.

The condition of different station interior areas is discussed below.

INTERIOR OF STATION ENTRY BUILDING

This is a high profile, high traffic area. A flower and newspaper stall operate from either side of the top landing.

The tiling on the north and south walls is in poor condition and has been repaired with poorly matched square edge tiling in a different colour tone over 30% of wall area. Two different sized tile types have been used for repairs. Many tiles are damaged or chipped and discolouration of original tiles has occurred.

The east wall tiling is in poor condition. Water penetration over the tunnel entrances has resulted in salt crystallisation and defacing of the glazing.

The timber framed, frosted glass windows have peeling paint. Several non-matching panes have been installed. A rear window has been removed and the opening covered with galvanised steel sheet.

Set plaster on brickwork is in good condition as is the set and fibrous plaster ceiling and cornices.

The concertina iron security grill is not in working order and has deteriorating paintwork. An unsympathetic aluminium roller shutter has been installed.

CONCOURSE

The concourse, while having many intact original features, is generally dirty, run down and uninviting. Intact features include ticket office windows, crush barriers, concertina gates, four open staircases, balustrading, passenger control fencing, clock, indicator board and some signage.

Several poor quality commercial concession shopfronts are located in the concourse area.

Other poor quality elements include fire hydrants, garbage bins, two telephone booths, steel lockers, randomly located advertising, SRA information literature, an array of surface mounted electrical conduits and fluorescent light fittings. Most of the elements are visually unattractive and have been installed with little regard for the original character and finishes.

Turnstiles, barriers and guards booth, while consistent with SRA fixtures, do not relate to the detailing of the original concourse area.

Wall tiling condition to the concourse area varies from wall to wall.

Column tiling is in relatively poor condition especially around stairs and turnstiles.

The south wall has large sections of poorly matched tiles while 50% of the original tiles are drummy.

The east wall has many damaged tiles and a large area of drummy tiles.

Walls around the Station Master's Office and porters' room are in reasonable condition with localised damage.

The north and west walls along the ticket sales office and cloakroom are in reasonable condition generally. However, the wall along the ticket sales office has had poor quality repairs and about 40% of original tiling is drummy.

The full length of the north wall of the concourse is rendered only except for about 10% which has a non-matching recent Johnson tile finish.

The female toilet has been fully retiled with commercial non-matching tiles. The male toilet has original wall tiling in original condition, original flooring, cubicles and basins.

PEDESTRIAN SUBWAYS

Subway Tunnel 1 (To/From Macquarie Street)

The wall tiling is in poor condition. 21% of the tiled area consists of original damaged tiles needing repairs or replacement. 25% of the tiled area has been replaced with round edged tiles and 50% of the total area is drummy.

Subway Tunnel 2 (To/From Macquarie Street)

Wall tiling is in poor condition. 14% of the wall areas are covered with damaged original tiles. 5% has been replaced with poorly matched square edge tiles. 19% of the total area has been retailed with modern round edge tiles and 36% of the total area is drummy. Damaged or missing original special tiles include dado tiles, horizontal trims and vertical fill tiles - 37%, 39% and 32% respectively.

Subway Tunnel 3 (To/From Elizabeth Street)

Wall tiling is in poor condition. A pattern of tile damage exists which generally is linked to structural roof slab damage. Tiling in such areas has irregular join width, varying from 1 to 20mm.

27% of all wall area has damaged original tiles, 10% of wall areas has poorly matched colouring and square edge tile patching, 5% of wall area has been retiled with modern round edge tiles and 5% of the wall area has been rendered and painted.

44% of total wall area is drummy.

Damaged or missing original special tiles include dado tiles, horizontal trims and vertical fill tiles accounting for 40%, 20% and 40% of total tiles of each type.

Subway Tunnel 4 (To/From Elizabeth Street)

Tiling is in poor condition with cracks at tunnel joints and with section s of large open joints and patchy repairs.

24% of total wall area is covered in damaged or missing tiles, 3% of wall area is in poorly matched square edge tiles, 13% is in poorly matched modern round edge tiles, 4% of wall area has been rendered and painted. 41% of all tiles are drummy.

Damaged or missing special tiles include dado tiles, horizontal trims and vertical fill tiles accounting respectively for 37%, 50% and 26% of total tiles of each type.

Existing fluorescent light fittings in all subway tunnels accentuate the linear nature and bareness of the subways.

Bitumen floor covering is in reasonable condition generally through patching has been poor in some areas.

STAIRWAYS

Stair flights leading to the platforms are comprised of un-reinforced concrete treads supported on hot rolled Z section risers spanning between steel channel stringers.

Approximately 30% of the Z section risers are rusted and require replacement due to significant loss of cross sectional area. The balance of risers also shows signs of rust damage requiring attention.

Pre-cast treads are cracked or otherwise damaged in approximately 20% of cases although little structural integrity is lost. Stringers are in good condition generally except for isolation spots near column supports and toe plates.

Cast iron columns are in sound condition. Severe corrosion may also be seen in the toe plates installed between the stringer and lowest handrail flat bar.

Balustrading and brass handrailing is in sound condition.

PLATFORMS

Wall tiling on the used platforms is in poor condition. 28% of the wall areas are covered with damaged or missing original tiles, 20% of the wall areas have been retiled with round edged tiles and 30% of all tiled wall areas and columns are drummy.

Workmanship on the areas of extensive patching is of poor quality.

Original clocks, signage and seating are still in place. Modern vending machines, fire fighting equipment, signage, disused conduits and brackets and plastic seating detract from the original features.

Unused platforms contain extensive areas of painted cement render with a superimposed tile pattern.

For a detailed description of the tiling condition in St James station see "Evaluation of Wall Tiling Options" report prepared by Lester Firth Association, April 1993.



Conservation Study and Policy Guidelines
St James Station
Author: Lester Firth Associations Pty Ltd
Publisher: State Rail Authority of New South Wales for City Rail
Year: 1993
Page: 12-25
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Entries: Generally the entry building is in good condition. The external awning is in good condition, although some vegetation is growing from the brick course above. Internally the entry building is in good condition, although some surfaces appear soiled and there is some evidence of water penetration.

Pedestrian subways: Internally, pedestrian subways are generally in good condition. Some tiling has been replaced with modern replica tiles for both walls and coloured banding.

Concourse and platform subways: Many intact original features such as ticket office and WC areas, wall tiling, signage, balustrades and railings have been retained and repaired where necessary. The tunnels and concourse areas have been refurbished. Some evidence of water penetration is noticeable in the tunnels, with bubbling and peeling paint. Some tiling has been replaced with modern replica tiles for both walls and coloured banding.
Date condition updated:01 Nov 10
Modifications and dates: 1934 entry and exits to St. James and Museum Stations in Hyde Park South and North built, as the southern portion of Hyde Park was only handed back to Sydney City Council in 1932 (GML, 2016, 11).

1960s - outdoor cafe constructed behind (north-east) of Museum Station entry building, by Sydney City Council. Design of cafe and landscaping were the work of Ilmars Berzins, SCC landscape architect (ibid, 2016, 11).

c 2001: restaurant/cafe added to northern side of Liverpool Street entrance building
c2002: upgrade of toilets and installation of LCD train arrival and departure screens
Further information: In terms of station usage and general visibility, conservation priority should be given to concourse areas with platform areas and subway tunnels being less important respectively.

The physical needs of original elements must also be given priority. Physical work to date has included repair of wall finishes, especially tiling. Poorly matched replacement tiles have been used or in places a faux tiling finish has been attempted involving painted, stamped cement render. Of particular concern also is the structural damage and resultant cracking of the subway tunnel junction area beneath the intersection of Liverpool and Elizabeth Streets.

A commitment to careful supervision by a person well versed in conservation/restoration practice and/or the guidelines contained in reports completed by Lester Firth Associates and others on the conservation of St James station must be an essential element of any future work.

GENERAL POLICY STATEMENT

St James Station is an important item of cultural heritage value which has aesthetic, historic, scientific/technological and social value for present and future generations.

St James station should be conserved in accordance with the Burra Charter of Australia ICOMOS and its associated guidelines.

All original exterior and interior fabric should be retained where possible and no major alterations or additions should occur. The existing internal configuration of concourse, subway, tunnels and platforms should be maintained.

Evidence about station layout and fabric should be recorded if disturbance to fabric elements occurs.

Intrusive elements listed in Section 5.7 should be removed or modified over time.

Physical evidence and information about the history of the station should be retained.

The existing interpretation of the history and significance of the station on site should be expanded.

Long term protection for the station should be maintained.

Conservation requirements and objectives should be carefully considered when reviewing operations procedures for the station.
Current use: Railway Station
Former use: Aboriginal Land, Town Common, Park, Railway Station

History

Historical notes: The "Eora people" was the name given to the coastal Aborigines around Sydney. Central Sydney is therefore often referred to as "Eora Country". Within the City of Sydney local government area, the traditional owners are the Cadigal and Wangal bands of the Eora. There is no written record of the name of the language spoken and currently there are debates as whether the coastal peoples spoke a separate language "Eora" or whether this was actually a dialect of the Dharug language. Remnant bushland in places like Blackwattle Bay retain elements of traditional plant, bird and animal life, including fish and rock oysters (Anita Heiss, "Aboriginal People and Place", Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/barani).

With the invasion of the Sydney region, the Cadigal and Wangal people were decimated but there are descendants still living in Sydney today. All cities include many immigrants in their population. Aboriginal people from across the state have been attracted to suburbs such as Pyrmont, Balmain, Rozelle, Glebe and Redfern since the 1930s. Changes in government legislation in the 1960s provided freedom of movement enabling more Aboriginal people to choose to live in Sydney (Anita Heiss, "Aboriginal People and Place", Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/barani).

The Need for a City Rail Link
Railway development in Sydney began with the opening of the Sydney to Parramatta line in 1850. The terminus in Devonshire Street was, however, a considerable distance from most of the City's shops and workplaces located to the north. Disembarked railway passengers were required to either walk or be conveyed to the City centre by horse drawn and in later years steam and electrically powered trams which ran along George, Pitt or Elizabeth Streets.

Throughout the second half of the 19th century and early years of the 20th century, Sydney developed a tram based public transport system which adequately served most parts of the City then settled. However, the growth in population and increased residential density in the inner suburban areas in particular resulted in the heavy congestion of thoroughfares leading into the City.

The first plans for extending the railway line into the City proper were prepared as early as 1857 by the Engineer in Chief, John Whitton. Surveys were undertaken to develop a railway line via Castlereagh Street to Circular Quay. By the 1860s it became clear that the area in or around Hyde Park was an ideal location for the City railway station. In 1862 plans were prepared for a line via Hyde Park to the Quay. Survey work continued between 1862 and 1889. In 1894 funds were made available and plans prepared for a railway line extension to a principal station between Park Street and St James Road and a branch line to Fort Macquarie. A change of Colonial Government, however, caused the abandonment of the project.

Mounting public concern over the increasing congestion of street traffic and the need for a rail link into the City eventually forced the Government to appoint a Royal Commission in March 1890. Thirty six separate schemes were submitted, advocating either extension along the western, business side of the City or, along the eastern side through Hyde Park to minimise the costly land resumptions necessary. The Royal Commission recommended the adoption of a proposal by the Chief Railway Commissioner, Mr Eddy, for a line along the eastern City edge to a terminus in Hyde Park. Public opinion was, however, against the loss of a large portion of Hyde Park. Public opinion was, however, against the loss of a large portion of Hyde Park for railway purposes and eventually the Royal Commission recommended the adoption of an alternative proposal from Mr Eddy which would see a central city station at King Street and branch lines splitting east and north.

No further action was taken until April 1896 when the Premier was forced "in the interest of the safety and comfort of the travelling public' to appoint a second Royal Commission to investigate and report on a suitable route. Inquiries and reports continued over the next few years and, while the Government did authorise the construction of Central station in 1900, agreement on a City railway service could not be achieved.

Public opposition to the loss of Hyde Park land and the large capital outlay required were two major hurdles to settlement.

In 1908 a "Royal Commission on Improvement of the City of Sydney and its Suburbs" was appointed and recommended a plan for a loop railway proceeding down York Street to Circular Quay and returning to Central station via Macquarie Street and Hyde Park. Six underground stations were to be located generally in the positions of the Central, Town Hall, Wynyard, Circular Quay, St James and Museum stations of today.

In 1912 the Government commissioned the engineering firm of Mott and Hay who recommended an amended variation of the 1908 scheme with lines to the eastern and western suburbs. The scheme was not adopted being judged expensive, inefficient and impractical on numerous counts.

In February 1915 the Chief Engineer of Metropolitan Railway Construction, JJC Bradfield, after studying the city railways of Europe and North America, submitted his "Report on the Proposed Electric Railways for the City of Sydney".

Bradfield's farsighted plan proposed an electric underground City railway loop, viaduct crossings and tunnels out of the City, a Harbour Bridge Crossing and connections from the City network to two lines progressing north to Hornsby and to Narrabeen/Pittwater, a loop line through stations at King Cross, Paddington, Edgecliff, Bondi, Waverley, Coogee, Waterloo to Erskenville, a western loop to a Balmain station via a bridge from millers Point to Darling Street, through stations at Rozelle, Leichhardt and Annandale to Stanmore and a branch line through Drummoyne, Five Dock, Gladesville to Ryde - all costing around eighteen million pounds excluding land resumptions.

St James station was proposed to form a vital link in the network by being built on two levels to accommodate both through trains from the North Shore, and City loop traffic in the style demonstrated by Grand Central station, New York.

In late 1915 the Government passed a City and Suburban Electric Railways Bill, the Vice President of the Legislative Council saying that "underground railways are a necessary part of great cities all over the world" (Spearitt 1978 p142), Sydney then having a population of 800,000 people.

Work on the City railway system commenced in 1916 with the firm of Norton, Griffiths and Co beginning excavations tunnelling and foundation building for the link between Central station to Macquarie Street.

After the firm's contract was cancelled in early 1918, work was taken over by the Department of Railways. Funding problems resulting from World War 1 austerity measures and political indecision forced construction to cease in June 1918 with the completion of the Macquarie Street Bridge and tunnels through the Botanical Gardens.

From 1917 to 1922, Bradfield maintained a publicity campaign to rally support for his scheme. He presented papers before conferences, professional bodies, public groups, union organisations and the popular press. A City railway built to his plan would benefit workers, he argued, by enabling them "to reside further afield and enjoy fresh are and sunlight", property owners and local government, because they would benefit from increased land values and rates and the future of Sydney in general because of the huge increases in population then forecast (Bradfield 1917 p171).

Excavation work for Museum (then known as Liverpool Street) and St James stations began in 1922/23. The imagination of the public was captivated as crowds gathered daily to view construction of the tunnels and stations beneath the Hyde Park grounds. The method used was that known as "cut and cover" - seeing an expansive open cut trench dug into Hyde Park, more than 100,000m3 of rock and soil removed, the walls of the tunnels and station formed, roofing putin place and the site eventually covered over. Construction of the two station utilised concrete for the walls and steel framework and concrete for the roof.

Costing 2,007,943 pounds, Museum station was built as a single main tunnel arch in concrete spanning both east and west platforms and two centre tracks. The station is free of columns and other supporting structures in the European "tube" style tradition. It was decided to rename the station after the nearby Australian Museum before construction was complete.

St James station was constructed from concrete with four platforms and four tunnels, only two of which have been used to date. The other two tunnels were intended for a link from Gladesville to the Eastern line which has not eventuated. Central walls with archway openings divide platforms and support the arch roof structures.

Concourse areas were formed above the platforms of both stations, acting as focal points for pedestrian ways from street entrances.

The interiors of Museum and especially St James station were well detailed, with extensive use of wall tiling and metal stair railings in the style of the period. The main entrances to both stations were each marked by two sandstone and brick entrance buildings designed in the "stripped-classical" style. Entry points led passengers through tiled subway passages to concourse areas.

After several years of construction, newspapers finally heralded the opening of Australia's first underground electric railway on 20 December 1926 when the new line section of Central station, and Museum and St James stations were connected by trains. The railway attracted tens of thousands of people during the first few weeks of its operations, "swarms of interested mothers and fathers, together with their children, thronged the platforms and stairways examining Dr Bradfield's super Christmas box to the public" (The Staff 21 January 1927).

Media praise for the opening of the two City stations was offset by reporting which focused on the fact that only a small portion of Bradfield's plan was in place. The Evening News of 18 December 1926 stated "the traffic problem, before it becomes far worse, can only be met by the construction of the inner loop of the City railway" (Spearitt 1978 p145).

1934 entry and exits to St. James and Museum Stations in Hyde Park South and North built, as the southern portion of Hyde Park was only handed back to Sydney City Council in 1932 (GML, 2016, 11).

St James and Museum were busy stations until 1956 when they were connected by the line through Circular Quay allowing trains to run into the City and back out gain without needing to stop and reverse at St James as was previously done.

The central two tunnels at St James, built to link with the proposed Eastern Suburbs railway have never been used for train movement although they were, along with the section of tunnel built to connect with Circular Quay, used as air raid shelters during World War II.

After 1956 and the opening of Circular Quay station, St James and Museum suffered from reduced passenger usage and peak hours are now only a shadow of those in earlier years.

In the 1960s an outdoor cafe constructed behind (north-east) of Museum Station entry building, by Sydney City Council. Design of cafe and landscaping were the work of Ilmars Berzins, SCC landscape architect (ibid, 2016, 11).

Although affected by reduced maintenance spending and unsympathetic additions, both stations have retained much of their original detailing and character.

(Source: Lester Firth Assn.s, P/L, Conservation Study and Policy Guidelines -
St James Station, 1993, 4-10).
Publisher: State Rail Authority of New South Wales for City Rail

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. Changing the environment-
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 demonstrating styles in landscape design-
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 Railway Station-
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-
7. Governing-Governing Defence-Activities associated with defending places from hostile takeover and occupation Involvement with the Second World War-
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 - building and operating public infrastructure-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Enjoying public parks and gardens-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going to a museum-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Ilmar Berzins, landscape architect-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Dr J.J.C. Bradfield, Chief Engineer, City Railways-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Historic value encompasses the history of aesthetics, science and society and therefore, to a large extent underlines all of the terms set out. A place may have historic value because it has influenced or has been influenced by a historic figure, event, phase or activity. It may also have historic value as the site of an important event. Significance is greater when associated evidence survives in-situ or when the settings are substantially intact.

- The site of St James station is associated with early plans for a terminus for the city railway system.

- St James, along with Museum station were the first underground railway stations operating in Australia.

- St James station is strongly associated with the railway/transportation planning of prominent early 20th century engineer Dr JJC Bradfield.

- Unused tunnels at both ends of St James station were blocked off with concrete walls to form bomb shelters as a precaution against possible air raids during World War II.


Conservation Study and Policy Guidelines
St James Station
Author: Lester Firth Associations Pty Ltd
Publisher: State Rail Authority of New South Wales for City Rail
Year: 1993
Page: 31 & 32
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Aesthetic value includes aspects of sensory perception including consideration of the form, scale, colour, texture and material of the fabric.

- The sandstone entry or portal building is a representative example of a low scale public building in the inter-war 'stripped classical' style.

- The interior of the station, with its generous provision of space has retained most of its original detailing including tiling, balustrading, signage and other fixtures and fittings.

- The two (one demolished in the 1970's) portal buildings to St James were designed to integrate with, yet inversely reflect, the two original portal buildings of Museum station.

- The largely underground nature of St James station does not detract from the streetscape or parkland environment of the area.

- The location of the station at the head of Market Street has an important civic sense and street vista value.


Conservation Study and Policy Guidelines
St James Station
Author: Lester Firth Associations Pty Ltd
Publisher: State Rail Authority of New South Wales for City Rail
Year: 1993
Page: 31 & 32
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Social value embraces the qualities for which a place has become a focus of political, national, regional, local or other cultural sentiment to a majority or minority group.

- The construction and utilization of St James Station represents approximately 70 years of pressure by citizens for city railway stations from the 1850's onwards.

- The underground nature of the station is a product of citizens' concern over possible loss of Hyde Park land.

- St James station, when linked to the rest of the City rail network from 1926 onwards was considered as important in enabling ease of transportation to the city and thereby allowing workers to live in more 'healthy conditions' in suburbs further afield than was usual at the time.

- St James station, and the rest of the city rail network by enabling ease of transportation for workers into the City, is thought to have contributed to the expansion of Sydney's suburbia from the early to mid 20th century onwards.

- St James station, and the rest of the city underground network, is representative of a facility designed to cater for the future transportation of Sydney's citizens.


Conservation Study and Policy Guidelines
St James Station
Author: Lester Firth Associations Pty Ltd
Publisher: State Rail Authority of New South Wales for City Rail
Year: 1993
Page: 31 & 33
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The scientific or research value of a place depends on the data involved, its rarity, quality or representativeness, and on the degree to which the place may contribute further information.

- St James station demonstrates a period of railway technology in New South Wales and Australia as a whole.

- The scale and methods of construction work especially excavation, completed for the station represented a major feat of engineering at the time.


Conservation Study and Policy Guidelines
St James Station
Author: Lester Firth Associations Pty Ltd
Publisher: State Rail Authority of New South Wales for City Rail
Year: 1993
Page: 31 & 33
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 ORDER UNDER SECTION 57(2) OF THE HERITAGE ACT 1977

Standard exemptions for engaging in or carrying out activities / works otherwise prohibited by section 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977.

I, Donald Harwin, the Special Minister of State 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, effective 1 December 2020:

1. revoke the order made on 11 July 2008 and published on pages 91177 to 9182 of Government Gazette Number 110 of 5 September 2008 and varied by notice published in the Government Gazette on 5 March 2015; and

2. grant the exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977 that are described in the attached Schedule.

Donald Harwin
Special Minister of State
Signed this 9th Day of November 2020.

To view the standard exemptions for engaging in or carrying out activities / works otherwise prohibited by section 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977 click on the link below.
Nov 13 2020

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0120702 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     
Local Environmental PlanCSH Local Environmental Plan 4 07 Apr 00   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Museum Railway Station View detail
WrittenGML Heritage2016Hyde Park - Museum Station Café Landscaping - Heritage Impact Statement
WrittenLester Firth Associations Pty Ltd1993Conservation Study - St James Station

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

rez
(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage NSW
Database number: 5045341
File number: 10/01511; ef14/5487


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