Glebe and Wentworth Park Railway Viaducts | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Glebe and Wentworth Park Railway Viaducts

Item details

Name of item: Glebe and Wentworth Park Railway Viaducts
Other name/s: Wentworth Park Viaduct, Jubilee Park Viaduct, Glebe Viaducts
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Bridge/ Viaduct
Location: Lat: -33.8754529409 Long: 151.1779418200
Primary address: Wentworth Park, Jubilee Park, Johnstons Creek, Glebe, NSW 2037
Local govt. area: Sydney
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan

Boundary:

The listing boundary is formed by the edge of the viaducts themselves in each park. For Wentworth Park this extends from the park side edge of the Underbridges at each end of the viaduct, (excluding adjacent bridges crossing Wentworth Park Road and Wattle Street), while for Jubilee Park it extends from the tunnel portal at Jubilee Park Metro Light Rail station to The Crescent in the west. Note: There are separate S170 listings for the steel truss underbridge crossing Wentworth Park Road; the concrete bridge crossing Bellevue St; the Glebe tunnels; and, the Pyrmont tunnels and cutting. The Wattle Street Underbridge is excluded from the listing.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Wentworth Park, Jubilee Park, Johnstons CreekGlebeSydney  Primary Address
Metropolitan Goods RailwayGlebeSydney  Alternate Address

Statement of significance:

The Glebe Viaducts across Jubilee Park and Wentworth Park have state significance as excellent examples of large scale brick arch bridge construction. The 28-span Jubilee Park Viaduct is significant as the longest section of brick arch viaduct on the NSW system. Along with the 21-span Wentworth Park Viaduct, the pair of elegant curved structures are integral parts of the parklands in which they stand and remain as important landmarks along the Glebe foreshore. The structures are both major engineering works and are historically significant as important elements in the development of the Darling Harbour Goods Line in the early 20th century, and as one of the first major infrastructure projects to use bricks from the State Brickworks at Homebush, with more than 3 million bricks used in their construction.
Date significance updated: 15 Apr 13
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Designer/Maker: Engineering staff, New South Wales Government Railways
Builder/Maker: Day labour
Construction years: 1892-1922
Physical description: JUBILEE PARK VIADUCT (1892-1922)
Jubilee Park viaduct is a 28-span brick arch viaduct built on a curve extending from the east of Jubilee Park at Victoria Road to The Crescent, Annandale. The viaduct contains more than two million bricks from the former State Brickworks at Homebush Bay. The bricks are laid in English bond pattern with soldier courses defining the archways. The arches are evenly spaced, being 28 x 10.06m (33 feet) clear spans. The viaduct stretches approximately 446.5 metres, making it the largest brick viaduct in the NSW rail system.

WENTWORTH PARK VIADUCT (1892-1922)
The Wentworth Park viaduct consists of a long, curved brick arch viaduct of 11 x 10.97m (36 feet) clear spans and 10 x 11.58m (38 feet) clear spans. The viaduct is estimated to contain 1.4 million bricks and stretches approximately 274 metres across the park, making it the second longest brick viaduct in the NSW system after the Jubilee Park viaduct which is part of the same line.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Good.
Date condition updated:15 May 09
Modifications and dates: 1996: Both bridges modified to carry metro light rail network, including addition of overhead electric wires and catenary poles to support them.
N.d: Some of the Jubilee Park arches closed in as rentable space.

2018: Sydney City Council has removed previously-existing commercial and industrial uses along the viaduct undercroft spaces along The Crescent, Annandale and will open up the viaduct arches to add c.8500m2 of new open space to the existing parkland area. There will be a new skate park and upgraded children's playground (SCC news, 8/2018).
Current use: Carries Metro Light Rail
Former use: Aboriginal land, farm, carried the Metropolitan Goods Line

History

Historical notes: Wentworth Park:
The area of this park was originally the swampy mouth of the creek variously known as Black Wattle or Blackwattle Creek.
Between the 1830s and 1860 various noxious industries were established along the shore, including in particular abattoirs and boiling down works. The pollution from these works so polluted the swamp that, even after the removal of these establishments from the area in 1860, the local council lobbied to have the area filled in because of the stench that continued to arise from the water and mud (Whitaker, n.d).

Filling the creek and head of the swamp commenced in 1876 and continued until 1880. Silt dredged from the harbour was used to carry out the process and numerous sea walls and dykes were constructed as part of the programme. When the area was filled trustees were appointed to manage the new park and a competition was announced to design the new facility (ibid, n.d.).

By 1882 ovals, greens, paths, lakes and other facilities were completed, and the park was named after NSW statesman William Charles Wentworth (1790-1872). During the 1880s and 1890s the park came to serve as a focus for community activities including concerts, celebrations, moving picture shows and in particular sport. The early years of the twentieth century saw the removal of the lakes, and the establishment of a kindergarten in 1914 (ibid, n.d).

A significant and enduring work of Charles Moore and subsequent directors of the Sydney Botanic Gardens, in particular for the overseer of the Domain, lay in developing not only the Gardens and Domain and the grounds of official residences in Sydney and Moss Vale but also Hyde, Victoria, Wentworth and Centennial Parks. This role was later expanded to all public institutions. The bequest of Moore and the directors and curators who followed is the living landscapes and planting styles that continue to be an integral part of New South Wales. Effectively the Botanic Gardens staff and their planting tastes and experimentation with various species shaped the aesthetic values of the broader population (Morris, 2016, 173-4).

During World War 1 a large number of timber sheds were erected on the northern sports ground to store wool for the war effort. These sheds remained for some years after the end of the war. In 1919 the high-level railway viaduct was built, which now carries the Central to Lilyfield light rail (ibid, n.d)(see below for more).

In October 1932 greyhound racing began in the park and as time went on the dog racing facilities grew to dominate the park. From brick walls to grandstands, tote buildings and kiosks (ibid, n.d).

During World War 2 the American troops established a camp in Wentworth Park and more wool stores were built, although these were eventually demolished in the 1950s. In 1979 the National Coursing Association applied to construct a large new grandstand which was eventually completed in 1985 (ibid, n.d).

Wentworth Park Railway:
By 1900 the Sydney metropolitan railway network was fast reaching congestion through the combined, and conflicting, demands of the suburban and country passenger services and the movements of freight trains. Segregated running periods and special timetables were only short-term solutions and did not address the differing traffic requirements.

The decision was made to build a separate rail system for freight trains so they could move independently of the passenger services but could link into the four main lines (north, west, south and Illawarra) at specific locations. Also, a large marshalling yard would be built in the middle of the goods line network (at Enfield) to centralise the interchange of freight traffic.

The completion of the goods line was directly associated with the Sydney Harbour Trust's completion of the Pyrmont (Jones Bay) wharves, which were considered the most up-to-date and advanced in the port, with rail lines running along each of the wharves. The goods line provided a continuous loop connection through Central Station Yard, Darling Harbour Goods Yard and the Pyrmont wharves, with connections to Rozelle Yard, White Bay and Glebe Island. In this period, Sydney Harbour was the main port for NSW and the goods line provided a direct connection between rural Australia, growing wheat and wool and mining coal, and the ships carrying the goods to export markets. Imported goods arriving on the docks were back-loaded onto the empty trains for distribution around the state. Work began around 1910 with the goods line from Rozelle to the northern end of Darling Harbour completed and opened for traffic on 23 January 1922.

The construction of brick arch underbridges occurred in two periods: 1892 for the duplication of the line from Granville to Picton, then from 1914 to 1922 mostly for main line duplications. The former had bricks supplied from private brickworks whereas the latter's supply came from the State Brickworks at Homebush. The construction of the Jubilee Park and Wentworth Park viaducts was the first large-scale project to use bricks from the State Brickworks. Approximately three million four hundred thousand bricks were used for these viaducts. The viaducts were built using timber piles driven into the ground below them, to shore up the structures, as both Parks had been themselves created on land resumed from swamps and sandflats.

In 1996 the Metropolitan Goods Line was converted for use by the metro light rail system, which included the installation of new stations and infrastructure such as overhead catenary systems to carry the required electric wiring.

Nearly all the underbridges - a mix of brick arches, steel girders and steel trusses - on the former Metropolitan Goods Line are still in use.

2018: Sydney City Council has removed previously-existing commercial and industrial uses along the viaduct undercroft spaces along The Crescent, Annandale and will open up the viaduct arches to add c.8500m2 of new open space to the existing parkland area. There will be a new skate park and upgraded children's playground (SCC news, 8/2018). Council note that opening up the five archways of the viaduct will create a larger park area, with a skate piazza, new and bigger playground, shared bicycle and pedestrian paths connecting The Crescent and Federal Park to the Glebe Foreshore Parklands. There will be groves of native trees and new picnic areas with seating and barbeques (SCC, Sydney City News, 10/2020).

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. Parks-
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. Cultural - Coasts and coastal features supporting human activities-
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 Technology-Activities and processes associated with the knowledge or use of mechanical arts and applied sciences Technologies for adapting rail transport to serve maritime trade-
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 operating industrial tramways-
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 Role of transport in settlement-
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 urban settings-
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-
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 Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Developing local clubs and meeting places-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Belonging to an environmental group-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Developing clubs for social improvement-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Belonging to an historical society or heritage organisation-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Sport-Activities associated with organised recreational and health promotional activities Rugby League-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Sport-Activities associated with organised recreational and health promotional activities hockey-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Sport-Activities associated with organised recreational and health promotional activities Private sporting facilities-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Sport-Activities associated with organised recreational and health promotional activities Racing greyhound dogs-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Sport-Activities associated with organised recreational and health promotional activities cricket-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Glebe Viaducts are of state historical significance as integral components of the separate railway network (1910-22) constructed to allow freight trains to traverse the metropolitan area independent of the passenger train network which was one of the most significant and effective railway projects in New South Wales during the twentieth century. The Glebe Viaducts across both Jubilee and Wentworth Park was one of the first projects to use bricks from the State Brickworks at Homebush on a large scale, using more than 3 million bricks for their construction.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Glebe Viaducts (Jubilee Park/Wentworth Park) is an imposing curved structure across parklands whereby its brickwork compliments the natural environment. The two sections of the viaduct are major landmark features in the urban landscape and one of the most recognisable industrial features in inner-city Sydney. The viaduct has technical significance due to its scale and construction methods, including the use of timber pilings to add a support structure in regards to the reclaimed land that it was built across. The 28-span Jubilee Park Viaduct is of technical significance as the longest section of brick arch viaduct on the NSW system and the largest viaduct structure to survive. Along with the 21-span Wentworth Park Viaduct, the pair form two significant major engineering works and are excellent examples of brick arch construction.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The place has the potential to contribute to the local community's sense of place and can provide a connection to the local community's history.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The Glebe Viaducts (Jubilee Park/Wentworth Park) are rare as the two viaducts form the longest pair of brick arch viaducts in the NSW rail system.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The Glebe Viaducts (Jubilee Park/Wentworth Park) are an excellent representative of brick arch construction and compares to the brick arch viaduct on the Lavender Bay railway line.
Integrity/Intactness: The viaducts retain most original fabric and structure, except for some closed-in arches.
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 0103402 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register SRA s.170   
Regional Environmental PlanWentworth Park Railway Viaducts 20 Oct 92   
Local Environmental Plan  15 Jun 84   
Local Environmental PlanRailway Viaduct16822 Dec 00   
Register of the National EstateGlebe Railway Viaduct170321 Mar 78   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Tourism 2007Glebe Railway Viaduct View detail
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Glebe Railway Viaduct View detail
WrittenChammas, M., Proszenko, A. and Nicholls, S.2014'Revealed: push to sell dog track', in Sydney Morning Herald, 12-13/4/2014
WrittenMorris, Colleen2016Growing New South Wales - the role of the Sydney Botanic Gardens
WrittenRod Howard & Associates2009Statement of Heritage Impact: Glebe Railway Viaduct Infill, Jubilee Park, Glebe
WrittenWhitaker, Anne-Maree 'History of Wentworth Park', in Parks Histories View detail

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

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(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: 5045444
File number: 09/02810; H04/00318/001


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