Armidale Railway Station & Stationmaster's residence | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Armidale Railway Station & Stationmaster's residence

Item details

Name of item: Armidale Railway Station & Stationmaster's residence
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Platform/ Station
Location: Lat: -30.5158611527 Long: 151.6521275400
Primary address: 240 Brown Street, Armidale, NSW 2350
Local govt. area: Armidale Dumaresq
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Armidale
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT31 DP883524
LOT32 DP883524
PART LOT33 DP883524


The listing boundary follows the property boundary on the eastern side of the station and crosses the tracks in a northerly direction approximately 10m past the turning circle at the southern end of the platform. It then intersects the property boundary adjacent to Brown Street and heads in a northerly direction to Niagara Street where it crosses the tracks in a southery direction and intersects the eastern boundary of the listing at Ampol Street.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
240 Brown StreetArmidaleArmidale Dumaresq  Primary Address
218 Brown StreetArmidaleArmidale Dumaresq  Alternate Address
Main Northern railwayArmidaleArmidale Dumaresq  Alternate Address
Railway ParadeArmidaleArmidale Dumaresq  Alternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government20 Oct 98

Statement of significance:

Armidale railway precinct is of state significance, particularly for the grand, 19th century, first class station building that exhibits significant architectural and aesthetic attributes and reflects the importance of Armidale as a major regional centre and significant railway location (now the terminus of the northern line). The railway precinct at Armidale includes a significant station and railway yard dating from a period of extensive railway construction in NSW in the late 19th century. The station building and other extant structures at Armidale demonstrate the rapid expansion of railway infrastructure in the 1880s in the New England region and in other parts of NSW. The station building is an excellent and mostly intact example of late 19th century railway station architecture in NSW and retains good detailing. The station building is still in use and remains a major civic building and an important element within the townscape of Armidale.
Date significance updated: 18 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.


Builder/Maker: Edmund Lonsdale and Henry Sheldon Hoddard
Construction years: 1882-1883
Physical description: MAJOR STRUCTURES - Managed by RailCorp
Station Building, type 5, first class (1883)
Platform, brick face (1883)
Dock platform, brick (1883)

Barracks (c1880s masonry building; c1940s timber building)
Goods shed (1883 original timber building; 1965 brick and steel extension)
Per Way Offices and Shed
Turntable (1899)

This is a major first class station building constructed of rendered brick with a pavilion at each end. The main booking office is located centrally and is marked by a raised transverse gable roof and separate entrance roof. The entrance is flanked by verandahs with cast iron columns decorated with filigree detailing. The platform awning is largely in the form of the earlier buildings and is also supported on cast iron columns and brackets. The building has a well detailed decorative dentil course with projecting brickwork. The roof is now clad in corrugated iron (formerly slate). Some sections of the verandah have been in-filled as has the section linking the eastern pavilion to the main building.

The building does not follow the standard lineal arrangement seen in many railway structure, with the Station Master’s office on the street side accessed through the ticket office and parcels, separated from the booking hall with a main street entrance. The building also interestingly has two ladies waiting rooms, one at each end of the building.

Brick face with ramped ends

Brick face

BARRACKS (c1880s masonry building and c1940s timber building)
Brick and timber construction with covered verandah (12.5m). Possibly the oldest extant drivers’ rest house - roof not original.

It is a large structure consisting of two sections: the first, is of timber construction built in 1883 with a gabled, corrugated, galvanised iron roof that overhangs the building, supported by timber braces, and provides covering for two loading stages on both sides of the building. The building includes a storeroom and an office, which originally was an annex to the building but is now covered by the second section. The second section is a brick and patent steel extension constructed in 1965 (partly re-clad in the 1980s) that provides a large, covered loading area. The loading crane has been removed.

Corrugated, galvanised iron structure currently housing a trike collection.

18.2m diameter

Station sign
Station clock
Date condition updated:18 Jul 13
Modifications and dates: RAILWAY PRECINCT
1882 - Contract awarded for the construction of engine crew barracks, porters’ cottages and gate house;
1886 - Tender awarded for construction of refreshment rooms;
1907 - Platform at southern end extended;
1912 - Platform extended;
1913 - Overbridge between Jessie and Dangar Streets opened and Dangar Street level crossing closed;
1916 - Refreshment room taken over by the NSWGR;
1920 - Institute building authorised;
1922 - A subway at Niagara Street provided and level crossing at this street and other crossings at 579.90km and 583.10km closed;
1926 - A loading bank for loading sheep erected

1882 - Contract awarded for provision of a coal stage and pumphouse;
1882 - Contract awarded for the construction of 3-track engine shed;
1882 - Engine shed opened as a ‘through type’ shed;
1891 - Coal stage 18.2m long erected;
1899 - A 18.2m diameter turntable provided, replacing the 15.240m diameter unit originally installed;
1918 - A 14.1kW oil engine and shafting in the machine shop installed;
1923 - A drop pit and engine pits provided;
1923 - Holman hoist erected for coal loading;
1923 - Boilermakers shop erected;
1926 - Holman coal hoist installed;
1926 - 22.8m diameter turntable ordered from Messrs Poole & Steel Ltd.;
1945 - 90kL water tank erected;
1976 - Diesel locomotive and wagon repair shed and yard modifications;
1984 - Depot closed.
(Forsyth, 2009).
Current use: Operational railway station; goods shed leased for recycled goods warehouse; per
Former use: Passenger railway station and goods yard


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

Armidale was first settled in the early 1830s, following the earlier exploration of the area by John Oxley. Oxley recommended the region for grazing, and soon early pioneers set up small farms in the locality. Armidale, which was surveyed in 1848 and gazetted in 1849, was established to provide a market and administration centre for the farms. The town grew rapidly following the discovery of gold at nearby Rocky River and Gara Gorges in the 1850s (Burke, 1995).

Although the opening of the Great Northern Railway occurred on 30 March 1857, political indecision in the 1870s hampered efforts by Engineer-in-Chief of the NSW Railways, John Whitton, to finalise the survey of the Great Northern line. Competing proposals urged a route via Armidale and Tenterfield against a less developed but easier route through Barraba and Inverell. On 18 May 1878, the Minister for Public Works, John Sutherland, announced that the chosen route was via Armidale (Burke, 1995).

The line to Armidale opened on 3 February 1883 as an extension of the line from Uralla and continued on to Glen Innes the following year. The construction contract for the Uralla to Glen Innes section was awarded to D Proudfoot in c1882. Contracts for the construction of a station building, Station Master’s residence, lamp room, carriage dock and buffer, goods shed, and water tank were awarded in 1882 to Edmund Lonsdale (1843 -1913). Lonsdale began his working life as a bricklayer, builder and contractor before beginning a career in state politics (1891-1913), serving as a member for New England and Armidale. The fine cast iron work of the station building was completed at New England Foundry in Uralla by Henry Sheldon Goddard (Forsyth, 2009; Cottee, 2004; SRA 1993).

In addition to the station building, other early structures and additions to the yard included the 1882 loco depot, 1891 coal stage, a new 18.288 metre turntable in 1899, extensions to the platform in 1907 and in 1912, and a signal box in 1918 (Cottee, 2004; SRA, 1993).

The loco depot closed in 1984 but Armidale remains an operational railway station with daily Countrylink passenger services.

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 Building and maintaining the public railway system-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Utilities-Activities associated with the provision of services, especially on a communal basis Railways to inland settlements-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Armidale railway precinct is significant for its historical values as a tangible link to the development of the Great Northern Railway (GNR) line during the 19th century as well as the development of the NSW railways generally. The GNR was an important achievement in transport and engineering within NSW. As the third main trunk rail route in NSW stretching from Sydney to the Queensland border, the line linked townships to one another as well as to Sydney leading to significant economic and social impacts for those individual townships as well as for NSW more generally. The station building and railway yard at Armidale date from a period of extensive railway construction in NSW in the late 19th century and are closely associated with the rapid expansion of railway infrastructure in the New England region and in other parts of NSW in the 1880s. The station and yard reflect the importance of Armidale as a major regional centre which warranted a notable station building and large forecourt area.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The Armidale railway station is associated with a significant Armidale identity, Edmund Lonsdale, who built the station building and later served as a NSW state parliamentarian for over 20 years.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The station building is state significant for it's high level of aesthetic significance. Armidale is a large, first class station building with a high level of decorative detailing. The building has a significant presence within the townscape of Armidale.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The railway precinct is of social significance to the local community, having performed an important role in supporting the town as a regional centre for agricultural commerce and thereby being the site of significant activity and employment. The railway station contributes to the local community’s sense of place and displays continuity of use since the 1880s, providing a connection to the local community’s past.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Armidale has research potential and significance as a historic, representative landmark, rural railway station building and precinct.
SHR Criteria g)
The railway precinct includes a representative collection of railway structures; particularly the station building which is a good representative example of first-class railway architecture in NSW. The precinct collectively demonstrates widespread 19th and early 20th Century railway customs, activities and design in NSW.
Integrity/Intactness: The station buildings have a good 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 0107402 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     
Local Environmental Plan 198823 Sep 88 1475047

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Tourism 2007Armidale Railway Museum View detail
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Armidale Railway Museum 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: 5045736
File number: EF14/4320; H05/00167

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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