Murrurundi Railway Station

History

Historical notes: Murrurundi 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 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 became the North Coast Line when it was opened in 1930.

Murrurundi township was planned by the NSW Government in 1840, however most of the land was privately owned. Thomas Haydon subdivided a large block, ‘The Commodore Block’, and established Haydonton. Murrurundi was gazetted as a municipality in 1890 and amalgamated with Haydonton in 1913 (NSW H.O., 1990).

Before the arrival of the railways, Murrurundi was a road village at the edge of the ‘settled districts’. However, when the railways arrived in 1872, Murrurundi became an important railway centre with a second class station building and locomotive depot (Kass; 2005: 47).

The section of the Northern Line between Wingen and Murrurundi was one of the most difficult to build. Running through a narrow valley close to the Pages River, the line included frequent elevations and steep grades, which required heavy earthworks (Cottee, 2004). With the arrival of the railway at Murrurundi, goods/produce from the surrounding districts that were previously transported by road were increasingly moved via the more efficient rail network (Cottee, 2004).

The original layout of the station and yard included a station building, comprising of a railway refreshments room, two bedrooms, a waiting room, post office, Station Master’s office and booking office, a single platform, goods shed, and wool loading bank. Major changes to the station precinct included the addition of a parcels room in 1879, station alterations in 1891 (including the construction of a toilet block), extension and widening of the platform in 1895 and 1912 respectively, erection of a 22.5kL water tank in 1912, and a 180kL tank the following year, and the installation of an inhalation chamber in 1919 in response to influenza epidemic (Forsyth, 2009).

Plans from 1888 also show the existence of a 3-bedroom timber Gatekeeper’s cottage built within the station precinct, with a front verandah, rear living room, washroom, and tank.

Until closure in 1965, Murrurundi was the site of an important locomotive depot. Opened in 1891, the Murrurundi depot provided locomotives to assist trains in negotiating the steeply graded Northern Railway and through the Ardglen tunnel in the Liverpool Ranges (Cottee, 2004). The Depot originally included a timber four track engine shed, barracks building, coal stage, turntable, and an ash pit. In 1899 a new engine shed, coal stage, and water tank were added, and an 18.288m turntable and ash pits were installed. All structures within the former depot have since been removed (Forsyth, 2009).

Between 1911 and 1915 Murrurundi was well known for shale mining, with the town’s population peaking in 1914. Murrurundi is now a service centre and is sustained by quality sheep, beef and horse studs and by both crop and meat production

Description

Construction years: 1872-1917
Physical description: MAJOR STRUCTURES – Managed by RailCorp
Station buildings: type 3, second class, brick building (1872); type 18, brick building, non-standard (c1872); and infill between buildings (c1891)
Signal box (1917)
Platform

STATION BUILDINGS (1872-91)
The station building is a composite of three structures: a type 3, second class building and a brick, double, gabled roof building, both built in 1872, adjoined by an infill structure c1891. It is not possible, using available plans and pictures, to exactly define the individual structures or their original layouts.

The main structure is a type 3, second class, rendered brick station building with a hipped, corrugated, galvanised iron roof with two chimneys and a cast iron, cantilevered awning. The windows are timber, double hung sash with stone lintels and sills. The doors are timber and panelled.

The original building layout provided for separate men’s and ladies’ toilet facilities. The men’s toilets are located in a separate building, now disused.

The adjacent structure has a double, gabled roof of corrugated, galvanised iron (possibly suggesting two separate buildings adjoined). The platform side of the building includes a short verandah of corrugated, galvanised iron extending partially over the platform and supported by timber braces. The rear section of the structure (with its own gabled roof) is longer than the platform-side of the building, extending a few metres towards the Sydney end of the platform, from which an awning extends to the platform face of the building. The awning is constructed of corrugated, galvanised iron and has been enclosed at the side with an entrance from the platform.

The two buildings are joined by an infill structure consisting of rendered brick.
The existing facilities include a parcels office, kitchen, store, waiting room, booking office, traffic office, Station Master’s and Assistant Station Master’s offices, and two additional offices.

SIGNAL BOX (1917)
The signal box is a timber framed, weatherboard signal box with a non-standard roof.

PLATFORM
Straight side platform. Platform comprises brick wall throughout. Platform has been raised with concrete deck. 2m lever bay opening filled with ballast. Wall in good condition.