Statement of Significance
What is significant?
Warragul Railway Station includes the brick station building, an adjacent brick crew room (also known as the drivers' room), a corrugated iron goods shed and associated platforms, signals, levers and furniture.
A railway station opened in Warragul in 1878, as part of the Victorian Railways' new line linking Melbourne with Sale. The town grew up around the station, which increased in importance due to its location in an important timber-producing area, and later at the junction of the branch line towards Noojee, which was begun in 1892. The station when it first opened consisted of two small sheds on a siding, but a substantial timber station building was added in the following year (1878-9). Between 1915 and 1916 the old timber station building was rebuilt in brick on a larger scale. It was designed by J W Hardy and constructed by W Gillen, with J H Fraser as Chief Engineer of Works. The type of station building, known as the 'Korong Vale style', was developed to replace inadequate facilities at existing stations at important locations on the network, such as junctions. It was designed for use on an island platform, accessible via a ramp, and included a station master's residence and office, male and female toilets, a separate ladies' waiting room, and a refreshment and dining room with a cellar, a kitchen and associated service rooms. The goods shed was built before 1910, possibly at the same time as the timber station. The brick building east of the station building was constructed after 1915 (and extended in the early 1950s) for use by train crews. The station was important as a regional service depot and in 1960 328 staff were employed there. However its importance began to decline following the electrification of the line from Melbourne to Traralgon in 1954 and the closure of the branch line in 1958, and the depot facilities were removed in 1966. The refreshment rooms closed in 1980 and the eastern end of the station building has since been leased to Gippsland TAFE. In 1987 Warragul became linked to the Melbourne suburban rail network.
This site is part of the traditional land of the Gunaikurnai people.
Warragul Railway Station complex has an impressive brick station building, an adjacent brick crew room (or driver's room), and a corrugated iron-clad goods shed with an associated platform.
The station building is a long single-storey Edwardian Baroque style red brick building with wide cantilevered verandahs over the platforms on each side. At the entrance to the station are the original timber gates and ticket collectors booths. The building is decorated with a curved pediment with a blind oculus vent above the entrance, rendered bands, and the corrugated iron-clad roof has prominent lantern windows and a picturesque form which varies in height along the length of the station. The building is separated into two parts by a breezeway with radiating bands of render around the archways at each end. The west end of the building was occupied by the ticket office and waiting rooms, the east end was formerly occupied by the refreshment facilities and the station master's residence. The western end is now a functioning V/Line station and the remainder is occupied by the Central Gippsland Institute of TAFE. The arched trusses supporting the roof are a prominent feature of the interiors, which also feature lead light windows, original tiling in the ladies' toilets and porcelain urinals in the men's toilets. The crew room to the east of the station building is a single storey brick building with a corrugated iron hipped roof with a flat-roofed brick extension on the south side. The corrugated iron-clad timber-framed goods shed is of a standard Victorian Railways 'N20' design with a late 1960s gable roofed office extension on the west end.
How is it significant?
Warragul Railway Station satisfies the following criterion for inclusion in the Victorian Heritage Register:
Criterion A Importance to the course, or pattern, of Victoria's cultural history
Criterion D Importance in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a class of cultural places and objects
Why is it significant?
Warragul Railway Station is significant at the State level for the following reasons:
Warragul Railway Station is historically significant as a demonstration of the expansion of the Victorian Railways network in the late nineteenth century, and of the improvements in the services provided in the early twentieth century. The main station building, which included a station master's residence, separate facilities for ladies and gentlemen, and elaborate refreshment facilities, demonstrates the level of accommodation and catering once provided by the Railways Department for its employees and patrons. The scale of the station and goods buildings reflects the anticipated volume of traffic on the Gippsland line in the early twentieth century. (Criterion A)
The Warragul Railway Station building is a fine example of the type known as the 'Korong Vale Style', which was developed to replace inadequate facilities at stations located at important junctions in the state. The station building includes a number of notable features, such as the curved pediment motif above the station entrance (also employed in other departmental designs of the day), the original platform furniture such as the entrance gates and ticket collectors booths, the interior arched metal trusses, the lead light windows, the former refreshment rooms and station master's residence, and the porcelain urinals in the men's toilets. (Criterion D)
Warragul Railway Station is also significant for the following reasons, but not at the State level:
Warragul Railway Station is historically important to the town of Warragul for its close association with the history and development of the town. Warragul Railway Station was the reason why the township was founded and it has been a major influence on the survival, growth and prosperity of the town since 1878, when the line opened. Until well into the twentieth century the railway was virtually the sole mover of both people and freight in and out of Warragul, as well as being a major station on this line. Warragul Railway Station is the largest and most ornate in Gippsland, reflecting the importance of the town in the region. (Criterion A)
WARRAGUL RAILWAY STATION - History
[From information on the history of the station supplied by Vicroads; and Warragul and District Historical Society, Warragul. Progress Through a Century, Warragul 1982, pp 4, 18-19.]
In 1873 the Victorian Government approved the construction of a railway linking Melbourne and Gippsland (between Oakleigh and Sale). The railway line was constructed in sections and opened to traffic between Melbourne and Moe on 1 March 1878. Warragul began as a construction camp located where the rail route met the coach road. Several shops had already been built by the time the first train arrived in March 1878. In May 1890 Warragul became a junction station when a branch line was opened to Rokeby (later extended to Neerim South and Noojee).
The arrival of the railway stimulated the development of the town. While in 1878 the railway station had consisted of only two small sheds on the siding, in the following twelve months the Railway Department spent £3403 on new buildings. A standard Victorian Railways design goods shed was provided for storage of inbound and outbound deliveries and a four track yard constructed.
The station rapidly grew in size and importance, largely as a result of the large quantity of timber which was brought to it by tramways from the timber mills south of the line. Warragul became a major operational location, with a number of passenger and goods trains terminating there. A substantial locomotive depot, including a turntable and servicing facilities, was also established.
Between 1915 and 1916 substantial improvements were carried out, including the construction of a substantial new brick station building on an island platform with a new loop track on the north side, allowing trains to pass without shunting. The building was designed by J W Hardy and constructed by W Gillen with J H Fraser as Chief Engineer of Works. It was an impressive structure with cantilevered verandahs, and included large refreshment and dining rooms with a kitchen and associated service rooms, for passengers to use while steam locomotives were serviced, a station master's residence, a ticket office and station master's office, waiting rooms, including a separate ladies' waiting room, and toilet facilities. The size of the railway yards was more than doubled at this time.
The large station building is an indication of the importance of both the railway line and the station. This type of station building, which was named the Korong Vale style in A Ward and A Donnelly's 'Victoria's Railway Stations. An Architectural Survey' (1982), was developed to replace inadequate facilities at existing stations at important locations on the network, such as junctions. The plan form was designed for use on an island platform, accessible via a pedestrian ramp approached along its axis (by means of a ramped roadway at Warragul) with a secondary building handling passenger and parcels traffic on a side platform with road access. The design is common to a number of stations constructed during this period, but Warragul is distinguished by its size.
The goods shed was probably built during the first phase of station construction in c1880, as it is can be seen on a photo taken c1910. The former Victorian Railways were common carriers and obliged by successive State Governments to provide rail freight haulage and storage. At Warragul there was a substantial freight business for many years, with a trackside crane provided to lift consignments on and off road vehicles. A standard Victorian Railways 'N20' design goods shed was provided, with various extensions and alterations made over the years. A small room has been added at the west end.
The downside crew room building, referred to by station staff as the "drivers' room", was constructed after 1915 to provide a meal room and a staff locker and washroom area for train operations staff (drivers, firemen and guards). The flat-roofed brick extension to the south was constructed in the early 1950s.
In 1954 the service from Melbourne to Traralgon was electrified and the line was duplicated. This resulted in significant changes to the station, notably the construction of the overhead structures to supply traction power to the electric locomotives.
At its peak the station was a major employer in the town, with 328 staff employed in 1960, including train operations crews and freight handling and maintenance personnel. However the predominance of the station was already declining by the late 1950s. The branch line to Neerim and Nayook closed in 1958, and with the change to electric locomotives servicing facilities for steam locomotives was no longer provided at Warragul and many staff were transferred. The depot and turntable were removed in 1966. The refreshment rooms closed in 1980. Following the removal of locally-based drivers in 1984 the crew buildings became surplus to V/Line requirements.
From 1987 trains beyond Warragul were powered by diesel locomotives and train services terminating at Warragul were provided by Melbourne suburban electric trains.
Although Warragul is no longer used for freight handling and its former staff numbers are greatly reduced, substantial commuter usage has made it the highest passenger loading point on V/Line's Gippsland network. V/Line's use of the station is now confined to the western end of the complex, with the ticket windows no longer used, being replaced by a recently developed internal customer service area and waiting room. The refreshment rooms and former station master's residence have been leased to Gippsland TAFE, which has refurbished the spaces for use for training and occasional use for special functions. A footbridge has been added over the north line to the main TAFE campus on Queen Street.
Key references used
Hermes database (information from Baw Baw Shire and DSE)
A Ward & A Donnelly, 'Victoria's Railway Stations. An Architectural Survey', 1982, vol 1
Sally Wilde, Forests Old Pastures New, Shire of Warragul, 1988
HV file 602930 for Warragul Railway Station
Information on the history of the station supplied by Vicroads, April 2013 (in File HER/2002/000284)
WARRAGUL RAILWAY STATION - Permit ExemptionsGeneral Conditions: 1. All exempted alterations are to be planned and carried out in a manner which prevents damage to the fabric of the registered place or object. General Conditions: 2. Should it become apparent during further inspection or the carrying out of works that original or previously hidden or inaccessible details of the place or object are revealed which relate to the significance of the place or object, then the exemption covering such works shall cease and Heritage Victoria shall be notified as soon as possible. General Conditions: 3. If there is a conservation policy and plan, all works shall be in accordance with it. Note: A Conservation Management Plan provides guidance for the management of the heritage values associated with the site. It may not be necessary to obtain a heritage permit for certain works specified in the management plan. General Conditions: 4. Nothing in this determination prevents the Executive Director from amending or rescinding all or any of the permit exemptions. General Conditions: 5. Nothing in this determination exempts owners or their agents from the responsibility to seek relevant planning or building permits from the responsible authorities where applicable. Minor Works : Note: Any Minor Works that in the opinion of the Executive Director will not adversely affect the heritage significance of the place may be exempt from the permit requirements of the Heritage Act. A person proposing to undertake minor works must submit a proposal to the Executive Director. If the Executive Director is satisfied that the proposed works will not adversely affect the heritage values of the site, the applicant may be exempted from the requirement to obtain a heritage permit. If an applicant is uncertain whether a heritage permit is required, it is recommended that the permits co-ordinator be contacted.
The following works are permit exempt:
. All basic refurbishment works including repairs to buildings and structures, where works are documented and administered by a recognised conservation consultant
. Installation of perimeter fencing
. Installation of new signalling systems and modifications to existing signalling systems
. Modification and replacement of tracks to the extent of the rails, sleepers and ballast
. Installation of new landscaping features but excluding earthworks where more than 1m3 of ground is to be altered
. The following works to Station Buildings:
* Replacement of decayed fabric with fabric that matches the original design and profile.
* Installation of new but not removal of existing original significant signage.
* Installation of temporary protective hoardings, screens and the like for the protection against intrusion of vandals and the like provided that no damage is sustained to significant fabric.
* Installation of new damp proofing and making good to match existing, adjacent surfaces.
* Interior painting but not stripping of existing paint scheme
* Installation of new but not removal of existing original significant carpets/flexible floor coverings
* Installation of new but not removal of existing original significant fixtures and fittings, including clocks, soft furnishings including curtain tracks, rods, blinds and other window dressings, and the like.
* Installation of new but not the removal of existing original significant signage
* Installation of new partitions provided that no damage is sustained to significant fabric
* Replacement of non-original kitchen and toilet fixtures provided that no damage is sustained to significant fabric
* Installation of insulation to ceiling spaces
* Installation of hooks, nails and other devices for the hanging of paintings, mirrors and other wall mounted works of art.
WARRAGUL RAILWAY STATION - Permit Exemption Policy
The purpose of the Permit Policy is to assist when considering or making decisions regarding works to the place. It is recommended that any proposed works be discussed with an officer of Heritage Victoria prior to making a permit application. Discussing any proposed works will assist in answering any questions the owner may have and aid any decisions regarding works to the place. It is recommended that a Conservation Management Plan is undertaken to assist with the future management of the cultural significance of the place.
The extent of registration protects the whole site. The addition of new buildings to the site may impact upon the cultural heritage significance of the place and requires a permit. The purpose of this requirement is not to prevent any further development on this site, but to enable control of possible adverse impacts on heritage significance during that process. Many original features of the station building survive, and these should be retained.
WARRAGUL DRILL HALLVictorian Heritage Register H0600
WARRAGUL POLICE RESERVEVictorian Heritage Inventory
FORMER WARRAGUL TIP SITEVictorian Heritage Inventory
"AMF Officers" ShedMoorabool Shire
"AQUA PROFONDA" SIGN, FITZROY POOLVictorian Heritage Register H1687