Celebrating 150 years of Bundanoon Station

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Bundanoon Station today

Today we’re celebrating 150 years of the fascinating history of Bundanoon station. We’ll follow its evolution from a small single track that transported mail through to becoming a main mode of transport for the community and surrounding areas.

We’ll also take a detailed look at the extensive conservation efforts made by Sydney Trains to ensure this heritage station can be enjoyed for generations to come.

The busy village environment that has built up around the station demonstrates that the railway station remains at the heart of the community.

The station itself is a rare, intact state heritage listed survivor from another era. Despite a car partially demolishing the signal box and a fire destroying part of the platform 2 building in 1997, the station has remained largely unaltered.

It was this unique and untouched heritage context that led Sydney Trains to begin a painstaking restoration in 2018.

To celebrate 150 years of rail in Bundanoon, Sydney Trains have worked tirelessly with the local community, archaeologists, heritage specialists and skilled trades to rejuvenate the station, and restore its historic features.

A timeline of Bundanoon Station

1818 – Governor Macquarie sends a small exploratory party into the Southern Highlands. Dr Charles Throsby records the Gundungurra word “Bantanoon”, meaning “Deep Gullies”.

1868 – The Great Southern Railway opens through the property of the Jordan Family. Train services begin at Jordan’s Crossing on August 6, 1868

1870s – A timber platform, waiting shed and water tank is installed. Station is briefly known as Jordan’s Siding. Outbuildings and sidings added.

1881 – The town is officially named ‘Bundanoon’, 1881.

1890s – The railway station has grown to include a number of sidings on either side of the single track, formal station building on Goulburn-bound platform, a goods shed, yard crane, truck weighbridge, coal stage and Station Masters Residence.

1900s – Current weatherboard station building on Goulburn-bound platform constructed.

1915 – Railway through Bundanoon duplicated, additional main line added. New platform and waiting sheds built to service the new City-bound track. A new signal box built, and the previous single track signalling system is replaced with the double line block telegraph system and mechanical signals.

1931 – Electric lighting installed at the station.

1997 – Fire at Bundanoon results in part of the Goulburn-bound building burning down.

2007 – Automatic signalling replaces original block telegraph and mechanical signals in use for 90 years. Staff move out of Bundanoon Station and it is managed remotely by railway staff at Moss Vale.

2018 – 150 years of rail at Bundanoon. Historic features of Bundanoon station carefully restored.

Here’s a quick overview of the restoration work undertaken:

1. Station Interiors

The original interiors tell a vivid and remarkably intact story of how the railway functioned at Bundanoon. You can almost imagine the Parcels Office loaded with boxes, luggage and produce coming and going by train.

Original tickets and tags, rubber stamps and docket books were all discovered as the restoration progressed.

  • The ticket office still contains its key boxes, wooden cash draw, card ticket rack, document shelves and even the original cast iron safe.
  • The surfaces have all been cleaned and painted in a historic colour scheme.
  • Historic objects have been kept in position to show how the rooms at the station functioned.
  • The boarded-up fireplaces have been reopened, and their elements replicated to show off the original features of the station building.
  • The bathrooms at the end of the building have been fully refreshed and modernised with new materials in an historic style

2. Historic Colours

The station building interiors and exteriors have been repainted in an historic colour scheme, in line with Sydney Trains’ standards.

Based on the station’s development over time, it has been painted in colour scheme representative of timber weatherboard buildings built between 1880 and 1900.

This is a similar historic colour scheme to that used nearby at Exeter and Wingello stations. All elements of the precinct building exteriors, fittings and furnishings have been repainted to provide a sense of uniformity and consistency.

3. Signal Box Restoration

The signal box is the heart of the station. Last operated in 2007,  talented signal engineers and technicians have restored its key features to explain a way of railway operation which is now long gone.

The previously tarnished and inoperable mechanical levers have been restored to demonstrate their operation.

The 1990s ceiling and wall linings were removed – the original timber ceiling and walls were rediscovered, restored and exposed.

Using historic photos, pieces of original and replica equipment (including lever plates, diagrams and block instruments) have been reinstated into the signal box.

2018 Conservation Project Highlights

  • Refreshed platform surface with safety tactiles.
  • Improved landscaping, lawns, and plantings around the station.
  • New paint in historic colours on all station buildings, both inside and out.
  • New rooftop finials modelled off historic photos.
  • New “kerosene lamp” modelled off historic photos.
  • Restored historic drinking fountain.
  • Archaeological brickwork conserved and kept in position on the Sydney-bound platform.
  • Restored “Bundanoon” sign with a new timber frame surround on Platform 1.
  • Restored signal box building and equipment, including replica pieces demonstrating how the equipment worked.
  • Refreshed bathroom amenities.
  • Refurbished and reconstructed timber furnishings, signs, seats, windows and doors.
  • Extensive timber repair and restoration to all buildings.
  • Fireplaces unsealed and repaired.
  • Metal bootscrapers replaced and ‘gooseneck’ light fittings reinstated.
  • Movable objects and documentation found on site conserved.
  • Redundant and non-original services, equipment and wiring removed or consolidated.

The Early Days: Supporting a growing village

Celebrating 150 years of the fascinating Bundanoon stationDr. Charles Throsby, part of the exploratory expedition into the Southern Highlands, first recorded the name “Bantanoon” in 1818.

The name was used by the Gundungurra people to describe the deep gullies nearby, which are part of today’s Morton National Park. It did not take long for Europeans to start capitalising on the wealth of the area aided by the coming of the Railway.

Local industries including quarrying, coal mining and timber milling saw the Jordan’s Crossing community steadily grow. Much of the product of this local industry passed through the railway station.

By the time the town was officially named Bundanoon in 1881, there were two sidings, one on either side of the Goulburn bound line, a formal weatherboard station building, a goods shed, yard crane, weighbridge, coal stage and Station Masters Residence.

Jordan’s Crossing in 1868 – rail awakening

Celebrating 150 years of the fascinating Bundanoon stationWhile a small community called Jumping Rock was already growing nearby, the NSW Railways instead constructed the Main South Railway extension from Sutton Forest to Marulan through the property of the Jordan Family.

A small stop on the single track opened on the 6th of August 1868, known as ‘Jordan’s Crossing’. Monday to Saturday, the station received two mail trains, one passenger train and one mixed train from Sydney. On Sundays there was one passenger train.

A platform for passengers to easily alight from a train was not installed until 1875.

Tourists Flock to Bundanoon

Celebrating 150 years of the fascinating Bundanoon station

By the 1890s traffic was booming on the main south line and the tide of tourists travelling by train to Bundanoon’s natural beauty and guesthouses was increasing.

By the early 1900s the current weatherboard building on the Goulburn-bound platform was built with a post supported platform awning.

This awning was replaced in 1907 with the current cantilevered awning to reduce obstruction on the busy platform.

A second track through Bundanoon

Celebrating 150 years of the fascinating Bundanoon station

The main south line through Bundanoon was duplicated in 1915 – a new Sydney-bound track was added together with a platform and small waiting shed.

A new signal box was built, and the previous single track signalling system was replaced with the double line block telegraph system and mechanical signals which remained in operation until the station became unmanned in 2007.

Recommended reading

If you’ve enjoyed the story,  take a look at our previous features on Sydney’s secret subterranean tunnels or its infamous 1909 prison tram. 

Whilst our in-depth articles on Central Station: Past, Present & Future and the history of Sydney’s electric railway are well worth a look too.


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