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Eveleigh Railyards Nominated for National Heritage Register

Greater Eveleigh Railway Precinct has been nominated for the National Heritage Register by Friends of Eveleigh. Below you can see the details of the National Heritage Database. Supporters of the nomination in January 2011 included NSW's new Premier Barry O'Farrell and the new Planning and Infrastructure Minister Brad Hazzard who also becomes the Minister responsible for the RWA and SMDA.

Greater Eveleigh Railway Precinct, Henderson Rd, Eveleigh, NSW, Australia

Photographs: None
List: National Heritage List
Class: Historic
Legal Status: Nominated place
Place ID: 106189
Place File No: 1/12/033/0026
Nominator's Summary Statement of Significance:
This place is important as it contains Australia's largest railway workshop which in part is still functioning after 120 years of continuous use. It is the place that produced Australia's first steam locomotive.
The Eveleigh Railway Yards are some of the finest historic railway engineering workshops in the world and Eveleigh contains one of the most complete late 19th century and early 20th century forge installations, collection of cranes and power systems, in particular the hydraulic system. The place is of international significance and is one of Australia's finest industrial heritage items. The value of the place is increased by the fact that it is comprised of assemblages, collections and operational systems rather than individual items. Conversely, the significance has been reduced by its closure, relocation of some machinery and its disassociation from the operating rail network. (State Projects 1995: 109)
This place is the oldest and longest continuous operating railway workshops in Australia. The place is still functioning as workshops servicing steam and diesel railway locomotives and rollingstock. It is part of the greater Eveleigh Workshop site but unlike all the other buildings it still retains its rail workshop context and skills. Eveleigh?s original design and placement near Sydney formed part of its economic viability allowing easy access to the main rail hub (Sydney Station) and to the rest of the state. This close access to Sydney is still vital today in the economic viability of preserving and running of heritage trains. The impact of the work carried out at the Large Erecting Shop is enjoyed locally, regionally and nationally by the operation of the only steam locomotives to haul trains to every mainland state in Australia.

The Eveleigh Railway Workshops are some of the finest historic railway engineering workshops in the world and Eveleigh contains one of the most complete late 19th century and early 20th century forge installations, collection of cranes and power systems, in particular the hydraulic system. The place is of international significance and is one of Australia's finest industrial heritage items. The value of the place is increased by the fact that it is comprised of assemblages, collections and operational systems rather than individual items still in use.
Conversely, the significance will be reduced by its closure or adaptive reuse, relocation of rolling stock, machinery and its disassociation from the operating rail network. Not only will the Large Erecting Workshop cultural significance be reduced but also the significance of the greater Eveleigh Railway Workshops will be reduced.
The workshop is significant nationally for being:
- In continuous operation as a rail servicing workshop 128 years still in its original format
- Designed by Whitton (trained by John Fowler of the Forth over the Firth Bridge fame) and George Cowdery (trained by Isambard Kingdom Brunel) bringing cutting edge industrial revolution technology to Australia
- The building and others making up the Eveleigh group are iconic in design and proportion
- the political birth place of 1 Governor General of Australia, 1 Prime Ministers and 25 parliamentarians and the inaugural Secretary of the Nurses Association
- the home of steam locomotive operations in NSW including the iconic 38 Class locomotives with carriages (presently includes the Powerhouse Museum?s 3830, the last 38 class locomotive built at Eveleigh)
- Governor-General Lord Hopetoun?s carriage built and stored on site
- A centre of skills and expertise in maintenance/operation of heritage trains directly passed on from retired railway employees
- One of group of large industrial buildings that form an extended corridor on the main rail access into Sydney
- There was a significant World War 1 and World War II presence at the Eveleigh Railway Workshops and workers employed at Eveleigh were free from conscription if they chose. When Australia entered World War I many railway employees enlisted in the armed services. Others were subsequently involved in fitting out trains for the transport of injured soldiers or in armaments (often referred to as munitions) manufacture. All in all, the Eveleigh and Randwick tramway workshops produced 14 330 18-pounder shell bodies, 8 000 copper bands and 15 sets of gauges for 18-pounder shells. During World War II the Eveleigh workshops were used even more extensively. In May 1940 production of 18-pounder shells began, although in January 1941 the plant was converted for the production of 25-pounder shells. In November 1942 female workers were introduced into the annexe to overcome the shortage of male labour and additional facilities were installed specifically for them. The Large Erecting Shop was used for fitting, assembling and testing numerous large machines. During early 1942 the assembly of tanks was also conducted at Eveleigh before moving to the completed tank assembly shop at Chullora.
- The place where the Great National Strike commenced in 1917
- A significant place Aboriginal people of Redfern as one of the few place that offered employment, training and employment transfers from regional NSW to the city.
- Collection of original machinery including overhead cranes and machinery from all phases of its history up until 2011
- It is significant as a representative example of Victorian era heavy engineering technology that is still in situ and operational.
- It houses a significant collection of locomotives and rolling stock.
- It contains a significant collection of railway moveable heritage relevant to the state and nation
- It is significant as the largest mid Victorian Railway Workshop in Australia and became a place known for its technological innovation.
- It is significant as place for Aboriginal people as a place that enabled them to gain training and employment
- It is politically important as the place where the 1917 Great Strike was started.
- the political birth place of 1 Governor General of Australia, 1 Prime Ministers and 25 parliamentarians, Federal Court Judge and the inaugural Secretary of the Nurses Association
- It is significant as the only workshop from this period that has had continual use so retains the skills and links enabling heritage trains to be restored, serviced, stored and run from 1.5 kms from the CBD making these operations
- It is significant historically to the development of the state and moving people and cargo to and from rural areas.
- The railways from an early period employed Aboriginal people and Eveleigh's location near to Redfern became the single major employer until the mid 1980's, it also enabled Aboriginal people to transfer between country towns to the city reinforcing the rural and city connection between many families.
Official Values: Not Available
The condition of the place is excellent but some of the major items have been seriously threatened by the owner since the last nomination (Large Erecting Shop only)was lodged in 2006 and are presently in peril, further significant items have been removed in an attempt to diminish the significance of the place as defined by the NSW Heritage Act and the EPBC Act.  The RWA is also dividing the land for long term leases without any known heritage safeguards in place.
This site has a large and ever expanding history with CMP’s developed for most buildings. 
1871                Planning for a large modern workshops complex at Redfern began.
1875                The site at Eveleigh was selected.
1880                Settlement for land was reached - 64.5 acres resumed from the estate of the late John Chisolm for c. £100,000.
1882                Clearing of land commenced.  Because of the sandy  nature of the soil, much work went into the design and construction of the workshop foundations.
1884                The contract for the construction of Bays 1-4 was let to George Fishburn for a cost of £40,725 and work was commenced shortly after.
1885                Work underway and purchase of machinery commenced.  The foundations for Bays 5-15 were completed, enabling the contract for the construction of these bays to be let to John                   Ahern at a price of £80,837.
1886                Construction of the workshops continued.
1887                Workshops 1-4 were officially opened.  These contained the ‘dirty trades’ of foundry work, boilermaking and blacksmithing.  They were originally separated from Bays 5-15 by a                                 space equivalent in width to one of the bays.  Annexes were built on the southern and western sides.
1887 (late)      Workshops 5-15 were completed and opened
1892                Union negotiations led to the workshops being closed on Saturdays
1896                Lightening rods fitted to 120 foot high chimney for Boiler House behind Bay 2/3. An extension of 200 feet added to the western end of the Large Erecting Shed (west of the Loco                                  Shop) completed 1896.
1899                Large Erecting Shop added to the site, to the west of the Loco Shop, enabling many of the engine repair functions to be removed from the main building.  Work commenced on converting Bays 12 and 13 for an Interlocking Shop.  This work began in November with the removal of the brick wall between Bays 11 and 12 and the installation of iron columns and crane girders.  A compressed-air plant was installed in an annexe to Bays 3 and 4.  New foundry erected adjacent to large Erecting shop allowing Boiler Shop to expand into Bay 4.
Compressed air plant installed in Boiler Shop (Bays 3-4) and air mains installed.
1949-               Last Steam Locomotive in NSW built and assembled in this workshop and is still housed in this building and operated and maintained by the Powerhouse Museum
1988                Majority of rail workshops closed
1988                Large Erecting Shop retained for 3801 ltd
2006                All heritage protection removed by the Redfern Waterloo Authority Act
2008                Powerhouse Museum Evicted from site
2011                Friends of Eveleigh continue to fight for this site
Condition and Integrity:
The condition of the buildings are good, the contents which make up a significant part of the place are being systematically removed by the owner, which further undermines any attempt to retain the place, the skills, the jobs and the volunteers.
About 50ha, Henderson Road, Eveleigh. The precinct contains all current and former railway land at Eveleigh, including Eveleigh Railway Workshops, Eveleigh Carriage Workshops, Alexandria Goods Yards, Macdonaldtown Carriage Sheds, Redfern Station and Main Western Line.
The Great Eveleigh Railway Workshops, Richard K Butcher, 2004
A Heritage Study of the Eveleigh Railway Workshops Vol 1.  Godden, Mackay and Associates, 1986
 Conservation Policy  Scwager Brooks, 1994
Relics Policy   Godden, 1988
South Sydney Heritage Study   Tropman & Tropman, 1995
Master Plan And Urban Development Plan 
Eveleigh Precinct Planning Study A & A, 1994
Eveleigh Precinct Social Impact Study Lester Firth & Ass., 1992
New Locomotive Workshop CMP Government Architects Office 1995
Eveleigh Carriage Workshops CMP Government Architects Office 1995
Railways Relics & Romance The Eveleigh Railway Workshops – photographs by  David Moore 1995
Colonial Engineer Building of Australia’s Railways – John Whitton 1819-1898 – Robert Lee
Primary sources
"History Of Eveleigh Workshops" Correspondence From Works Managers
Office, Eveleigh To Assistant Chief Mechanical Engineer, Redfern, 14.04.55, Railway Archives.
"Eveleigh Locomotive Workshops" Undated, Unsigned & Incomplete Report Approx 1921, Held By Railway Archives.
"Visit Of Inspection - Eveleigh Workshops, 11 October 1922" By Institution Of Engineers, Sydney Division. Information Pamphlet,
Railway Archives.
"The NSW Railway Workshops At Eveleigh - A State Enterprise" In The Illustrated Sydney News, Pp 11-13, 18 July 1891.
"The Australian As Engineer - Splendid Work At Eveleigh Workshops"
Hyde, Hamilton In Sea, Land And Air, Pp 176-179, 1 June 1922.
"The Locomotive Shops At Eveleigh" In The NSW Railway Budget Vol 8,
Pp 239-240, 21 July 1900.
"The Carriage And Wagon Shops At Eveleigh" In The NSW Railway And Tramway Magazine, Pp 37 1917.
"Coal Goes From Eveleigh" In Eveleigh News, Magazine Of The Eveleigh
Workshops Central Shop Committee, No 377, 24 July 1968.
"Foundry Operations At Locomotive Workshops, Eveleigh" Report To The
State Rail Authority Of NSW By D Lynons, A Fisher; August 1985.
"The Railway Stores Branch And Its Work" In The NSW Railway Budget  Vol 7, Pp 186-187, 18 May 1899.
Machines and Ghosts: Politics, Industrial Heritage and the History of Working Life at the Eveleigh Workshops; L Taksa, November 2003.

Report Produced: Tue Apr 5 18:56:29 2011   Source: Greater Eveleigh Railway Precinct Henderson Rd