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South Brisbane Railway Station

  • 600307
  • 133 Grey Street, South Brisbane


Also known as
Cultural Centre Station; South Brisbane (Interstate) Station; Melbourne Street Station
State Heritage
Register status
Date entered
21 October 1992
Transport—rail: Railway station
3.12 Developing secondary and tertiary industries: Catering for tourists
5.3 Moving goods, people and information: Using rail
6.3 Building settlements, towns, cities and dwellings: Developing urban services and amenities
Construction period
1891–1918, South Brisbane Railway Station (1891 - 1918)
Historical period
1870s–1890s Late 19th century


133 Grey Street, South Brisbane
Brisbane City Council
-27.47506693, 153.01856113


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Criterion AThe place is important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of Queensland’s history.

The South Brisbane Railway Station, erected in 1891, is significant historically as a reflection of the importance of South Brisbane as a commercial centre in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and as a major terminal in the southeast Queensland regional rail network until 1986.

Criterion BThe place demonstrates rare, uncommon or endangered aspects of Queensland’s cultural heritage.

It is a substantially intact masonry railway station complete with early platform furniture, one of only three erected in Brisbane by 1901, and a good example of its type.

Criterion DThe place is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a particular class of cultural places.

It is a substantially intact masonry railway station complete with early platform furniture, one of only three erected in Brisbane by 1901, and a good example of its type.

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

The place is significant also for its aesthetic contribution to the South Brisbane townscape.


The South Brisbane Railway Station on the corner of Melbourne and Grey Streets was constructed in 1891 as the terminus for the new rail extension from Boggo Junction [now Dutton Park]. This line bypassed the Woolloongabba railyards and made redundant the Stanley Street station of 1882-4. The £77,585 contract was let to Murphy & Company on 2 April 1890, and the line was completed by them on 7 December 1891.

A £5,658 contract for erecting the new passenger station was let to Henry Pears on 22 June 1891. It was the second masonry station to be erected in Brisbane after Roma Street [1875], pre-dating Central [1901] by a decade.

Passenger services commenced on 21 December 1891, although the station building had not been completed. For this reason there was no accompanying opening ceremony. When the building opened shortly afterwards it included a temperance refreshment room, and served commuters on the South Coast, Cleveland and Beaudesert lines.

South Brisbane Station was intended as a temporary terminus, pending an extension of the line across the river, so only two platforms were constructed. However, after the 1893 flood washed away the Albert Bridge at Indooroopilly, the station served as the principal terminus for all southern and western rail services for the next two and a half years.

A 1912-13 proposal to expand South Brisbane to a six platform station reflected the increasing importance of the southern rail network, both as a passenger service and as a goods line. This work was undertaken between 1914 and 1918. To handle the increased traffic a 40 feet [12 metres] turntable was constructed in 1916, which was expanded to 60 feet [18 metres] in 1925. This was removed with the change-over to diesel engines in 1968.

In 1930 the standard gauge rail to Sydney was completed and in 1931 the station was renamed South Brisbane (Interstate). A separate interstate platform, station, goods shed and shunting yards were constructed, all of which were demolished in 1986 for Expo '88 redevelopment.

Since 1986 interstate services have terminated at the Brisbane Transit Centre in Roma Street. Two of the c1918 island platforms at South Brisbane were removed to accommodate the cross-river line, and the station has reverted to its original two platforms.


The station is a long, two-storeyed brick building with a hipped, corrugated-iron roof. The Grey Street frontage is dominated by a central projecting pedimented entrance. Either side of the entrance are sloping corrugated-iron street awnings, which are supported by cast-iron columns with corinthian capitals and large brackets.

Other Renaissance stylistic elements to the street facade include: romanesque windows on the upper floor, rendered string courses and window mouldings, pilasters with corinthian capitals, and a solid rendered parapet.

A former garden park in front of the Grey Street entrance is now a car park/loading bay.

At the rear of the station building are the platforms, which were constructed level with the upper floor of the main building, in anticipation of the river extension. The awning to No 1 platform retains a tank roof on a steel frame, with cast-iron columns and brackets and a decorative timber frieze [1891]. No 2 platform has a cantilevered butterfly roof [bullnosed until recent re-roofing], which is supported by lattice iron girders [c1918].

On both platforms the furniture consists of a considerable number of early cast-iron framed seats which incorporate the QR logo. Many of these were collected from other Brisbane metropolitan stations for the Expo '88 refurbishment, and have remained.

As preparation for Expo '88 the external brickwork and cast iron was restored, the roof was replaced, and all the exterior brickwork except for the upper level front facade was painted an uncharacteristic pink or peach. Interior renovations included false ceilings, a new staircase for office staff, and repainting.

The main building at the South Brisbane Railway Station remains substantially intact, despite interior alteration, but the turntable, two island platforms, and the front park and garden have been removed.

Image gallery


Location of South Brisbane Railway Station within Queensland
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last updated
20 January 2016
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