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Railway Historical Centre

  • 600604
  • North Street, North Ipswich


Also known as
Tarpaulin Shop; Railway Store; Railway Administration Building
State Heritage
Register status
Date entered
21 October 1992
Transport—rail: Goods shed
3.3 Developing secondary and tertiary industries: Developing engineering and construction industries
4.1 Working: Organising workers and workplaces
5.3 Moving goods, people and information: Using rail
Construction period
1878–1879, Railway Historical Centre (1878 - 1879)
Historical period
1870s–1890s Late 19th century


North Street, North Ipswich
Ipswich City Council
-27.60856088, 152.76029032


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

The Railway Historical Centre is the only remaining building on the southern section of the site, it is evidence of the first period of development of the railway workshops 1864-1885.

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

The building retains evidence of its various uses as stores, administration, and tarpaulin store.

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

It is fine example of a Victorian brick and stone warehouse and is of particular architectural merit.


This building, the oldest remaining on the workshops site, was built in 1878-9 by Ipswich contractors, McGregor and Brown. It was initially used as a Store. It was later used for Administration and then as a Tarpaulin Shop. In 1990, the Tarpaulin Store was converted into the Railway Historical Centre and was used for housing railway archival material and for other related functions.


This is a fine example of a Victorian warehouse constructed of load-bearing brick on two levels. Outwardly, the building is a symmetrical gable ended structure with a centrally projecting transverse gable to the northern and southern facades. The formal entry is defined by a round headed arch and stairs leading up from The Terrace. Immediately opposite this on the southern side, is an upper level loading platform.

The symmetry of the building is reinforced by equally spaced segmental arch windows on both levels, and ridge ventilators at each end of the corrugated custom orb profile roof.

Internally, the upper floor is dominated by Queen Post trusses which meet at the gable crossing with cruciform trusses. Along each end of the bottom chord are support rails with rope eyelets for suspension of tarpaulins. The original windlass is supported at the centre trusses for hoisting goods to and from the upper and lower levels through a timber trapdoor.

From the lower level, two large doors lead to the southern aligned railway tracks, and a tramway runs through the centre of the floor longitudinally. There is evidence of earlier service entry doors or cartways entering from the Terrace side.

The main timber floor frame is supported on sturdy hardwood columns with timber headstocks. Each bearer is jointed over the headstock with a scarfed joint and square timber key.

An early office compartment exists at the western end of the upper floor, constructed with a raised timber floor and tongue and groove timber partitions. At the eastern end there is a single storey timber frame extension which is not original.

Image gallery


Location of Railway Historical Centre within Queensland
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last updated
20 January 2016
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