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Toowoomba Railway Station, Honour Board and Railway Yard Structures

  • 600872
  • Russell Street, Toowoomba


State Heritage
Register status
Date entered
21 October 1992
Defence: Air raid shelter
Monuments and Memorials: Memorial/Monument - war
Transport—rail: Railway station
5.3 Moving goods, people and information: Using rail
8.6 Creating social and cultural institutions: Commemorating significant events
Stanley, Francis Drummond Greville
Construction periods
1873–1920, Toowoomba Railway Station, Honour Board and Railway Yard Structures - Railway Station (1873 - 1920s circa)
1873–1950, Toowoomba Railway Station, Honour Board and Railway Yard Structures (1873 - 1950s circa)
1896, Toowoomba Railway Station, Honour Board and Railway Yard Structures - Goods Shed (1896 - 1896)
1900, Toowoomba Railway Station, Honour Board and Railway Yard Structures - Brake Examination Pit (1900c - 1900c)
1902–1915, Toowoomba Railway Station, Honour Board and Railway Yard Structures - Refreshment Rooms (1902 - 1915)
1908–1915, Toowoomba Railway Station, Honour Board and Railway Yard Structures - Porter's Shed / Guard's Hut (1908 - 1915)
1918, Toowoomba Railway Station, Honour Board and Railway Yard Structures - Honour Roll (1918-1918)
1942, Toowoomba Railway Station, Honour Board and Railway Yard Structures - Air Raid Shelters (1942c - 1942c)
Historical period
1870s–1890s Late 19th century
1900–1914 Early 20th century
1914–1919 World War I
1919–1930s Interwar period
1939–1945 World War II
1940s–1960s Post-WWII


Russell Street, Toowoomba
Toowoomba Regional Council
-27.55711768, 151.95168415


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

The Toowoomba Railway Station, Honour Board, and Railway Yard Structures are important in demonstrating the development in the 19th century of the first main line railway in Queensland, and the growth and decline of railway passenger traffic in Queensland. The station building, erected in 1867, is the oldest extant masonry railway station in Queensland, and the Railway Refreshment Rooms are the last remaining commercially operating public refreshment rooms at a railway station in Queensland.

The intact yard structures are evidence of the development of railway operations since the turn of the century.

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

The Honour Roll is a rare example of a memorial element crafted in railway workshops.

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

The place has a strong community association as the site of the Toowoomba railway station since 1867, and as the railway station building since 1874, and a special association with colonial architect FDG Stanley,

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

The fine detailing of the exterior of the Station Building and Refreshment Room Wing, the impressive interior and fine detailing of the Refreshment Room and its internal furnishings and fittings, and the finely-crafted Honour Roll have aesthetic quality.

Criterion GThe place has a strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group for social, cultural or spiritual reasons.

The place has a strong community association as the site of the Toowoomba railway station since 1867, and as the railway station building since 1874, and the Queensland Government, in particular the Railway employees.


Toowoomba Railway Station represents an important site in the study of the railway network of Queensland. As the focal point of one of the major railway routes in Queensland the Toowoomba station has reflected the growth and decline of railway passenger traffic in Queensland.

Conceived originally as an imposing two-storeyed structure the Toowoomba station was designed by Sir Charles Fox in England in mid-1866. As designed the building was to be prefabricated in England and shipped to Queensland. It was anticipated that this building would act as the administrative centre for the railways centred on Toowoomba.

After the collapse of the Agra bank in 1866, this contract was cancelled and a replacement structure erected instead. This was of a similar design to Laidley station. The building rapidly outgrew its usefulness and in 1871 the decision was taken to construct a new station. Delays occurred, but by March 1873, R. Godsall of Toowoomba, was awarded the contract. This building designed by FDG Stanley, the Colonial architect, was eventually handed over on October 26 1874. As designed by Stanley and built it was the first masonry station building to be erected in the Queensland country area.

The original station design featured a refreshment-dining room area but by the turn of the century it was apparent that larger facilities would be required. Construction of a new Railway Refreshment Room Wing began in 1901, and was completed in 1902. Two major extensions were added on to these facilities; the Tea Room in 1915 and two extensions in the Dining Room area in 1920 and 1926.

A further addition was made to catering facilities c1937, with the provision of a kiosk. This is of interest as in 1930 the uniform gauge railway link had been opened from Kyogle to Brisbane effectively by passing Toowoomba as the interstate link.

Extensions have been made progressively to station canopies and platforms as well within the station block itself. In 1906 the platform was extended towards Russell Street, and canopies followed this extension in 1911.

During this period, a wrought iron overbridge was provided for pedestrian access in 1905 at the cost of 4000 pounds. Two subsequent extensions followed in 1937 and 1949. In 1985 the overbridge was relocated to a sports ground near Grantham.

The station out buildings form as important a part of the history of this station as passengers' amenities. In the period of 1908-15 timber out buildings were provided South toward Russell St. These included parcels rooms as well as luggage rooms. Accommodation for guards and porters were provided in two smaller buildings. Of these extensions only the Guards and Porters buildings remain. Whilst of a standard design they reflect on the conditions worked under by Departmental workers.

The two world wars are also reflected within the station environment. From 1914-19 a magnificent wooden Honour board at the north end of the station pays tribute to the role of Toowoomba railway workers. Of interest is the fact that it was crafted at the North Ipswich railway workshops, and unveiled by commissioner Charles Evans, a former Toowoomba railwayman himself. The station also has two WWII bomb shelters: one near the Honour Board built as protection for railway employees; the second lies outside the main station entrance and was constructed to protect the general public from bomb splinters.

Part of the present assistant station-masters office comprises the Toowoomba B signal cabin, one of two in the Toowoomba yard. It was installed during the 1950s to replace the original tower cabin B. Although now disconnected (May 1993) the interior of this cabin illustrates older methods of safeworking and train control now superseded by automatic signalling.

A series of ancillary structures and servicing facilities evidence the development of the station environment. The Watering Crane standing alongside the tracks was originally used as a water replenishing point for steam locomotives. Worker's huts and accommodation are also located within the yard; it is possible that both of these structures were erected in the 1920's as part of the station yard re-organisation. These huts at present are in use as accommodation as shunters and train examiners shelters. At the Eastern edge of the shunting yard a mechanical balance scale is still extant, housed in a weighbridge shelter shed. The weighbridge balance scale bears a foundry plate marker on it. Slide balances were used to measure wagon weights for train marshalling.

The Westinghouse brake examination pit and shed, possibly constructed circa 1900 is also located in the outer areas of the yard. The brake inspection pit appears to be constructed of local bricks. This is unusual as most surviving locomotive/carriage inspection pits tend to be of concrete construction. Of particular significance is the checkboard placed on wall of interior of this shed, listing passenger car brake examinations and overhaul dates. Most vehicles listed have now been withdrawn or disposed of as railway items.

Also associated with signalling and safeworking in the Toowoomba yard is the A signal cabin, taken out of use mid 1993. This cabin possibly dates from the 1920's. The cabin interior is still intact, and includes signal levers, safeworking instruments and Toowoomba yard diagram. Associated with this structure are the now dismantled semaphore signals from the signal gantry.

The Toowoomba Goods Shed dates from 1896, although a smaller goods shed was constructed with the 1867 structure. Plans had been prepared for this replacement shed as early as 1884, the new plans called for a shed 250 by 75 feet of timber and galvanised iron on pile foundations with two 150 by 15 foot platforms and two 5 ton cranes.

The artefacts and structures listed above all form an important role in providing an overview of the working environment not only of the station, but also of the railway yards themselves. They are significant because they add to the understanding of both the station as a separate entity, and as a fully operational working railway environment.


The Toowoomba Railway Station, Honour Board and Railway Yard Structures complex is located on Railway Street, within walking proximity of the Toowoomba town centre. The Railway Station complex comprises the main station building, awnings and outbuildings, and several yard structures. The station building consists of adjoining two-storeyed rendered masonry buildings with single storeyed annexes and outbuildings with corrugated iron roofs. The buildings line the edge of a concrete platform, which is covered with corrugated iron canopies, and which extends out beyond the main buildings to the north and the south. The buildings comprise the central Station Building (1874) connecting to the Railway Refreshment Room Wing (1902), the Tea Room extension (1915) and Honour Roll pavilion (1918) to the north, and annexes and platform outbuildings to the south. The yard structures, located to the north-east of the station building, include a substantial corrugated iron and timber Goods Shed, a two-storeyed signalling shed known as Cabin A, modest timber and corrugated iron structures associated with maintenance and worker accommodation, the brick Westinghouse Brake Examination pit and corrugated iron shelter, a wagon weighbridge and timber shelter, and a cast iron water crane. The complex also includes two WWII bomb shelters.

The Station Building (1874) is a substantial symmetrical building with an elongated rectangular plan with gabled bays to the east and west, and hipped roofs to the north and south. The building is finely detailed externally: the corners have pilasters formed by projecting quoins; floor and sill levels are articulated with string courses; the western ground floor openings have arched heads with keystones framed by continuous mouldings, and include a wide arch over a centrally placed entrance to the platform; the eastern ground floor windows have square heads and projecting quoins; the upper floor windows are framed with scrolled brackets supporting moulded projecting heads; the cornice has dentils and the gable ends have cartouches. Later alterations to the western elevation include concave awnings over the upper gable windows, and an enclosed timber verandah running between the two gabled bays with a corrugated iron awning projecting from the soffit. Two cast iron queuing rails are located outside ticket windows adjacent to the western entrance.

The upper floor of the Station Building contains currently disused offices, while the ground floor contains station operations rooms, offices and store areas. Timber stairs with cast-iron balusters are located on the western side. The first floor interiors retain some vertically jointed timber lined walls and a small timber service window. The ground floor interiors retain some masonry arches and timber columns with decorative timber capitals. The annex to the southern end contains store-rooms and toilets, including a Ladies Waiting Room of generous proportions. A small timber lined kiosk (1936) with timber roll-down louvred shutters opening out onto the platform is located at the northern end.

The Railway Refreshment Room wing (1902) is a two storeyed rendered masonry L-shaped building with a single-storeyed addition to the north (1915 tearoom), and hipped corrugated roofs which rise above those of the Station Building. It contains the Railway Refreshment Room on the ground floor (which is still in operation), and officers on the upper floor. A steel and timber framed pavilion attached to the north of the dining room wing houses a fine timber Honour Roll. The building has rusticated piers at the corners, arched openings with profiled surrounds, expressed piers with decorative capitals and circular motifs at ground floor level, and windows with flat heads and keystones to the upper storeys.

The Railway Refreshment Room is an impressive and generously proportioned space containing timber serveries at both ends, and round timber tables and timber chairs. The walls are decorated with large black and white photographs of local beauty spots, and the tables are set with monogrammed silverware and crockery. The interior is finely detailed with pressed metal ceilings with elaborate roses, cast iron columns with floriated capitals, and decorative pressed metal cornices and beam encasings. The adjacent Tea Room (1915 - now used as offices) also has a high pressed metal ceiling.

The finely crafted Honour Roll is housed at the northern end of a steel framed and timber pavilion with open sides. The Honour Roll is set on diagonal boarding, and has a central panel with a broken pediment on scrolled brackets, divided from side panels with pilasters. Carved into the broken pediment are the Australian Coat of Arms and the words Roll of Honour, 1914-1919, Queensland Railways Toowoomba Employees. The side panels are also framed by pilasters crowned with decorative motifs of the Queensland Railways emblem, scrolls and shells. The pilasters also frame lighter timber plaques with names in gold point. The Honour Roll is flanked by smaller memorial plaques with gold lettering and motifs.

The platform canopies have been constructed at different stages, in different forms and materials. The canopy attached to the Station Building and Refreshment Room Wing is framed in timber and has an arched corrugated iron roof. The roof rests on timber trusses with arched top cords and is stabilised with lateral trusses. The roof structure is supported on steel posts (which have replaced timber ones) with curved brackets and valances. Extending out to the north are two canopies with butterfly roofs on open-webbed steel frames with central supports (1910). Immediately to the south is a cantilevered canopy also on an open-webbed steel structure (c1911).

The station environment also contains intact structures associated with former railway operations.

The Porter's Shed and Guard's Hut (1908-15) are located to the south of the main station buildings. These modest weatherboard buildings are connected by a battened store, and have pitched corrugated iron roofs with awnings supported on timber brackets.

Cabin B is a weatherboard clad room adjoining the main entry to the platform which contains intact safeworking and interlocking equipment - comprising several steel levers, a yard diagram, and electrical staff equipment with shaped red painted steel and brass encasing mounted on a concrete pedestal.

Located within the railway yard, The Goods Shed (1896) is a long rectangular building with substantial timber trusses and bracketed central columns. It is clad in corrugated iron, and has a pitched roof with bracketed eaves and a raised central roof light. It also has timber platforms supported on large cut logs.

Also located within the railway yard is the Westinghouse Brake Examination Pit and shelter. It comprises a modest corrugated iron building with a barrel vaulted corrugated iron roof covering a long rectangular brick-lined pit. The building contains boards detailing brake examination schedules, and a workbench.

Other yard structures include Signal Cabin A, a water crane and a wagon weighbridge. Signal Cabin A is a two-storeyed chamferboard-clad building with pitched corrugated iron roofs, a cantilevered timber catwalk overlooking the railway at first floor level. The building contains intact but disconnected mechanical signalling equipment. The first floor contains a large frame of colour-coded mechanical steel signalling levers, timber and brass track indicators, and a yard diagram. The Water Crane comprises a cast iron hollow tube surmounted by a rotating cast iron feeder arm with valve controls and a canvas tube attached, mounted on a concrete pedestal and adjacent to a concrete drain. The Wagon Weighbridge comprises a large steel scale housed in chamferboard-clad building with a pitched corrugated iron roof, and a large metal balance plate.

The station also has two WWII air raid shelters: a brick and concrete shelter adjacent to the front entry stairs on Railway Street, and a smaller concrete shelter located on the northern platform near the honour board, which was designed for the use of QR employees.

The Toowoomba Railway Station contains intact evidence of its growth, development and workings in its Station Building, Refreshment Room Wing, Goods Shed, annexes, platform outbuildings, Honour Roll, canopies, and yard structures It also contains finely detailed architectural elements in the exteriors of the Station Building and Refreshment Room Wing, the Honour Roll, and Refreshment Room interior, furnishings and fittings .

Image gallery


Location of Toowoomba Railway Station, Honour Board and Railway Yard Structures within Queensland
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last reviewed
1 July 2022
Last updated
20 February 2022