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Townsville Railway Station and North Yards Railway Workshops

  • 600906
  • 502 and 792 Flinders Street, Townsville


Also known as
Northern/Townsville Railway; Great Northern Railway Station and Workshops
State Heritage
Register status
Date entered
21 October 1992
Transport—rail: Railway station
3.3 Developing secondary and tertiary industries: Developing engineering and construction industries
5.3 Moving goods, people and information: Using rail
Price, Vincent
Rooney Bros
Construction periods
1880–1940, Townsville Railway Station and North Yards Railway Workshops (1880c - 1940s circa)
1881–1901, Townsville Railway Station and North Yards Railway Workshops - Machine Shop (1881 - 1901)
1902–1932, Townsville Railway Station and North Yards Railway Workshops - Motor Shop (1902 - 1932)
1902, Townsville Railway Station and North Yards Railway Workshops - Tender Shop (1902 - 1902)
1902, Townsville Railway Station and North Yards Railway Workshops - Carpenters' Shop (1902 - 1902)
1910–1913, Townsville Railway Station and North Yards Railway Workshops - Railway Station (1910 - 1913)
1932, Townsville Railway Station and North Yards Railway Workshops - Blacksmiths' Shop (c.1932 - c.1932)
1932, Townsville Railway Station and North Yards Railway Workshops - Signal Cabin A (c.1932 - c.1932)
Historical period
1870s–1890s Late 19th century


502 and 792 Flinders Street, Townsville
Townsville City Council
-19.26784173, 146.80934885


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

The establishment of the Townsville Railway Station and North Yards Workshop demonstrates the growth of a separate Northern Rail Division and, also, the economic development of Townsville in the late 19th century. The development of the Northern Railway was, in combination with the port, instrumental in the economic growth of Townsville in the late 19th century.

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

The complex is a rare, surviving example of regional 19th century Queensland railway workshop and station complex, which operated for over a century.

Criterion CThe place has potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of Queensland’s history.

The site has the potential to yield further information about the history of the northern rail line and the 19th century railway in Queensland.

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

The Townsville Railway Station Complex demonstrate the railway policy of maintenance and repair work completed on site with available skills and materials.

The complex, including the buildings, contents, configuration of the rail tracks, and the landscape elements, including the remnant cabin garden, the trees along Flinders Street and the mango trees, contribute to an understanding of the development and operation of the railway in Northern Queensland and are characteristic of a large regional railway complex.

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

The Townsville Railway Station and North Yards Workshops have aesthetic significance as a prominent complex of buildings and structures, predominantly of timber and iron construction which express their industrial function and contribute to an interesting and complex site. The character of the yards, including the trees along Flinders Street, contribute to the character of the commercial district of Townsville, and have prominent townscape value.

Criterion FThe place is important in demonstrating a high degree of creative or technical achievement at a particular period.

During the early years of the 20th century, improvements to the workshops and the construction of the new Townsville Station between 1910 and 1913 demonstrate a new government attitude to the Queensland railways, with the introduction of new Acts, increased spending and the first integration of the separate rail divisions.

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

As the principal railway station and complex of a large Queensland city, the Townsville Railway Station Complex has social value as a landmark of significant public use over a long period.

Criterion HThe place has a special association with the life or work of a particular person, group or organisation of importance in Queensland’s history.

As the principal railway station and complex of a large Queensland city, the Townsville Railway Station Complex has social value as a landmark of significant public use over a long period.


The Townsville Railway Station and North Yards Workshops were established in about 1880 shortly after the commencement of the Northern Railway running west from Townsville, and the establishment of the Northern Rail Division, one of four separate railway divisions of Queensland. At this time, the Townsville Station was on the edge of the yards, making this site the operating centre of the Northern Division. The early growth and evolution of the Northern Railway was reflected in several upgrades of the North Yards Workshops by 1902. Construction of the North Yards railway workshops began in 1880 with the construction of the first railway station and the Machine Shop in 1881. The present railway station, the second station in the complex, was constructed between 1910 and 1913. The North Yards Workshops were permanently closed in 1990 and the major train services, the Sunlander and the Inlander ceased to run to the Station prior to 2004 when a new station was constructed to the west of the Workshops.

During the second half of the nineteenth century in Queensland there was a proliferation of separate rail systems spreading west from several coastal centres. Queensland's geography made for a decentralised railway system, with lines penetrating the interior from a number of points along the coast. Earlier rail systems had been constructed, mostly in response to the requirements of pastoralists in the main pastoral areas. This second phase of construction saw railways spread into the new, isolated mining districts. Reflecting the growth of Queensland and the difficulty of dealing with such a vast state the Government divided the railways into three divisions in 1878. The divisions were the Southern, Central and Northern Division which was centred on Townsville.

The discovery of gold in 1869 at Ravenswood and in 1872 at Charters Towers was the main impetus for the construction of the Northern Railway from Townsville. With the development of each separate rail system came competing claims for the most suitable terminuses. In north Queensland there was competition between Bowen and Townsville. The first port in north Queensland had been established at Bowen in 1860, however, pastoralists and new mining settlements north and west of the Burdekin River were choosing to utilise the more convenient port at Townsville. Although Bowen had the better harbour, the Burdekin River proved too difficult a barrier. As well, Townsville's influential political connections convinced the government to make Townsville the railway terminus.

The Government, on 7 August 1877, gave approval for the construction of the first stage of the line from Townsville to the top of Mingela Range. Before the completion of the track to Reid River on 20 December 1880, development of a Townsville Railway Station and maintenance workshops, as part of the support system for the Great Northern Railway, was commenced. By 1882 the line had reached Charters Towers and by 1884 the line had terminated at Hughenden, the heart of the pastoral region. Townsville's success in gaining the terminus of the Northern Railway ensured the towns economic survival. Within a short time Townsville merchant firms such as Samuel Allen and Sons, Clifton Aplin (later Aplin Brown and Co) and Burns Philp overshadowed their Bowen rivals.

As the terminus of the Northern Line, the Townsville Railway Station and Workshops formed a complex group of support services. Buildings constructed during the first construction phase included a station, carriage shed, stores, goods sheds, weighbridges, turntables and lines into the workshops and the Machine Shop. By 1886 the importance of the maintenance section was illustrated by the number of support facilities established in the yards including wagon sheds, a bolt shed, tool shed, engine shed, carriage shed, coal store and smithy shop.

The Northern Railway quickly became Queenslands most profitable line, with major upgrading taking place only five years after its inception. There was also periodic redevelopment of the workshop buildings during the 1880s and 1890s to meet the growing demand for maintenance of rolling stock on the busy line. The Northern Railway became known as the Great Northern Railway in 1905. Until 1910, with the passing of the North Coast Railway Act, and the Great Western Railway Act, the Queensland railways existed as separate identities or divisions. Coastal shipping was the preferred method of travel along the Queensland coast, with the railways acting as a transport corridor to inland districts. The first major linking of different divisions in Queensland occurred in 1903 with the opening of the Gladstone to Rockhampton railway line, which united the Southern and Central Divisions.

The passing of the two railways Acts provided a major impetus for increased spending and construction works on the Queensland railways. New stations were built along the main lines in places such as Brisbane, Gympie and Townsville between 1910 and 1917. A corresponding development of improved locomotive technology, rollingstock, and railway infrastructure in general characterised this period, along with the construction of new rural branch lines throughout Queensland.

In spite of improvements and extensions to the infrastructure in the North Yards during the early years of the twentieth century the problem of too little space was not overcome. Maintaining rolling stock in the cramped conditions of the yard was difficult, although improvements in 1921 overcame the worst inefficiencies.

The completion of the North Coast line near Innisfail in December 1924 completed the projected main line between Brisbane and the Cairns railway system. However, even after completion and during subsequent upgrading of the Sunshine Route as it was known, track limitations on axle loads for locomotives, limited larger main line locomotives operating north of Townsville until the 1950s. As a result, Townsville remained the northern limit of the more modern engines.

During the early years of the Depression maintenance on the Northern Railway was reduced, however, deficiencies in the original construction of the line and the lack of maintenance were rectified during the late 1930s when the Queensland government established Relief Labour schemes to alleviate some of the problems of massive unemployment. Loan funding was channelled into deviations of the track, aimed at improving gradients on the line to enable locomotives to haul larger trains.

The North Yard again became cramped and reclamation work was begun across Ross Creek in 1935. The work was completed in 1939 and carriage and wagon shops were transferred to the South Yards. The removal of some of the maintenance activity to South Townsville saw changes of use of many of the North Yard buildings.

Upgrading work on the Great Northern Line prior to the Second World War enhanced the importance of the northern railway. New rolling stock was introduced, maintenance workshops, including Townsville were improved and a passenger service, the Sunshine Express, from Brisbane to Cairns, was introduced.

The significance of the Railway Station to the Townsville community has been demonstrated on a number of occasions. In 1910 the Mayor and community successfully partitioned the government to have the proposed new station located in Flinders Street rather than close to the mouth of Ross Creek. The role of the Railway Station and North Yards Workshops in World War 11 was recognised by the people of Townsville during the VP 50 Celebrations when thousands greeted a "troop" train at the station on 11 August 1995.

Within ten years of establishment, Northern Railway staff became involved in union activity. Continuing involvement in union disputation during the next fifty years changed the face of industrial life in Australia. Charters Towers Miners' Union, established in July 1886, began a dispute with a mining company over reduction of wages. The dispute spread to the Croydon and Etheridge fields in 1889. As prices for gold fell miners became concerned about retaining their jobs. These concerns spread to the sugar industry and into various other industries. As unemployment grew trade unionism spread across North Queensland. The Australia wide, 1890 Maritime Strike saw unionism strengthened in North Queensland as the strike spread to other industries including the railways.

Union activity in the North Yards was led by George Rymer after WW1. Rymer was employed on the Northern Railway and was a member of the Queensland Railway Union (QRU) and a member of the strike committee set up to assist unionists striking over a retrospective pay dispute in 1917. This strike was in serious breach of decisions made by the newly established Arbitration Court. The strikers, forced back to work under threat of dismissal were left with a feeling of discontent and resentment towards the Ryan Labor Government. A legacy which was to colour the northern railwaymen's attitude to Labor governments throughout the 1920s.

Northern railwaymen continued to seek better pay and conditions from Labor governments throughout the next two decades and conflict between the left and right of Labor politics saw the emergence of the Communist Party in north Queensland. During key strikes such as the 1919 Meatworkers Strike, the 1925 Railway Strike and the 1928 sugar dispute Townsville suffered serious economic difficulties and turmoil, particularly during the 1919 riot outside the gates of Stewart Creek Jail in protest over the arrest of some railway unionists.

The Northern Division, which had been established in 1878, was phased out in 1992 and management returned to Brisbane after 114 years.

Townsville Railway Station

The first railway station, built in 1880, was located in Flinders Street near the corner of Jones Street, about three blocks west of the present station building. The original plan during the construction of the Townsville Railway was to locate the station near Magazine Island at the mouth of Ross Creek. The idea was revived when plans were being drawn up for a new station in 1910. Commercial interests backed the Mayor who argued that Ross Creek would cut off the railway terminus from the city centre. The community successfully partitioned the government to have the building located in Flinders Street between the town centre along Flinders Street and the busy business district at West End.

Construction of the new terminus for the Great Northern Railway commenced in 1910 and the building opened on 24 December 1913. Vincent Price, an architectural draftsman in the Railway Department, prepared the drawings. The new terminus was an impressive and imposing building, built in the tradition of the grand railway stations of the 19th century in Britain, Europe and the United States. The building, which initially served as the headquarters of the Great Northern Railway with the letters GNR prominently displayed on the facade, contained the offices of the general manager and ancillary staff.

Subsequent changes to Townsville Railway Station have included the replacement of a large metal carriage shade which extended over three tracks with a smaller cantilever awning in 1969. The corrugated, galvanised iron roof and front awning was also replaced. A four storey, brick extension on the western end of the building was constructed in 1965. The main foyer retains original finishes on floor and ceiling. A World War 1 roll of honour board is located in the foyer. The interior of the upper floors has been modified including the partitioning of large rooms into smaller offices. While the General Managers office was moved into the new building in 1965 the upper floors of the station continue to be used as administrative offices.

In 1997 some of the interior was refurbished, including the pressed metal ceilings in the toilets and other ground floor rooms.

Machine Shop

On 3 June 1881 the tender was accepted for the construction of the Machine Shop from prominent North Queensland builders, Rooney Brothers, for the sum of £118.18.0, labour only, to be completed within a two month period. The design of the machine shop was similar to those built by the Railway in other parts of Queensland, notably Rockhampton. The construction consisted of a heavy timber frame of a row of strutted timber posts through the centre supporting a trussed roof with continuous lantern, and floors of asphalt and concrete. The building when completed in 1881 was 75' (23m) long. Wooden flooring was installed in 1884. An extension of 36' (11m) was added to the north-eastern end of the building in 1895, as part of the workshop additions of the 1890s.

The expansion and reorganisation of the workshops in about 1901 included the extension of the Machine Shop at both ends. The construction matched the existing timber framing, wall cladding and fenestration. The two end walls of weatherboard and corrugated iron cladding were re-erected at the new ends of the building. A store building at the north-eastern end was relocated at the new ends of the building extended 44' (13.4m) to create more work space, with an extension to the wooden floor. At the south-western end another shed was removed, and an extension of 70' (21.4m) was constructed containing an engine and boiler room with a concrete floor, and a store for tyres with an ash floor.

Blacksmith's Shop

The original Blacksmith's Shop, constructed before 1900, was perpendicular to and behind the Machine Shop. By the time of its demolition in 1937, it had become the Tinsmiths' and Coppersmiths' Shop. Its demolition for extensions to the boiler shop, reinforced the northeast-southwest axis of the setout of the buildings. This Blacksmiths' Shop was constructed before 1932. To the north-west is a smaller building also labelled as Blacksmiths' Shop, which was constructed between 1940 and 1960, which later became the Spring Shop.

Motor Shop (Building No 38)

The Motor Shop was constructed between 1902 and 1932. By 1932 it was the Paint Shop, and it was proposed to become the Traffic Motor Shade in 1940. It had two roads (rail-lines) entering from the north-east. By 1960 it had become the Mechanics Shop.

Tender Shop

This building was constructed about 1902 as two separate Wagon Sheds, each measuring 150'x50'. A photograph of about 1916 shows people displaying splints and crutches presumably for WWI made in this building.

Carpenters Shop

By 1902, the Wagon Shop, and Carriage and Paint Shop each measuring 100'x50' (305x15.25m) sat behind the Machine Shop, and lined up with the two wagon sheds. In 1902, a 60' (length 48.8m) extension was also proposed on the end of the Wagon Shop for a sawmill which connected to the Machine Shop.

Boiler/Wheel Shop

The Boiler Shop was constructed before 1932. An extension of 90' to the north-east end in about 1940 forced the demolition of the original Blacksmiths' Shop. The building is now known as the Wheel Shop at the north-east end, and Metal Fabrication to the south-west end.

Garage and Motor Store

By 1932, there was a small Loco Store and a Motor Shop to the north-eastern end of the Machine Shop. By 1960, the Loco Store had become a long narrow building, probably combining parts of the earlier two buildings. There was a Storeman operating in here until the 1970s, when the operation was moved.

Wagon Repair Shops 1 and 2

The original Wagon Repair Shop was a brick building constructed in February 1889. By 1932 it is noted as the fitting Shop with two roads running its length, and a long repair pit shown to each road. A 90' extension was proposed for the building about 1940, but this does not seem to have gone ahead. By 1960 the building was noted as the Wagon Repair Shop. This building was demolished in June 1984.

Westinghouse Brake Shop

The Westinghouse Brakes Shop was constructed before 1932. For many years, Westinghouse was the only brand of braking system used for locomotives and rolling stock, hence the building's name. However in recent years, a second brand was also used, and it too was overhauled in this shop.

Breakdown Shed

The Breakdown Shed was constructed between 1940 and 1960. It housed the 20 ton breakdown truck which was full of equipment for assistance to breakdowns and derailments until the 1990s. The breakdown gang would travel west to Pentland as well as north and south.

Bosh/White Metal Shop

Possibly constructed in 1930. Originally used for Bosh, which was a bath of caustic soda with steam running through, which was used for cleaning parts before they were to be repaired. White metal was a low friction metal coating put onto a curved brass block which was the bearing system. This block sat in the axle box, which had oil-soaked wool in its base to oil the axel. If the bearing was not a good fit, the friction would ignite the wool.

Running Shed

Constructed about 1944. Here, damage parts were cut off wagons and carriages to prepare them for entering the Workshops.

Signal Cabin 'A'

This cabin was constructed prior to 1932. At this time, it was shown as having 12 levers. It controlled access to the North Yard Workshops. Also, at this time, to the south-west of the cabin are shown geometric garden plots running parallel to Flinders Street. To the south-west of the gardens was the overhead bridge also built before 1932, perhaps in 1899. This crossed the railway lines to connect to a bridge over the river. This bridge was destroyed in cyclone Althea in the 1970s.


By 1932, there were 3 small buildings inside the main gates. The nearest and smallest was the Ambulance Cabin, and the other two noted as 'Checks'. By 1960 only the largest was shown, and labelled 'Office' or 'Ambulance Office'. There are presently two chamferboards buildings located in this position. The building closest to the entry was the Stores Distributor's Office. He would check stores arriving at the yards, and send them to the relevant shop. The second of the two small huts was the First Aid Attendant's Room.

Canteen, Store and Office

The canteen was built in 1945 and opened a week before the end of World War II. It probably replaced Railway Institute Dining Room (probably the former Chief Engineer's Office 1886) which had been next to the Motor Shop. The Canteen, Store and Office could all have been built about the same time, and were all existing by 1960. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, the 'Railway Institute' as it was then known became on the well-known public dance halls of Townsville.

Strong Room

The Strong Room was built prior to 1932. It may have been associated with the Chief Engineer'' Office built in 1886, which was a rectangular timber building with encircling verandah. A building of this form was shown as the Railway Institute Dining Room by 1932, adjacent but not connected to the Strong Room on its north-east side. This Dining Room was replaced by the Canteen constructed at the end of World War Two. In 1932, the Strong Room had a Fibre Store connected to the rear, and to the south-west, in front of the Machine Shop was a Bandstand. The Townsville Railway Band were Queensland Champions in 1918-20 and 1930. By 1960, the bandstand had been demolished.

Bicycle Shed

By 1932, there were two Bicycle Sheds of similar size on either side of the entrance gates. By the 1960s, the south-western shed had been removed. The present bicycle Shed was constructed after 1960. The earlier sheds had included timber slats to stand the bikes in. During the 1930s when the yards were at their peak, most of the 1000 workers at the yards travelled by bicycle. Traffic in Flinders Street would be stopped at finishing time to allow the wave of bicycles to leave the yards.


Possibly constructed about 1930. Building No.33 Possibly constructed about 1936.

Electrical Substation

Constructed during the 1960s, possibly in 1967. There was previously a small office constructed in this location before 1932.

Schedules Office

The Schedules Office was constructed after 1980. Here schedules were prepared for the carriages and wagons entering the workshops. It was the centre for the computer network of the yards, connected to terminals in each of the shops. It is now known as the Workshop Development Office. The WC was constructed before 1960. There was a similar sized WC shown next to the Strong Room in 1932.

Refrigeration Workshop

The existing building is part of the former Refrigeration Workshops. The building once extended towards the east, where a concrete slab remains. In this workshop service and repairs were done on train air-conditioners, water coolers, building air-conditioners and refrigerated containers. The workmen here wore white overalls and this shop was commonly known as "ice-cream factory". The hole in the north-east side, which resembles a servery, once contained louvres.

Toilet Block

A small WC is shown as being in this position by 1932. The present block was constructed before 1960.

Amenities Block

The Amenities Block was constructed during the 1960s. It currently has a lunch room and training areas on the upper level, and lockers and change rooms on the lower level.


The Townsville Railway Station and North Yard Railway Workshops complex is located about 1km to the south-west of the Flinders Mall, at the western end of Flinders Street. It presently consists of the Railway Station buildings and some eight workshops, and a series of ancillary buildings, all arranged in rectilinear formation. The site, running between Flinders Street and Ross Creek, is largely flat.

Buildings and elements on the site include:

Townsville Railway Station

The Townsville Railway Station is an asymmetrical building of the Federation period. Two principal materials, brick and stucco, have been used to create contrasting colour and texture in the facade. The long rectangular building has a hip roof with two gables at the front marking the administrative and platform entrances. Balustraded verandahs span the front facade on the second and third levels.

The front and eastern side of the building on the ground floor is shaded by an awning supported by magnificent iron brackets. The ticket hall remains in its original state with tiles on the floor and walls, together with the roll of honour board commemorating the railway employees who died during the 1914-1918 war. Internally, very little of the original structure remains.

The women's toilet, although repainted, still has a pressed metal ceiling. The original colour can be seen in a small piece of ceiling hidden behind a partition in the foyer of the toilet. A square stairwell with stick balustrading is still intact, as are the french doors with glass fanlights which open onto the verandahs of the upper levels.

Machine Shop

The Machine Shop is a long rectangular building measuring approximately 14m x 77m, running parallel to Flinders Street. It is on the north-western side of the complex, with other workshop buildings adjacent at either end. It is still in use as a workshop, and contains a variety of engineering machines. The building has a gabled corrugated iron roof with a steeply pitched vented lantern running its length and a lower pitch to the remainder of the roof. Visible changes in the roof sheeting are the result of damage sustained during Cyclone Althea in 1971.

Most of the long side walls of the building are adjustable steel louvres with awnings and panels over of translucent fibreglass. Both ends of the building have walls clad with corrugated iron.

Blacksmith's Shop

The larger Blacksmiths' Shop measures about 12.2 x 99.0m. Immediately to south-west of the Machine Shop is the former Blacksmiths' Shop, which was built in the early 1920's and extended in 1937. It too is framed in timber with a corrugated iron gabled roof, penetrated by brick chimneys. Its walls are partly clad in timber and corrugated iron. It contains 8 brick forges, now disused, and several other pieces of machinery including steam hammers and a drill, on a gravel floor. Only the north-eastern end of the building is still in use. To the north and west of the Blacksmith's Shop are three small timber buildings. Two of which are clustered together inside the present gateway. These are clad in chamfer boards, with corrugated iron gabled roofs and metal window hoods.

Motor Shop (Building No 38)

The Motor Shop is a long rectangular building framed in timber, with both the gabled roof and walls clad with corrugated iron. The roof is framed with clear span Queen-post trusses at about 3.7m centres with knee braces and posts. The floor of the building is lined with concrete. The north west elevation addressing Flinders Street has a continuous bank of timber louvres to the upper part of the wall under the eaves. Below are horizontally pivoting timber windows with 6 pane sashes. The north eastern end elevation has two pairs of sliding corrugated iron doors.

Tender Shop

The two sheds are framed with curved Warren Girder steel trusseson timber posts. They have open ends, and side walls partially enclosed with corrugated iron. The floor is concrete. The gable-roofed link has walls of timber battens dividing it from the sheds. Each shed measures about 45.9 x 15.35m, and the overall width of the two sheds and the link is about 45.9 x 35.95m.

Carpenters' Shop

The Carpenters Workshop is a long rectangular building with timber framing and corrugated iron gabled roof. The walls are clad in corrugated iron with metal louvres. The north-western side has a timber gabled frame roof, with the south-western side roof by a lean-to extension. The building measures about 16.32 x 42.8m, with an addition of 6.55m to the length.

Boiler/Wheel Shop

A large rectangular building, and taller than the other pre-war workshop buildings. It is framed in steel with curved Warren girder roof trusses with flat bottom chords. It is a clear span single space. On the south-western side, it has buttress timber frames supporting the external wall. The building measures about 19.75 x 78.55m plus a small extension.

Garage and Motor Store

The Motor Store is a long narrow single storey building, with timber framing and a gabled roof. The roof and walls are clad in corrugated iron, with come areas of batten walls and mesh gates. The building measures about 24.8 x 8.3m.

Wagon Repair Shops 1 and 2

The Wagon Repair Depot Stage II is a very large building with a steel frame and walls clad in metal deck, with louvred windows. The brick cairn is some 13 courses high, at the western corner of the new building, with one plaque explaining the bricks and the old repair shed, and the other for the opening of the new shed.

Westinghouse Brake Shop

The building measures about 18.15 x 12.45m.

Breakdown Shed

The garage is located between the Canteen and the Machine Shop. It is constructed of timber framing and a concrete floor. The gabled roof and walls are clad in corrugated iron walls and gabled roof. There is a pair of wire mesh gate to south-western end. The building measures 6.1 x 12.3m.

Spring Shop

The Spring Shop measures about 9.15 x 24.8m.

Bosh/White Metal Shop

The Bosh is a building small in plan, but tall. It has a timber frame. It measures about 6.4 x 10.35m.

Running Shed

A long narrow building with steel framing, a lean-to corrugated iron roof, a concrete floor and open sides.

Signal Cabin 'A'

It is an elevated timber-framed cabin with a gabled roof. It is accessed by a timber stair. Clad in chamferboard. An elevated timber gangway was for communication with the drivers.


The second of the two has an interesting construction of an airspace between the roof sheeting and the boarded ceiling.

Canteen, Store and Office

The Canteen, Store and Office are all rectangular single-storey timber framed buildings, with hipped corrugated fibro roofs, and low-set on concrete stumps. They are connected by timber landings, the between the Office and Canteen being enclosed.

Strong Room

The Strong Room is constructed of a concrete floor, walls and roof. It measures about 4.14m wide x 5.35m long. There is a setdown to the perimeter of the roof, with threaded bars projecting vertically, which may have been for connection to timber framing. The external walls suggest the formwork used was 185mm horizontal boards. Entry to the building is through a riveted steel door, about 2130 x 760mm. Internally, along both side walls are banks of riveted fixed steel shelves. The concrete slab surrounding the bunker is in several parts, and in total measures about 16.7 x 13.93m overall.

Bicycle Shed

The shed is constructed from steel-rail posts, and timber roof and wall framing. The skillion roof and wall facing the Flinders Street are clad in corrugated iron. The floor is concrete. The shed is divided into 11 bays. The posts are 85mm light gauge rails, apart from the centre post which is 110mm. The shed is about 26.85m long and 1.95m wide with an overhang of 900mm.


Building 11 is located behind the Bosh. The building measures about 7.35 x 9.25m. Building 33 is located next to the Electrical Substation (No. 32). The building measures about 4.9 x 11.3m with an addition of 3.35 x 3.32m.

Electrical Substation

The Electrical Substation is a two-storey brick building with a corrugated fibro roof and a concrete floor. The building measures about 10.82 x 5.66m. A change in colour of the bricks at about the mid-height of the walls suggest it may have been a single storey, and a second level was added to hold larger equipment.

Schedules Office

The Schedules Office is a single storey concrete block structure with a flat metal deck roof. It measures about 11 x 11m. In the western corner is a WC framed in timber and clad in 125mm chamferboards, beaded internally. It contains two cubicles, a urinal with a pull-chain flush, a basin and a store room.

Refrigeration Shop

The Garage and Motor Store is a small timber-framed building with its gabled roof and walls clad in corrugated iron. It measures about 6.15 x 6.1m. It is located beside the Toilet Block. To the north-eastern end wall is a servery-type opening which occupies most of the wall. The south-western part of the interior is an office enclosed by fibro partitions.

Toilet Block

The Toilet Block is a rectangular building, framed in timber with a corrugated iron skillion roof, concrete floor and clad in 125mm chamferboards. It measures about 3.1 x 8.1m. It is located between the Loco Store and the Garage and Motor Store. The internal walls and partitions are lined with flat fibro sheet. There are 7 cubicles along the north-western wall, with a urinal and a basin at the end.

Amenities Block

The Amenities Block is a two storey brick building with concrete framing and a low pitched corrugated fibro roof. The building measures about 9.05 x 21.38m. It is located behind the eastern corner of the Boiler Shop.

Image gallery


Location of Townsville Railway Station and North Yards Railway Workshops within Queensland
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last reviewed
1 July 2022
Last updated
20 January 2016
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