Train to Kiama and back: 6 – Dunmore or Shellharbour



The train pauses here as the line from here on is a single track. My father was born in Shellharbour in 1911 and my mother and father married there in 1935.

The history of the station and the line may be found at Dunmore (Shellharbour) Railway Station and Residence.

The township of Shellharbour was laid out in 1851 around the port of Shellharbour, on the Peterborough Estate. Shellharbour (Municipal) Council was constituted on 4 June 1859 and the chambers, built in 1865 was located in Addison Street, Shellharbour. Dunmore had a post office in 1890. The Council relocated to Albion Park in 1897, coinciding with the decline of Shellharbour (Village) and the growth of Albion Park as a lucrative beef and dairy cattle district. (Our History page on

The Illawarra railway line from Wollongong to Scarborough was opened as an isolated line on 21st June 1887 with an extension to Bombo (North Kiama) from Wollongong opened on 9th November 1887. Finally on 3rd October 1888 the connection to the northern Sydney section was made. An extension of the line from Bombo south to Bomaderry was completed in 1893.
Dunmore (Shellharbour) Railway Station was in the section of the line opened in November 1887. The awningless Platform 2 building is original (1887), the Out-of-room (aka old milk shed) was constructed in 1891 and extended in 1908. The signal box was constructed in 1925 (plans dated 19.12.1925).

The 1887 Dunmore (Shellharbour) Station Master’s residence is a relatively early brick example of the J2 design Station Master’s residence, having been constructed in 1887 prior to the issue of the series of standard plans by the office of Henry Deane (Engineer-in-Chief for Railways Construction 1891-1901) for these buildings in 1899. Though Henry Deane was acting in this position from 1889 (after the retirement of John Whitton, Railways Commissioner), due to the 1887 construction date of this Station Master’s residence, association of the design with Henry Deane is uncertain.

Plans dated 1907 show the railway station with (from south to north) a Gatekeeper’s cottage (no longer extant) at the Shellharbour Road level crossing; platform with ramps at each end and a ramp north of the platform building; a milk shed; platform building with water tank at south end; lamp room and separate WC (toilet) building; cattle yards to the northeast of the platform building; and the Station Master’s residence with underground water tank to the northeast of the station.

In 1923 a small line was linked to the main line at Dunmore (Shellharbour) Station to allow the blue metal quarry at Dunmore (which had operated since at least c. 1905) to access the rail network. The extra rail traffic generated by this may have given rise to the 1925 refurbishment plans which led to the construction of the signal box and the refurbishment of the 1887 platform building to provide a ladies’ waiting room at the southern end; refurbished central waiting area in the centre (marked on plans as “waiting shed” indicating its open nature); a refurbished room at the northern end of the building for multiple use as Station Master’s office, booking office and parcels office; and an awning roof to connect the Station Master’s office etc. to a doorway into the new 1925 signal box at the southern end of the platform building. Plans dating from 1929 also show proposed additions to the Gatehouse.

Plans dated 1940 with later notations show the station in a similar form to those of 1907, however with the platform extended (notation on platform “Earth filled – Sleeper face – Timber top”); an enlarged milk shed; the earlier WC crossed out (indicating its demolition); the stockyards noted as “recovered 1968” (demolished); and a new ramp to the northeast of the platform building marked “Pioneer Concrete Pty Ltd Siding No. 2 40′ ramp”.

Plans dated 1970 show the Gatekeeper’s cottage no longer extant; the goods siding clearly shown to the east of the platform and platform buildings, with an unloading platform and shed adjacent to the west of the siding; and a gent’s toilet at the northern end of the platform. At this time the platform building is shown with 2 water tanks (one at the southern end, one between the signal box and the platform building) with an internal plan showing (north to south): parcels office, waiting room and ladies toilet.
The goods siding and associated structures have all been removed since 1970.

The residence, seen from the train: