Lawson heritage at risk

A significant piece of Lawson’s rail history could be knocked down in the near future.

Bluey Quilty and Colin Steele outside the old station master’s residence.

Bluey Quilty and Colin Steele outside the old station master’s residence.

Sydney Trains has applied to the heritage division of the Office of Environment and Heritage to demolish the former Lawson station master’s residence, built in 1896.

The demolition is part of Sydney Trains’ upgrade to Lawson Station depot, which is “part of ongoing maintenance improvements across the Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink networks”, a Sydney Trains spokesman said.

A spokesperson from the Office of Environment and Heritage said the Sydney Trains application was for the construction of a depot building, associated landscaping and car parking, which included demolition of the former station master’s residence.

Local train enthusiast Colin Steele and historian Bluey Quilty had heard the old residence was earmarked for demolition in the near future and were disgusted.

“This is one of the last original elements of the days when Lawson was a railway town,” Mr Steele said.

Train drivers would pull up at Lawson’s level station to take on water, clean out the fires and stop for refreshments, he said. The homestead was used until the mid-1990s when it was abandoned due to cracking in the brickwork thought to have been caused by vibrations from major trackwork.

“They should get a heritage grant and renovate it,” Mr Steele said. “Why can’t it be saved as part of Lawson’s history as a railway town?”

Mr Quilty said he he would like to see the entire Lawson Railway Depot restored, re-occupied and opened for tourism.

The pair, who are part of the Association of Concerned Mid-Mountains Residents group, felt the proposal was not advertised well and the community not reasonably consulted.

A notice outlining the proposed demolition of the residence was placed in the Lawson Station waiting room, which was not regularly frequented by passengers, instead of on the platform where it would have been more easily seen, Mr Steele said.

As a result, he did not see the proposal until after the public comment period had closed.

The Sydney Trains spokesperson said the proposal had been advertised in metropolitan papers and the Blue Mountains Gazette, but the Gazette could find no evidence of the most recent local advertisement.

Lawson Railway Station is on the State Heritage Register.

The heritage division is currently considering Sydney Trains' application.

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