Lilyvale Railway Station 1st & 2nd – Closed
Lilyvale is a beautiful and picturesque area that lies on the southern edges of the Royal National Park. Nestled in between Helensburgh to the north and Otford to the south. Lilyvale has several tributaries flowing through to the Hacking River named Gardiner’s Creek and Hamilton’s Creek (also known as Cedar Gully).
The earliest records show that Lilyvale had been used for grazing in the 1920’s, but it wasn’t until the rail line came that things really started to change. A rail link to Sydney was required, as the southern coal fields and extensive farming needing swift transportation to the city. Around the 1880’s was the time the gangers moved into the area to continue the work of constructing the rail line. The gangers would setup camps along the line as they worked, and would leave their temporary camps as the line progressed south. Camp Creek (Helensburgh), was one camp that grew and became more permanent when a drilling team consisting of Messrs, James Fletcher, John Coghlan and Charles Harper, struck coal in Camp Gully in 1883-84.
The rail line reached Lilyvale and Bulgo (Otford) and Stanwell Park in 1885, but was still under construction till late September 1888. The Grand Opening of the Illawarra Line was held on the Wednesday, 3rd October 1888. On the 1st of October 1889, and some 50kms from Sydney, the official opening of the Lilydale Railway Station, (yes… Lilydale) was born. Later that same year the station would be renamed Lilyvale. Lilyvale’s train station was constructed at the southern end of the Lilyvale No.2 tunnel (closed).
With the departure of the railway gangers, the camps/villages that remained took on a quieter existence. In the early 1900’s, Lilyvale’s population supported its own shops and a hotel, and regular church services were also attended. Little change for several years until it became necessary to construct the duplication of the rail line due severe line congestion, and the steep 1 in 40 grade. Once again, the rail gangers returned for the construction of the deviation.
The original Lilyvale Station was constructed from local timbers, not far from the southern end of the Lilyvale No.2 tunnel (closed), and was closed on the 30th May 1915 and eventually demolished.
The second Lilyvale Station was built in its place some 50m further south of the original station and opened the same time of the deviation; 30th May 1915. A bridge across the new double alignment (deviation) was constructed earlier in time on the 9th March 1891 at the end of Lilyvale Road; this went over the older single alignment before the deviation.
I remember as a kid in the early 80’s going train hopping on Saturday mornings between Waterfall and Wollongong… one thing that struck me vividly was the train stopping at Lilyvale, not once did I see anyone get on or off; it was a ghost station. I had rode my motorbike over the overbridge a few times before it was demolished for the electrification of the line in the early 1980’s.
The 2nd Lilyvale Railway Station closed on Christmas Day 1983 with no traces of the Lilyvale Stations or overbridge existing today. I search exhaustively to locate any remains of the overbridge but could not find any evidence. Both Lilyvale single line rail tunnels still exist. More on Lilyvale’s tunnels. For more information about Lilyvale’s history visit: Lilyvale – The Almost Forgotten.
Lilyvale Station 1st & 2nd.
Opened: 1st October 1889
Closed: 25th December 1983
Photo was taken by myself on the 22nd October 2009. Power Sub-station in the distance is the approximate site of the 1st Lilyvale Railway Station.
Images/Photos, and Article © Ian Piggott 2016 – all rights reserved,