Gatekeeper’s Cottage, 169-181 Great Western Hwy
Please take care when approaching or in the vicinity of this site. There are no or minimal footpaths on the approach to this property and nowhere close to park safely. It is situated on the Great Western Hwy with trucks and cars passing close by at speed. It may not be appropriate to take children to this site.
Built in 1868, cottages for gatekeepers beside level crossings were once quite common along the highway in the Blue Mountains, but only six of the original twelve remain and only four of them are habitable and on their original sites. Steam trains had right of way.
The Mount Victoria gatekeeper’s cottage has retained much of its architectural integrity, interestingly laid out gardens and its spatial relationship to the railway. However it is severely compromised by the raising of the road to its roof level to form the approach to the bridge which replaced the level crossing. It has local significance, particularly in relation to the nearby tollhouse and Mount Victoria Village.
The narrowness of the transport corridor across the Blue Mountains made it necessary for the railway in the 1860s to cross the existing road at frequent intervals. Some crossings were bridges, but twelve level crossings staffed by a resident gatekeeper were necessary. The Mount Victoria cottage was rendered redundant in 1902 when track duplication called for a new bridge, so, like the other habitable cottages it is now privately owned.
Its historical significance is quite high on a local level as a fairly rare example of what was once a more common signifier of the relationship of road and rail from 1868 to 1902. The way in which the road was built up above the cottage to reach the 1902 bridge has however severely altered the cottages relationship to the road.
The design of the gatehouses is a simple cottage form with gothic details including the steeply sloping gabled roofs with decorative fretwork barge boards, narrow windows and stone walls, making the gatehouses a picturesque form in the landscape. All the remaining gatehouses that are visible from the highway are local landmarks.
(Following information from 1999) Of the gatehouses which survive in their original location, Mount Victoria gatekeeper’s cottage perhaps has the clearest example of a garden which relates to its use as a gatehouse and adds to the picturesque nature of its setting, with stone terraces and a path leading to the railway line where the gates for the level crossing were located. The garden is enclosed on the southern side by a stone wall with gothic detailing and a palisade gate.
Please respect the privacy of the occupants.
This page is part of the Great Places project about places in Mount Victoria. Each place in Mount Victoria will, one day, have its own page where its story can be told.
This might be historical information, photos or more recent or current information. It can be about people who have lived at or been associated with this place, links to articles or information about the structures on the property.
Places with a sign that has a QR code can be scanned into a smart phone. The QR is connected to a web page like this one with more information about the property for a self guided tour of Mount Victoria.
Lot/Section/Deposited Plan L 2 DP 209434
Lot/Section/Deposited Plan L 1 DP 193488
Lot/Section/Deposited Plan L 1 DP 256358