Just outside Sydney Central Station stands a high-quality Gothic structure which commuters pass without a second thought.
From the street, in an area called Chippendale, it’s more obvious and impressive.
It was built as the Necropolis Receiving Station, from where funerals departed by rail to the Rookwood Cemetery out at what was then Haslem’s Creek and is now called Lidcombe.
It was designed in Venetian Gothic style by the Colonial Architect, James Johnstone Barnet (1827-1904), a Scot who worked with the first generation of New South Wales architects – Edmund Thomas Blacket (1817-1883), William Wilkinson Wardell (1823-1899), both English, and the Canadian John Horbury Hunt (1838-1904).
The exceptionally fine carving was the work of Thomas Duckett Jnr (1839-1868) [https://www.daao.org.au/bio/thomas-duckett/biography] and Henry Apperly (1824-1887), both of them born in England.
Funeral trains began operating in April 1867. Passengers were required to buy return tickets, but corpses travelled free.
Though rail-borne funerals practically ended in 1938 and the mortuary station became disused, a service for mourners continued from the main Central platforms through the Second World War until the cemetery railway was closed in 1948.
The station was subsequently renamed Regent Street Station and used to dispatch animals such as dogs and horses, and later as a parcel depot, until in the late 1980s it became an unlikely and ultimately unsuccessful pancake restaurant.
Subsequently it became an even less likely wedding venue.