Exterior view of Central Station including Central Station Clock Tower.

Central Station Clock Tower. Photo (c) Simon Freeman

Central Station Clock Tower Climb

Focus Tour - Saturday 2 November





Walter Liberty Vernon, NSW Government Architect

Additional architects

Otto Cserhalmi (2011-2012, Clock Tower restoration)

The Central Station Clock Tower has kept Sydney running on time for nearly 100 years. Designed to be an imposing structure, at 85 metres high it is taller than Sydney’s other notable clock towers at Town Hall (55m) and the GPO (80m). The clock faces were so visible over the city it became colloquially known as ‘the working man’s watch’.

Central Station is one of Sydney’s major landmarks and heritage icons. The clock tower was constructed as part of the second phase of building, and ticked into Sydney’s urban experience on 3 March 1921, 15 years after the station opened. Due to the shortage of steel at the time, reinforced concrete was used to construct the tower’s shaft. The exterior was faced with sandstone and adorned with detailing consistent with the rest of Central Station.

Since 1921 the clock tower has undergone two major restoration projects, one in the 1980s and the second in 2011–12. Heritage architect Otto Cserhalmi undertook the 2011–12 restoration.

Tour experience

Visitors will be able to access areas of the tower not normally open to the public. They will take a journey through railway time by climbing up the clock tower via the main wraparound staircase, then climbing further up two small spiral staircases and finally up a ladder to reach the top of the tower. Once there, they will be dwarfed by the four giant clock faces and get a close-up view of the original clock mechanism, which is still in place.

Along the way, guests will enjoy breathtaking open-air views across south Sydney while learning about the history of Central Station, the conservation of the clock tower, and how the railways brought standardised time to NSW.


Sydney Trains Heritage Specialists.

  • Photograph taken from Central Station Clock Tower looking east over Sydney.
  • Photograph taken from inside Central Station Clock Tower, looking behind the clock face.
  • Photograph taken inside Central Station Clock Tower looking at the spiral staircase

Key information

Session duration

60 mins


This tour has a capacity of 10 people per session.

Visitor requirements

Guests need to arrive 10 minutes before their tour start time, latecomers cannot join the tour and there are no refunds if you miss your tour.

Guests must be 18 years or over to participate.

All guests must be able bodied and physically fit. The clock tower is accessible by stairs only (approximately 270 steps) and is in a secure back-of-house location. Climbing a steel ladder is also required. This tour is not suitable for people with pre-existing medical conditions, disabilities, vertigo, dizziness, fear of heights, fear of confined spaces or balance problems.

Guests will be required to participate in a safety induction prior to the tour and agree to the conditions of entry (this will be provided in advance of the tour date).

Sensible clothing and flat footwear is required: people wearing sandals, thongs and high heel shoes will not be permitted to take the tour.

Only bring essential items as secure storage is limited. Your items may be inspected during the induction for security purposes. Sydney Trains and Sydney Living Museums bear no responsibility for personal items lost, damaged or stolen.

Photography is permitted at particular points along the tour.

Public toilets are available in the main concourse of Central Station.


to know

  • Photography restricted
    Photography is permitted at particular points along the tour.

  • Toilets available

  • Food & drink available