New South Wales, Australia

Location of Yass in New South Wales (red)
Population: 5,333 (2006 Census)
Established: 1837
Postcode: 2582
LGA: Yass Valley Council
State District: Burrinjuck
Federal Division: Hume
YassCourt House

Yass Court House designed by Colonial Architect, James Barnet. The building was officially opened in 1880

Yass is a town in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales, Australia in Yass Valley Shire. The name appears to have been derived from an Aboriginal word, "Yarrh" (or "Yharr"), said to mean 'running water'.

Yass is located about 280 km southwest of Sydney, on the Hume Highway. The Yass River, which is a tributary of the Murrumbidgee River, flows past the town. Yass is 56km from Canberra.

Yass has an impressive and historic main street, with well-preserved 19th century verandah post pubs (mostly converted to other uses). It is popular with tourists, some from Canberra and others taking a break from the Hume Highway.

The Pride of Erin Festival and Yass Show are held in March and the Yass Arts-and-Crafts Festival in November.


Yass races, March 1936 Sam Hood from The State Library of New South Wales

Jockeys prepare for the Yass Races, in 1936

Hume Bridge Yass

Hume Bridge over Yass River

In 1821 the Yass area was discovered by Europeans, (an expedition led by Hamilton Hume)[1] and by 1830 settlement had begun. It was founded where the nascent Sydney to Melbourne road crossed water in the form of the Yass River.

Yass was incorporated as a District Council in 1843, and boasted a population of 274 by 1848. On 13 March 1873, the Municipal District of Yass was created, and James Cottrell was subsequently elected as the first Mayor of Yass.

One of Australia's best-known poets, A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson arrived in the district in 1871 aged 7, passed his childhood in the district and later bought a property in the Wee Jasper area so that his children could experience country life. Poet and priest Patrick Hartigan (pen name: John O'Brien) was born near Yass in 1878 and he studied at the local convent school as a youth.

Sir Walter Merriman established 'Merryville' one of the country's most famous sheep studs and arguably its leading fine-wool establishment in 1903. Yass is a prominent area for raising sheep which produce very fine wool due to the soil and climatic conditions of the Yass area.

Yass was one of the sites proposed for the Federal Capital after 1901.

Railways at Yass Edit

Yass Tram Dutton Street

Disused railway in Dutton Street

Yass River rail bridge 2

Yass River Railway Bridge

Yass was later a battleground between the town and the Sydney to Melbourne railway; because of the topography the New South Wales Government Railways wanted to bypass the town by a few kilometres. Naturally, the people of the town wished the railway to pass closer or through it. In 1892, a light railway or tram was built to connect Yass Junction on the main line and Yass Town.[2] [3] This line is now unused.

Yass had the nearest railway station on the Sydney Melbourne railway to serve the national capital at Canberra.

When the uniform gauge railway between Sydney and Melbourne opened in 1961, the parliamentarian deserving most of the credit - William Charles Wentworth - was unable to leave parliament since his vote was needed in an almost hung parliament. Instead of catching the inaugural train at Sydney, he had to catch it at Yass Junction, where it made a special stop.

St Augustines Edit


St Augustines Catholic Church, Meehan Street Yass, 1956 by Architect, John Fowell

St Augustine's Parish Yass began in 1838 with the laying of the foundation stone of the church now called the Chapel.

A striking modernist new building (the 'big' church) was begun in 1954 under the eye of the then Bishop Young, later Archbishop of Hobart. The architect for the church was architects Fowell Mansfield and Maclurcan of Sydney. The builder was James Wallace of 123 Sussex St Sydney.

There are important works of art by renowned Australian sculptor Tom Bass in the Church:

  • the crucifix on the outside
  • the crucifix on the rear doors
  • the statue of St Paul and
  • the recently installed low-relief of St Augustine near the front door.

The foundation stone of the new church was laid on 11 April 1954 by Archbishop Eris O'Brien and the church was opened on 29 April 1956, by Archbishop Guilford Young.

Fifty year celebrations were organised on 29 April 2006 by Father Laurie Bent.


  1. ^ LocalHero. "Local history of Yass".,_new_south_wales/. 
  2. ^ "Yass Branch". Retrieved 2006-12-12. 
  3. ^ The Story of the Yass Town Branch Line Pollard, N.J. Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, November, 1975 pp249-272


External linksEdit

Coordinates: 34°49′S 148°54′E / -34.817, 148.9

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Yass, New South Wales. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.

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