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From the beginning of European settlement in Yass the development of the district has been tied to national and even international events.

Since the late 1830s the main route from Sydney south to Melbourne, passed through the town ensuring its importance as a place of commerce and as the centre of the extensive Catholic and Anglican parishes. Yass became the place where families and friends from outlying areas assembled for the big events in life – baptisms, marriages and funerals in the local churches.

Passing travellers and overlanders stopped seeking food, shelter and water before continuing their journeys – some travelling as far as Victoria and South Australia. Settlers from the outer districts came to Yass once or twice a year for their supplies. Their stay in the town added to the coffers of the makeshift stores and the inns, whose owners in time prospered and built permanent premises – some of these are still part of the Yass streetscape.

Four year old Mary McGrath unveilingthe Euralie Honour Roll at the local school, July 1918. [YDHS Inc]

For many years the economic wellbeing of the district rested squarely on the back of the fine wool industry but in recent years diverse agricultural and farming endeavors, as well as light industries, have gained in importance. Its proximity to Canberra has contributed to the expansion of the town and the villages as commuters seek an alternative lifestyle. Yass, once heavily promoted as the most desirable site for the national capital, can be said to have the best of both worlds – a rural town with all the benefits of the nearby National Capital!

Further reading

The following is a list of publications that relate to the Yass district and its inhabitants. Some publications are long out of print but are available from libraries through the inter-library loan system. Those that the society has available for purchase, are listed on our Publications page.

 Burrinjuck Dam Workers employed in the construction phase

a decent set of girls'; the Irish Famine Orphans of the Thomas Arbuthnot 1849-1850.

Richard Reid and Cheryl Mongan, Yass Heritage Project, Yass, 1996, 1997

Binalong: Beyond the limits

Rev Brian Maher, self published, 2003.

Boorowa: over 160 years of White Settlement

Helen V Lloyd, Tovelaom Pty Ltd, Panania, 1990

Currency Lad: the story of Hamilton Hume and the Explorers

R H Webster, Ginninderra Press, 1999

Early Days of Yass: Mary Yeo JP, Yass historian

P R Bindon & A J MacQuillan (eds), Yass, 2017

Echoes of Irish Australia: Rebellion to Republic

Jeff Brownrigg, Cheryl Mongan & Richard Reid (eds), Galong, 2007

Far Away Days, a history of the Murrumbateman, Jeir and Nanima districts

Dorothy Mulholland, Murrumbateman Old School Grounds Committee, 1995.

From a little acorn, a history and genealogy of the Davis family of Gounyan

Beryl May Pittman, Davis of Gounyan Family Society, 1989.

Dutton Street seen from the intersection with Meehan Street before the erection of Mount Carmel Convent, 1870. [YDHS Inc]

Irish Gold: a tale of two pioneer families

The Robert Lehane, Ginninderra Press, 2002

Lang's Creek Anglican Cemetery, Boorowa NSW 1845-1988

Jill Hodgson, self published, 2004.

Looking Back: My Story: Eric Bernard Bell OAM

Tony MacQuillan (ed), Privately published, 2011.

Memories of Yass Mission: St Augustine's Parish, Yass NSW Sesquicentenary 1838-1988

Rev Brian Maher, St Augustine's Sesquicentenary Committee, 1988.

Mount Carmel Centenary 1875-1975

Historical Committee, Centenary Celebrations Committee, Yass, 1975.

My Dear Mother: a letter from a soldier after Gallipoli

Roy Denning, Yass & District Historical Society Inc, 1998.

News and Gossip of Old Yass: compiled and written by James Richard Mallyon

James Richard Mallyon, Robin Butt (ed), privately published, 2009

Reids Flat: on the banks of the Lachlan

Helen V Lloyd, John & David Lloyd, Panania, 1999.

St Andrew's Church, Yass, Centenary 2006

Brian Carruthers, St Andrew's Uniting Church, 2006

An unidentified group possibly assembled in celebration of St Patrick's Day. [YDHS Inc]

St Clementine's Anglican Women of Yass 1838-1988

Dot Greenwood and Jane Nauta, Anglican Women's Diocesan Council, 1988.

Talks with a Fork,

various authors, Yass and District Historical Society, Yass, 2001.

The Explorers' Country Kitchen

Ruby Brown and Marion McCarthy, self published, Yass, 1986

The Merryville Type: How excellence bred brilliance

David Moeller, Lexington Avenue Press, 2001

'The very dawn of settlement' surveyed from Galong Cemetery

Max Barrett, CSSR, self published, 2006

We have not forgotten': Yass and district's war 1914-1918

Cheryl Mongan & Richard Reid, Milltown Research & Publications, 1998.

Where were they and what were they doing in 1872: a story of the Hannan, Kelleher, Madigan, Greenwood, Watson, Hynes and Hallam families in the colony of New South Wales

Myles Hannan, Triple D Books, 2007

Yass Municipal Centenary History

William A Bayley, Municipality of Yass, Yass, 1973

Yass Lodge Concord No 27: 150 years 1860-2010

A J MacQuillan & VW Peter Bindon DGIA, Yass Lodge Concord, 2010

Numbers of articles mentioning individuals, groups, places, and events have been published in our journal Boongaroon – a keyword-searchable index available.