Yass - the jewel of the Canberra Region

Yass was centre stage to the goldfield sagas as they unfolded throughout the 1850s and 60s. As a major outpost on the main southern road, keeping this artery intact and relatively safe for gold escorts was a major part of the life of the town from as early as 1853.


With a proud heritage connection to early rural Australia, a modern and well renowned food and wine scene, touring around Yass Valley is an experience not to be missed and sure to amaze the young and the young at heart as you explore the regions towns and villages.

You’ll detect echoes of Australian history in haunts of the highwaymen and bush poets like Banjo Paterson and walk in the footsteps of great explorer Hamilton Hume.

Yass is a charming and vibrant town with landscaped streets and restored heritage buildings offering a proud connection to early rural Australia.

Take in the majestic proportions of the impressive courthouse, the exceptional gothic public school building, the steepled St Clements Anglican Church, the unusual 1871 Methodist Church and St Augustine’s Catholic Church.

The Globe Inn was the office for the Telegraphic Line of American Coaches – Cobb & Co and once the town’s finest hotel.

Stroll through the Riverbank Park with contemporary Aboriginal murals and take a walk through the town’s cemetery and discover the grave of Hamilton Hume.

Yass Railway Museum features the mighty black 1307 Steam locomotive that was the mainstay of the state railway system, in service for nearly 95 years. There’s also a Vulcan locomotive and a romantic open-ended 1908 platform carriage along with other rolling stock, station and railway buildings. The station boasts the shortest platform in Australia!

Around the villages of Murrumbateman, Gundaroo and Wallaroo, there’s a vibrant food and wine scene which is easy to find along the self-guided Poacher’s Way.

In historic Binalong, visit the resting place of the bushranger Johnny Gilbert who died here on 13 May 1865 and is buried on the then police horse paddock located 1km west of the town on the Harden Road.

Natural attractions around the Yass Valley include Carey’s Cave, Burrinjuck Dam and the Hume and Hovell Walking Track.


Yass was an important administrative centre (as the imposing new Court House, 1880 attests). Its troopers and magistrates policed the heady days of gold rush as far away as Young and it was a major rural centre of SW NSW.

Early gold deliveries were challenging for law enforcement in southern NSW. Getting the gold safely from the Ovens Field beyond Albury up to Sydney was a major problem.

The scale of the challenge increased dramatically with the development of the rich goldfields around Young and Forbes in the early 1860s and the resulting rise of the bushranger gangs lead by Frank Gardiner, Johnny Gilbert and Ben Hall.

While only small gold finds were made in Yass Valley at Bookham, Murrumbateman and Wee Jasper, strikes at nearby Lambing Flat and Kiandra made Yass the main stopover for travellers headed to the diggings and the town did well from selling supplies and also valuing and weighing the precious nuggets

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Things to do in Yass

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Key Highlights

  • Summerside Festival in February
  • Wine Harvest Festival in April
  • Fireside Festival in August
  • Sculpture in the Paddock in September
  • Turning Wave Festival in September
  • Gundaroo Music Festival in October
  • Murrumbateman Field Days in October
  • Dragon Dreaming Festival in October
  • Classic Yass in November

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Things to do in Yass

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