Yass is a very historic town and I wanted to visit Cooma House but they only open on Sundays now. This is starting to become a common occurrence with museums and the like either only open at very limited times or not at all. Most of these places are run by volunteers and with Covid regulations and restrictions volunteers are getting harder to find and even harder to keep safe.
I went to the information centre and obtained a Town Walk pamphlet and walked around town checking out the old buildings. I got lucky along the way meeting the owner of one of the buildings (see below).
**Most of the buildings descriptions are taken direct from Yass Valley Information Centre pamphlet. I haven’t included every photo of all the buildings listed in the pamphlet.
It said allow one hour but it took me 3 hours
1939 Liberty Theatre seated over 700 patrons and boasted heating and cooling as well as special assistance for hard of hearing clientele. Closed in 1975 it still houses the Yass Repertory Theatre. Currently a committee is working on restoring the building to its former glory.
1869 The Mechanics Institute with the two kangaroos either side of the central pediment housed a substantial subscription library, large dance hall and was the social hub of the town for many years.
1884 The Bank of NSW with the crest above the front was designed by architect Mr Smedley and built by RM Vaughan. Sold to The Rural Bank in 1934 and closed as the State Bank in 1988.
1886 The Australian joint Stock Bank (Westpac) was built in less than 9 months. It was taken over by the Bank of NSW in 1931. Original hitching posts are outside the building.
1907 Triggs Offices were built for businessman Arthur Bryant Triggs to be the central office fir his vast pastoral empire. The building was purchased by the Union Bank (later the ANZ) in 1930
1859 Hart’s Row. These 3 shops were built for Henry Hart of the Royal Hotel and used by many different shops over the years. The central premises were used as the Post Office 1874-1880
1849 The Royal Hotel was built for Henry Hart and is the longest continually licensed hotel premises in Yass. The first telegram received in Yass was received in an upstairs room in the building in 1858.
1842 St Augustines Chapel built as the original Catholic Chirch in Yass and used until 1956. The building was extended in 1857 & 1888 and a tower and spire added. Behind here is the Catholic Presbytery built in 1839 and the second oldest building in Yass. It has been the home of Catholic priests since its construction.
1878 Sisters of Mercy Convent and School built soon after the arrival of the Sisters in 1876. The convent contains its own chapel with exceptional stained glass windows.
The Yass Tram Line opened as a light railway to connect to the main Sydney to Melbourne line in 1892. Passenger services ceased in 1958 and the line was closed to all traffic in 1988.
1910 The Goodradigbee Centre. The Goodradigbee Shire Council began in 1906 and this building was used until 1965. The council amalgamated with the Yass Municipal Council in 1980 to form Yass Shire Council.
1847 The Globe Inn was once used as the venue for meeting, balls, theatrical entertainment and the booking offices for the Telegraph Line of American Covered Coaches. It was one of the largest hotels in Yass until c1880 when it became a boarding house.
This building next to the Globe was actually 3 seperate buildings. The first part was built in 1839 with an additional premise built in 1860. A seperate building (see below picture) was built behind to house printing works. It was originally a seperate building to allow for a fire break but all three buildings were “joined” over the years.
89 year old Mr O’Connor outside his home. His grandfather purchased the properties in 1925. The building is heritage trust listed . Mr O’Connor told me he has plans to seperate the buildings back to how they were originally. There are 27 rooms in the building and he lives there alone. He was a genuine guy who was willing to show me throughout the place but for the fact he was waiting for his lift to Canberra. The black brackets holding up the awning were taken from the old goal at the rear of the police station opposite. The goal was knocked down years ago to make way for undercover parking for the police vehicles. He has lived in Yass all his life and it was a joy to talk to him and learn about the history of the town.
1897 The Police Station was originally used as the gaoler residence for the fully staffed prison which stood at the rear. It was designed by architect James Barnet.
1859 The Southern Store. One of the towns many general stores that traded under many different names.
1880 Yass Courthouse. This building replaced an earlier 1847 Courthouse. It was designed by colonial architect James Barnet and was built at a cost of 15,000 pounds. The courthouse is still in use today.
1837 The Rose Inn. Situated next to the courthouse this is believed to be the oldest remaining building in Yass and was the second hotel to be built in town. It remained a hotel until 1881 and was then used as a doctor’s surgery for many years.
1840 Cobblestone Cottage was built and used as a store and Post Office for BC Harrison an early storekeeper. An addition to the building in 1858, it then housed the Commercial Bank, the first to be opened in Yass. The grassed park next to here was once the original business district of town. After the disastrous flood of 1870 no further building took place and the CBD moved further up the street to higher ground.
2011 Hume Bridge Arches. The two arches on the footbridge were previously used on the old Hume Bridge (1871-1977)
1850 St Clements Anglican Church. Designed by the colonial architect Edmund Blacket, the spire and tower were added several years later and a further addition to the side of the building in 1879. A peal of six bells was hung in 1868 and are still rung regularly. A graveyard at the back of the church was consecrated c1845 and closed 1869
c1842 The Rectory built opposite the church has been the home of the Yass Anglican Ministers since its construction. The building faces Comur Street (the main business street), a common feature in early Yass homes.
Behind the tree is the Courthouse. I took this picture as Mr O’Connor told me the high point of flooding was up to the Orange Maxxis sign on this building.
1862 The Oriental Bank. Built by prominent Yass builder WH Downey, it was the premises of the Australian Joint Stock Bank from 1868-1886. It was then purchased by TP Williamson in 1897 and used as The Times Bakery. Williamson later extended the building and remained there until 1916.
1887 MUIOOF Building. The headquarters for the Manchester Unity Order of Oddfellows Lodge. The upstairs was used as a meeting room for members and social occasions.
1923 Yass Soldiers Memorial Hall was built as a War Memorial to Yass men and women who served in World War 1. It remains a shrine with marble tablets lusting the names of Yass residents from all wars.
1884 Yass Post Office. Postal services began in Yass in 1835, however this is the first building to specifically built as a Post Office. It was designed by Colonial architect James Barnet and the clock tower was added in 1888.
1862 The Yass Pharmacy. Built as the Yass Dispensary, it is one of the few buildings still used for its original purpose.
1872 National Australia Bank was built for the Commercial Banking Co of Sydney Limited to replace its original premises near the river. It was the first grand bank to be built in Yass and the first building to have a slate roof. The stables still stand at the rear of the building.
1956 Banjo Patterson Park. The bust of Andrew Barton (Banjo) Patterson stands in the park to commemorate his link with the Yass District. Banjo spent his childhood at Illalong near Binalong and later returned to the district for some years when he purchased “Coodravale” at Wee Jasper.
1892 Yass Town Railway Station. The building is now used as a museum explaining the history of the Yass Tramway. The platform is the shortest in Australia.
1870 Crago’s Mill. The last remaining flour mill building in Yass replaced one destroyed by the 1870’s flood and was a large flour milling complex on this site.