Yass Junction and Yass Town (South) When Hamilton Hume, the explorer, and his party were crossing overland to Port Phillip, they camped one night on a small plain bounded by a line of ranges. At daybreak, Hume despatched one of his men to the top of a hill to ascertain the nature of the country beyond. On the man's return, Hume inquired if there was good travelling ahead, and received the reply "Ya-as-plains", which so amused him that he called the place Yass
In 1821, the famed explorer Hamilton Hume, in the company of his brother John Kennedy Hume, his brother-in-law George Barber and W. H. Broughton, reached Yass Plains.
Then in 1824 Hamilton Hume and William Hovell traversed the same district on their overland trip to Port Phillip (later called Melbourne),which route is approximated by today's Hume Highway.
Settlers soon began to arrive as squatters and later they applied for land grants or grazing leases.
Among the earliest known names were Hume, Barber, Broughton, Clayton, Shelley, Rose, Manton, Dutton, Terry Riley, , none of whom were Catholics.
Of particular interest to the Catholic community, however, were brothers Henry and Cornelius O'Brien, they being the only Catholic citizens of substantial wealth and social standing. Henry carried the name "Black Henry" or "Sugar O'Brien", the latter possibly being a reference to his role in bringing supplies, including much needed sugar, from India when still a young man. Nearly all other Catholics were convict assigned servants or emancipists. Cornelius married into the Broughton family in 1822, so the O'Brien presence in that early band of settlers led by Hume from Campbelltown was to be expected.
The village site which grew naturally for a few years on the Yass River was officially surveyed in 1834 and gazetted on 4th March 1837. The village became a frontier town in the development of the Southern Slopes and Riverina districts. Yass was the administrative centre for County King which was delineated in 1829.
On the 'great southern' or 'Port Phillip' road at Bowning Hill about ten miles from Yass, a plough mark across the road marked the limits of official settlement and government protection. Beyond that point no land could be granted, no Police Supervision was supplied. As settlers spilled over these limits, the government granted Grazing Licences for temporary occupancy and a minimal supervision by means of Crown Lands commissioners.
In 1839, Henry Cosby was appointed Commissioner for Lachlan District and Henry Bingham, Commissioner for Murrumbidgee district, and both officials were located at Yass. An intersting landscape of the Yass village in 1858 has survived. It is the work of J. E. Grube and a portion of that painting in enlargement can give some impression of the appearance of the town, its buildings and streets.
The Anglican community were using their own church-ground for their burials at this time. Such occasions were usually solemn liturgical occasions when an appropriate sermon was given on the 'last things'. Its location was at a considerable distance beyond Rossi Street. - (Ref- http://www.liturgyhelp.com/lithelp/images/cust/aus_canb_p1143/beginnings.pdf)
1867 - THE ORIENTAL BANK AT YASS.- Mr. Duttner, who for sometime past has had the management of the Yass branch of the Oriental Bank Corporation, is OB fast the eve of quilting his charge for Sydney. The soon aproaching departure is much regretted by those who have come in contact with him on business as well as well as by a large circle of friends. Mr. Mackintosh, after an absence of some years at Tumut, resumes the agency of the branch here. It is generally understood that this bank is adapting its machinery to the lessened requirements of the colony. The Tumut establishment was closed at the end of last month.-Yass !ез Courier, July 27. - (Ref- Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875)(about) Previous issue Thursday 1 August 1867).
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