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 56 km 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. Rupert
Murdoch owns "Cavan", a large property just south of Yass.
The Yass area was first seen by Europeans in 1821, (an expedition led by Hamilton Hume) 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.