History of Young
From Lambing Flat to Young
In 1826 James White ventured into the area now known as Young and settled at Burrangong Station. At this time the recognised settlement area reached only as far as Yass and Boorowa.
The site where Young now stands consisted of a well sheltered valley with good water and it was here that White built sheep yards and a shepherds’ hut. The area was reserved for lambing ewes, and therefore was in turn given the name of 'Lambing Flat'. The beautiful valley remained as such for 34 years until 1860 when White's nephew Dennis Regan and Alexander 'the Yankee' found gold at the spot in the creek at the rear of the current Lambing Flat Folk Museum. Within 12 months some 20,000 miners were busy extracting the precious metal from the earth. Amongst them were some 2,000 Chinese miners.
The European miners deeply resented the Chinese and in 1861 riots began with the Chinese being forced from the fields time and time again. The Official Riot Act was read to the miners on the 14th July 1861, this being the only official reading in NSW history to rioting miners. The area known as the Burrangong Goldfields covered an area of 32km by 16.5km. It was regarded as the richest, most extensive and most populous in the State with over 13 tonnes of gold sent by escort from the fields. In 1861 Lambing Flat was to have its name changed to Young, named in honor of His Excellency the Administrator of the Government. Read more
Cherry trees appear to have first been planted in Young in 1847 at the home Orchard of a Mr Edward Taylor. In 1878, the first commercial cherry orchard was planted in Young by Croatian Migrant Nikola Jasprica (often known by Anglicised form of his name Nicolas Jasprizza). Using some of the original stock from Taylor's Kentish varieties Jasprica (pictured) conducted grafting experiments to produce a suitable variety. He had arrived in Lambing Flat in search of gold but after 6 months started a garden and later an Orchard. By 1893 he had 100 acres (40 ha) under cherries with 7000 full-grown and 300 young trees and 60 acres (24 ha) under vines. It was also during Jasprica's life time that Young became the first town in the Southern Hemisphere to install electricity into homes of the township. Young is also acknowledged as the first township to institute a rural school bus system in New South Wales.
Sadly, on 8 May 1901, Jasprica was shot dead through the window of his house at McHenry's Creek, Three Mile. A man was acquitted of his murder at Young Circuit Court on 30 September. The government then offered a reward of £100, which the family increased to £300, for information leading to a conviction, but the crime to this day remains unsolved. Jasprica was buried in the Catholic cemetery at Young. At the time of his death his estate was valued at £9500 (approximately $1.2m in today's money); his sons took over the cherry orchard which in 1907 was said to be the largest in Australia. Many of his descendants and people with the surname "Jasprizza" still live in the Young region.
The town of Young has come a long way since 1826 and continues to grow and prosper. Young is now considered to be one of the fastest growing towns in regional NSW.
Today Young still cherishes its unique and colourful history and a re-enactment of the 'Roll up' and the reading of the Riot Act are performed during the Lambing Flat Chinese Festival held in the autumn of each year. Gold can still be found in the area and visitors can hire equipment from the Lambing Flat Folk Museum and try their hand at panning in the designated fossicking area at Blackguard Gully.
Young is also known as the 'Cherry Capital of Australia'. The area boasts many cherry and stone fruit orchards, some offering the chance for visitors the 'pick your own' experience. In addition, there are many excellent wineries around Young and the surrounding area that now form 'The Hilltops' area. Cherries are available from mid November through to late December with the stone fruit season usually continuing until the end of March.
Highlights of the year include the Lambing Flat Chinese Festival around Easter, blossom time in late September to early October and the National Cherry Festival on the first weekend in December.