Young is a vibrant country town in the south-west slopes of New South Wales. There are friendly locals, exciting festivals, thought provoking history and great places to visit. The landscaped Chinese Tribute gardens and the Lambing Flat Folk Museum are must-see places but here are some other suggestions as well.
by LenR on March 5, 2011
Located in the historic former Young Railway Station, the Young Visitor Information Centre should probably be your first point of call in Young. By taking the time to call into the centre, visitors can maximise the time that they have to spend in the area by receiving the latest information as well as local knowledge and advice. There is plenty of parking and they can make accommodation bookings for you. You need to pick up a copy of their excellent colour brochure of the district.The Centre is open seven days a week and has a large range of information to enhance your stay including up to date information regarding Young's attractions, wineries, recreational facilities, history and accommodation facilities. As well as information there is a great range of unique souvenirs from the Young region as well as the culinary delights of local produce such as jam, olive oil and local wines. The Young Visitor Information Centre is open Monday - Friday from 9.00am to 5.00pm and 9.30am to 4.00pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays. Shade, tables, electric BBQs, a covered seating area and children’s playground are located opposite the CentreAlso located within the Visitor Centre you will find the Burrangong Art Gallery featuring works by local artists and the Hilltops Region Cellar Door featuring 13 different wineries from around the Hilltops region. All the art and wines are for sale. Wine tastings are held on weekends and are conducted by the Hilltops wine growers of the region.For those keen to learn more about the history of the town the Young Rotary Club Inc. Active Australia Heritage Walk Guide is available at the Visitors Centre. From the historic CBD and along Burrangong Creek, this walk will immerse you in the history of the town.Without question, the Town Hall which houses the Young Shire Council, is by far Young’s most imposing building. Dating from shortly after World War 1, its clock tower incorporates a war memorial. Recently, it seems, only public pressure saved it from a bright idea by the Council to replace it with new Council Chambers, shops and a supermarket! In 2009, the council decided to spend about $6.5 million on a major upgrade to its offices and adjoining town hall and visitors can now see the result.Almost across the street from the Council Chambers, you will find the former Millard and Sons Department Store shop. Country department stores now are few and far apart and Millard’s has ceased operations. The gracious old building now houses a variety of businesses: real estate agents, a coffee shop and craft shops.It’s interesting to just poke around and enjoy the details of the stylish shop window and entry, dating from more relaxed times. Just look at the Art Nouveau glasswork, the name of the former store in tiles, and the pressed metal ceiling under the awning.
The Chinese Tribute Gardens are located at the Chinaman's Dam reserve just four kilometres from the town centre. Now a well established garden set in a quiet, relaxing and picturesque site, the gardens are the perfect spot for a relaxing morning or afternoon with picnic facilities and barbecues. The gardens are open every day until sunset. From the car park with its BBQs, we crossed the little bridge to a pleasant garden with its pagoda, formal lions, shrubbery and stonework and the Pool of Tranquility. As you walk around the park, you will reach the superb bronze "Galloping Horse", a replica of an original found in a Han Dynasty tomb dating back 1600 years. You will also find many trees planted with adjacent plaques, commemorating their donation by members of the Chinese community, not least a substantial menhir with a plaque for the "Peace and Prosperity Tree" presented by Young’s "Sister City", Lanzhou. It is a far cry from Chinaman's Dam which was built in the 1860's by German brothers Herman and John Tiedmann to provide water for the sluicing of their Victoria Hill gold claims. The brothers, at some time in the 1870's sold their area to a Chinese group who then worked on the site. In 1992 members of the Rotary Club of Young adopted a beautification project for the development of the Chinese Gardens at Chinaman's Dam. A new entrance (donated by Taronga Park Zoo) was erected as well as a new car park, lawns and an irrigation system. A new lake and bird sanctuary was also built and the Chinese Gardens commenced. The development of the gardens was established to recognise the contribution of the Chinese community to the settlement of Young in the 1860s, and to the ongoing contributions of the Chinese community to Australia as a Nation. In 1996 Rotary handed the project over to the Shire Council. The Mayor formed a foundation of prominent Australians to assist with fundraising and the strategic direction of the project. Many prominent members of the Sydney Chinese community also played a key role. Considerable progress was made and development has continued.To reach the Gardens from the Young Visitor Information Centre, exit onto Lovell Street, and turn right onto Lynch Street. Proceed across town, crossing the bridge and turn left onto Gordon Street. Continue on this road for approx. 4 km's and follow the directional signage to the Chinese Tribute Gardens.Informative Heritage signs provide information on the establishment of the gardens and the dam. Entry is free.
Lambing Flat Folk Museum is located within the former Young Public School building, built in 1883. The museum is operated by the Young Historical Society and is full of artefacts and memorabilia relating to Young's history. Visitors can browse at their leisure through the five main display areas. From the historically significant 'Roll-Up Banner' carried by the miners during the Anti-Chinese Riots of June 1861, items from the gold rush era, items from local dentists, barbers, hairdressers and World War 1 and 11 and the early establishment of Young.As with most such museums in Australian country towns it is run by a volunteer group of enthusiasts. As also is common, the result is a rather eclectic mixture of memorabilia either donated or on loan. Much of it is of passing interest, but not necessarily unique.One outstandingly unique and significant item breaks the Lambing Flat Folk Museum’s similarity to most other museums: the rallying banner carried by the European miners in the Lambing Flat riots of 1861. In the centre is a Southern Cross flag, down the sides are the words "Roll Up", and taking pride of place at top and bottom, in large letters, the words "NO CHINESE". Overall, it is about 1200mm square.You can learn all about the development of Young at the museum. We heard how the region was first settled in 1826 and how the township exploded with the discovery of gold in 1860. Within 12 months, Lambing Flat and the surrounding goldfields were a hive of activity and home to 20,000 miners. We were intrigued and somewhat ashamed to hear about the riots in 1861 when the Chinese miners were repeatedly driven from the fields and how the NSW Riot Act was read to the miners for the one and only time in history.The museum also houses textiles, an historic photographic collection, a full size buggy and even a three legged chook. Those posts with numbers outside the museum are old mile posts from the roads to nearby towns, removed when Australia went metric.In recent times the museum has undertaken a program focused on exhibition development and increasing volunteer numbers. Through the program, the Lambing Flat Folk Museum has undertaken training in significance assessment and exhibition development (in conjunction with the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney). The museum has recently had the famous flag conserved and a new display prepared with support from the local community. The new exhibition has led to increased local media coverage and more organised bus and school group visits to the museum.
Like many progressive country towns, Young has been developing a series of festivals and activities throughout the year. Two particularly stand out – the National Cherry Festival and the Lambing Flat Festival.‘Young is the place to be during the Cherry season. The National Cherry Festival is celebrating its 62nd Anniversary in 2011 and is going to even bigger and better with many new events planned. Young receives thousands of visitors from Australia and beyond during the festival, providing the opportunity to the community of Young – also known as the Cherry Capital of Australia – to celebrate not only the cherry season and harvest (November-December), but the strong sense of pride that exists within the town.The 62nd National Cherry Festival is being held on the 2nd – 4th of December 2011 with the Street Parade being held on the 3rd of December. Other highlights of the festival include the Cherry Queen Ball & Crowning, Celtic Tattoo, Cherry Festival Carnival, Bush Poets, markets & stalls and much more. There are also many fringe events being held in the build up to the main festival.The festival commenced as an annual Blossom Carnival which was first held in 1949. The "Blossom Festival" quickly grew and it was decided from a visitors view point that holding the Festival during the Cherry Harvest itself would be more beneficial to the growers in the district with roadside sales of fruit to visitors for the Festival. Thus the Cherry Festival was born.Pick your Own' cherries are available from mid-November until Christmas, creating the perfect excuse to take a memorable trip to this regionThe Lambing Flat Festival is held in April and features Morris dancers, gold panning demonstrations, whip cracking and horse and carriage rides. The award winning Festival is great fun for all the family. The Festival acknowledges Young's rich history and raises awareness of the significant cultural events that occurred in Young in the 1860's. The Festival will be held in the historic Carrington Park on Saturday April 18 near the site where the Riot Act was read to miners on the July 14 1861. The area around Burrangong Creek, the actual location of the original gold discovery, is set to come to life with historical re-enactments, an outdoor music concert, wine expo, a bush ranger artefacts display and market stalls. The town’s museum will also be open where visitors can see the ‘Roll Up Banner’ that was used in the riots of 1861 and Cobb & Co. coach rides will whisk people around the town.This should be a great day out with the whole family with live theatre, music and entertainment. Learn how to crack a whip and pan for gold or view displays of antique tractors and engines. With market stalls, face painting, amusement rides, guided history tours and a full day's line-up of entertainment there will be something for everyone.
Poppa's Fudge Factory is an emporium of gift ware, home ware, gourmet lollies and, of course, fudge. In 2004, Young locals, Kevin and Vicki Powderly introduced Poppa's Fudge Factory to their existing giftware business. It proved to be extremely popular with locals and visitors alike drawing many people from near and far to sample the delicate fudge and confectionary. It was such a resounding success that in 2008 Vicki and Kevin Powderly were awarded the prestigious Young Business of the Year Award. We visited not knowing quite what to expect. We found that Poppa's is open seven days a week offering customers a wide range of locally and freshly produce There are home-made jams and chutneys, a huge range of delicate chocolates and tempting lollies as well as their well known freshly made fudge. All the fudges, jams and chutneys from Poppa’s Fudge Factory are made in-store.Poppa’s grow their own vegetables, fruit and berries on a farm on the town limits in Young. This ensures the freshest and best quality for the jams, sauces and other products including the delicious cherry pies. They make over 80 different varieties of jams, chutneys and sauces. Our special favourite was the gourmet blackberry topping.There is a fantastically unique range of products from fudge to homewares, including 200 varieties of lollies and Loccitane beauty products, cherry products, quilts, soaps, silk scarves and much more. Also in-store is a large gift emporium. Poppa’s seems to specialize in unique pieces but it also seems to have something for everyone.Over 40 different fudges all hand-made are produced on the premises. Some of my favourites are choc mint swirl, rum raisin, sticky date, lemon meringue and cherry explosion. We ended up trying samples of numerous flavours in the shop and buying eight different varieties to take away.Poppa’s opens Monday - Friday 9 am till 5.30 pm, Saturday - 9 am till 3 pm and Sunday - 10.30 am till 2 pm.
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