Cover Photo: Destination NSW, Ballinaclash Food and Wine, Young
The “Cherry Capital” of Young, around four hours from Sydney, is a desirable destination for families, seniors, younger people, and those who enjoy the way of life and cherries!
It was formerly known as Lambing Flat and is located in the centre of the Hilltops region of New South Wales. In honour of Sir John Young, a former governor of New South Wales, it was renamed “Young.”
Young is said to be one of Australia’s ‘richest areas for stone fruits’. This has been the case for many years. On December 14th 1917, the Murrumbidgee Irrigator newspaper reported: ‘The growing of cherries in the Young district is assuming large proportions. During the month of November 37,437 cases of cherries were despatched to Darling Harbor from here, aggregating about 237 1/2 tons weight. Country orders sent to various towns are in addition and those sold locally bring the number of cases gathered during the month to well over 40,000’.
Young is home to the National Cherry Festival. There’s a lot of activities around the festival including a crowning of the Cherry King and Queen, art shows, markets, photo competitions – and lots more!
The median age of people in Young was 40 years. Children aged 0 – 14 years made up 21.4% of the population and people aged 65 years and over made up 21.3% of the population.
The most common ancestries in Young were Australian 36.4%, English 30.7%, Irish 10.5%, Scottish 6.3% and German 2.8%.
(Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016 Census)
However, beyond the history, cherries and statistics, what’s it like to live in Young? What’s the lifestyle like? We asked local man Adam Strong.
How long have you lived in Young?
I have lived in Young since 2004, having moved here after schooling in Sydney and growing up in Cooma. I met my lovely wife April around 11 years ago, and we have two wonderful little boys named Teddy (aged 2) & Joey (aged 2 months). We live on a small hobby farm in the area which we absolutely adore.
What do you think is the appeal of living in Young?
Simply put, the lifestyle. The town has just about everything most people need and it surprises most people who visit. The people here are nice and everyone is proud of the town. The town is a wonderful place to raise a family. The proximity of Young to other larger areas is a help, too (2 hours from Canberra, Bathurst & Orange, and 1.5 hours from Wagga). Being the cherry capital of Australia, Young gets a lot of tourists visiting each year, along with the influx of international workers who pick fruit at the many cherry orchards in the district.
Have you seen more people moving to Young / the Young area from metropolitan areas? As I work in the real estate industry, I see first hand the demographic coming into Young. The demand for the cliche “tree change” has never been stronger. We see families looking to relocate here, retirees setting up a permanent address while they travel the country, and young couples moving back here after they have ventured off to the cities for university and explore for a while. We are seeing people coming from Canberra, Sydney, Wollongong and quite a number from the Southern Highlands, too. The pricing of properties has a lot to do with the attraction, however they all notice how lovely the town is once they arrive, and how well set-up it is for a town of this size.
What are the sporting facilities, cultural restaurants, transport, climate, entertainment (including festivals) like? Young has great facilities for the sporting community. There are plenty of sporting ovals, a new tennis court complex, a fantastic (yet challenging) 18 hole irrigated golf course, bowling club, swimming pool, trotting track, racecourse, playgrounds and many parks. Venture towards Grenfell and you will find a motocross track and an impressive go kart racing facility as well. This is to name but a few.
Young has a wonderful multicultural history dating back to the gold rush in the late 1800’s. Chinaman’s dam is a wonderful place to visit and explore Young’s heritage. Each year Young hosts a Lambing Flat Festival, Cherry Festival, the Young Show, along with a great Farmer’s Market every second weekend. Covid has certainly halted these for the moment, but the town is eager to get back into the swing of things and put on a show for the many tourists that travel here each year for the famous cherry season.
Young has an abundance of great cafes, clubs, pubs and eateries. Being blessed with a rich multicultural history means we are lucky enough to have many different flavours to choose from. Indian, Chinese, Lebanese, Italian, Australian cuisines are all available.
The climate here is very similar to that of Canberra. We see very cold winters, and very hot summers. Autumn and Spring seem to only be a month each, however it is not typically a humid region, so most people find it comfortable.
The average rainfall is evenly spread throughout the year and at around 600mm per year, the farming country in this region is among some of the most sought-after in the state.
Is there a choice of housing?Presently, due to demand, Young’s housing situation is a tad difficult to navigate. There are more people moving to the area than are moving away, and there are not many new developments occurring to ease the demand. Obtaining a rental property, or even purchasing is proving a hard process for some at the moment, but we expect this will ease soon. There are a few new developments on the cards which will be great for the community.
Are there many challenges of living in the area?Young is a thriving small town with won\erful schools, a great hospital, aged care facilities, multiple daycares, plenty of larger shopping facilities (Aldi, IGA, Woolworths, BIG W, Supercheap Auto, and recently Bunnings), and it is growing every year. Most of the challenges the town has faced over the years it has overcome. Young is an extremely resilient town. Even during the drought, the town came together and thrived, whereas some other towns weren’t as lucky.
Presently, the housing situation is a challenge we face, and perhaps new developments being passed through council will ease this. Those who require specialist medical care may need to travel in some circumstances, however for the general public, Young is more than sufficient to accommodate the needs.
Thanks Adam, it certainly is a friendly for lifestyle location for families, retirees and younger people.
Jill Weeks has been an educator and author for many years. She is the author of 21 Ways To Retire, which gives insights into how 21 Australians from different backgrounds adjusted to retirement. She is also the co-author with her husband, Owen, of several editions of Where To Retire In Australia and one of Retire Bizzi