Tonight will see Yass town and District turn out for the traditional Christmas Street Parade down Comur Street, the bustle of late-night shopping and the street markets. 

The tradition goes back a long way. Good times or bad, the Yass and district community has pursued the spirit of the season with enthusiasm. Decorated shops and streets and bustling crowds have long been a part of a Yass Christmas.

In 1904 as the clock struck midnight “a band of singers serenaded the streets and chanted songs of an inspiring character”. The town band traditionally promenaded the town on Christmas Day. 

The paper of the day, The Yass Tribune, reported the prosperity and exuberance of the 1920s. The Yass hotels regaled their customers with Christmas cake and other dainties whilst at 8.00pm Christmas Eve Comur Street was thronged with an estimated 4000 people and 300 motor cars! The street looked like a fairyland with Santa Claus patrolling the footpath. 

Some of the traditions have been discontinued! The customary boot throw sponsored by Mr Weatherby’s boot store was a highlight; a brief scuffle and the winner had himself a new pair of boots. 

Shops reported there were customers galore “so many as to make the attending to them perplexing” all well dressed and prosperous “goes without saying” 

Some things these days may not be quite as obvious; “the large number of drovers and bushmen, even on this festive occasion, talked sheep and pasture.” 

But the chill of 1928 Christmas Eve bordering on frost had campers seeking blankets well after shops were unfortunately shut at 11.00pm. After the Memorial Hall pictures came out and the midnight train left to meet the special excursion train to Sydney, the town was finally quiet.

Congratulations to organisers and the Council for continuing the tradition that so many people and families have enjoyed.  

Interest rates, floods and pandemics? Bah Humbug!! 

1956 Off to the Parade

A looming war in 1914 could not dent the General shopping enthusiasm on Christmas Eve, “a healthy sign that so normal a condition should prevail” despite the outbreak of war.

In 1930 with the ominous threat of the Great Depression, business was reported to be generally good notwithstanding the gloomy forecast of pessimists and the arrest of five “inebriates” – they were all strangers and gave little trouble – by Inspector Corcoran and Sergeant Hammond.

The Yass and District Historical Society with the support of the Yass Vintage Car Club will be participating in the parade. They will also set up a bookstore along the main street near the Memorial Hall where everyone can browse for that special interest book they always wanted.

Merry Christmas from the YDHS and may a jolly good street parade be had by all!  

Judith Davidson

Yass and District Historical Society