A visit to Yanco offers fascinating insights into the origins of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area, along with fun for the whole family.
The kids will love riding the five-kilometre cycling trail from Yanco to Leeton.
While you’re in the district, you won’t want to miss the Yanco Powerhouse Museum and miniature railway either. If you’re looking for a place to take a break, make for McCaughey Bicentennial Park to relax as you watch the water birds frolic by the natural spring-fed waterhole. Time your visit to occur during the summer and the kids will no doubt make the most of the Yanco Splash Pad, too.
Yanco, a village also known as the Gateway to the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area, is located five kilometres from Leeton along Irrigation Way. It is also the home to Tocal College (Yanco Agricultural Institute) and Yanco Agricultural High School.
The town of Yanco was established when the local railway line, which arrived in the area in 1881, was extended from Narrandera to Hay.
Yanco is the home of pastoralist Sir Samuel McCaughey, who demonstrated the viability of irrigation to bolster agricultural production in the region. On his 16,000-hectare North Yanko farm, he drew water from the Murrumbidgee River with steam-driven pumps and distributed it across his land using 320km of channels.
It wasn’t until the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Scheme was proposed that the town began to take shape. The Yanco Experiment Farm, now the heritage-listed Tocal College – on its land is the Yanco Agricultural Institute – was developed in 1908 on some land bought from McCaughey to determine what could be grown in the area. In the early years, even when it became a home for delinquent boys then a POW camp, crop trials were conducted on the property. That continues today, with research taking place into the efficient and sustainable production of rice, cotton, citrus fruits, cereals, canola, soybeans and pulses.