The Yanko Property History
The Yanko, Jerilderie, was originally taken up as a run by Augustus Morris for W.C. Wentworth who became famous in politics. W.C. Wentworth, an adherent of higher education was the founder of the Sydney University, and is best remembered as the father of the New South Wales Constitution. At the time of taking up the run he was a leading land speculator.
The Yanko was then known as “Big Yanko” for its large acreage, 48,562 hectares- the biggest property in the district.
In the early 1850’s The Yanko was held by William Forlonge, who extended the area by buying adjoining blocks, bringing the overall acreage to well over 80,900hectares.
About the year 1858, the property was acquired by Samuel Wilson in partnership with his brothers. In 1870 Samuel Wilson bought his brothers out, making him the largest stock and run holder in the Riverina. He was knighted in 1875, was the Member for Wimmera in the Victorian Legislative Assembly and later a member of the legislative council. Sir Samuel was a great champion of higher education and the Wilson Hall, at the Melbourne University was named after him.
Two generations of the Brownless family managed The Yanko during the Wilson’s ownership.
The Wilson’s lived in England and owned several other large properties which were also managed by Mr Brownless Senior, and later by his son Mr Clive Brownless.
In 1949 the New Zealand Australia Land Company (better known as “The Land Company”) purchased the property from the Wilson family.
By the late 1960’s things started to sour for The Land Company, when the effects of the severe 1965-1966 drought were compounded by a subsequent weakening in wool prices and inexorably rising costs.
The beginning of the end came late in 1968 when, without any warning, the board received a takeover offer from Dalgety and New Zealand Loan Ltd.
During the years 1974-1976 the property was subdivided and sold by Dalgety and at the time Ian Cameron and his family purchased the homestead portion of 12,000 hectares.
Prior to purchasing “The Yanko”, Ian Cameron and his wife Margaret owned a property at Kyneton, Victoria, where they ran Angus cattle. They purchased The Yanko in 1976 and breeding Merino sheep became their focus along with the Angus they brought with them from Kyneton.
His son Hugh Cameron and his wife Heather now operate “The Yanko” together their son Ian Cameron Jnr.
The original 1860’s homestead was made from bark and was taken down. The current homestead was built in 1950 on the same site as the second weatherboard homestead that burnt down.
The homestead is a complex of four wings, the jackeroos quarters which was called the barracks, the visitors wing which was for the travelling managers when it was a company and also an office- which is still in use, the cooks wing- which is now a bedroom, and the sleepout which the Brownless’ used to sleep in- is now used as an entertainment area.
The main homestead sits on a hectare of garden with frontage to a Lagoon, which is fed by The Yanko Creek.
At the time of purchase in 1976, there were five married men living in cottages on the property as well as four single men in the quarters, a cook and two jackeroos.
Very early on they also had a rabbiter, a Chinese vegetable gardener, and a couple of gardeners.
Colin and Loretta Lewis lived and worked at “The Yanko” from 1980 until 2019 with Shane Hay arriving in 1991 and continues to this day.
1845 Joseph Carse was the first European to occupy the area.
1850 The Yanko Run was taken up by William Charles Wentworth and totalled 120,000 acres. William Wentworth rose to prominence for his expedition across the Blue Mountains in 1813 when he was just 23 years old.
1852 Victorian land baron William Forlonge extended the area by buying adjoining blocks of land, bringing the overall acreage to over 430,000 acres.
1862 Purchased by brothers John, Charles and Samuel Wilson.
1869Samuel Wilson purchased the property outright and continued to add to the acreage. He built the original Yanko homestead and the historic store in circa 1875.
1860’s Sir Samuel Wilson and Sir Samuel McCaughey cut a channel from the Murrumbidgee into the Yanko, (Colombo and Billabong Creeks) creating a permanent water flow.
1949 New Zealand Australia Land Company purchased The Yanko. The homestead was destroyed by fire on 11 July 1949 and rebuilt, but the store remained intact.
1968 Dalgety and New Zealand Loan Ltd. purchased The Yanko.
1976 Ian Cameron purchased the homestead portion of The Yanko.
1868 – 1869 Mr. Weir
1870 – 1876 Mr. John Carse
1877 – 1881 Mr. Cruickshank
1882 – 1888 Mr. Samuel Carse
1889 – 1893 Mr. Willis
1894 – 1929 Mr. W.H. Brownless
1929 – 1952 Mr. A.C. Brownless
circa 1953 Mr. R. Humble
circa 1954 Mr. B. Thompson
circa 1956 Mr. D. Harvey
circa 1957 Mr. B. Perkins
1960 – 1969 Mr. A. Entwistle
1970 – 1976 Mr. R. Goldsby