Our History | Is it Cooma or Comur Street?

DOWN THE STREET: The main drag in the "early days". Photo: Yass & District Historical Society Collection.

DOWN THE STREET: The main drag in the "early days". Photo: Yass & District Historical Society Collection.

'Which is it?'

The question was asked by the magistrate at Yass Court and reported in the Yass Tribune-Courier, November 30, 1930.

Is the Yass main street named Comur or Cooma Street?

Mr Cowie, CPS, said Comur Street was correct.

But the report said that all electoral rolls showed Cooma Street, birth registrations stated Comur Street, most local planning used Comur Street, but Cooma Street was in most general usage.

ALTERNATIVES: 'A photograph labelled "Cooma Street, Yass, 1860" shows which spelling was in use when this reproduction was made by Howard and Shearsby, c. 1910.

ALTERNATIVES: 'A photograph labelled "Cooma Street, Yass, 1860" shows which spelling was in use when this reproduction was made by Howard and Shearsby, c. 1910.

Yass originally developed along the Yass River on Warrumbalulah Street because of the availability of water.

Early buildings were of simple timber slab construction.

The commonly used track for horses travelling southward towards to Melbourne was along Dutton Street crossing the river ford near John Hanley's Shamrock Inn, erected in 1835.

Flat Rock Crossing was also used to travel from south to north Yass.

The earliest surviving building is The Rose, an inn at the river end of Comur Street, built with convict labour by Isaac Moses in 1836.

The Royal Hotel (now the Yass Hotel) opened in 1849.

Gradually more substantial buildings were erected along Rossi and Comur streets.

A substantial bridge was erected across the Yass River in 1854 at the end of Comur Street.

It had emerged as the main street and is shown on early maps as 'Comur Street'.

A number of striking buildings were progressively erected along Comur Street as Yass grew.

These included the Mechanics Institute, the Courthouse, the Post Office and others such as the Casper and Herfort buildings.

So it was that by the 1890s Comur Street was dotted with an array of architecturally attractive buildings and other more modest ones.

Some remain but others have disappeared.

HANDSOME: Some of the architecturally attractive buildings on the main street. Photo: Yass & District Historical Society Collection.

HANDSOME: Some of the architecturally attractive buildings on the main street. Photo: Yass & District Historical Society Collection.

Twenty-five years ago, members of Yass and District Historical Society built a series of models depicting Comur Street as it was in the 1890s.

The popular display has now been recreated in Yass and District Museum.

Come and see these delightful models now the museum has reopened. Then take a walk along Comur Street to see what remains.

Comur or Cooma?

It seems the issue was resolved in the 1960s: Comur Street, as it was in early maps.

The origin of this? Views are many. Perhaps it came from a shortening of County Murray - Co. Mur.

Or for the property now known as Hardwicke.

It seems nobody knows.

The Commercial Hotel, Yass, in 1890. Photo: Yass & District Historical Society Collection.

The Commercial Hotel, Yass, in 1890. Photo: Yass & District Historical Society Collection.

  • Yass Museum is open 10am-4pm on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.

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