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The Yass Valley Council area is located in south-eastern New South Wales, about 280 kilometres south-west of the Sydney CBD and 60 kilometres north-west of the Canberra CBD. The Yass Valley Council area is predominantly rural, with a township at Yass and villages at Binalong, Bookham, Bowning, Gundaroo, Murrumbateman, Sutton and Wee Jasper. Rural land is used largely for agriculture, particularly sheep grazing. Tourism and viticulture are also important industries.
The original inhabitants of the Yass Valley area were the Ngunnawal and Wirarjuri Aboriginal people. European settlement dates from the 1820s, following exploration by Hume and Hovell. Land was used mainly for sheep grazing, with the village of Yass established on the southern bank of the Yass River in the 1830s. Gradual growth took place during the mid 1800s. More substantial growth occurred during the late 1800s, aided by the opening of the railway line in 1876. The population increased gradually during the 1980s. Growth continued from the 1990s, with the population rising from about 10,500 in 1991 to over 15,600 in 2011.
In recent years, most recent residential growth has been focused in the two main centres of Yass and Murrumbateman. These areas attract families seeking a rural living/small town environment within commuting distance of Canberra. The ACT Peri-Urban Area and Gundaroo and District also gain families through migration, but also small numbers of retirees. Like many parts of regional Australia, there is an outflow of young adults, most of whom would be moving away for employment and education purposes. Overall, Yass Valley gains population from Canberra as well as metropolitan Sydney.
Note: The migration flows depicted above are historical and do not represent future or forecast migration flows or subsequent council boundary changes. The arrows represent migration flows to the area as a whole and do not indicate an origin or destination for any specific localities within the area. Overseas flow shows overseas arrivals based on answers to the census question "where did the person usually live 5-years ago" and .id estimates of international out-migration.
Despite the rural settlement pattern and small population size there are subtle differences in the housing role and function across the Council. It is assumed that all small areas will attract families, particularly areas within commuting distance of Canberra. From the early 2030s, it is assumed that the Parkwood/West Belconnen development will extend into Yass Valley, and this is likely to be attractive to younger families, including first home buyers.
Expansion of existing towns and villages in Yass Valley Council is dependent on the supply of residential land but iimportantly, the demand for future development. It is assumed that demand for rural/semi-rural living will continue into the future and this will drive population growth in most of the Council. Significant supply has been identified in Yass and District (both in the existing town and surrounding rural-residential areas as well as Murrumbateman and District. The ACT Peri-Urban Area will be impacted by the Parkwood/West Belconnen development from the early 2030s. On the other hand, modest growth is forecast for Bowning-Bookham-Rural West, based on the opportunity and demand for residential development, as well as the slightly longer commuting distance from Canberra. Overall, the Council is forecast to grow from around 16,630 persons in 2016, to over 27,300 at 2036.
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