About Judith Davidson

Judith Davidson is a local historian, uncovering the stories of the Yass Shire.

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Yass Valley’s Movers and Shakers, from Banjo Patterson to Hamilton Hume
Arts & Culture
After several disrupted seasons, the Yass and District Museum once again opened to the public on Sunday 13 March, showcasing the new Movers and Shakers exhibition. The air of excitement was only slightly dampened by the enormous amount of hard work for volunteers in hanging the new show and removing the dust and cobwebs accumulated through the enforced COVID-19 closure....
Group hoping to rewind Yass Liberty Theatre to its glory days
Arts & Culture
Despite the dimness, dust and modifications, with just a sprinkle of fairy dust the imagination sees how the Yass Liberty Theatre once was and what it could be. With 1930s Art Deco curving forms and long horizontal lines, inside the space soars, complete with fabulous mouldings around the rim of the ceiling. The stylish ruby pink feather-patterned carpet and typical...
Yass Railway Museum is the little local engine that could
The Yass Railway Museum and its team of volunteers are dedicated to telling the story of the hardy little steam engines that could and did, for many years, connect Yass township with the main southern line. The bustling town of Yass was frustrated to discover in the 1870s that the railway line to be built between Sydney and Melbourne was...
Local men’s sheds are making the great glider not too hot, not too cold, but just right
A valuable project combining the talents of an ANU PhD student from the Fenner School of Environment and Society, Jenna Ridley, and the Men's Sheds at Hall and Yass is seeking to make life a lot more comfortable for the very cute and fluffy, but increasingly endangered, greater glider (Petauroides volans). Our native Australian wildlife has often had a pretty...
Yass River is the historic road less travelled
Now lockdowns are well and truly behind us - hopefully for good - it's time to make the most of the treasures right on our own doorstep. Yass River Road provides a fascinating glimpse of rural life, past and present. Once through the tunnel under the Barton Highway, motorists emerge into a different world. The narrowing bitumen road is lined...
As Yass Soldiers’ Memorial Hall approaches its centenary, is it time for a facelift?
We all like to be in good repair and look our best for a birthday. Yass Soldiers' Memorial Hall is about to celebrate its 100th birthday, but age has caught up with it. In 1920, William Henry Crago, a local flour mill proprietor, was the driving force behind the idea to build a memorial hall to the young men from the Yass...
The Art Deco beauty still serving the Yass community
It takes courage and imagination to start a business in a disused former service station that stood empty for 20 years, but that is exactly what Cayla Pothan has done with Tootsie gallery cafe in Yass. When she bought the property in 2015, not only was the building derelict but the old inground petrol tanks had to be removed. The original...
Frederick Young, the Queanbeyan man who built Canberra
A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into building our national capital. Architect Sir Walter Burley Griffin is well known, as is King O’Malley, the Home Affairs Minister who laid the Foundation Stone for Canberra in 1913. But who remembers Frederick Young? People living in Young Street, Queanbeyan, may wonder how it got its name. Worshippers at St John’s...
Voices from Murrumbateman’s first primary school still echo across the district
What would the children who attended the original Murrumbateman school make of the modern, shiny new school to be complete by 2023 next door to their old schoolhouse? Like the current generation, the parents of the Murrumbateman community in 1869 had to lobby hard to get their school. It began as a two-room, timber slab walled building with a bark...
Old photos help piece together the story of a Murrumbateman long gone
Ten folders of photographs and negatives donated to the Yass and District Historical Society archives have helped reveal details of generosity, hard work and a Murrumbateman long gone. According to an attached note, Roy and Heather Taylor were the kind donors of the photographs and negatives. These photos were from the days of cameras and rolls of film which had to...