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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Young is in a valley surrounded by a circle of low hills. It is the commercial centre of an important agricultural district famous for its fruits — particularly cherries — as well as berries, stone fruit and grapes. It also has a healthy reputation for its cattle, pigs, sheep, wool, wheat, oats, barley, mining and steel fabrication. They all go towards supporting Young's population of around 9000.

The Cherry Capital of Australia was founded as a gold-mining town in 1860. Until then the area was known as Lambing Flat, as sheep growing was the main industry. Up to 20,000 miners mined 13,300 grams of gold.

The Historical Museum has many relics of the town's past, including the flag under which 3000 minors carried out shameful and cruel riots in 1861 when they attempted to establish European dominance over Chinese workers.

The gold is long gone and Young is now a peaceful and attractive country town. Its numbers swell during the cherry harvest which starts in early November and there is a picking and packing frenzy through to the New Year, leading to the harvesting of other stone fruit.

During that time, the Cherry King and Queen are crowned. The title goes to those who raise the most money for a local charity, as well as having good general knowledge of Young. The pair reigns for a year and represents the town at various events and festivals across the state.

What would a cherry town be without a pip-spitting competition! Anywhere anything with spittable pips grows, it's a town thing to outdo one another. Malcolm Perrin became world champion when one of his pips went around 13 metres, though he thinks he has reached 17 metres. He says everyone has a style of their own, but he has success with the blunt end to the front, taking a deep breath and letting go.

Cherryhaven Orchards have well organised and supervised pick-your-own fruit sessions. Join the workers, return to the shop, have your fruit weighed and pay by the kilogram. The 180-hectare orchard is owned by Ian and Arna Hay — she is a fifth-generation cherry farmer. Her family arrived from Austria during the gold rush and the cherries they brought were used to set up the first commercial growing enterprise in Australia.

Take your own containers if you plan to pick, or they can provide them. Don’t forget your hat and sunscreen.

Lunch and a tour of the packing shed include assorted sandwiches, fresh fruit, pie and cream. Barbecue lunch is available on request.

Blossom tour and lunch includes a guided tour through the orchard, assorted sandwiches or sausage sizzle, cherry pie and cream with tea or coffee.

The Cherry Shoppe sells fresh seasonal fruit, homemade jams, liquored fruits, preserves, pickles, sauces, pies and slices. They can create gift packages and accept mail orders.

JD's Jam Factory is an award-winning tourist attraction boasting over 100,000 visitors a year, all keen to buy their Young Maid products.

Owned and run for 25 years by Lester and Jan Donges, they turn out fine jams, sauces, pickles and chutneys made from second-grade cherries, not quite right for retail but perfect for cooking. From the humble beginnings of Lester's Aunty Coral making jam in her kitchen using a wonderful old recipe and selling from a roadside stall; they have expanded to a small factory.

The Donges run free factory tours and visitors can enjoy morning and afternoon tea packages, light lunch and barbecue packages. They are fully licensed.


4½ hours south-west of Sydney.


Cherryhaven packing shed and lunch tours are $11. Blossom Tour and lunch costs $20. Picking your own fruit can be done during harvest — cherries between November and January and stone fruit from January to March. Cherries are $5 a kilo. Cherry Blossom Tours are held over the last week of September and Plum Blossom late August. Visitors are welcome year round.

JD's Jam Factory morning tea or coffee with cherry pie and fresh cream is $8. Light lunch of sandwiches and chutney or pickles, pie, cream, tea or coffee is $11. Afternoon tea is $8 and barbecue lunch is $22.

The 2007 Young Cherry Festival will be held on the weekend of November 30 to December 2.

Virgin Blue has flights to Sydney.

One-way fare from;
  • Brisbane, $95
  • Melbourne, $110
  • Adelaide, $129
  • Darwin, $225
  • Perth, $229

There are limited seats which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares are one way and Internet-only. An extra $15 will be charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one-way flight is applicable. Fares are correct at April 12, 2007 and are subject to change.

More information

Cherryhaven Orchards
385 Olympic Highway North
Cowra Road
Young NSW 2594
Ph: (02) 6382 4023
Fax: (02) 6382 3846

JD's Jam Factory
Henry Lawson Way
Grenfell Road
Young NSW 2594
Ph: (02) 63824060
Fax: (02) 63824750
Young Visitor Information Centre
Ph: 6382 3394

Virgin Blue
Ph: 13 6789

Click here for voucher a discount to the Melbourne Expo

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