Wee Jasper is a small
picturesque village of about 80 people in the pretty Goodradigbee valley
at the western foot of the Brindabella Ranges, on the backwaters of
Burrinjuck Dam. It is located 336 km south-west of Sydney and 54 km
south-west of Yass along a partially unsealed road.
beautiful Camping and Recreation Reserves and numerous caves (including
the famous Carey's Cave), Wee Jasper is very popular as a Camping,
Adventure Sport and Touring destination.
Please visit our main
Jasper Community Website
On the 19th October 1824,
Explorers Hamilton Hume and William Hovell passed through the Yass
Plains on their expedition to Port Phillip. That afternoon, the Hume &
Hovell party reached the Murrumbidgee River only to find a deep, fast
flowing, 40 metre wide river in flood. On the 22nd October 1824, after
three days of trying to find a place to cross and the floodwaters had
not diminished, a tarpaulin was wrapped around the body of a cart to
convert it into a makeshift punt. Accompanied by one of his convicts -
Thomas Boyd, Hamilton Hume swam across the river with a rope and used
the makeshift punt to transport equipment, provisions and non-swimmers
to the other side.
Hume and Hovell later crossed the Goodradigbee
River (formerly known as "Little River") not far upstream from the
modern day location of Wee Jasper village. Afterwards, due to the
extremely steep terrain, they were forced to leave their carts and much
of their provisions concealed in one of the gullies near the
This whole leg of their expedition was of
crucial importance to the opening up of the Wee Jasper district.
afterwards, W.H. Dutton took up 1024 hectares at the junction of the
Murrumbidgee and Goodradigbee Rivers.
When Gold was discovered at
Kiandra in 1859, the track between Yass and Wee Jasper was declared the
shortest way to travel from Sydney to the Kiandra goldfields. Thousands
of fortune seeking Europeans and Chinese used what must have been a
rough bush track, prior to the development of the current surveyed
Bitumen (mostly) road.
The Taemas Bridge crosses the Murrumbidgee
River a few kilometres downstream from Hume & Hovell's makeshift punt
crossing. The original bridge was washed away in May 1925 when logs and
debris built up against the structure and floated the wrought iron
girder deck off the cylinder piers. The present bridge was opened in
As the road winds towards Wee Jasper, panoramic views of
the Murrumbidgee and Goodradigbee valleys and the stored waters of
Burrinjuck Dam unfold. Clear views of limestone rock formations and
extensive folding; millions of years old can be seen in many of the
hillsides and the cliffs arising from the rivers. Geologically described
as an "Anticline" formed in the Devonian period the formation is
estimated to be roughly 400,000,000 years old.
Cave was discovered in 1875.
The most romantic origin of the
name Wee Jasper comes from folklore and is attributed
to an early resident, McBean, an old Scot, one of the earliest settlers.
McBean, so the story goes, arrived home one day with some "wee(Scottish
for small) Jasper(A type
of Gemstone found in the area)" in his pocket, found in some
obscure stream in the hills.
Australia's best known poet, A.B.
'Banjo' Paterson, who grew up near Binalong, was part of a syndicate
which purchased the 16000 hectare 'Coodravale' property on the east bank
of the Goodradigbee at Wee Jasper. Paterson used it as an occasional
country home during the early 1900's so that his children could
experience country life. His experiences there are commemorated in 'The
Road to Hogan's Gap' and 'The Mountain Squatter'.
Some of the
historical charm of early Wee Jasper has been lost through natural decay
and modernization. However, situated on the right as you cross the Wee
Jasper Bridge is the former Police Barracks, c1880 now the Stables
Tavern & Restaurant. Further on the right is the School Residence,
formerly the Police Station, then at the intersection is the Wee
Jasper Public School opened in 1899.
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