Sheep Stations & National Parks

Last weekend we went for a drive west to visit two of our state’s newest National Parks. 

Yanga National Park may be located on the main highway between Sydney & Adelaide but it is really quite isolated.

Yanga Station homestead

Yanga Station was once a 240,000 acre sheep station, first settled by explorer William Wentworth in 1843. It ran 80,000 mostly Merino sheep for wool production. In 1974 30,000 acres was donated to the local council for use as the Yanga Nature Reserve. In 2005 the NSW government purchased the station for its natural, cultural and historic values with the aim to protect the Lowbidgee Floodplain, an important wetland ecosystem & breeding site for water birds during flooding and also an important habitat for wildlife including the endangered Southern Bell Frog.

The Yanga homestead was built in 1862 mainly from Murray pine using ‘drop log’ construction with bark still intact. 

Galvanised roof iron now covers the wooden shingles which can still be seen from below. 

The gardens, which are maintained by volunteers, overlook the Yanga Lake. 

The stables

Yanga Station woolshed

The Yanga woolshed was once the largest and most modern woolshed in the district with 40 stands and could house 3,000 sheep.  

The 100m long woolshed was built in the late 1850’s alongside the Murrumbidgee River and used paddle steamer transport to get the wool to market. 

Murrumbidgee River

  Camping in Yanga National Park.

Shingleback Lizard 

200kms east near Carrathool is Oolambeyan National Park. It was a 55,000 acre sheep farm before it was purchased by the state government in 2001. 

It was deserted when we visited apart from hundreds of kangaroos.

Oolambeyan Station homestead

The old windmill shrieks and groans eerily above the empty homestead, the garden is kept well-trimmed by the wildlife, the prized roses long gone. 

Outlook from homestead

Oolambeyan Station was purchased to protect a significant area of native lowland grassland & the habitat of the endangered Plains-wanderer, a small quail like bird. Ironically the Plains-wanderer requires habitat that has been grazed, so sheep are sometimes agisted onto the national park to ensure the pasture is at the optimum height for the Plains-wanderer. 

When we were there it was a haven for kangaroos, both red & grey kangaroos and ironically again for a national park - the kangaroos are watered via windmills and troughs.


  1. Fabulous post and interesting, Thanks so much for sharing. Enjoy the coming week, Diane

  2. Very good post and interesting to see and read
    very beautiful landscape you have

  3. Somehow I expected to see Robert Mitchum in the shed, shearing a sheep... Well, I did like "The Sundowners". Thanks for this post, it was very enjoyable.

  4. Hooray for any initiative which protects our ecosystem.
    I would love to visit either of these National Parks and am ashamed to say I didn't know about them.

  5. Great photos and thanks for the info to go with them. Those old homesteads and shearing sheds could tell a story or 2.

  6. This is very interesting. I'd have enjoyed seeing it working. I can't imagine having to look after 80,000 sheep. Unbelievable.

  7. Wonderful photographs of interesting places. That shearing shed it huge!

  8. I wasn't aware of either place. It was a good idea to cover the wooden shingles to preserve them. I think at this time of the year the Murrumbidgee should have a lot more water and be visibly flowing fast. Watering kangaroos with windmills and troughs is surely wrong and upsetting their own mechanisms for population control during droughts.

  9. I was trying to get the size of the station into perspective in my mind. It is the size of each of the English counties Kent, Essex and Cumberland. That is quite astonishing. I found the post entertaining and educational in equal amounts.

  10. Well worth the drive. A wonderful post of these historic stations and homesteads. Glorious blue skies, but I'm sure you would have preferred dark clouds.

  11. I stayed in the Oolambeyan Station homestead years ago and was made very welcome. I had no idea it was now a National Park. May be time for another visit.