How Young got its name

Young, to some of its residents and visitors, is a strange name for a town. Why was the town named Young?

It was named Young to honour  Sir John Young who was the Governor of New South Wales at the time of the Lambing Flat Riots. The riots were an embarrassment to the Government of the day, particularly to the Premier Charles Cowper, who was known as “Slippery Charlie”.

John Young was born in Bombay on 31st August the son of Sir John Young, 1st Baronet of the East Indian Company. He was called to the bar in 1834 having been educated at Eton and Oxford. In 1855 he was appointed Lord High Commissioner to the Ionian Islands. He was eventually appointed to succeed Sir William Denison as Governor of New South Wales on 18th January 1861.

It had been originally suggested to name the new town, Albert Town, in honour of Queen Victoria’s husband and Royal Consort, Prince Albert. But the name Young was decided upon to honour the Governor and remove the name, Lambing Flat, from the map. Lambing Flat would have been a much better name. 

The Editor of the Burrangong Miner of the day reported, with some scepticism that,” our township has received the name ‘Young’ in honour of the Administrator of the Government. Its brevity classifies well with Hay and Yass, but it is not suitable for the Capital of Burrangong.”

Our best known Irish resident, Mike Mullany, supplied me with a cutting from “Irelands Own” a magazine he receives regularly from his old home. In it is a column by Hilary Murphy  called “What’s in your Name?” From it, we learn from Brian Mitchell's ‘The Surnames of North West Ireland’ as a family name Young was derived from the Old English ‘geong’, meaning ‘young’, and was used to distinguish father and son of the same Christian name.

According to Mitchell, Young is one of the twenty most common names in Scotland.