Yaapeet is a rural village near the eastern edge of the Big Desert in the Mallee region in north-west Victoria. It is the terminus of a railway line from Dimboola, and is near the ephemeral Lake Albacutya which, during occasional flood times, flows northwards to the Wyperfeld National Park.

Originally known as Turkey Bottom, Yaapeet district was settled by farm selectors shortly after 1900. A store was opened in 1910. The railway was extended from Rainbow to Turkey Bottom in 1914, providing readier access to markets for wheat farmers. The name was also changed to Yaapeet at the request of the Victorian Railways, the name being derived from an Aboriginal word describing the freshwater crayfish or yabbie.

The Yaapeet Progress Association was involved in the formation of a recreation reserve in about 1915 and the opening of a public hall in 1918. A school was also opened in 1918. Water supply channels from Grampians storages were completed by then. Subsequent facilities included a Methodist church (1924), silos at the railway siding (c1939), an infant welfare centre (1962) and a community centre (1980s). Its Back-To celebration in 1966 drew over 3000 people.

Yaapeet is near the edge of settled farm districts. Some of the land is sandhills. Peppercorn trees offer welcome shade opposite the general store and fuel depot. In addition to the facilities already mentioned, Yaapeet has a golf course, tennis courts, a Uniting church and a school. Typical of many small farm towns, its enrolment fell in the 2000s. It had 22 pupils in 1998 and 6 in 2014.

In 2012 as part of the regional rail revival, a 66 km section of the Yaapeet rail line, between Dimboola and Rainbow, was reopened for grain freight.

Yaapeet’s census population have been:

census date population
1911 139
1921 284
1933 334
1947 178
1961 168

Further Reading

Jack Fisher and Felicity Fisher, History of Yaapeet 1898-1966, the authors, 1966

Yaapeet, 25 years on, 1966-1991, Yaapeet, 1991

Phil Taylor, Karkarooc: a Mallee Shire history, 1896-1995, Edenhope, 1996