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 Goodradigbee River.
This whole leg of their expedition was of crucial importance to the opening up of the Wee Jasper district.
Soon 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 1930.
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.
Carey's 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.