100th Birthday Celebrations

8th to 10th March 2025

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"Our buildings are our legacy, they will speak for us long after we are gone."

Yaninee Institute

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History of the Yaninee Institute

Extracts from “Grain amid Granite” by Edna Heath and Erna Franklin – March 1986

When the town was surveyed in 1916 Lot 3 was set aside as an Institute Reserve. The following people were trustees:- J.J. McCarthy – Grocer; Carlisle C. Tainsh, Joseph Lund, George Edward Opitz, Hubert Thos Dunn, John Williams Johns, George D. Parker, F.E. Christian, Leslie g. Noble – Farmers.

When it was decided to erect a Hall the settlers, in true pioneer fashion, held busy bees to cut and cart the timber; material was ordered and a sports day planned to raise funds. R. Christian and W. Johns had building experience so the task of building was allotted to them.

In the words of W. Johns

“The day was fixed and the material was on its way. Saturday was to be the sports day, and it was on the Wednesday evening when the train pulled in. A few men were there to cart the material to where the building was to be. There was no time to lose, so three offsiders and myself, with the aid of a hurricane lantern, worked all night. The floor was completed when we went home for breakfast. Rein and I went back to prepare the framework and by evening that was standing. On Saturday morning a plumber and his mate fixed iron to the roof. The sports were on after dinner, and we didn’t have time to enclose the walls. At the siding there were two large tarpaulins and we borrowed there to fasten the windiest sides.
It seemed quite good. After the sports there was a dance. Someone brought a piano and a few boxes for seats – what more could they need?- You can believe me, that was the happiest night the settlers had for a long time.”

The building was eventually finished and used for many such evenings, dancing to the music of Spen Mildren or Cliff Venning’s accordion, Mrs Davies on piano or other local musicians.

The Hall remained in use until a new stone hall was built. Mrs George Parker laid the foundation stone on 12 December 1924 and it was opened by Charlie Harrison. The old hall continued to be used a s a supper room for many years. There were no kitchen facilities and people can remember a copper boiling outside, under the trees, for making of tea and coffee. Later the hall was dismantled and some of the material used in the erection of toilets. The iron not required was taken to Minnipa market for disposal.

In 1961 the committee approved the building of kitchen and supper room which was also made available for the use of the doctor as a consulting room on his weekly visits.
During the next few years the hall was used extensively for Lutheran Youth Zone Rallies and large church functions, the Annual Hall Ball, Chrysanthemum Show, family parties and meetings.

An extensive program of renovations was commenced in 1981. Local funds were augmented by a Local Government Assistance Grant and financial support from the District Council. In 1983 assistance received from the Regional Arts Facilities Committee enabled renovations to continue as a Jubilee 150 project.


Yaninee – A corruption of the Aboriginal janani – ‘to go, walk or travel’

Built before the creation of the local councils, the Yaninee Institute has been used over the years as a school, church, meeting place, agricultural bureau, for music lessons as well as the place families could get together to celebrate.

It is one of the oldest buildings left standing in the district.

Latest News

A Horse in a Public Hall

Why did he ride his horse into the Institute? Our history committee has finally obtained permission from the Port Lincoln’s Magistrate Court to review the court documents in the Archives so hopefully soon we may have an answer. Watch this space!

Thank you Mrs Parker

Mrs Parker ran the boarding house, fed travellers on the trains whilst they were stopped in Yaninee and was the midwife to many grateful mothers and babies.


Yaninee Institute
PO Box 252
South Australia 5653