Yanac is rural village in the south of the Mallee region, north-west Victoria. It is 28 km north-west of Nhill and was connected by railway to Jeparit from 1912 until 1984.
Yanac was named after the Yanac-a-Yanac pastoral run (1846), which had a homestead near the Yanac swamp which is about 4 km south-east of the village. The swamp receives waters from the Yanac and a few smaller creeks. It is thought that the name was derived from an Aboriginal expression describing bats flying at night.
Closer settlement came to the Yanac district during the late 1870s. A school was opened in 1880 at Yanac South. Methodist (1887) and Lutheran (1905) churches were opened near the future site of the Yanac village, which was confirmed with the laying of the railway line in 1912. Yanac was the terminus, with storage facilities and railway houses. The Yanac school was opened in the Methodist church in 1889. The village also had a store (1890) and a blacksmith.
The establishment of the railway made Yanac a minor local centre. It had football, tennis and rifle clubs, and a public hall was built in 1921. There are several grain silos near the former railway station. The general store remained open until about 1998 being owned by the proprietor of the store at Miram. In addition to the store, post office and silos, Yanac has a recreation reserve, a hall, a Uniting church. The 1990s saw several closures: the school (1993), the Lutheran church (1995) and the Salvation Army hall (1998).
Yanac lies at the south of the Big Desert National Park and is connected by a track through the Park to Murrayville.
Yanac’s census populations have been:
Time goes by at Yanac, Yanac History Book Committee, 1995
Yesteryears at Yanac: school centenary 1889-1989, Yanac, 1989