The York Society was formed in 1968 due to public concern regarding the need to preserve the historical buildings and character of the then town. Not long after its formation the Meckering earthquake took place, and the group were able to have a say towards the preservation of some of the damaged buildings. It was not called a historical society because although many members had an abiding interest in history others were just as passionate about art, architecture and craft. The York Society represents all these interests.
The group then started fund raising, to save and repair The Residency, which later became the York Residency Museum. The Museum is now run by the Shire of York.
Since 1973 the Society has run craft and Art competitions which attract entrants from both inside and outside the shire. This competition results in an annual exhibition in the Town Hall and a prize giving ceremony. Volunteers for the Society manage to obtain funding for the prizes from local businesses. The Society also runs an annual photographic competition held in its headquarters in the Sandalwood yards
In 1986 there was thought to be a need for a research group, and a new archives section of The York Society was started. The archive collection holds original town newspapers from 1877 to 1959, private family collections, sporting groups, early business records, cemetery records, oral histories and local histories.
Around 2010 news was received that the building in which the archive collection was housed was about to be sold. The York Society, with the financial help of the Shire of York and Lotterywest, set about the huge project of building a new archive on the groups land. In 2013 the Archives Centre (pictured above) was officially opened providing a fitting home for our collections. The centre is open one day a week, with hopes to include a Saturday in 2017. The York Society has about 90 members at present and celebrates 50 years in 2018. We have hosted the RWAHS Affiliates History Conference twice.