Tangambalanga is a rural township of about 450 people in north-east Victoria just east of the Kiewa River, 20 km south-east of Wodonga. It was named after the Tangambalanga pastoral run (1838-39), and it is thought that the name was derived from an Aboriginal word referring to a large freshwater crustacean, the Murray River or white clawed lobster. Its maximum length, excluding the claws, is 40 cm.

Farm selections were sold from the pastoral run in 1874 and a school was opened in 1885. A substantial amount of the Tangambalanga property was kept intact until it was subdivided for closer settlement in 1907. Until then the Tangambalanga village had a hotel, a store and a hall (1904) and intermittent isolation from Kiewa and Yackandandah when the Kiewa River flooded.

Before closer settlement came, the school building had been transferred to a small mining area to the east, Red Bluff. Within a few years Tangambalanga’s school children could neither be accommodated at Red Bluff nor got to Kiewa in wet weather, and Tangambalanga built a new school.

Dairying became the main farm industry, beginning with a creamery (1892) and expanding to the Kiewa Valley butter factory. The dairy holdings formed a compact community and by the 1920s the Victorian municipal directory noted that the town had three churches, several stores and a hotel. The intensification of dairying in the 1950s and 1960s brought increased population, local prosperity and additional town amenities: recreation did well, with a bowling green, tennis courts and a swimming pool. The dairy processing factory has continued under Murray Goulburn. The local primary school was closed in 1953 when Kiewa Consolidated was built in Tangambalanga. A community centre opened in 2006.

A new yoghurt factory, a joint venture between the food company Danone and milk processor Murray Goulburn, was opened in 2011 to produce the Activia brand yoghurt.

The Kiewa-Tangambalanga Community Plan was released in 2011 to promote projects that benefit the community including the establishment of a public reserve at the Kiewa River, improvements to walking and cycling, and the re-establishment of a local newspaper or newsletter.

Tangambalanga’s census populations have been:

census date population
1921 173
1933 280
1947 242
1954 209
1961 377
1971 292
1976 307
1986 314
1996 365
2001 407
2006 439
2011 436

Further Reading

Esther Temple, The Kiewa Valley and its pioneers, Kiewa Valley Historical Society, 1971