The small township of Tinamba lies on the flat plains between the Macalister and Thomson Rivers, 7 km west of Maffra and 203 km east of Melbourne.

From the 1840s Mewburn Park pastoral run encompassed the area between the two rivers. The district was surveyed for selection in 1862, and the parish was named Tinamba, supposedly an Aboriginal word meaning ‘pull my toe’. The discovery of goldfields in the ranges to the west gave the settlers a ready market for farm produce and by 1870 most of the land in the parish was settled. A hotel opened in 1874 and a school commenced classes in 1875. In 1883, a railway line was constructed through the district, linking Maffra with the main Gippsland line at Traralgon. Cattle, horses, pigs and sheep were trucked from Tinamba station and market sales for calves and pigs were held in yards at the station.

During 1900-20 several of the large estates in the district were subdivided, bringing a rush of new settlers. A hall was constructed in 1901 and the school was moved to a more central location in 1912. In 1919, some building blocks were surveyed at the intersection of the Maffra and Rosedale Roads. Soon, as well as the hotel and general store, there were blacksmith, butcher and hardware shops and an Anglican church. A sawmill was also established in the township.

When water for irrigation was available from Glenmaggie Weir in 1936, farmers concentrated on dairying and the area is now a prosperous and productive dairying district. The school consolidated with Boisdale in 1951 and the station closed in 1978, but the small township retains a hotel, general store, hall and church.

The Macalister River downstream of Lake Glenmaggie inundated the town with floodwater in 2007, and again in 2012.

Census populations have been:

area census date population
Tinamba 1911 342
  1933 500
  1954 363
  1966 173
Tinamba and environs 2006 500
  2011 483

At the 2011 census, dairy farming accounted for 28.1% of employment.

Further Reading

W. Vardy, Beneath blue hills: a history of Mewburn Park, Tinamba and Riverslea, 1994