Tynong is thought to be an Aboriginal word meaning many fish, evidence of its location on the margin of the former Koo Wee Rup Swamp. This small township is situated on the Gippsland railway, 67 km south-east of central Melbourne, beyond Pakenham in the Shire of Cardinia.
Like many of the other towns along the Gippsland railway, Tynong was established as a result of the opening of the railway in 1877. In 1879, one of the settlers, R. Rogerson, bought 319 acres between the present Princes Highway and the railway.
The demand for firewood in the expanding city of Melbourne led to the development of local industry. Primary occupations in the area were cutting sleepers for the Gippsland line, distilling eucalyptus oil, timber milling, cutting firewood and grazing cattle. Other industries have included a charcoal works, sand excavation, a blacksmith and apple orchards. Current industries include a retail and garden nursery, a storage facility for potatoes and dairy farming.
As a result of a decline in local timber resources, the timber industry fell into serious decline around 1892 but was revived with the arrival of H.W. Weatherhead in North Tynong in 1908 and the establishment of a timber mill. The last of the Weatherhead mills (on the site now occupied by the Mill Valley Ranch) closed down in 1979.
Tynong was described in the 1903 Australian handbook:
The village grew up near the railway station, other settlers lived in isolated bush locations. By 1882 a post office had been opened at Tynong railway station. There were no public buildings and children went to school in Garfield or in the Nar Nar Goon area prior to the opening of the Tynong School c1906.
A granite quarry was opened in 1931 to provide stone for the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne. Tynong benefited from the state electricity connection to the quarry in 1929.
Facilities include a post office attached to the general store in Railway Avenue, public hall and infant welfare centre, railway station, recreation reserve and tennis courts.
Just off the Freeway there is the Corpus Christi Catholic church. Its St Thomas Aquinas College (1997) is near Tynong village. North of the village there is Granite Hill and further north, across the Freeway, a large quarry (1988) is in Tynong North. Granite from Tynong was used in the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance in 1928. South of the railway a new racecourse for the Pakenham Racing Club was completed in 2014.
On the opposite side of the Princes Freeway, Tynong North features recreational facilities for youth including a Girl Guides camp, Mill Valley Ranch and Max Weatherhead’s Cornucopia Museum. Land north of the railway is used for grazing whilst the richer land to the south supports agriculture and market gardening.
Tynong’s census populations have been:
Tynong North is an identified district, adjoining the east side of the town Maryknoll. It reaches north to the Bunyip State Park, Gembrook, and had a post office (1934-64) and a primary school (1930-51). Its census populations have been:
In the wake of the pack tracks: a history of the Shire of Berwick, now the City of Berwick and the Shire of Pakenham, 3rd ed, Berwick-Pakenham Historical Society, 1994
Mike McCarthy, Settlers and sawmillers: a history of West Gippsland tramways and the industries they served 1875-1934, Light Railway Research Society of Australia Incorporated, Melbourne, 1993