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Tumbarumba, NSW

Quiet, charming rural town on the southern slopes of the Snowy Mountains.

Tumbarumba is a small, attractive town nestled on the southern slopes of the Snowy Mountains. Historically it has always been a sleepy little town having been by-passed by both the Hume Highway and the major railway line between Sydney and Melbourne.  Consequently it has a kind of "held in aspic" old-style charm with a number of beautifully preserved old buildings. Today the town is sustained by the timber, blueberries, raspberries, truffles, olives, sheep and cattle.


Tumbarumba is located 471 km south-west of Sydney via the Hume Freeway and Motorway, 701 metres above sea level, and 473 km north-east of Melbourne.


Origin of Name

Tumbarumba is in Ngarigo country and the word reputedly means "sounding ground". There is a suggestion that there are places in the district where, if the ground is hit with a stick, there is a distinct and unusual hollow sound. There is an alternative explanation that it is a corruption of the Ngarigo "dhamba dhamba" meaning "soft" or "soft ground" and a local Ngarigo Elder (see Comments) has explained that the term actually means "place of large trees".


Things to See and Do

The Court House
The only building in town of real interest is the Court House which is located in Bridge Street. It was constructed in the 1880s and has a certain gracious elegance and charm.

Tumbarumba Wines and Cellar Doors
Tumbarumba is a cool climate wine growing area where grapes have been grown since the early 1980s. There are approximately 330 ha of vineyards in the district which produce around  3000 tonnes of grapes each year. The signature wines are Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. In recent years the newer plantings include Merlot, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Shiraz and Viognier. The latter varieties helped by the warm dry seasons experienced in the past few years. The majority of grapes produced in the region are sold on to the major wine companies. There are four cellar doors in the district:
Glenburnie Cellar Door, Black Range Road, Tumbarumba . Open every day 10.00 am - 6.00 pm, tel: (02) 6948 2570.
Mannus Wines, 79 Glenroy Hills Road, Tumbarumba. Open weekends noon - 4.00pm, tel: (02) 6948 8481.
Upper Murray Estate, 8792 Murray River Road, Walwa, Open 10.00 am - 5.00 pm, Thursday to Monday, tel: (02) 6037 1577.
Tumbarumba Wines Escape, 3446 Jingellic Road, Tumbarumba, Open 11.00 am - 4.00 pm Saturday and Sunday, tel: (02) 6948 5254.


Other Attractions in the Area

Hume and Hovell Walking Track - Henry Angel Trackhead
The Hume and Hovell Walking Track stretches for 440 km from Yass to Albury and traces the route taken by Hamilton Hume and William Hovell on their epic exploration in 1824 which led to the establishment of an overland route between Sydney and the present-day site of Melbourne.
The section of the track which runs from Henry Angel Trackhead to Tumbarumba Creek is a pleasant (easy to moderate grading) walk from the Henry Angel Campsite 7 km south of Tumbarumba on the Tumbarumba-Tooma road. It is a 12 km walk which should take about 5-6 hours. The walk is along the Burra Creek and includes a tunnel built during the gold mining days, a number of waterfalls, and the place where Hume and Hovell first sighted the Snowy Mountains. The track is named after Henry Angel, one of the six assigned convicts to accompany Hume and Hovell. Check out https://www.humeandhovelltrack.com.au/#hume-and-hovell-track

Paddy's River Falls
Paddy's River Flats and Paddy's River Falls are a major attraction in the district. The falls, which are 60 metres high, are located 14 km south of Tumbarumba on the Tooma-Khancoban Road. There is a track to the base of the falls. Nearby is Paddy's River Flats with toilets, camping and picnic facilities. Check out http://www.tumbarumbansw.com/paddy's-river-falls-tumbarumba.html for more details.



* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area around Tumbarumba had been Ngarigo country for at least 20,000 years.

* The first Europeans into the area were the explorers Hamilton Hume and William Hovell who passed through in 1824 on their way overland from Yass to Port Phillip.

* By the 1830s settlers had moved into the area.

* The first settler in the tiny settlement arrived in the early 1840s.

* Gold was discovered in the Tumbarumba district in 1855 and the Tumbarumba Gold Field was proclaimed in 1866.

* The township was surveyed in 1859 and land lots were officially sold in 1860.

* The Post Office opened in 1860.

* On 24 July 1864 the bushranger 'Mad Dog' Morgan shot and killed Sergeant David Maginnity on the road between Tumbarumba and Coppabella. Morgan approached two policemen and shot Maginnity. The other, Trooper Churchley, fled and was later dismissed for cowardice. After the killing the government put a reward of £1000 on Morgan's head.

* In 1921 a branch railway line reached the town.

* The Tumbarumba goldfields were still productive in the 1930s.

* The railway was closed by the 1970s.

* Today the town is a service centre for the surrounding district where vineyards, blueberries and timber are the dominant agriculture.


Visitor Information

The Tumbarumba Visitor Information Centre, 10 Bridge Street, is open seven days, tel: (02) 6948 3333.


Useful Websites

There's a local website. Check out https://visitsnowyvalleys.com.au.

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5 suggestions
  • Tumbarumba is in Ngarigo country, not Wiradjuri or Walgalu as stated. Walgalu is a curse that was put on the Ngarigo people by Murray Jack a Wiradjuri katarchi man who put the Walgalu curse on whole Ngarigo families, hence Walgalu people (Toomaroombah) means “mother earth is talking”. Tumbarumba means place of large trees according to the old original Aboriginal Ngarigo men, old Diamond & Charlie Wilkie senior. These stories were handed down through our family. Tindale & other white man stories are all ‘goona’ we can tell our own stories that was handed down to us for generations.

    Ganje jargiar, proud Ngarigo elder.
    • Do you have free or donation camping in the vicinity of Tumbarumba…am heading that way in March with a caravan and little dog..
      I married a local shearer in 1966 but passed in 1977. I haven’t been back to this town for at least 45yrs. Wasn’t a local gal..

      Jeannie Simpson
  • I was born in Tumbarumba at Mrs Greenhalghs clinic in February 1936 . My father was a teacher at Union Jack and he boarded with Mrs Pheobe Egan ( nee Kelly } and he married her daughter Eileen. I have two sisters Patricia and Bernice. I was related to the Cuskey family as well.

    PeterT Connolly
  • My great grandmother Mary Jane Donaldson (Nee Waring) had a licence to grow grapes for wine production here, her address or business address was Parade St, Tumbarumba, during 1912 era. Mary’s husband John Walter Donaldson was a bricklayer and perhaps an engineer. He built buildings throughout Victoria. They are descendants of pioneers from the 1840’s. They also had land at Rocky Point, Norong, Rutherglen region, Koo Wee Rup, & Yallock where their children attended school.

    Amanda Jane Donaldson
  • Hi there. Thanks for your great website. Regarding wineries and cellar doors, might want to add Courabyra Wines at 805 Courabyra Rd, Tumbarumba. Beautiful location, yummy restaurant, and Cathy is a fabulous host.

    Janine Becker