Tilba weaves a rich tapestry of European & Indigenous History
The traditional peoples of Tilba Tilba (an Aboriginal term for "many waters") are the Yuin Nation, who have lived among these lands for millenia.
Gulaga Mountain is central to many stories and connectedness to the land - and also to other clan groups.
You'll notice many rocks, known as Tors, scattered around the region and each tell part of a story that speaks of creation, the Great Spirits and the heaven and earth.
Tilba Tilba is surrounded by many sacred sites of great significance to the Yuin people. Gulaga is known as a teaching place and a birthing place and has special significance to women.
When visiting the region, we ask you stop for a moment to reflect on the importance of these lands to the traditional owners and their enormous respect & connection to this special area over many, many generations.
European settlement began in the mid 1800's
In the early days, the fertile lands saw the establishment of dairy farming as a prominent industry which prompted settlement and began the initial development of the towns.
Many of the original cottages were built using local eucalyptus, and when alluvial & reef gold was discovered in the region, a boom of sorts began, bringing with it much prosperity - and newcomers - up until the late 1800's.
The Bate family were key political figures in establishing the town and the main street of Central Tilba is named in their honour.
By the early 1900's the gold rush was over and the region returned to it's original roots of dairy farming. The ABC Cheese factory (established in 1891) continues the tradition thanks to the Dibden family, who purchased the premises in 2006 and have gone from strength to strength with their high quality milks, cheeses & yoghurts.
In 1974, The National Trust added the Tilba villages to their heritage listing, ensuring the preservation of the unique & quaint buildings, which draw many visitors to the region to appreciate their distinctive charm & character and absorb the unique historical ambience.
THE FAR SOUTH COAST CREATION PLACES
Gulaga - Mt Dromedary
Najanuga - Little Dromedary
Biamanga - Mumbulla Mountain
These creation places, along with Baranguba (Montague Island) form a cultural landscape of profound significance to Aboriginal peoples. The home of spiritual beings who shaped the land and provided the laws which govern the responsibilities Aboriginal people have for country.
Biamanga & Gulaga are known to be the ancestral forces that bind the community together and provide the strength to survive.
The deep connection and responsibility for protecting country were expressed during the 1970's protests against the logging of Biamanga and Gulaga which eventually led to the creation of Gulaga National Park in 2001. In 2005 the area was given back into the care of Aboriginal people via The Gulaga Board of Management.
Montague Island is known as Baranguba to the Aboriginal peoples of the south coast.
Baranguba is a another place of cultural significance and the creation story line is the most widely documented and well known in NSW.
Numerous archeological sites on the island exhibit many thousands of years of visitation and Baranguba has particular cultural value as a male Dreaming place.
The lightkeepers cottages, built in 1881, were designed by the colonial architect James Barnet and have aesthetic value as excellent examples of Victorian Georgian architecture.
The island has long associations with conservation and the National Trust declared it a Flora & Fauna reserve in 1953.
It is also home to a large colony of seabirds and seals and is known for fantastic diving & snorkelling.
(Picture on the right thanks to Merimbula Air Services)
THE HISTORIC VELODROME & CORUNNA POINT RECREATION GROUND
The Velodrome was built in the late 1890s by the popular (& keen) Corunna Cycle Club
The clay oval-shaped track was carved by horse and cart back in the late 1800s by volunteers from the Bicycle Club of Corunna on land donated to them c1892 - it was one of Australia's first velodromes.
Rediscovered only about a decade ago, the velodome was well overgrown and nearly lost forever, but National Parks restored it somewhat and there are some small signs indicating the location and a brief history. Originally the club housed a pavilion and change rooms, but they have since been removed.
TILBA DISTRICT CEMETERY
Established in 1901/02 in the very beautiful setting on the farm “Haxted” (now “Haxstead”), owned at that time by Horrex (Honk) Read.
Prior to this, burials took place on family properties and in the local churchyards at Tilba Tilba and Corunna. Situated adjacent to the ocean with views to Bermagui and Mt Dromedary/Gulaga and Montague Island, it is a magnificent resting place for those people and their descendants who came to the district to farm, mine for gold, make cheese and also to start their own businesses.
In the nineteenth century (from 1856 – 1899), families including Bate, Braithwaite, Britten, Cork, Corkhill, Fookes, Forster, Greatrex, Griffiths, Hoyer, Keir, Latimer, Livingstone, Read, Southam, Stevens and Trapp came to the Tilba District, which is considered to extend from Corunna Lake, south to Wallaga Lake.
This Cemetery forms an integral and historic place in the Heritage of the Tilba district and Eurobodalla Shire.
(Information - with thanks - supplied by Harry Bate)
View a brief video showing the stunning location below.