The Original Township
The town of Tungamah (current pop. 408) in Moira Shire, first came into existence on 15th February 1875, with surveyor Robert Maxwell setting out the first subdivision later that year. Streets were named after the early selectors, as was common in rural towns at that time. It started out as part of the Shire of Echuca, moving to become part of the Shire of Yarrawonga in 1878, which became Moira Shire in 1994.
The name ‘Tungamah’ came from the aboriginal word for the native or brush turkey, once common in the area but now a rarity, and which has been protected since 1897.
Electricity and Water
On the original Surveyors’ plan there was a track crossing Boosey Creek, and this was later followed by the railway. Sanitary conditions with poor quality water led to outbreaks of highly infections diseases in the early days, including the severe typhoid epidemic in 1884. However, septic tanks and improved medical knowledge helped to improve this, as did the electric supply which was turned on in the town in 1940. Water continued to come from the Broken River and Boosey Creek – which often dried up in summer – and the quality was extremely poor. A water treatment plant was constructed in 1984 to meet WHO standards, with the original pipes being replaced by an ongoing program.
The Railway Line
When the Oaklands Line was constructed from Benalla to St James, it was generally expected to carry on to Yarrawonga via nearby Lake Rowan. However, under considerable pressure from Tungamah residents, included many heated public debates, it was decided to proceed via Tungamah instead, and by January 1886 the track had been laid as far as this town. The final link to Yarrawonga was officially opened in May 1886.
The concrete silo was erected in 1944, with the steel silo being constructed beside it a few years later. A large grain shed was added in 1969. These are the silos which have now been painted by artist Sobrane Simcock.