Tangambalanga is a rural township of about 450 people in north-east Victoria just east of the Kiewa River, 20 km south-east of Wodonga. It was named after the Tangambalanga pastoral run (1838-39), and it is thought that the name was derived from an Aboriginal word referring to a large freshwater crustacean, the Murray River or white clawed lobster. Its maximum length, excluding the claws, is 40 cm.
Farm selections were sold from the pastoral run in 1874 and a school was opened in 1885. A substantial amount of the Tangambalanga property was kept intact until it was subdivided for closer settlement in 1907. Until then the Tangambalanga village had a hotel, a store and a hall (1904) and intermittent isolation from Kiewa and Yackandandah when the Kiewa River flooded.
Before closer settlement came, the school building had been transferred to a small mining area to the east, Red Bluff. Within a few years Tangambalanga’s school children could neither be accommodated at Red Bluff nor got to Kiewa in wet weather, and Tangambalanga built a new school.
Dairying became the main farm industry, beginning with a creamery (1892) and expanding to the Kiewa Valley butter factory. The dairy holdings formed a compact community and by the 1920s the Victorian municipal directory noted that the town had three churches, several stores and a hotel. The intensification of dairying in the 1950s and 1960s brought increased population, local prosperity and additional town amenities: recreation did well, with a bowling green, tennis courts and a swimming pool. The dairy processing factory has continued under Murray Goulburn. The local primary school was closed in 1953 when Kiewa Consolidated was built in Tangambalanga. A community centre opened in 2006.
A new yoghurt factory, a joint venture between the food company Danone and milk processor Murray Goulburn, was opened in 2011 to produce the Activia brand yoghurt.
The Kiewa-Tangambalanga Community Plan was released in 2011 to promote projects that benefit the community including the establishment of a public reserve at the Kiewa River, improvements to walking and cycling, and the re-establishment of a local newspaper or newsletter.
Tangambalanga’s census populations have been:
Esther Temple, The Kiewa Valley and its pioneers, Kiewa Valley Historical Society, 1971