A Brief History of Tinonee

Tinonee's Name and Proclamation

The site of Tinonee was selected by surveyor Henry Carmichael on 18 October 1850. After being surveyed in 1853, Tinonee was proclaimed a village in 1854. The name 'Tinonee' derives from an Aboriginal word 'Tinobi' meaning deep water with sharks.


The main highway heading north to Port Macquarie and south to Newcastle ran through Tinonee connecting to Taree with a punt over the Manning River. The Manning River provided the means of importing and exporting the necessary goods for the community's survival through the services of sailing ships and later steam and motor driven vessels. Passenger services were provided to residents and visitors. Once the railway line was constructed around 1913, the shipping industry declined and Tinonee became a much quieter and sleepy little town.

Village Lifestyle ...

At the height of Tinonee's prosperity there were churches, a public school, post office, blacksmiths, furniture and cabinet makers, saddlers, boot makers, stores, hotels, carpenters, shinglers, shipwrights, wheelwrights, barbers, milners, dressmakers, butchers, bakers, auctioneers, fruit shop proprieters, broom factory and police station. Today the public school is still in operation with along with two churches, a general store/post office, butcher shop, fast food outlet and cafe.

Maritime History

Tinonee's maritime history is reflected in the flag pole and small wooden launch at the front of the museum. The flag pole is the original mast of the John Gollan tug boat. The small boat on display was used as a launch on the Manning River.