The Manning Valley’s earliest inhabitants were the Biripi tribe of Aboriginals.

They lived in an area that was a temperate rainforest containing a number of hardwood species, cedar trees and fig trees. The rainforest was divided by a deep river which was full of fish and sharks.

The name Tinonee originates from the Aboriginal word “Tinobi”. “Tinobi” has been attributed two meanings with the meaning that is given most emphasis being “Deep Water with sharks”. The alternative meaning is “Blady Grass”.

The early European settlers also had a name for Tinonee and that was “The Old Wharf” and it was opposite “Tarree”.

In 1854 Tinonee was gazetted as a village. This followed surveying by Mr Henry Carmichael and his completion of a design plan for the township.

Tinonee was a significant river port. It had a very large wharf where timber was received from bullock teams, stored and loaded onto Tall Ships that came up the river to trade. Small schooners, ketches and milk boats also serviced smaller settlements.

The village of Tinonee was a commercial hub of the Manning. It contained several hotels, boarding houses, timber mills [includng one of Gollan and Sons, which was located at the river end of Peveril Street], police station / courthouse, post office (which was also a general store with a fuel pump), bank, blacksmith shop, butcher shop, flour mill ( at the end of Mill St), bakery and a sugar mill.

The village was also the home to several broom factories, as well as a ship building operation owned by the Gollan family.

Chapman’s emporium was a 2 storey building and sold a little of everything while also operating a trading boat on the river.

Tinonee also had a Maternity hospital (Nurse Sawyers) in Mill Street. The current owners converted part of the hospital into a small unique 22 seat picture theatre which was known as “The Terrace Cinema”. This cinema, which has now closed, used to show movies from all era’s. Our museum now possesses the old projector and memorabilia from the theatre.

As the population increased more facilities were needed. A School was established in 1859. Three churches were also built. The oldest church in Tinonee is the John Knox Free Presbyterian church which now forms part of the Australian Inland Mission. The Methodist church [which became the Uniting Church of Australia] was also represented on the SW corner of Manchester and Winter Street. Today, that building is a private residence.

St Luke’s Church of England is still operating and provides church services on a weekly basis. The building was originally constructed using old planks and shingles which lead the Reverend E H Wright to comment “The old church has reached a stage where astronomy can be studied through the roof and geology can be studied through the floor”. The old church was demolished and replaced by a new structure in September 1905.

The Tinonee Memorial School of Arts Hall was built in 1912 by Captain Hector Gollan. The Hall has been used for many official and private functions, dances and concerts by the local community.

The first newspaper of the Manning called Tinonee its home. The “Manning River News” was established by Dr Horace Dean. Tinonee also hosted the first agricultural show on the Manning.

With the arrival of rail the trading ships eventually stopped coming to the Manning and the routing of the rail through Taree, saw it become the major centre.

Initially, the main highway ran through Tinonee to Taree, however that required the use of a punt to cross the river. An upgrade of the highway saw the highway rerouted and the construction and opening of the Martin bridge, in Taree, in 1940 meant the highway traffic no longer travelled through Tinonee.

The Tinonee punt continued for a few more years before it, too, ceased permanently.

Tinonee gradually became a quiet village and saw many of the older buildings demolished and much of the village’s heritage was lost.

The Tinonee Historical Museum was originally built as a broom factory. It was the last of 4 broom factories operating in Tinonee. Millet for the brooms was grown on local farms and timber handles were made at local sawmills.

The Museum building was bought for the Tinonee Historical Society in 2003 for the purpose of creating a museum. The museum has in its grounds the original gaol cell and police stables, both a reminder of years past. Both the gaol cell and police stables were next to the Police Station located across the road from the Museum.

The Museum grounds also contains the mast from the “John Gollan” a tug boat, built at Tinonee, and which worked the Manning for much of its life. The mast is now used as our flag pole. The Museum also displays the boomgate and pulleywheel from the Tinonee punt,the latter needing to be reconstructed by a local engineer.

At the rear of the museum is a heritage garden.

In the foreseeable future we intend constructing an outdoor display shed and workshop.

Importantly, the museum is entirely run by volunteers.

Volunteers who actively work at keeping our history and heritage alive for future generations.

Please show your support for this important project through your donations of financial and historical gifts, while not forgetting, of course, your memories of the recent and distant past.