Before European settlement the Tallong area was inhabited by
the Wodi Wodi people whose country stretched from the Illawarra coast inland to
the Marulan area, south to the Shoalhaven Gorge and north to the Cataract and
Cordeaux Rivers. Tallong lands situation
on the border of Wodi Wodi territory and in close proximity to other inland
groups Ė the Wandandian, Njunawal and Gandanjara peoples - is believed to have allowed
many interactions with others for the purpose of trading, ceremonial, food gathering
and hunting. The Aboriginal name for
this land, Tallong, has been given meanings
such as tongue of land or place of running water.
The first official European expedition to explore the area
was led by James Meehan, Deputy Surveyor of Lands, in 1818. At the behest of Governor Lachlan Macquarie,
Meehan, accompanied by Dr. Charles Throsby, Hamilton Hume, two Aboriginal
guides and seven other men set out to find a route for wheeled vehicles from Parramatta to Jervis
Bay. While this expedition failed when
the party was unable to cross the Shoalhaven River, a survey and an evaluation
of the agricultural potential of local lands was achieved.
By the early 1820s the first land grants in the Tallong area
were being promised. By the end of the
1830s the three largest landholdings in the area were established: George Barber (Glenrock), Dr Patrick Hill
(Caoura and Bosworth) and Robert Jenkins (Bumballa and Tallawa).
Due to its proximity to George Barberís property, the area
where Tallong village now stands
became known as Barberís Creek. When the Great Southern Railway was extended
from Exeter to Goulburn in 1869, Barberís Creek Tank was opened as a watering
place for locomotives and Barberís Creek station was opened for passengers in
1878. By the end of the nineteenth century
Barberís Creek was a small but thriving community with a church, school, a
general store and post office. The station
on the main southern rail line meant employment for locals and transport
options for local industries such as fruit growing, mining, timber getting and
In the early twentieth century, the settlement was
officially renamed Tallong to prevent
confusion with another Barberís Creek
in N.S.W. A major fruit growing industry
developed in the area. Apples, pears and
peaches were the most profitable fruits to grow but cherries, gooseberries,
raspberries and currants also flourished.
In 1917 the apple crop was estimated at 10,000 cases and the entries by
the Tallong Fruit Growersí Association regularly won first prize in the Apple
Pyramid competition at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.
Tallongís place as a major fruit growing area ended in 1965
when a bushfire burnt out most of the orchards, family homes and community
amenities, causing many families to leave the district.
The school master's residence after the 1965 fires
Bridge repairs were necessary after the 1965 fire
Since then however there has been a steady rebuilding of the
area, gaining momentum at the end of the twentieth century with the subdivision
of the large properties and the development of the gated community called Tallong Park Estate leading to an
influx of younger families as well as retirees and tree-changers.
The Tallong community is an active one with a
number of community groups providing services and activities for their members
and the community as a whole. This includes St Stephens church.
biggest event on the community calendar is the Apple Day Festival, held on the
first Sunday in May.