The one thing Tangambalanga was never short on was water. Just east of the flood-prone Kiewa River, the town spent a great deal of its early years sporadically under water and intermittently isolated.
The town 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.
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. The town also saw the building of a school, as students were unable to attend neighbouring towns thanks to the occasional isolation caused by the rising river.
North East Water
One of the first initiatives North East Water undertook in 1999 was to connect the town to the sewer system. That, curiously, was the easy part.
Despite its proximity to the Kiewa River, the water supply to Tangambalanga isn’t easy. The Tangambalanga system is supplied by gravity from the 10 ML Baranduda tank (which is filled from the Wodonga water supply system). This then feeds the 1.5 ML Tangambalanga tank via a 14 km long pipeline. When the Tangambalanga tank reaches total volume, the supply to the tank is shut-off and when it’s closed, Kiewa is supplied from Baranduda, and Tangambalanga from the tank. The valve re-opens when the level in the tank falls to a pre-determined set point.
It may sound like a game of Mousetrap, and maybe even more so after a second main was installed to drain the tank, but the system demonstrates the complex lengths North East Water goes to in order to ensure drinking water for the community.