In the midst of a six-year drought, James Roberts took up the Tawonga pastoral run. Squatters had been there several years prior, and in 1836 leases were offered to them for grazing cattle in an attempt to begin pastoralisation of the land. By the time Roberts arrived in 1841, land was better prepared and being formally offered at a pound ($2) an acre. The run (which would become home of the Tawonga Station) included alluvial river flats of the Kiewa River, though the drought meant that Roberts had little to do but wait for the rains.
Cattle and turkeys were the primary income stream for Tawonga, with Beechworth its biggest market. Cattle lead to dairy, and with the advancements seen elsewhere in the state, the dairy lead to a saw mill.
After the railway line was extended to Bright in 1890, Tawonga was within 25 km of a railhead, which was made easier when the horse track between was widened to take vehicles. Livestock could be driven to Bright and dairy produce transported to there from the Tawonga butter factory. The Bogong hotel was opened at Tawonga in 1910 and survived 101 years before being destroyed by fire.
North East Water
Tawonga (and Tawonga South) are both serviced via the Mt Beauty Water Treatment Plant, with an additional storage tank built in Tawonga South in 2005. Water is sourced from the Kiewa system, thanks to a complicated set of mains that feeds water through a tunnel (that supplies water for hydro-electricity generation at the West Kiewa power station operated by AGL) into a 110kL concrete open settling tank before being transferred 6.6 km to the 4.5ML Tawonga raw water basin. It’s then sent out through the reticulation and straight to your tap.
The Mount Beauty sewerage system (which supplies the Tawongas) was originally constructed around 1958 at which time it covered central and north Mount Beauty. The reticulation system in North Mount Beauty was replaced between 1998 and 2004 with concrete sewer upgraded to PVC pipework. Central Mount Beauty still contains predominantly concrete sewers, however ongoing renewal works have seen shallower sections prone to sewer blockage relined (albeit this is still a minority of the pipes). Ongoing replacement of concrete manhole lids with lighter weight steel lids has occurred at a rate of about 20 per year.
The Tawonga South area is predominantly comprised of vitrified clay and PVC sewers from the early-mid 1980s. Wastewater from Tawonga South reaches the WWTP via the caravan park pump station and rising main along Embankment Drive while central and north Mount Beauty gravitate to the plant.