Situated approximately 13 km from Taree, the historic town of Tinonee is one of the oldest settlements in the region. The area is a balance of residential homes, small acreage and larger land holdings.
From the 1900’s Tinonee was an important river trading port and housed a thriving community, loads of industry and was an important commercial hub.
The main highway once ran through Tinonee connecting to Taree with a punt over the Manning River. The 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. Ships built in Tinonee were taken to sea through the entrance at Harrington, and then to major ports like Sydney.
Once the railway line was constructed around 1913, the shipping industry declined and Tinonee became a much quieter town.
The name 'Tinonee' derives from an Aboriginal word 'Tinobi' meaning deep water with sharks. Local Koori artist Russell Saunders has incorporated this into the name of his art gallery, which is now located in Taree. The Deep Water Shark Gallery displays Aboriginal artwork, including works in wood, clay and paint. Tinonee was important to the local indigenous Biripi people for hunting and gathering food according to the seasons and the availability of their food sources.
Today the public school is still in operation along with two churches, a general store/post office, fast food outlet and café. Visit the smallest cinema in Australia (as per The Guinness Book of Records), The Terrace Cinema and Museum, which uses original projecting equipment and authentic slides which are still shown from time to time. The 22 seat theatre also shows old newsreels plus new and old movies. Interesting selections of antiques are also housed there.
A visit to the Historical museum is also well worth a look. Why not take the 2.2km heritage walk around the town to be immersed in its history. It’s hard to imagine that Tinonee once had several churches, a public school, post office, blacksmiths, furniture and cabinet makers, saddlers, boot makers, stores, hotels, accommodation, carpenters, shinglers, shipwrights, wheelwrights, barbers, milliners, dressmakers, butchers, bakers, auctioneers, fruit shop, broom factory and a police station.
The local economy is now driven by tourism with a selection of B&B’s and Farm stays. The impressive Mansfield on Manning caters for larger functions such as weddings and corporate events, with fresh local produce on the menu plus an eclectic array of accommodation. Artisan on The Hill at nearby Mondrook is a working gallery that provides art and craft workshops and self-contained hideaway accommodation. A short drive will take you to the town water supply at Bootawa dam, Tinonee Orchid Nursery which is one of Australia's leading orchid nurseries, or the Llama visitors centre.