Central Tilba – Like Stepping Back in Time

Here’s one from the vault – so to speak…
Central Tilba and Tilba Tilba are two villages just off the main A1 Princes Highway in Eurobodalla Shire, not far from the coast in southern New South Wales. It lies about 350 km south of Sydney and just over 100km north of Eden. Central Tilba has a population of about 300 only,  while Tilba Tilba has just under 100.

The town (more like a village really) was settled during the gold rushes of the nineteenth century and the place retains the look and feel of that period. While close to National Parks and stunning coastline it is the town itself that is the attraction. There is a beauty and quaintness to the buildings that have been well preserved. It is one of those picture postcard settings that attracts tourist from all over. Central Tilba is probably less than 200 metres off the main A1 highway, but it is a whole world away.

The petrol station, General Store, and Post Office.

As soon as you enter the town there is a small B&B attached to the Emporium (general) store which also serves as a post office and petrol station. There are plenty of café and places to eat as well as artisan shops selling all kinds of exclusive designs.

One of the many Cafés in Tilba
Stepping back in time inside the ‘General Store’
Post Office side of the multi purpose building.

Anyone remember those old sweet shops?

If you have a real sweet tooth this shop is like a dream come true. Another one of those ‘stepping back in time’ moments. Remember those old sweet shops with high shelves filled with big jars of boiled sweets etc? I am old enough to remember the ‘traditional sweet shop’ but I don’t recall seeing anything as impressive as the display of sweet jars in this place. Where else do you see this array of sugary, tooth decaying “treats” these days?

There were plenty of names I can honestly say I had never heard even of. Plus a fair few I remember fondly. Zoom in on these photos and see if your old favourites are here.

These kind of sweets are definitely not for me now; but back when I was Dani’s age I would have eaten my fair share. It’s nostalgic. It’s colourful. It’s a dentist’s holiday fund generator. It is classic Central Tilba.

Bloody Cars. Why?

One thing that really pisses me off about these places is the traffic. Of course we drove there too, but I mean allowing the cars into the main streets of picturesque little places. And there is only one main street to speak of here. In the case of Central Tilba, the local town council (or whoever deals with such stuff) could easily make a car park or two outside of the village and simply block off the main street to traffic. Jeez! They do it all the time in bust cities creating chaos and worse traffic congestion. Surely it’s obvious what they need to do here – and other quaint and historical village centres.

As so often in places like this the parked cars spoil the views.
The village pub/hotel. Again partly obscured by cars

Remove the cars from the streets and you could feel as if you were lost in time in Central Tilba.

Shops, 1950s Diner and an old Cheese Factory 

You can walk the town’s main street in 10 minutes but with all the places to step into it is easy to spend hours. Especially if you take in a meal and a drink. As small as it is this place has everything you need if you intend to make a base for exploring the nearby Gulaga and Kooraban National Parks, as well as the fantastic coastline only a few kilometres away.

Inside the retro diner

The old cheese factory
As with all small towns in Australia many locals gave their lives in war.

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