The township had its beginnings with cattle graziers arriving in the area in 1836 and a village began to form. There was a cattle holding at the time called Tumbarumba Creek. The name is said to be an extension of the local Aboriginal word ‘rumba’ meaning ‘sound’.
This all changed with gold being discovered in the 1850’s and as with many in the region, what was a small village became a town. Many people migrated to the area including a large number of Chinese. Gold mining continued into the 20th century only petering out in the 1930’s.
Despite commercial mining ending in the area, there are still many who go fossicking for gold, zircon, rubies or sapphires that are still being found there..
While still with many of its 19th century buildings, today the town remains a centre for the agricultural and timber industries in the regions around it. Being located in a rich, sheltered valley with pleasant vistas and rivers the town is a popular holiday spot. Many tourists come through the town on the way to the Snowy Mountains’ ski resorts and the Kosciuszko National Park – Mount Kosciuszko can be seen from the town.
The town holds one of Australia’s largest rodeos each New Year’s Day.