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Tantanoola, South Australia facts for kids

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South Australia
Post office
Tantanoola is located in South Australia
Location in South Australia
Established 10 July 1879 (town)
23 February 1995 (locality)
Postcode(s) 5280
Elevation 25 m (82 ft) (Railway Station)
Time zone ACST (UTC+9:30)
 • Summer (DST) ACDT (UTC+10:30)
  • 350 km (217 mi) SE of Adelaide
  • 18 km (11 mi) SE of Millicent
  • Wattle Range Council
  • District Council of Grant
Region Limestone Coast
County Grey
State electorate(s) MacKillop
Federal Division(s) Barker
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
19.0 °C
66 °F
8.2 °C
47 °F
712.4 mm
28 in
Localities around Tantanoola:
Millicent Rocky Camp
Mount Burr
Mount McIntyre
Canunda Tantanoola Glencoe
German Flat German Creek Burrungule
Footnotes Adjoining localities

Tantanoola is a town in regional South Australia. The name is derived from the aboriginal word tentunola, which means boxwood / brushwood hill or camp. Tantanoola was originally named 'Lucieton' by Governor Jervois after his daughter Lucy Caroline, on 10 July 1879. It was changed by Governor Robinson to 'Tantanoola' on 4 October 1888. At the 2006 census, Tantanoola had a population of 255.

Tantanoola is in the Wattle Range Council local government area, the South Australian House of Assembly electoral districts of MacKillop and Mount Gambier, and the Australian House of Representatives Division of Barker.

The primary school closed in July 2020 after the farcical situation of having more staff than students. The remaining students transferred to nearby schools in Millicent and Mount Gambier.


The township of Tantanoola is situated in the Hundred of Hindmarsh, 425 km south east of Adelaide, and was once a portion of Mayurra Station. It was the second town of importance on the Rivoli Bay to Mount Gambier railway line which was built in 1876, converted from narrow to broad gauge in 1956 and ceased operating in 1995. The historic Tantanoola railway station is listed on the South Australian Heritage Register.

Tantanoola Tiger

Caves near Tantanoola

Tantanoola is known for the Tantanoola Tiger, a phantom cat which supposedly stalked the area during the late nineteenth century. In August 1895 an animal was shot by one Thomas John Donovan, which was believed to have been the mysterious predator. The animal turned out to be more like a wolf than a cat. Later, it was determined to be an Arabian wolf, although how it arrived in South Australia has been the subject of a number of theories. It is currently preserved and on display at the Tantanoola Hotel (which is also known colloquially as the Tantanoola Tiger Hotel). Tantanoola Caves Conservation Park, featuring a spectacular dolomite cave is located nearby.

Australian poet Max Harris wrote a poem titled "The Tantanoola Tiger", which is included in the collection The Angry Penguin: the Poetry of Max Harris, published by the National Library of Australia.


The next station northwest along the railway line was Snuggery. Snuggery is not recognised as a separate town, but is part of Tantanoola towards Millicent. The area includes the Snuggery Power Station with three diesel-powered gas turbines, and the Kimberly-Clark woodchip and paper pulp mill. The pulp mill was commissioned in 1992 but ceased operations in 2011. It was demolished in November 2012.

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