The area was originally inhabited by the YuinAboriginal tribe. Tilba Tilba is the original name of the district, and is said to be a Thawa Aboriginal term for "many waters". The town was settled during the Australian gold rushes of the nineteenth century. It was the home town of the Bate family of political renown.
Central Tilba is located around 10 kilometres south south west of Narooma and is 60 kilometres north of Bega. The entire village is classified by the National Trust as the Central Tilba Conservation Area. The ABC Cheese Factory in Central Tilba was in operation from September 1891 until 2006 and remains a local attraction. The Tilba Factory was purchased in 2012 by two local dairy farmers who installed new cheese making and milk bottling equipment, bringing back the age old tradition of dairy manufacture to the Tilba area. The milk bottled and cheese made on site are from two local dairy farms, one in Tilba one in Cobargo. There are 19 locals employed at the Tilba Factory where they produce award winning cheese, yoghurt, milk and cream, all from creamy jersey milk. Cheese and honey tastings are available to the public daily, milkshakes, coffee,icecreams, local jams, honey and an extensive range of giftware are also available.