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The townsite of Tambellup is located in the Great Southern Agricultural region, 317 kilometres south east of Perth and 23 kilometres south of Broomehill. The area around Tambellup was first settled by pastoralists in the late 1840s, and in 1849 the Surveyor General, John Septimus Roe, when passing through the area, referred to Morrison's south west station at "Tambul-yillup". The area was later settled by the Norrish family, and the spelling commonly used for the place then was "Tambellelup". When the Great Southern Railway was opened in 1889 a station was established at Tambellup, and it appears that the shortened version of the name was created by the railway, as the timetable in 1889 uses the Tambellup spelling. Tambellup was gazetted a townsite in 1899. The meaning of this Aboriginal name is not known, although one source gives it as "place of thunder"(from Toombellanup).