Popanyinning was originally named 'Popaning' which stands for waterhole in the Aboriginal language. The name came about from a large waterhole that was situated just outside of the town. The waterhole was used by aborigines and wild brumbies from around the district. Years later the name was changed to Popanyinning, but no-one is really quite sure of why.
The birth of the township of Popanyinning can be attributed to both the construction of the Great Southern Railway and the desire of pioneers to settle within the perimeter of the townsite, being approximately 3.4 miles north and south and 14 miles east and west. Records show that the first pioneers arrived in 1893, and in 1898 pioneer railway construction workers and their families arrived.
By 1906 there were 72 families registered within the Popanyinning district. The town was basically built for agricultural conveniences so that surrounding settlers could come and buy their monthly supplies from the local shops and for the use of the railway facilities. Once there were many shops in the main street, such as a Blacksmith's, General Store and Post Office, Mixed Goods Store and a Bakery. On 2 April 1906 the Popanyinning Hotel was officially opened. It was very successful for many years, until 9 July 1978 when it sadly burnt down. The Hotel has never been replaced.
Popanyinning is situated 19 kms north of Cuballing and has a population of approximately 150 people.