While the northeastern corner of Tasmania has some of the most stunning beaches imaginable, it would be a mistake not to make the drive there a slow one and stop in some of the richest farming country along the way. Scottsdale is a major centre in this part of Tasmania and is known for its agriculture and timber industry.
Located only about 60 km to the northeast of Launceston, Scottsdale is a lovely little town surrounded by mountains. To get here, you simply need to take the A3, also called the Tasman Highway. From Hobart, you can drive along National Highway 1 to Launceston and continue on from there, covering a distance of about 250 km. Alternatively, you can go the long way round by driving east along the Tasman Highway and continue along the coast to St Helens. From there the road heads inland to Scottsdale.
The area around Scottsdale was originally home to the Pyemmairrener people. In the early 1850s, however, government surveyor James Scott passed through and noted the rich soils, which he recognised would be perfect for agriculture. Thomas Cox, a miller from Launceston, then selected some land here in 1859 and a settlement known as Cox’s Paradise started to develop. Officially this little township was called Ellesmere but the name was later changed to Scottsdale, after the man who had originally sung the area’s praises.
In the 1870s, Scottsdale grew quickly because of the discovery of gold and tin in the region and it’s growth was helped by the arrival of the railway in 1889. By this time Scottsdale had been holding its own agricultural show for 8 years and the town’s economy remained firmly based on agriculture and forestry, as it still does today.
Among the historic buildings in Scottsdale is the Old Post Office, which dates from the 1880s. This now houses a folk museum. St Barnabas Church was built in 1892 while the building that houses Anabel’s of Scottsdale, a charming restaurant and B&B, dates from this era also. The Dorset Museum has displays that will give you an insight into the history of the area.
The produce grown around Scottsdale includes potatoes, dairy and poppies. If you’re here in December, be sure to head about 15 km west to the Bridestowe Estate Lavender Farm as the plants will be in full bloom and the hills clothed in vivid purple. January and February see the vast poppy fields burst into colour as well.
Scottsdale has several accommodation options, making the town a good base from which to explore the Trail of the Tin Dragon to the northeast.