Home » Towns » Tasmania » North East Tasmania » Scottsdale, TAS

Scottsdale, TAS

Timber town between Launceston and St Helens.

Scottsdale is the major township in the mountains between Launceston and St Helens. Surrounded by hills, it is very much a timber town. Over 20% of the town  works in the timber industry. The Forestry Commission, attempting to explain the importance of local forestry activities, established a Forest EcoCentre in the 1990s. There is also mixed farming and dairy farming in the surrounding district. In recent times it has become known as the heart of Tasmania's North-east Bible Belt mainly because a number of prominent local citizens are members of the Exclusive Brethren sect and have actively campaigned against the Tasmanian Greens party although the Brethren never vote.


Scottsdale is located 62 km north-east of Launceston via the Tasman Highway. It is 255 km north of Hobart via the National Highway and Tasman Highway and it is 200 metres above sea level.


Origin of Name

There is nothing wrong with a town being named after the Government Surveyor. Thus Scottsdale is named after James Scott who tried to cut a track from St Patrick's River to Cape Portland in 1852. He didn't succeed but, as he passed through the district that now has his name, he noted that it had "the best soil in the island". So, more accurately, the town is named after its first enthusiastic promoter. Prior to Scottsdale the settlement had been variously known as Cox's Creek, Cox's Paradise, Heazlewood, Heazleton and Ellesmere.


Things to See and Do

Scottsdale Forest EcoCentre
The controversy over timber felling, old growth forests, the economic importance of forestry, the impact forestry has on tourism are all hot button issues in Tasmania. In an attempt to explain itself Forestry Tasmania built the very modern and elegant Scottsdale Forest EcoCentre in the 1990s not only to house its local offices but to provide "an interactive forest interpretation centre that focuses on the landscape, forest communities and history of the North East." Sadly it is no longer open to the public.

Anabel's of Scottsdale
Anabel's of Scottsdale is located at 46 King Street has been, for many years, a charming B&B set in gardens of rhodendrons, camellias, wisteria and magnolia. It is a National Trust building in National Trust-listed gardens. Located in the heart of Scottsdale it was built in the 1890s and purchased by the Dinham family a few years later. For more information check out http://www.anabelsofscottsdale.com.au/

Dorset Museum
Located at 80 Oakdene Road, Scottsdale the purpose-built timber and iron museum is located in a garden which is rich with camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas in the springtime. It is a typical small rural town museum describing its contents as "a large display of Vintage and old fashions and accessories of interest to the ladies and a smaller display of gentleman’s attire. Tools hang from the walls – all restored by Greg. Kitchen artefacts, Laundry, Sewing and Dairy stuff is also on display." There was a folk museum in the Old Post Office which was built in the 1880s with an unusual clock tower added by the Lions Club in 1979.

St Barnabas Church
St Barnabas's Church of England (1892), a small and modest timber building, is located in King Street and is Tasmania's first example of an apsidal building  - an apse is a semi-circular or hexagonal recess commonly at the end of the choir in a church.


Other Attractions in the Area

Bridestowe Lavender Estate, Nabowla
Located 15 km west of Scottsdale, the Bridestowe Lavender Farm is one of the largest producers of lavender oil in the world. The farm is world famous for its lavender which, because it exists in isolation, is not contaminated by cross pollination. The lavender is in flower from early December until it is harvested in January. Entry between 9.00 am - 5.00 pm is free in all months except December and January when the lavender is in bloom. For more information on the Bridestowe Lavender Estate check out http://bridestowelavender.com.au/pub/



* Prior to European settlement the area around Scottsdale was inhabited by the local Pyemmairrener Aboriginal people who had lived there for thousands of years.

* Janet and Andrew Anderson were the first Europeans to settle in the area. They took up the 'Barnbougle' holding near Bridport in 1833. In 1835 Peter Brewer took up land at 'Bowood' where he built a home in 1839.

* In 1852 a Government Surveyor named James Scott (after whom the town is named) tried to cut a bridle track from St Patrick's River to Cape Portland.

* The area around present-day Scottsdale was surveyed in 1858-59 and named 'Scotts New Country'. It was settled mainly by Scottish and English settlers

* In 1865 the town, known at the time as Ellesmere, got its first post office.

* In 1868 a visitor recorded that the township had 'numerous cosy neat cottages with their fruit and flower gardens in the front ... There are five or six hundred inhabitants ... There is yet neither police station nor public house, but the people appear to get on harmoniously enough without them.'

* By 1889 the railway reached the town. It is now closed down and the locals are turning it into a cycleway.

* by 1893 the town had been officially named Scottsdale. The post office was renamed.

* In recent times the town has developed a reputation, largely as a result of the presence of prominent members of the Exclusive Brethren, as the Bible Belt of North-East Tasmania.


Visitor Information

Scottsdale Visitor Information Centre, 4 Alfred Street, Scottsdale, tel: (03) 6352 6520.


Useful Websites

The local tourism website is www.northeasttasmania.com.au. The local council has a website - http://www.dorset.tas.gov.au - with information about the area.

Got something to add?

Have we missed something or got a top tip for this town? Have your say below.

17 suggestions
  • The local tourism website is http://www.northeasttasmania.com.au
    The forest eco centre is no longer operating.

    Kathy Dodds
  • I was born in Scottsdale in 1932 and have always had an interest in the town’s history. My father and his father before him were proprietors of the NE advertiser and my other grandfather ASPorteous was the town’s dentist.
    Several books were written about Scottsdale, one by Mr. W.H. Loone. It is interesting reading but my father always said that Puffer (as he was known) always forgot accuracy to tell a good story.
    Another was written by the reverend W H McFarlane ( My church minister) and from what I have read is correct to the point of tedium.
    Another more recent was written by a woman of my vintage and as far as I know is very accurate. My wife and I went to school with her and knew most of the people she talks about.
    It is called “Down the Sledge Track” and it is written by Jenny Bicanic (nee Easterbrook), a decendant of an early settler in West Scottsdale. Believe me, they did it hard back then.

    Peter Osborne
    • Dear Peter,
      My Mother was also born in Scottsdale in 1929, Her Mothers family name was French and her fathers was Chaplain. Are these name familiar to you? I heading to Scottsdale next week and hope to research some family history. My mother never really knew much because she was placed in an orphanage in Melbourne from the age of 6.
      Cheers Rosie House

      Rosie House
  • Hi, My name is David. I recently moved into a little town called Nabowla just 15 km short of Scottsdale. I was interesting to know the history of the town and couldn’t find anything about it. Where did the name come from and what was its industry?

    Nabowla Tasmania
    • Anyone who can help, please? Some of these small towns in Tasmania are very hard to research. The remarkable E.R. Pretyman archive suggests that in 1913 it was chosen as a new name for Lisle Road Railway station. At the time it was suggested that it was a local Aboriginal word meaning “River” and it was suggested by the Tasmanian Secretary for Railways.

      Bruce Elder
  • Other attractions
    Scottsdale Art Gallery Cafe
    Military Museum

    Rod Martin
  • What about the local RSL museum, it has a real helicopter from the Vietnam war. Very interesting … and the gentlemen running it very knowledgable

  • I was born in Scottsdale in 1932 and can remember my grandmother telling me names of all the various area and settlements around Scottsdale.
    She said almost all were aboriginal names and knew most of them.
    I only wish I had written them down as very few are still used but have been changed to “North Scottsdale” etc.

    Peter Osborne
    • Good morning Mister Osborne, my husband and I purchased 34 George st, 2 doors down from RSL. We were advised that our home used to be called Rosary House and served as a small convent. Any recollection about our house would be most appreciated.

      Françoise and Michael Vos
  • We actually have lots of spuds and are commonly known as spuddsvile and there was a whole lot of people who lost their jobs when the timber factory shut down – my dad and my pop for example

    Sophie walker
  • The forest echo centre is now a very fancy cafe 2 restaurant.

    Sophie walker
  • So much to do in a small town, from Little Rivers Brewery, rhu bru cafe, the bloom and coco chocolate shop and museum on George street. this small town has a lot to offer and the folks in town are so friendly and are always eager to help with directions or recommendations.

    John Jefferson
  • I lived in Jetsonville and attended Scottsdale Primary and High Schools. In my last year at school I worked part time as the junior payroll clerk at the Dewcrisp factory. I joined The Commercial Bank of Australia Limited in Scottsdale in January 1955 along with school friend Ron Grenda. The Manager was Norm Saltmarsh and the Accountant was Joe Winch who left the bank to join 7SD. Others who worked at the bank included Terry Allan, Graeme Ransom, Lou Poole, Beverley Jetson and Ailsa Berwick.In March 1956 I was transferred to Derby and at the end of that year was asked to move to the bank’s head office in Melbourne where I worked for another 26 years. Have great memories of growing up in Scottsdale and still like to visit whenever possible.

    Don Blyth
  • Hi my name is Paul Scott, my father’s name was Kevin James Scott, and I believe his father name was James Scott.
    And my father was from Tasmania and I’m finding it very hard to get information.if you can help me I would be very grateful
    Paul Scott

    Family history.