Scarborough history

The suburb of Scarborough on the Redcliffe Peninsula derives its name from an English seaside resort of the same name. Scarborough was identified first as an ‘estate’ when land in that area was first subdivided, and then as a ‘township’, until the whole of Redcliffe was designated as a Town, and the various ‘townships’ became ‘suburbs’.

Scarborough’s name is derived from the Borough of Scarborough which is located on the North Sea coast of north-east England in North Yorkshire. Advertised as Britain’s first seaside resort, Scarborough has been welcoming visitors for over 360 years. The safe, sandy beaches of the North and South Bays are broken by rocky headland on which stands Scarborough’s medieval castle. 

Scarborough’s Viking name is first mentioned in Viking sagas. In the ‘Kormakssaga, Flateyjarbok’, Scarborough is called Skarthborg and in the ‘Orkneyingasaga’ it is referred to as Skarthabork. The ‘borough’ in Scarborough derives from the Viking word ‘Borg’ meaning ‘stronghold’ and Scarborough means Skarthi’s stronghold. According to the ‘Kormakssaga’ two Viking brothers called Thorgils and Kormak went harrying in Ireland, England and Wales and established a stronghold called Scarborough on the English east coast. Thorgils was known to his brother by the nickname ‘Hare Lip’, or in Viking language ‘Skarthi’. It is probable that ‘Hare-Lip’ gave his name to Scarborough. 

Henry III established a fair at Scarborough by charter in 1235 and it was held in the town until 1788 and is now only remembered in the famous folk song.

Are you going to Scarborough Fair
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme
Remember me to one who lived there
She once was a true love of mine

Scarborough’s development as a holiday resort began in 1620 when spa water was discovered by Elizabeth Farrow, who claimed that the water had beneficial qualities. She was perhaps influenced by the success of the spa at Harrogate. The Gentry flocked to Scarborough to sample the water’s qualities and Scarborough's development was given an extra boost by the construction of the railings in the 1850s and culminating in the growth of the busy coastal town with many amusements and fun fairs. This was the Scarborough that the early land developers on the Redcliffe Peninsula had in mind when they named that part of the peninsula.

The Queensland Place Names Board approved the naming of the suburbs for the city of Redcliffe in 1971.