Browns and Scarsdale

Browns and Scarsdale was a borough (1862-1915) about 25 km south-west of Ballarat.

The borough was created on 25 July 1862, and had an area of about 23 sq km. It adjoined Smythesdale borough’s southern border and extended south about 6 km. The main town was Scarsdale and the mining villages of Browns Diggings and Italians were included. When the inhabitants petitioned for creation of the borough they said that it had over 5000 inhabitants engaged in mining commerce and agriculture. There were 15 hotels and the weekly gold production was 1500 ounces. The gold was found in gullies and tributaries of the Woady Yaloak Creek. There were also several equally rich gold fields and villages to the west in Grenville Shire.

Brown’s Diggings were named after John Browne, the licensee-holder of the Moppianamum pastoral run (1844), which he acquired in 1848 in a partnership.

The first official census for the borough recorded a population of about 2000 people in 1871, and there were fewer than 1100 in 1881. The borough’s best gold years had passed. On 1 October 1915, Browns and Scarsdale borough and Smythesdale borough were united with Grenville Shire. Browns and Scarsdale’s census populations were:

Census date Population
1871 2121
1881 1087
1911 1101

Further Reading

Patrick McGrath, The story of Browns and Scarsdale, 1912 facsimile, Jim Crow Press, 1989