Located 184 km east of Launceston and sitting neatly between St Helens (18 km to the north) and St Marys (19 km to the south), Scamander is a typical holiday resort characterised by temporary houses, home units, caravan parks and project homes all put up for people on holidays. Names like Blue Seas Holiday Units and Pelican Sands Units are typical of the area.
The area was first explored by Europeans when the surveyor John Helder Wedge passed down the coast in 1825. He named the future township Yarmouth (after the English port) and the river Borthwick. Over the years both changed until today they are known as Scamander and Scamander River.
The town's most interesting historic attraction is its infamous bridge. The Scamander River is sufficiently wide to present anyone travelling along the coast with a problem. This was certainly the case when Surveyor Wedge tried to traverse it in 1825. The first bridge, a flimsy thing with pylons no thicker than an average telegraph post, was constructed by Richard Terry in 1865 and lasted until it collapsed under the weight of a mob of cattle.
It was replaced by an ironbark and bluegum bridge which lasted until 1889 when a particularly heavy flood simply washed it away. The mail coach was the last vehicle to pass across it.
The third bridge was built by Grubb Bros. for £4,500. It was built from ironbark and lasted a record of 22 years until the flood of 1911, sending numerous trees down the river, put such pressure on the bridge it collapsed.
After this a series of bridges were constructed but they were all destroyed either by flood or the dreaded toredo, a voracious borer which worked its way into the timber quickly destroying it. The last wooden bridge collapsed in 1929 and the town was forced to rely on a punt across the river until a concrete bridge was built in 1936. It has finally been replaced by a new bridge which the town is hoping will last indefinitely.
Things to see
Like all coastal resort towns Scamander is noted for its water activities. In summer surfing and swimming are popular and the river is noted for the bream which can be caught.