St Luke's Church, Bothwell, Tasmania (HDR)
Bothwell is a quiet farming town on the Clyde River. It was named after a town in Lanarkshire, Scotland by Governor George Arthur in 1824.
The first European into the area had been Lieutenant Thomas Laycock who, while traversing the island from Port Dalrymple (Launceston) to Hobart in 1806, camped beside the Fat Doe River (subsequently renamed the Clyde River) near the present site of the town. Laycock was trying to reach Hobart because the settlement at Port Dalrymple was running out of food. The area was explored in some detail in 1817 and by 1821 settlers had taken up land along the banks of the river.
It is widely accepted that the first European settler into the area was Edward Nicholas who arrived in 1821 and built Nant's Cottage, about 1.5 km from the town centre on Denistoun Road. This simple Georgian cottage with an iron hipped roof and 12 pane windows was used by the Irish political exiles, John Mitchell and John Martin, during their stay in Tasmania in the 1850s. Both had been arrested for treasonable writings with Mitchell writing in The United Irishman and Martin in The Irish Felon.
The town was laid out in 1824 with the two broad main streets being named Alexander (after Alexander Reid of 'Ratho') and Patrick (after Patrick Wood of Denistoun).
The strong Scottish element in the early population is evident everywhere. The town's St Luke's Presbyterian (now Uniting) Church, which was built between 1828-31, is the second oldest Presbyterian church in Australia. It is claimed that the first game of golf in Australia was played on Alexander Reid's property 'Ratho' in the 1820s - the course where this famous event took place is still in use and can be played by keen golf lovers. Bothwell is also the home of Australia's first Aberdeen Angus stud.