Bothwell in 1878, unknown photographer (ALMFA, SLT)
Bothwell (population 350) considers itself the 'gateway to the highlands', being the last service, educational and administrative town before the Central Plateau recreational area. It is a classified historic town. Located in a broad river valley at an altitude of 300 metres, its Scottish namesake also bestrides the River Clyde. The first settlers, predominantly Scottish, who arrived in 1822, built sturdily, farmed successfully and quarrelled heatedly. The Bothwell Literary Society was early established, as were churches and schools. The Irish patriot John Mitchel spent time here. Convicts assigned to the area stayed to form the town's commercial and labouring core.
The oldest golf course in Australia is at Ratho, complemented by the Australasian Golf Museum. The area has always depended on primary industry, but the emphasis changed in the late twentieth century from purely pastoral to include extensive cropping areas.
Further reading: P Brown, Clyde Company Papers, London, 1935–59; S Ellis (ed), Bothwell revisited, Bothwell, 2001.