Named after the English beach resort, Scarborough was once dominated by holiday homes and single detached houses.
The coastal suburb of Scarborough was named after the English beach resort of the same name located in North Yorkshire on the east coast of Great Britain. The name is believed to have first been used in 1892 by Patrick Callaghan, a Melbourne developer. As land at Scarborough was sandy and of little agricultural value, early grants were not made in the area. It was not until 1869 that John Hughes and Jesse Golding were each given lots of 40 acres.
In 1885 a visiting Sydney journalist explored the coastline at Scarborough and promoted the high quality of the beach. Encouraged by the publicity, some real estate agents investigated the possibility of developing the area. In 1885 Perth firm Laurence and Cooke purchased and subdivided land, followed in 1892 by Patrick Callaghan of Melbourne. Lots sold poorly and Scarborough was eventually re-subdivided into smaller properties in 1914.
The City of Stirling's predecessor, the Perth Road Board, later put the land to public auction and in the years following World War II large-scale development occurred. At that time street names in the area were altered to mimic the suburb's namesake in Yorkshire. By the 1960s there was little remaining undeveloped land. However, in the mid 1980s extensive redevelopment began, particularly along the beach frontage.
Scarborough was once dominated by holiday homes and single detached houses built in the post-war era and occupied by workers. Though many detached residences remain, in recent years a vast transformation has occurred along the coastal strip.
Numerous units and flat developments have appeared, some of which are multi- storey and echo the style of the Observation City development. Housing designs range from the timber-framed workers' houses to 1960s flats through to modern home units. Lot sizes average 800 m² in Scarborough, though lots north of Scarborough Beach Road are smaller.
The Scarborough Beach precinct contains, as well as Rendezvous Hotel Perth, a variety of shops including a supermarket and weekend markets. Other local shopping complexes and stores scattered throughout the suburb provide for daily needs. The suburb is also home to the newly built Scarborough Beach Pool facility, which is the first of its kind in WA. It is also home to the Stirling Leisure Centres - Scarborough that houses a gym and sports facilities.
In addition to the popular ocean foreshore, Scarborough contains several parks and reserves. Abbett Park offers a variety of sporting facilities, including football, squash, lawn bowls, tennis and cricket.
Scarborough Beach also hosts a surf lifesaving club and other recreation facilities. The suburb has two primary schools, and a library and community recreation centre are located near the eastern boundary of Scarborough.
Scarborough Beach is obviously one of the suburb's landmarks and is a popular and important recreation area. Rendezvous Hotel Perth on the Esplanade is another of Scarborough's landmarks. Rendezvous is a prominent high-rise development that attracts a substantial number of tourists and also offers a range of employment opportunities. The resort is the only high-rise 5-star hotel development along the coast of Western Australia.