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.