How and when Cambridge was first named is unknown to the writer, but it would appear certain to have had its origin through the well-known name of Cambridge in England. Originally, the district seems to have been called Hollow Tree. Dr. James Ross, in his "Hobart Town Almanack" of 1830, writes:-
"Along the Coal River road, from Kangaroo Point (now Bellerive), for the first two or three miles, is Mr. Bignell's inn, situated on a range of hills which divides Clarence Plains and Kangaroo Point from the Hollow Tree. This is a fine tract of country, containing several extensive farms, distant about six miles from Kangaroo Point. The principal are those belonging to Mr. E. Lord, Mr. Petchey, Mr. R. Lewis, the first who succeeded in sending butter to the Hobart Town market, and Mr. Rumney, who set the example of fencing to any extent in this district. A road also, near the 6th mile post, branches off to the right, conducting to the two ferries and Pittwater, and passing the farm of Mr. Strahan on the left. The first ferry is called the Bluff, and leads direct to Sorell town, about three miles across.
Leaving Lanhern, the property of Mr. R. Lewis, lately purchased from Lieut Cooling for £650, half a mile on the right, the branch road then proceeds along the southern sandy beach (now called the Seven-Mile Beach) at Pittwater for about four miles, till it reaches the entrance from Frederick Henry Bay into Pittwater, about half a mile wide. Proceeding on the road to the Coal River, about half a mile on the left, at the 7th mile post, is the farm and residence of Dr. Murdoch, (now called Craigow). From the 4th to the 8th mile there is a near cut over a steep hill, called Break-Neck Hill. Passing the above gentleman's house, and leaving the farms at the Hollow Tree, already mentioned. Considerably to the right, on the further side of Break-Neck Hill, about six miles from Kangaroo Point, is the well-known cottage of Mr. William Cross, one of the oldest of the Norfolk Island settlers."
The names of Murdoch, Lewis, and Rumney are still worthily represented in the district, in the persons of Hon. Jas. Murdoch, M.L.C., Mr. Peter Murdoch, ex-M.H.A., Mr. John Murdoch, Major D. Cyril Lewis, and Mr. Herbert Rumney. Among other names long associated with Cambridge's history and progress may be mentioned Calvert, Hobden, King, McKay, McRorie, Backhouse, Manning, Kennedy, Hanslow, Whitchurch, Belbin, McDermott, and Johnson. La Belle Alliance, Craigow, Uplands, Greenfields, Milford, Pittwater, and Acton are among the best known estates in the district.
Cambridge's main industries are wool, grain, and fruit-growing, whilst dairying and stock-raising receive considerable attention. On the Craigow estate is located the largest apricot orchard in the State. Councillor J. E. Calvert also has a large apricot plantation. Apples and pears are other fruits that do well in some parts of the district. Wheat and oats are the principal cereal crops grown in the Cambridge district, which is noted for early cultivation, good yields, and good pasturage. Greenfields and Lynrowan are the chief dairying properties, and Mr. A. W. Burrows has an extensive poultry farm. Greenfields is believed to have been the first dairy farm in Southern Tasmania to adopt the method of pasteurising cream.
Mount Rumney and the Seven-Mile Beach are the most popular tourist resorts in the district. The late Mr. J. E. Calder, Surveyor-General of Tasmania, entertained a high opinion of the former:-
"This hill, though little more than a fourth part the height of Mt. Wellington (1,236ft. only), presents us with a view in some respects even more agreeable than the one seen from that mountain, which, being only ten miles distant, is included within the landscapes; whilst all the fine coast scenery of Pittwater, Storm, and Norfolk Bays, Tasman and Forestier Peninsulas, and Bruny Island is so much the nearer, and is therefore seen to greater advantage. . . . I know of no other hill of similar altitude in all Tasmania whence so fine a view is to be had as from this easily-reached point. I should think that not less than 500 miles of one of the most varied coast-lines in the world are seen from this point at once. Islands, bays almost numberless, peninsulas of the strangest configuration, and amazing expanse of wooded hills and bare-topped mountains, and a boundless ocean form the more prominent objects of such a panoramic scene as I venture to say is not to be matched in Australia, while many lesser but important details, such as the beautiful settlements of Clarence Plains (now Rokeby), Cambridge, Pittwater (now Sorell), Richmond, Sandy Bay, and others, fill up and complete the picture."
The Horseshoe Inn, Cambridge, is one of the best-known hotels in the South, and the sign of the horseshoe over the door has been restored by the present proprietor, Mr. Gilbert Smith. The Congregational Church, State School, public-hall, and post and telephone office are all centrally situated. 1