Scone /ˈskoʊn/ is a town in the Upper Hunter Shire in the Hunter Region of New South Wales, Australia. At the 2006 census, Scone had a population of 4,624 people. It is on the New England Highway north of Muswellbrook about 270 kilometres north of Sydney, and is part of the New England (federal) and Upper Hunter (state) electorates. Scone is in a farming area and is also noted for breeding Thoroughbred racehorses. It is known as the 'Horse capital of Australia'.
First inhabitants of the region were the Wonnarua & Gamilaroi Aboriginal Peoples. Allan Cunningham was the first recorded European person to travel into the Scone area, reaching the Upper Dartbrook and Murrurundi areas in 1823. Surveyor Henry Dangar travelled through the area, prior to passing over the Liverpool Range above Murrurundi in 1824. The first properties in the area were Invermein and Segenhoe in 1825. The town initially started as the village of Redbank in 1826 and in 1831 Hugh Cameron, a Scottish descendant put forward the name of Scone to Thomas Mitchell. It was gazetted as Scone in 1837 and during the early days was renowned for its large pastoral properties including Belltrees and Segenhoe. Early buildings were St Luke's Church, Scone Post Office, the Old Court Theatre (that is now a hall for musicals and plays), and the St Aubins' Inn.
Scone Shire was merged into the Upper Hunter Shire in 2004, integrating parts of the former Murrurundi and Merriwa shires.
The annual Scone Horse Festival is a celebration of Scone's cultural links to equines. It is celebrated during May and includes all manner of activities, including wine tours, Open Days across the numerous horse studs in the area, the Scone rodeo, the Scone School Horse Sports competition, the Black Tie Ball, and a parade in Kelly Street.
The main event is a horse racing carnival featuring the prestigious Scone Cup, one of the richest country racing days in New South Wales and Australia. Small celebrations are also a key part of the festival and include schools, businesses, public events and sports centres. The Horse Festival is also traditionally linked with such events as the Belltrees poetry competition, the yarns night and many other small annual fundraisers and events. Scone also hosts the Inglis Guineas Day, a major race meet, in the middle of May.
The town is also home to some of the very old pony clubs and is known for a happening polo club. Besides these, the region is well known for its dairies and wineries.