Baden was originally known as ‘Rumney’s Hut’, after the first free settler in the area, William Rumney. Emigrating to Van Diemen’s Land in 1823, Rumney was appointed a poundkeeper and constable and built the historic ‘Acton’ property near Cambridge.
For many years the only building to be seen at Rumney’s Hut was, of course, Rumney’s Hut. But this changed in 1860 with the establishment of a substantial stone police station which formed an out-station of the Oatlands Municipal Police. This station, the ruins of which can still be seen today at the intersection of Tunnack, Stonor and Whitefoord Roads, became the centre around which a township grew. By 1875, the ‘Woodbanks Hotel’ was completed under licensee Tom Dolan, and even included a skittles alley for the amusement of patrons. Regular stock sales were held in the adjoining yards.
George Nettlefold, son of a Hobart blacksmith, bought land at Rumney’s Huts where he supplemented his farm income by opening a shop and post office. Nettlefold was a leading figure in local affairs, serving as Warden of the Oatlands Municipality from 1895 to 1897 and 1907 to 1910. He was also instrumental in community fundraising to build the Baden Hall, officially opened in 1902. Around this time, following the Boer War, the town was renamed Baden after Robert Baden Powell, hero of the siege of Mafeking and founder of the Boy Scouts movement. By this stage there was a growing population in the district, mostly small farmers. In 1902 Baden held its first horticultural and agricultural show. In 1911 the Midlands Co-operative Butter Factory was established at Baden, with cream being collected from local suppliers three times a week. The butter factory proved to be very successful, providing both jobs at the factory and a market for local dairy farmers.