Aboriginal inhabitants of the Evandale area

The following article is extracted from Wikipedia

The first inhabitants of the present site of Evandale were Tasmanian Aborigines (Palawa). The site lies at the interface of country originally belonging to the Ben Lomond and North Midlands Nations (most likely the Panninher Clan). The ethnographic record in regards to aboriginal populations in the North Midlands of Tasmania is scanty, as many of the original inhabitants were displaced or did not survive the first colonial occupation of the South Esk Valley in the early 1800s. However, archeological remains of Palawa campsites and artifacts existed on the river flats just below the present site of Evandale (now Rotary Park) and also at Native Point, 2 km downstream, which was a known ‘resort of the natives’, The Evandale region also appears to have encompassed an aboriginal route from the Tamar Valley to the Lake River and it is likely that this area was a hunting ground and meeting point for local clans of the North Midlands Nation.

As with first contact in other areas of Tasmania, relations with the first settlers were often peaceable. The settler David Gibson was reported to have left out slaughtered stock for aborigines to roast (or at least to feed their hunting dogs). This may have been an example of payment for occupation or use of clan hunting grounds.

Relations with European settlers soured during the 1820s as settler encroachment increased and lethal violence against aboriginal clans was permitted by lax colonial policy. Seasonal passage through the midlands was hindered by opportunistic attacks from stockmen, such as the ‘outrages’ recorded against women of the Leterremairrener clan at Patersons Plains, north of Evandale, and also from larger scale organised assault by settlers, constabulary and military; which led to massacres at Norfolk Plains in the west and Campbelltown in the south. The aboriginal clans were severely depleted during this time but actively began a campaign of guerrilla attacks on settlers in the Midlands region that became known as the Black War.

During the Black War, in the 1820-1830s, members of the Stoney Creek (Tyerrernotepanner) Clan of the North Midlands Nation, with remnant members of the Ben Lomond Nation, continued to make raids on farms south of Evandale and further up the South Esk River, but by then traditional tribal life in the Evandale region had long since vanished and the remnant people of this area retreated to lands to the North East, were waging a desperate guerrilla campaign or were living a fringe existence in Launceston.


  1. Breen, Shayne. “Deep time”. Academia.edu.au. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  2. Walker, James Backhouse (1902). Early Tasmania : papers read before the Royal Society of Tasmania during the years 1888-1899. Tasmania: J. Vail, Govt. Printer.
  3. Ryan, Lyndall (2012). Tasmanian Aborigines : a history since 1803 (1 ed.). Crows nest: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 9781742370682.
  4.  Kee, Sue (1990). Midlands aboriginal archaeological site survey. Hobart: Dept. of Parks, Wildlife and Heritage. ISBN 0724617388.
  5. West, John (1852). The history of Tasmania. Launceston , Tas: H. Dowling.
  6. Von Stieglitz, Karl (1967). A history of Evandale. Launceston: Birchalls.
  7. Boyce, James (2008). Van Diemen’s land. Melbourne: Black Inc. ISBN 9781863954136.
  8.  Ryan, Lyndall (2012). Tasmanian Aborigines : a history since 1803 (1 ed.). Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 9781742370682.

Celebrating Royalty and Empire in Evandale

Some reader will already be aware of the current push to add to the existing beauty of the village through establishing more trees and gardens.  The aim is to get more shade, particularly in Pioneer Park and the other parks with children’s play equipment, more street trees and establishing a spatial register of all the significant and heritage trees on community land. 

With this in mind, the following articles seem to be relevent.

 The Tasmanian of 23 July 1887, stated that to celebrate the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria, trees were being planted in Evandale. The Tasmanian of 30 July 1887 further stated that the jubilee tree was planted by the Warden’s lady, Mrs Smith and that it was near the library.  It also stated that it was one of forty to be planted.  Mr Smith then ascended the fence and spoke of the event.  He “trusted that as the trees grew up and added to- the beauty of the already pretty little town of Evandale that ‘the juveniles would also grow up and adorn the community by their graces and : virtues, and do all they could to protect the trees about to be planted, which, when grown, would form a picturesque avenue to the town and be one more means of attracting to our midst those desirous of spending a honeymoon,- as well as affording gratification to the health seeker and tourist.”

The article went on to report that “the real jubilee trees  were planted last Friday in the Wesleyan Church grounds, six fine pines, the gift of a well-wisher”

The Mercury of 11 July 1887 reports that “The Municipal Council at their meeting held on the 4th inst. accepted the tender of Mr. W. Powell and A. Grant to plant trees in the public streets, and erect a fence around each at 2s. 6d. per tree”.

A later newspaper (Daily Telegraph 9 November 1903) gives the identity of these trees.  It states “After passing the water tower, the road to the town leads between an avenue of pines (pinus insignis). These pines were planted in our late Queen’s jubilee year, and although that is only sixteen years ago, their growth has been rapid and strong, affording shade from the sun, and shelter from the wind.”  Pinus insignus is also known as the Monterey Pine.

When the Queen achieved her diamond jubilee, the Launceston Examiner of 1 July 1897 reported on activities in Evandale:  

ARBOR DAY AT EVANDALE – In accordance with the annual custom of having an Arbor Day, Evandale yesterday was en fete. The function was held somewhat earlier this year, in order to fit in, with the (diamond) jubilee celebrations. Proceedings yesterday commenced by the children, to the number of about 300, assembling at the State school at half-past two, and at three o’clock the procession was formed, and marched up the main street as far as the Reading-Room, where a halt was made.

At this point a public lamp had been erected, and in the unavoidable absence of Mr. J. C. Von Stieglitz, M.H.A., the Hon. H. I. Rooke, M.L.C., was invited to perform the ceremony of christening the lamp. Mr. Rooke said it gave him very great pleasure to be present on that occasion, and take part in the proceedings. He referred to the auspicious event which had called them together, and trusted that the lamp would only be one of many other improvements effected in the township. He then christened the lamp, and it will be known hereafter as the “Jubilee Lamp.”

The procession was re-formed, and went on to the Pavilion ground, where the children were each presented with a jubilee medal by Mrs. W. Hartnoll and Miss Fall. Mrs. Cameron then planted an oak tree in commemoration of the record reign. Captain Cameron (the Warden), on behalf of his wife, declared the tree properly planted, and in a short address he urged upon the children to follow in their lives the good example set by Her Majesty the Queen.

After the children had sung the National Anthem, Mr. W. Hartnoll, M.H.A., gave a short address, in which he said he was pleased, as a resident of the district, to find that Evandale, in common with other districts; had decided to celebrate in a fitting manner, the record reign of Her Majesty the Queen. He exhorted the young people of the colony to keep the flame of loyalty always warm in their hearts, and to spurn as they grew up the socialistic principles that were advanced in some communities. He hoped they would entertain the highest feelings of respect for the Royal Family, and always feel proud that they were Englishmen and Englishwomen.

The children sang “God bless the Prince of Wales.” The singing of the children reflected credit upon their instructor, Mr. Roper, who had been at some pains in teaching them to sing the anthems so sweetly.

Hearty cheers were given for Mesdames Cameron and Hartnoll, and Miss Fall; also for Messrs. Rooke, Hartnoll, and Cameron.

Mr. E. E. Atkins, who had interested himself in arranging the day’s proceedings, and to whom much of its success was due, called for three cheers for Mr. Roper for conducting the musical portion of the programme; the invitation meeting with a ready response.

The children, and afterwards the adults-of whom there was a large number-sat down to. an excellent tea, provided by Mesdames Collins, Atkins, Cheek, and Miss Fife; and other ladies of the district. The tea was laid out in the large pavilion in the grounds, and, needless to say, was duly appreciated by those present.

In describing the preparations for the above celebration, the Daily Telegraph of 30 June 1897 stated that “hundreds of jubilee trees are ready for the juvenile planters, who in their turn are cultivating jubilee appetites”.

Again in 1901, a “tree-planting by the state school children took place in the school grounds on Friday, and the event was made the occasion for a gala day on the township. Many of the parents were present, and remained till the festivities were over”.  During the day, four trees were planted and named in honour of the King, Queen, Prince and Princess of Wales.

Empire Day was also celebrated in Evandale and the Daily Telegraph of 25 May 1904 stated that two chestnut trees were planted in the school grounds and then later, The Mercury of 27 May 1908 stated that trees were planted in the school grounds (without disclosing the type).

Then in 1911, there were further tree plantings to celebrate the coronation of King George V.

The coronation of Queen Elizabeth was also celebrated with tree plantings.   “Silver Birch  trees were planted on the Community Centre by Mrs. Paterson, the oldest resident of the community. Trees were also planted by the R.S.L., C.W.A., the Silver Band, Boy Scouts and Girl Guides” (Examiner 3 June 1953).

These articles seem to present some opportunities for today.  For example, would it not be worth re-establishing a heritage lamp at the site of the old library in High Street as a commemorative “Jubilee Lamp”?  And what about getting the children (and adults) in the village back into Arbor Day?  Even just 10 advanced trees planted by the community each year would be a significant advance on beautifying the village.

If anyone has any information on any of the trees planted in the reported celebrations, the History Society would be most interested! 

Unfortunately, the fate of most of the Monterey Pines planted in the village in 1887 is known.  They were cut down in 1929 to make way for power lines. 

Evandale – Launceston Water Scheme

An ambitious scheme to provide fresh water to Launceston was begun in 1836. The original plan was to tunnel from the South Esk down stream from “Riverview”, at Evandale, then flow through open channels, following the contour lines into Launceston, ending on top of Windmill Hill. From there, water was to be gravity fed to homes in the valley.

The first tunnel was abandoned after progressing 150 yards, (137m). Another tunnel was started, closer to the village but this too was abandoned when in 1837 costs for the scheme prompted the Legislative Council to levy a water rate on households in Launceston in an effort to recover compensation costs.

Public outrage ensued, as no such rate was levied on the existing Hobart and New Norfolk water schemes. A committee was formed to fight the proposal on the ‘no taxation without representation` principal. This represented the first attempt to gain municipal self-government in Launceston. Eventually the scheme was abandoned and convicts were removed to work on the roads etc.

A Diorama with a 2 minute commentary depicting this scheme has been completed as part of the Evandale History Society displays. A 45 minute DVD is also available for viewing.

The School Master’s Residence Evandale

Many will already know that the current Evandale Information Centre was previously the State School and the residence next door was built for the School Master.  There were some contentions with the proposed Master’s residence at the time, as evidenced by the following letter to the editor of the Tasmanian on 14 July 1888.

Sir, — Yesterday I had the pleasure of inspecting the plan of the proposed State School building and master’s residence, as submitted by the Government. The building, to say the least, will be a five-roomed cottage, pure and simple, quite useless as regards the wants of this district.

Our present schoolmaster has a large family, and could not possibly do with less than eight rooms, this may be overcome by the Government getting a man with a small family! Then, I suppose, the family is always to be small, if otherwise, the teacher will have to be removed to some more commodious House, or do the next best thing — rent a four-room cottage in the town after his family exceeds two.

Surely the absurdity of building such a ‘badger- box’ for a State school master’s residence must, be apparent to the Board of Education, a well as every resident of this town, and, to make matters worse, our local board have been slighted by the upper department, and have not even had the opportunity of expressing their opinion with regard to the erection of the school or master’s residence.

As a Local Board they certainly know the wants of Evandale, and should have been consulted as to the size of school house and necessary buildings before the plans were submitted to the public calling for tenders. To say the least, such procedure is uncourteous to our Local Board, whose views have been ridden over rough shod by the head of the department, who alone mast be responsible for the whole matter. Far better remain in the old building than remove to such an inconvenient house, quite inadequate for the present or future requirements of Evandale.  

Before the building is commenced, would it not be better to call a public meeting and give an expression of opinion respecting the matter, and forward the same to the Government to prevent such a ‘hut’ from being palmed off on the Evandaleites.

Yours, etc, –


Evandale School Masters residence

The Infamous Mrs McClutchy

The first mention of Mrs McClutchy in the newspapers was The Cornwall Chronicle of 26 September 1846.  The police reports for Morven idicated “Michael McCasey, ticket-of-leave, was charged with being drunk and assaulting Constable Fullerton in the execution of his duty. Mr. McCasey had taken it upon himself to visit the house of a Mrs. McClutchy, where persons of loose character have an opportunity of enjoying themselves when not interrupted by the ‘ traps,’ and considering that none had a right to call him to account for such irregularity, he exercised his pugilistic powers on the cranium of Constable Fullerton, for daring to say that he had no right to be drunk in such a place as Mrs. M’Clutchy’s highly respectable lodging house.

The prisoner, not being able to convince his Worship that he was so pure as he pretended to be, was sentenced to exercise himself on the roads for three months.

Less than a month later, the Police Office report stated “Murray v. McClutchy.— This was an information of the Chief District Constable, against Mrs. McClutchy, the keeper of a house of ill-fame, for harbouring a female absconded offender. The Defendant in this case is a. character so well known, and the disreputable company frequenting her house, having been the subject of complaint by many of the neighbours, the Bench fined her in the penalty of five pounds and costs.

Not to be curtailed, Mrs McCluthchy was again in trouble in December 1846 when The Cornwall Chronicle reported “MORVEN. Police Office. December 12.— Mrs. McClutchy again.— Murrey v. Thompson.— This was an information against a man named Thompson, the reputed husband of Mrs. McClutchy of lodging-house notoriety, for harbouring a female transported offender illegally at large, etc.

Constable Ward accompanied the Chief District Constable to the house which was kept by defendant and Mrs. McClutchy; defendant was there, and assisted to conceal the female in question; on searching the house however, she was found concealed under the bed, which a man named Foley was occupying; it was between 9 and 10 o’clock on the night of the 5th instant; the woman’s name was Hannah Pearson; she was a transported offender illegally at large.

Hannah Pearson confirmed the evidence of the last witness, and stated that defendant had supplied her with rum; she was at that time illegally at large, and for which she had been sentenced to one month’s imprisonment. The defendant prayed the Bench to be as lenient as possible, but he being a well-known character, was fined in the sum of twenty pounds and costs and in default of payment, has since been committed to gaol. Mrs. McClutchy has also been served with a summons for the same offence, but to the joy of her neighbours, she has made her exit, bag and baggage.

Harry Murray VC, CMG, DSO and Bar

The Murray Memorial Room at the Evandale Community Centre was established to commemorate the life and deeds of Henry William Murray, VC, CMG, DSO & Bar, DCM, Croix de Guerre, the most highly decorated allied soldier in the First World War.

The room contains copies of Murray’s official records, photographs, personal letters and even a comic written about his heroic deeds. Later the contents were extended to record all known people from Evandale who served in any theatre of war.

Murray Memorial Medals are available for $20, by contacting The Chairman, Evandale History Society Inc. P. O. Box 126, Evandale, Tasmania 7212.

Henry William Murray, or Harry as he was more commonly called was born at “Clairville”, near Evandale on 1 December 1880. He was the eighth of nine children born to Edward Kennedy Murray and his wife Clarissa, nee Littler. Harry was baptised on 23 November 1885 and often used a combination of these dates as his birthday. Harry joined the Australian Field Artillery Militia in Launceston in 1902 and served until 1908. (Major Harrap, Commander). He gained valuable experience which was later to stand him in good stead.

Henry Murray was in West Australia when the First World War broke out. He enlisted for service on 30 September 1914.

After basic training, the 16th Battalion, ‘D’ Company was transported to Melbourne where they embarked on the Troopship A40, Ceramic, on 22 December 1914.

Private Henry William Murray, No. 315, aged 35 years and almost 5 months, landed at Gallipoli on 15 April 1915. Regarding his first battle, Harry wrote, “I am cursed with a vivid imagination, and before going into battle I went through it all, had blood, brains, “innards”, limbs etc., spattered all over me, and I fought my fight with self then, fixed my code, and it only remained to prove it. The real thing being less terrible than pictured, and an intense curiosity as to how I would react, got me through. The dominating factor was curiosity. “You see, I was a trained soldier, I put in 6 years as a youngster in the Launceston Artillery, a very strict standard of discipline and effectiveness was the code there.” “My one wish before I landed was that I would not have to kill a man. This went at the sight of our dead and wounded”.

During the next four years Murray moved through the ranks until, on 24 April 1918 he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. He had become the most highly decorated infantry soldier in the whole of the British Empire. His awards included: Victoria Cross, Companion of St. Michael and St. George, Distinguished Service Order and Bar, Distinguished Conduct Medal, Croix de Guerre, MID x 4.

“Harry Murray was known as ‘Mad Harry’, but there was considerable method in his madness. No officer took more care to avoid losing men, and he took astonishing risks when personally reconnoitring, with the sole object of saving his men. A quick thinker in times of danger, he displayed extraordinary energy, resolution and courage.”

The Harry Murray VC Statue – Russell Street Evandale

When was Evandale established?

Evandale is a heritage treasure in Tasmania.  It has many Georgian, and Victorian buildings that remain intact and consequently draws lots of tourists.  But when did Evandale become a village?

This was an issue presented to the Evandale History when a new “entrance statement” sign was proposed for Evandale.  The previous signage at the entrances to the town said Evandale was established circa 1866, but many people thought how could this be when so many houses, shops, churches and pubs predate this by some time. It is obvious the town was established well before this date. This anomaly led to research being conducted, mainly using the contemporary accounts provided in Trove Digitised Newspapers, with a view to establishing a more accurate date for establishment of the village. The new entrance sign (October 2019) now states: ”Evandale c1830”.

Rationale for the date of circa 1866

In February 1865, a petition was forwarded to the Governor to have Evandale declared a municipality with subsequent alterations to the boundaries of the Launceston and Campbell Town police districts.  That is, at least 50 people of the local population wanted the town/district to get its own council.  On 20 February 1865, the Colonial Secretary published (1) the proposed boundary of the municipality as:

“Commencing at the source of the North Esk River and bounded by that river to the north-western angle of a grant of 1915 acres to Alexander Rose to Rose’s Rivulet, thence by the north western boundary of that grant, the north-western boundary of a location to James Gildas the north-eastern and part of the north-western boundaries of a location to John Smith to the Main Road from Hobart Town to Launceston, thence by that road to the Longford Municipality, thence by that Municipality to the north-west angle of a location to D. W. Stalker, thence by the main road from Hobart to Launceston to a line in continuation of the north-west boundary of a location of 1500 acres to Edward Wedge, thence to that boundary and by it to the South Esk River, by that river to the Municipality of Fingal, and by that Municipality to the point of commencement.”

Obviously this was a large area that far exceeded to confines of the village of Evandale.

Following consultation including representations by way of petition from owners and occupiers of the police district of Launceston, the Rural Municipality of Evandale was announced, with a few modifications, in October 1865 (2).  The first election of Councillors was conducted on Friday 29 December 1865 (3)

So, based on the above information, it can be concluded that while the municipality of Evandale was proclaimed in December 1865 (which is circa 1866), it was for an area far greater than the village itself, and as such has no bearing on the actual date the village was established.

Village location was shifted

Von Stieglitz (4) states that the township site for Morven district was a “reserve” on the edge of the Black Forest about two miles from Evandale.  It was to be called Morven.  However, because there was no permanent water supply and the locality was otherwise unsuitable, no building was ever erected there for a township.  In the same document, Von Stieglitz states that the irregularity was brought to the attention of the Government in 1848 by Assistant Police Magistrate Robert Wales.  Subsequently, Governor Denison proclaimed Evandale as the name of the existing village on March 17, 1848. Von Stieglitz states that at that date there were 96 houses and 600 inhabitants. 

Obviously, with this population, the town was already in existence at its current location at this time.  The name Evandale must have also been in use at this time or the village would have been called Morven.

Village had Different Names

Those with an interest in local history will probably be aware that Evandale is said to have had a variety of names during its existence.  These include Honeysuckle Banks, Collins Hill, New River, South Esk, Morven, Evansdale and of course the current Evandale.

Some of these names may have only been references to a district or an area within a district, some may have been names for the village.  The resultant investigation revealed the following.

Honeysuckle Banks seems to be derived from the camp site on the South Esk River named by Governor Macquarie in 1811.  As this date is just before or just after initial land grants in the area, it could be assumed to predate any establishment of a town.  It should also be added that there were no historical newspaper references to this term for the area.

In the case of Evansdale, it is suspected that this name never existed for the current town.  A review of Trove Digitised Newspapers does not seem to suggest that this name was ever correctly used.  We know that by 1865, Evandale was the name adopted for the municipality so any reference to Evansdale before this date were examined. 

The earliest use of Evansdale was 1834 (5) in relation to claims for grants.  However the very same article also uses Evandale which suggests a printing error.  In this case, it was the Parish of Evandale being referred to, not the town, as shown below.

“Alexander Rose, area 880 acres, Evandale Parish; Alexander Rose, area 850 acres, Breadalbane and Evansdale Parish; Alexander Rose, area 37 acres, Patterson’s Island; Alexander Rose, area 207 acres, Breadalbane and Evandale Parishes; Alexander Rose, area 93 acres, Evandale Parish;”

A similar printing error with the correct use of the town name in the same article also occurred in 1865 (6).  No other pre-municipality declaration use of the name Evansdale was discovered in Tasmanian newspapers.

The earliest newspaper use of “Collins Hill” is in 1832 (7) where it is mentioned by a committee, first formed in 1831, in determining the location of the road from Nile to Launceston.  It is suggested that Collins Hill was an informal name given to the area first settled by Collins in the early 1820’s on the approach to Evandale from the Nile.  Today, this site is occupied by Briar Lane Cottage (formerly Greg and Gill’s Place) which was built in 1826 (8). 

At the time of this meeting there were already other adjacent houses.  For example, it is also known that Kennedy Murray was already operating a Pound from his home at Prosperous in 1831 (9) and that Prosperous (now Fallgrove) was built circa 1826.  Also built in 1826 was Cambock Homestead  which was built by Capt. Andrew Barclay (10).   

Newspaper references to these other home owners do not use the name “Collins Hill”.  Therefore it is suggested that this name was not used for the village but rather as an informal zone within the general area.

“New River” is a term that appears to have been applied to the South Esk River, the district and the settlement.  For example, as a river, there is the story (11) of an inquest held at Launceston in January 1823 on the body of a man named Edward Cox, who was “found drowned in the New River, contiguous to his own house.  It appeared that the unfortunate man had been stealing some sheep from a Gentleman a short time previously, and to escape the hands of justice, he put an end to his existence by drowning himself; to which effect a verdict was returned accordingly.”

There is an 1828 advert (12) from Joseph Watts and James Carter seeking to inform the public, of their horse breaking skills.  They advised clients of their prices and said that horses could be left “at Mr. George Collins’, New River near Gibson’s Ford”.  This could be a reference to New River being either a settlement or a District. It should also be noted that it did not refer to Mr Collins living at Collin’s Hill.

New River, was definitely used as a settlement name in and advert placed by Kennedy Murray in May 1831 (13) which read, – “IMPOUNDED = At the Public Pound, Prosperous, New River, Launceston District, on the 9th instant by Mr George Powell..

“New River” was clearly used as a district name in an advert by Joseph Solomon in 1836 (14) that carried the headline “New Store – Evandale New River – near Captain Barclay’s” respectfully informing “his friends and the inhabitants of Evandale and the District around, that he intends opening a Branch Store.”  This advert also suggests that the village was called Evandale and in existence in 1836.

“South Esk” was first used in the newspapers as a river name as early as 1818 (15) with the publication of a Government Public Notice that “Carts going from the Settlements on the Derwent to Port Dalrymple, or to any Part or Place in the Interiorm, do keep the High Road the Whole way; and that they do enter the Settlement of Port Dalrymple by crossing the South Esk, at the Ford between Gibson’s and Massey’s Farms, and at no other Place.”  Gibson’s Farm is a reference to Pleasant Banks (off Leighlands Road) and Massey’s Farm was located between Pleasant Banks and current day Evandale.

South Esk was also used as a river name in a government notice published in 1828 (16) which read, “GOVERNMENT NOTICE, No. 147. —- Colonial Secretary’s Office, July 16, 1828 – THE Lieutenant Governor, has been pleased to appoint Mr. William Graves to be Keeper of the Pound near Gibson’s Ford, on the right bank of the South Esk.”  This location is very close to the current town and it is interesting to note that just the next month, Mr Graves uses the term South Esk Pound located at Morven, South Esk.  Obviously Morven being the settlement and South Esk being the district (17).

Morven has obviously been extensively used as a district name.  It was first proclaimed a district and its boundaries were defined in 1823 by a Government Notice (18).  Breadalbane District to the north was also proclaimed at the same time.  Of note here is the fact that the current location of the town is very close to the boundary of Morven and Breadalbane districts i.e. the South Esk River at Gibson’s Ford.  Had a township existed at that time, it is thought that the boundaries would have been located to clearly enclose the township of that time.  Other proclamations make mention of the townships that they include.

While there are many references to Morven in the press, there are only a few uses of the phrase “town of Morven” being used.  Two of these are in the one newspaper on the same day.  There are no uses for the phrase “village of Morven”. 

It is of interest to note that the use of “Morven” overlaps with the use of “Evandale”, so there is some confusion.  Based on number of occurrences in the newspapers of the day, Evandale was the predominant name for the village and Morven was the district name.

It is interesting to note that in 1825 (19), the district of Morven was identified as now being called South Esk as seen in the following quote.  “His Excellency, the Governor having instituted a Court of Requests in and for the Island of Van Diemen’s Land, for the Recovery of Debts not exceeding Ten Pounds Sterling, Notice is hereby given, that the said Court will be opened and held at the Place and Times following- (that is to say) ;….At Campbell ‘Town, on Friday the 27th Day of May next, at Ten o’Clock in the Forenoon precisely, for the Trial of Causes in which Persons residing within the following Districts or Places may be the Defendants; namely-Lennox, Richmond, Morven, (now called South Esk) …..

Perhaps the earliest use of Morven(as the name of a village) was in 1828 when William Graves advertised stock impounded at the Pound located at Morven, South Esk, 18th August 1828 (20).

It is also worth noting that the blacksmith Mr George Powell, “near the farm of Andrew Barclay Esq” advertised in May 1830 for “two journeymen wheelwrights, who will be supplied with tools and every requisite; or a master tradesman will meet with every encouragement by commencing his business at or near Mr. Powell’s, Morven” (21).  This suggests that there was significant work in the area to warrant an expansion of his business or even seek a competitor to meet the demand.

Every Village Needs a Pub and a Church!

Many people would suggest that a place cannot be called a village until it has its own Pub.  Well, the first public house in the town area was the Jolly Farmer run by George Collins in 1829 and 1830 (22,23).  The second licensed public house was the Patriot King William IV now known as Blenheim, the imposing building at 16 High Street.  By one account (24), building of this hotel commenced in 1826 but we do know that it was first licensed on 29 September 1832 (25).  The hotel was a rather grand establishment which included an assembly room upstairs that was used for concerts, dancing and a meeting room for the Masonic Lodge and other groups.  It was said to also have a skittles alley.  All of this points to a significant clientele, either local or passing, however much of this probably came later.

In 1829, there was no church in the settlement despite there being quite a few people living locally.  We know this from a letter to the editor of the Cornwall Press and Commercial Advertiser (26) which stated “SIR—Of course you are aware that we have no church or place of worship out here. But I do not suppose you are aware of the manner in which the Sabbath is kept in this neighbourhood. 1 understand a most disgraceful transaction took place last Sunday, in the vicinity of Gibson’s Ford on the South Esk. Several pitched battles were appointed for that day’s amusement, and no fewer than six or seven fights took place, which, of course, had a great many spectators. And as such was the case—the rabble from within 5 or 6 miles round being collected on the spot—I would ask, through your medium, what were the constables doing ? As they could not help but know of it, why were they not there to prevent it ? The worthy Police Magistrate cannot be aware of the queer jobs that are sometimes hushed up within a few miles of town, but which ought to be brought to light and the parties punished.  We understand the preliminaries are settled for a fight to take place today, within a few miles of town, for £50;”

Fighting events in the region were very popular because we know from a January 1830 (27) report that stated “A regular pitched battle was fought here on Wednesday last, near the public house kept by Mr. Collins. This battle had been long talked of in Launceston and its neighbourhood, the combatants, James Glew, a man well known by the lovers of pugilism in New South Wales and John Williams, the champion of this place, met upon the ground about one o’clock, with upwards of 700 persons, a greater concourse of people perhaps than was ever assembled before on such an occasion in this island.

Summarising the Information

Based on the information available, it is possible to conclude that Evandale:

  • by 1826, at least a few houses were in close proximity
  • by 1828, there is an operating Pound at least adjacent to the settlement area on the South Esk River
  • by 1829, there is a licensed public house
  • by 1829, there are sufficient people in the settlement and surrounding farms to stage a “sporting” events and that by 1830, one such event attracted upwards of 700 people
  • by 1831, we have an operating Pound within the settlement area
  • by 1832, we have a grand licensed hotel
  • Evandale proclaimed as the name of the existing village on March 17, 1848 but there were already 96 houses and 600 inhabitants

It was also concluded that Evandale, as a settlement, if not a village, has been called New River, South Esk and Morven.  Credence is not given to the village having been called Honeysuckle Banks, Evansdale or Collins Hill.


Based on the information collected for this study, it can be assumed that Evandale, as it is now called, was in its infancy in 1826 when it was a small collection of dwellings and out buildings and was definitely an established village by 1832 when there are at least a few non-farming businesses in operation.

Given this spread of dates, The Evandale History Society recommended to Council that circa 1830 be adopted as the establishment date for Evandale.  This will be the date that will appear on the new entrance statement and other signs in the near future.


  1. The Cornwall Chronicle (Launceston, Tas. : 1835 – 1880)  Sat 25 Feb 1865  Page 5
  2. Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 – 1899)  Thu 12 Oct 1865  Page 5
  3. The Cornwall Chronicle (Launceston, Tas. : 1835 – 1880)  Sat 30 Dec 1865  Page 4
  4. von Stieglitz, Karl (1946) Days and Ways in Old Evandale
  5. Launceston Advertiser (Tas. : 1829 – 1846)  Thu 5 Jun 1834  Page 2
  6. The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954)  Sat 23 Dec 1865  Page 3
  7. The Independent (Launceston, Tas. : 1831 – 1835)  Sat 27 Oct 1832
  8. Evandale Heritage Walk, Evandale History Society
  9. The Tasmanian (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1827 – 1839)  Fri 28 Jan 1831  Page 2
  10. McCormack T (2015) Reaching Out From Trafalar, Bokprint Launceston
  11. Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemen’s Land Advertiser (Tas. : 1821 – 1825)  Sat 25 Jan 1823  Page 2
  12.  The Tasmanian (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1827 – 1839)  Fri 31 Oct 1828  Page 4
  13.  Launceston Advertiser (Tas. : 1829 – 1846)  Mon 16 May 1831  Page 157
  14. Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857)  Tue 22 Nov 1836  Page 3
  15. The Hobart Town Gazette and Southern Reporter (Tas. : 1816 – 1821)  Sat 24 Oct 1818 Page 1
  16. The Hobart Town Courier (Tas. : 1827 – 1839)  Sat 19 Jul 1828  Page 1
  17. The Hobart Town Courier (Tas. : 1827 – 1839)  Sat 23 Aug 1828  Page 1
  18. Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemen’s Land Advertiser (Tas.: 1821 – 1825)  Sat 20 Dec 1823  Page 1
  19. Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemen’s Land Advertiser (Tas. : 1821 – 1825)  Fri 25 Mar 1825  Page 1
  20. The Hobart Town Courier (Tas. : 1827 – 1839)  Sat 23 Aug 1828  Page 1
  21. The Hobart Town Courier (Tas. : 1827 – 1839)  Sat 29 May 1830  Page 3
  22. Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857)  Fri 20 Nov 1829  Page 4
  23.  Launceston Advertiser (Tas. : 1829 – 1846)  Mon 20 Sep 1830  Page 3
  24. The Convict Trail, http://ontheconvicttrail.blogspot.com.au
  25.  The Independent (Launceston, Tas. : 1831 – 1835)  Sat 22 Sep 1832  Page 2
  26. The Cornwall Press and Commercial Advertiser (Launceston, Tas. : 1829)  Tue 5 May 1829  Page 4
  27. The Hobart Town Courier (Tas. : 1827 – 1839)  Sat 9 Jan 1830  Page 2

The Morven Outrage April 1859

The Launceston Examiner of 26 Apr 1859 had the following interesting story which it referred to as the Morven Outrage.

A correspondent has sent us the following account of the attack on the Rev. Mr. Taggart to remove the incorrect reports current respecting the outrage:-

“About 10 o’clock am on Monday, the 18th inst., the Rev. Mr. Taggart left the Manse, Evandale, for the purpose of visiting Logan Falls, intending to return in the evening to Evandale, as he was expected to preside at a congregational meeting of the members of the Scotch Church. When about a mile from Mr. Ralston’s, at the time leisurely walking his horse, he saw a man a considerable distance in advance on the right hand side of the road with a gun in his hand.

This circumstance did not cause him the slightest alarm, as he thought the person might be fowling; nor did he for a moment dream of bushrangers, as he thought that in this part of Tasmania such an employment was among the things of the past. However, when he had unsuspectingly approached to within a distance of a gun’s length and a half of the bushranger, as we may now justly call him, the latter commenced operations by presenting his gun with deadly aim at Mr. Taggart’s head, using the words “your money or your life.”

Though taken somewhat by surprise, he represented to the man how foolish such an action would be, as the murderer of any clergyman officiating in a parish was likely to be easily discovered, and that his death by hanging was only a question of time. To this the bushranger replied by saying that he did not now care for his life, and again taking aim, and with horrid oaths repeating his former demand, he added that if not immediately complied with he would blow out the Rev. Gentleman’s brains.

Mr. Taggart had now his mind fully made up for death, and was expecting it momentarily, but whilst the bushranger’s hand was on the trigger and his eye looking along the barrel, by way of diverting his attention he said to him, ‘Why do you not come and take my money’, but to this the bushranger only replied by saying that it must be laid along with his watch on the road. As this was said by Mr. Taggart only to gain time, it failed in its effect; and he saw that the only recourse left was to rush as quickly past the desperado as possible, and trust to providence. The moment he attempted to do so the villain took deliberate aim.

Mr. Taggart bent his head and trunk as much as possible alongside the horse’s neck so as to protect the vital parts, and the desperado discharged at a little more than a gun’s distance the contents of his piece, loaded with large shot, into the fleshy part of the left thigh, grazing in its course the wrist.

I may here mention that Mr. Taggart had neither whip nor spur, otherwise it was his intention to have rushed on the villain and attempted to overpower him. He was quite defenceless, and was obliged, moreover, to keep his eye on the bushranger and to sit perfectly emotionless. The strength and nearness of the discharge paralysed for the time being his limb: the horse at the same time shied to the one side, and he fell to the ground and the reins slipped from his hand. The bushranger’s attention was now diverted from the Rev. Gentleman to his horse – to steal the latter and make off with it without further violence appearing his most advisable course. He accordingly did so.

Mr. Taggart’s watch and purse, containing a considerable sum of money, owing to this circumstance he did not wait to rifle him of, but having caught the horse with some difficulty made his way into the interior with all dispatch. Mr. Taggart with difficulty limped along the road in the direction of a shoemaker’s hut which he had passed, but before arriving there being overcome with extreme fatigue and pain, he was obliged to throw himself down on the road.

While in this position a man passed by him at full speed in the direction of the same but, and without stopping to make any enquiries, he continued his course till he reached it. Mr. Taggart supposed from his conduct, especially from his not stopping to render him any assistance, that he was in league with the bushranger; and it was only after some time that he replied to Mr. Taggert’s many calls for assistance by bringing him a cup of water and helping him as gently as possible into the hut.

This man then told his own story, and it was to this effect:- That he had been met by an armed man in the bush and ordered to give up his money, which he agreed to do. He was tied to a tree by the bushranger, who then said to him, ‘I shall leave you here until I stick up the shoemaker at his hut.’ But before proceeding to do this, his eye was arrested by the unexpected appearance of the clergyman: he then said, ‘ I see a cove, I will tackle him.’

Immediately after the report of the gun, the man stuck-up managed to make his escape from the tree, and ran to the hut in the manner just described.

Subsequently, The Courier of 2 May 1859 reported “We regret to say, hat the Rev. Mr. Taggart, who was wounded by the ruffianly bushranger near Evandale, in still in a very precarious condition. On Monday he was very unwell and slightly delirious We understand that upwards of twenty double B shot were extracted from the reverend gentleman’s thigh. The ruffian is still at large.

By the 10 May, a reward of £50 and a free pardon for any colonial prisoner had been offered.  However, there are no newspaper reports of the perpetrator being bought to justice.

RAAF 7 Elementary Flying School

Tasmania’s only RAAF Flying Base during World War 2 was established at the site of the current Launceston Airport on 29th August 1940, and No 7 Elementary Flying Training School commenced training in September of that year. By the time training ended in late 1944, over 1800 pilot trainees had passed through the base as part of the Empire Air Training Scheme before the base was disbanded on 31st August 1945.

Consequently the Evandale History Society, in conjunction with the R.A.A.F. Association, Launceston Branch, decided to build a memorial dedicated to all those who trained and served at Western Junction. This also commemorates the ten servicemen who died while based there and also honours the approximately one third of the 1801pilots trained there who died whilst in training at other bases or on active service in all theatres of war.

The memorial has been built in the historic village of Evandale which is close to Western Junction and where many R.A.A.F. personnel were billeted during the war. This also allows the 7 EFTS Monument to be honoured on ANZAC Day each year along with the other war monuments located there.

On Saturday 21st August 2010 over 170 formal guests were invited to a formal unveiling of the memorial by Group Captain Glen Coy CSC, Officer Commanding, Air Training Wing, East Sale. This was followed by a dedication service by Chaplain Wing Commander Ken Box and the laying of wreaths.

Among the guests were 20 original veterans from 7 EFTS who had come from Tasmania, Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales to attend and over 60 families of those veterans, servicemen died during the war and veterans who have consequently passed on. This was followed by a luncheon for veterans and guests and a visit to the Tasmanian Aero Club at Launceston Airport to view old 7 EFTS buildings.

This dedication service also honoured the 70th Anniversary of the base foundation and 65th Anniversary of the base closure.

The dedication was supported by other R.A.A.F. units such as fly past from the Roulettes, the Air Force Band and Catafalque party and Australian Air Force Cadets from Launceston. In addition staff under the command of Wing Commander Charles Hill, Commanding Officer 29SQD/SAFOT gave invaluable support to the success of the dedication service.

The Evandale History Society has established a photographic and historical collection on 7 EFTS and seeks any additional photos or historic information.

This will support the Photo Mural and Propeller Memorial on display at Launceston Airport (Western Junction)

The Evandale History Society welcomes any information or photos relating to 7 EFTS and can be contacted at 18 High Street, Evandale, Tasmania or by email. 

Western Junction WW2 – 7EFTS Base and airfield
7EFTS student in Trainer aircraft WW2
7 FTS Memorial Evandale Community Hall

Churches – The Weslyan (Methodist) Chapel Evandale

Local identities Henry Reed and John Ward Gleadow helped build the Wesleyan Church although little information is available on its history and as such it was later used as a Druid Hall, Scouts Hall and then by the Returned Services League of Australia (R.S.L.A.) as their Evandale Club Room.

The chapel which is located in Russell Street Evandale was offered for sale in 1975 and was later converted in 2000 into Heritage Accommodation of which it still remains.