Observations of a traveler to Evandale 1903 (Highways and Byways)

The following article about Evandale appeared in the Daily Telegraph

(Launceston, Tas. : 1883 – 1928)  Monday 9 November 1903, page 6


[By our Special Travelling Representative]


To reach Evandale there is a choice of getting their either by road or rail, the time occupied is short, but either route may be chosen, as the distance to be covered is only about twelve miles.

By the road it is a nice drive through shady trees, hawthorn hedges, and waving fields of corn. By rail the train also sweeps through somewhat similar surroundings. Now just here, to anyone making the trip by train, a word of advice, if heeded, may be found of value, that is, get out at the junction, go from there by the bus to Evandale, it is only a distance of about a mile and a half, to the post office. If to Evandale direct by train, it will be found on alighting that a steep hill has to be negotiated to gain the level road, and then a walk of a quarter of a mile undertaken before coming to a comfortable halting place.

Besides, from the railway station, not a vestige of Evandale is to be seen, the high bank facing it completely obscuring the view. A feeling of disappointment and loneliness is thus apt to creep over the wayfarer. However, a foot track up the bank to the road is found, but while pausing in the climb for a breather, and at the same time glancing upwards, a shudder passes through as the eye catches sight of a frowning castellated tower with cannon pierced embrasures, Visions of moat, drawbridge, portcullis, and dungeon keep, are conjured up, but bracing up courage and gaining the level those fears arc dispelled. There is no siege to be made, nor gauntlet to be run before the citadel can be entered. The apparently warlike edifice is after all only a water cistern; It is the ‘water tower’, and of great value it really is. In its usefulness it keeps the town, except at rare intervals, well supplied with good pure water from the South Esk river. The height of the tower from the base is 40ft, and the capacity of the reservoir within gained from the river at a point about a mile away, where a weir has been placed across. From there it is driven by a turbine pump through a 3in pipe, up to the tower. The motive power for working the turbine is secured by a flume, which taps the river 40ft higher up. The town is reticulated by a 3in main, having 1in branches.

The tower was erected in 1895, and the water turned on in 1888 by Mr J. C. von Stieglitz. The supply and the works in connection therewith are under the control and management of a water trust, Mr H. Patterson being the caretaker in charge of the works. During dry seasons the supply has at times been inadequate, but bearing that in mind, and also the necessity for providing for increasing demands, the trust has decided to erect another tower on the highest town level. It will have a capacity of 100,000 gallons. This will then, it is thought, meet all the requirements for some time to come. A unique experience occurred during the rainy season this year, that of having to cart water from the river for domestic purposes. ‘Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink.’ The famine arose through the river being in flood, and the turbine getting fouled with the debris so brought down.

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 (1887), 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. The road continues on to Nile and Deddington.

The Evandale district covers miles and miles of uneven country; the land in its unevenness does not present any serious difficulties to the agriculturist, rather the reverse, as the knolls, rises, and generally undulating nature of the country secures good drainage, and so assists the growth of cereals. This season is one that has gladdened the hearts of the farmers; the crops are expected to be most prolific and top all previous yields. Sheep breeding, both for stud market and wool, is also carried on successfully the runs being clean, dry, and sheltered; Merinos seem to be the class most favoured. Of course, there are crossbreeds and come-backs as well, but all are notable for the cleanness and excellent quality of the staple, the clips from many of the estates around coming appreciably near top prices at the sales. Shearing is now going on at several places, and there appears to be no difficulty in getting ‘full sheds’, the recent smallpox scare having prevented many of the shearers from migrating to the mainland.

Evandale has a most salubrious climate; it has an altitude of about. 600ft above sea level. There is nearly always a cool breeze blowing and at nights the temperature is all that could be wished for. Why some of our city magnates should not nick upon this suburb, for it really is only a suburb, on which to erect their mansions, is hard to say. The drive in and out is short and pleasant, and the road good. For a short spin, cyclists could not choose a better run, and if. they wished to go farther there are plenty of pleasant roads available to satisfy all their desires. As far as the streets are concerned Evandale has not been laid out with what one may call mathematical precision and detail. A good idea of the diversity of angles may be formed by looking at an ordinary spider’s web; this irregularity may be accounted for from the fact that where the township now stands was never meant to be Evandale at all, the site selected having been surveyed in what was at the time known as the Black Forest. That forest is now no more, and green crops are now growing where Evandale should have stood.

Old village towns have during their lifetime many episodes some historical and some better forgotten, and in this way, Evandale is no exception. Many of those reminiscences are interesting, and remembered well by residents still in the flesh, who were born, in the district, and chats with two of those, Mr David Collins, Council clerk, and Mr William Farmer, saddler, both of whom are good raconteurs, will be found most entertaining and instructive regarding the early days. Few of the present generation will remember anything of the old time ‘stocks,’ a form of punishment for minor offences in days gone by. Fifty years ago, Evandale had a set capable of accommodating six culprits; these would mostly be drunks, who, on being sentenced had to do their penance pinioned by the legs in the stocks, in the street, where they had to suffer the gibes and jeers of the more fortunate passers-by. The remains of the old lock-up used 60 or 70 years ago may still be seen and more strange still the same lock-up, is now in use, the. cells feebly exhibit, through their rottenness evidence of their ancient roughness and strength, but the police offices attached are decaying rapidly, and their collapse must be near at hand. A new building is urgently required, as no one resides in the present quarters, and prisoners placed in the cells remain there all night without a guard, where they may die by sudden illness or be burnt to death by fire before aid or alarm could be given – a most reprehensible state of affairs. Regarding these old cells many a tale is told, but one of the most horrifying is that relating to a man named Murray, who at the time, perhaps fifty years ago who was confined with two others in one of the cells, tore down a slab or batten from the wall and murdered one of his fellow inmates, the other escaping notice and probable death also, by crouching in a corner.  Murray was suffering from delirium tremens at the time.  The lock-up keeper heard the disturbance but had not courage to render assistance.

At one time Evandale was noted for its race meetings and events on the programme always drawing good fields, and horses from all parts of the country were entered, the Point to Point Steeple being the most attractive item during the day’s sport, the gentlemen riders filling the pigskin and taking the fences in rare good style. The racecourse was marked out on the Loch Bay estate and was one admirably suited for the purpose. The writer passed the spot the other day and the surroundings are suitable as ever for the same purpose and here is no apparent reason why those pleasant gatherings should not be again revived, even if it is fifteen years since the last was held. In Warrnambool in the western district of Victoria, the steeple there over a natural course is there is one of the finest fixtures of the year and draws one of the most representative crowds of gentlemen sportsman that could be met anywhere, why not the same in Tasmania?

Another institution has passed into oblivion —the Morven Agricultural Society— reckoned in its day to be of some importance. It was also held in high favour by the ladies in the district, for they, by their energy and industry in organising a successful bazaar and collecting subscriptions, succeeded in raising sufficient funds to enable a show ground site to be purchased, and to erect a pavilion thereon. This was in 1869, but about fifteen years afterwards interest flagged, and the society dropped out of existence, bequeathing in its death struggles the pavilion and grounds to the municipal council, receiving a promise from that body in return that they would keep the bequest in good repair. Death-bed promises are not always remembered and the one made on this occasion seems to have been forgotten, for neither the grounds nor pavilion appear to be receiving much attention. A small sum judiciously expended would soon make the property look attractive.

It was only last year, with all disadvantages, that the N.T. Licensed Victuallers’ Association held a. very enjoyable picnic on the ground, and several Sunday schools use the grounds for the same purpose. The pavilion is used by the volunteer company as a drill-room, and a gymnastic club practised there last year; they do not seem to have continued this very healthy and muscular pastime and their very complete outfit of parallel bars, ladder, trapeze, dumbbells, boxing gloves, etc., is getting ‘blue-mouldy’ for want of use: this should not be so.

The Volunteer Company— F. Co. Evandale 12th Australian I.R. — is a fine body of men; its reduced strength is now only 60 men. The company was raised entirely by Colonel Cameron, whose patriotism is well known. It is commanded by Captain S. Hartley, of Ridgeside, and holds weekly drills. Every fortnight Staff-Sergeant O’Connor, of Campbell Town, attends to give instruction. A new drill-room will shortly be erected, Mr J. W. Cheek, of Cambock, having generously presented the company with a piece of ground near the recreation reserve, on which the Federal Government are about to erect the building- The company lost two of its members by death in South Africa, one Private H. Button, killed at Jasfontein, February 19, 1900; the other, Private J. Butler, dying of enteric fever whilst on service at Johannesburg, June 1, 1900. An obelisk has been erected in a prominent part of the town to their memory, the cost of which was defrayed solely by their former comrades in the company.

The recreation reserve is a fine piece of ground, which is kept in good order. It is planted around with trees and has a neat little grandstand. Sports are frequently held there, and the football and cricket, clubs also use it for their matches.

The public library and reading-room which was established in 1885, is largely availed of by the residents, the reading-room being provided with magazines and newspapers, the library containing no less than 3000 volumes, embracing instructive and entertaining literature, heavy and light reading suitable for all. The State school is a commodious, well-lighted and ventilated building, and in every way adapted for its purpose, which is saying much. The head teacher is Mr Albin Roper, who has with him three lady assistants; the children on the roll number 120.

There are only three religious denominations represented, viz., the Church of England, Presbyterian, and Methodist. The church belonging to the first mentioned is an imposing edifice attaining such distinction on account of its spire the architecture of the church being early Tudor, without embellishment. The spire, however, is that which attracts attention, its height being about 110ft may be seen towering skywards from various points from great distance off. The building is comparatively modern, only having been erected about 30 years ago. It was built to replace the old church, which had to he pulled down on account of having become unsafe.

The inside fittings of the church are very plain indeed buy their plainness could be made brighter were the present dull windows replaced with stained glass and emblematical scriptural figures.

The rector has made an attempt to impart warmth to the surroundings in the church, but there is still much to be desired. There is a memorial tablet in the chancel stating that the Venerable Alfred N. Mason, late Archdeacon of Hobart, had been incumbent from 1867 to 1877. The present. rector, Rev. H. D. Atkinson, has had charge of the district for the past thirteen years.

The Presbyterian church on the other side of the road, however, carries its age well; it is now 65 years old, and excepting the natural wear and tear of over half a century, it still stands firm and solid. The outside appearance has nothing to commend itself to attention, but on scrutiny, the two monolith pillars fronting tile entrance door would by the curious be found to have been cut out of a solid block of stone, as the pillars are over 20ft high. The question naturally arises, where did they come from, and how did they get there? Unfortunately, this question must for the present remain unsolved. In front of the church a beautiful monument has been erected to perpetuate the memory of the first minister, who preached there, Re. Robert Russell occupied the pulpit from 1838 to 1873. The base, pedestal, and crown of the monument are constructed out of Malmsbury, Aberdeen, and Peterhead marbles, being surmounted by a perfectly sculptured marble statue representing ‘Hope.’ It is said that the cost of this memorial ran close to £1000. The present minister is Rev. John Russell, who has been in charge of the congregation for twenty-four years. Although claiming the same name, the present minister is not related to the first one. Mr Russell has had relationship thrust upon him at times when some ‘hard-up,’ seeking relief, in trying to impress his claim, has assured Mr Russell that ‘he knew his father the first minister’. The veracity of such a statement on the face of it, was doubtful and the hoped-for sympathy was not obtained, as it was at variance with fact, the first Mr Russell never having been married.

The Methodist body has no resident minister, and services are only held occasionally. The present church building is a wooden one, erected a few years ago, when the little brick building formerly used was found to be too small for the increasing congregation.

The municipal council of which Mr J.B, Gibson of Pleasant Banks is Warden and Mr David Collins is Council Clerk, looks after the wants and welfare of the town, and this they do make a very creditable manner, and at the same time with commendable economy. The funds- available for the purpose do not frequently overflow the treasury. If at any time before next winter a surplus should become available, an extra lamp or two for street lighting purposes would fill a “long-felt want”.

Friendly Societies are represented by the Oddfellows, M.U. and the U.A.O Druids. The Oddfellows Lodge has been established for many years and is a very strong body. The Druids has only recently been formed but already its membership amounts to about forty.

Rabbits in Evandale district do not seem to abound as they do in the Midlands, and trapping is not carried on to the same extent. A good deal of killing however is done with poison. Mr. M. Coghlan is the Government inspector. The guardians of the peace are well represented by Mr Conlan, Superintendent for the district, Sub-Inspector Lyndon and Constable Ross. Mr. Thomas Perkins, ex-Superintendent of Police has taken up residence at Evandale. Mr. Perkins is one of the oldest policemen in the State and has a long and faithful service to his credit, covering no less than 48 years with 33 years as superintendent, his last position as such being at Bothwell. He rose rapidly by his own merit starting in the ranks and in three months gained the rank of serjeant, afterwards detective sergeant and so on before made superintendent. Mr. Perkins is now a municipal councillor and has been for the past five years. He is also a justice of the peace and on the bench, his police training is found very useful.

Mr. William Hartnoll M H R also resides in Evandale and is a justice of the peace, and when his Parliamentary duties will permit, takes a great interest in local affairs.

Before quitting reference to Evandale locally and the incidents relating to its early history, it may be said that at one time it must have been a very busy centre, especially in the coaching days. It had a brewery, no less, a flour mill-and five hotels; money must have circulated then. The home now occupied by David Collins was known over sixty years ago as ’The Patriot King’. Mr. Drake now occupies the ‘Royal Oak’ and the ‘Macquarie Hotel’ was burned down seventeen years ago. The ‘Prince of Wales’.  It is a very old hotel, perhaps the oldest in the place. ‘The Clarendon’ is kept by Mr E. Waller, well known in Launceston, and, prior to coming to Evandale, boniface at Zeehan. He has affected many improvements, both to the house and the table. The first is so modernised that it would hardly be credited the building was 53 years old, while. as regards the table kept, well, Mr Waller is an epicure, and heads-the table himself — a good recommendation. The Clarendon Hotel took its name from ‘Clarendon, the estate of the late Mr. Cox. It was built by the late Mr Thomas Fall. Both those gentlemen met in Sydney about 1832, Sir Fall having just arrived there in the. ‘Portland’, en-route for Van Diemen’s Land, intending to settle there.

Mr Cox was over in Sydney on a visit and took the opportunity to return back by tie Portland, but the vessel got wrecked at the Fourteen-Mile Bluff and did not reach port. The passengers and crew were saved, and the two voyagers became fast friends. Mr Fall died in 1888. The Clarendon Hotel is one typical of the old English inn. It has the large yard, enclosed by high walls, a row of stables, coach house, hay loft, and groom’s quarters, two large gates through which coaches could drive in and out, resting in the yard whilst man and beast got refreshed. Looking at the place now it is easy to picture on the mind’s eye those scenes of old. Indeed, in those days everything must have borne great similarity to the customs and manners so recently left behind them in the old country by the early settlers in this sunny land.

Mr James Cox, the great grandfather of the present owner of the Clarendon estate, was “a real old English gentleman, one of the olden time”. He drove to church on Sundays in a coach and four, his servants bringing up the rear another. To Captain Barclay R.N., of Cambock, some of the estates owe their patronymics, the Nile and Trafalgar being two naval engagements in which the gallant captain took part.

The Launceston Ministering Children’s League Convalescent- Home near the Evandale Junction. The building, although an old one. is very suitable for the purpose.  It was built by the late Mr William Hartnoll as his residence on the Leighton estate and is now leased to the league by his son. Three acres have been apportioned from the farm including the orchard and attached to the home. The little children that come here after their illness to gather up health and strength, have every comfort and attention given them, and, with the pure clear air, and lovely scenery to, cheer them on, soon regain the health they had lost. The home can accommodate six children at a time: there are two cots and four beds. Miss Dearle is the matron, Lady Braddon is the president of the League, Miss Winter treasurer, and. Miss Morgan secretary.

Evandale district -being so largely agricultural, it is only reasonable to assume that a good deal of threshing and chaff cutting goes on. To meet demands in that direction, Mr Enos Atkins and Mr G. A. Bryan have each got large threshing plants, with up-to-date machinery, for threshing, chaff cutting, and pressing, and traction engines for working same, and during the season both plants are kept busy. Mr G. A. Bryan, in his spare moments, finds time to act as secretary and collector for the Road Trust, a position which he has filled for the past 38 years.

It is impossible in a notice like this to mention every estate in the district, even if your representative had time at his disposal to visit them all. Space will only admit of a few being noticed and, arid, with this apology, will start Cambock, the first homestead in the north. The land was a government grant made to Captain Barclay in 1806. The residence, which he built io 1826, is still there, and occupied as such by the present owner. The captain named the estate after his birthplace — Cambock, Fifeshire. N.B. — An antiquated cannon, which he brought there, still remains, and was in noisy evidence at the Mafeking relief rejoicings at Evandale. Mr Cheek intends to get it re-mounted, and, as the entrance gates are quite close to the water tower, if placed there it will add greatly to the grimaces already referred to, of that dummy fortification. Mr J. W. Cheek, the present owner of Cambock, purchased the estate about, fourteen years ago. The property has a frontage to the South Esk, and contains about ’00 acres, half of which is generally under crop in barley, wheat, oats and peas, the other portion being used for fattening lambs for market. The fallow land is sown with rape for that purpose. The lambs are bred from a cross of Leicester and Southdowns. Pigs are also bred, and a good number find their way to market, and no less than £200 was realised from that source last year. Water is laid on to the paddocks; and also the house, and while referring to water, it may be interesting to mention that when the original scheme of bringing water into Launceston was being carried out it was from the South Esk at Evandale it was to be taken, and thence through Cambock. On the estate brick shafts were put down, and a tunnel commenced, but in driving the ground was found to be quite unsuitable for that purpose, and so the scheme was abandoned. Depressions may now be seen in some of the paddocks showing where the tunnel has fallen in. To resume, the soil is a heavy day, and must be worked when fairly dry, otherwise, if wet, it pugs, therefore, recognising the necessity of quick ploughing, Mr Cheek invested in a traction engine, working nine ploughs thus inaugurating steam ploughing in. the district. He now gets over the work quickly, and at the same time more economically. Wheat in fallow land for the last seven years has yielded an average of 36 or 37 bushels, end hay has for the same time averaged 6 tons to the acre, but last year, being a bad one, it went only half a ton. Charlook, or mustard plant, has obtained a firm told in the district, and Cambock is no exception. It was so bad there about fifteen years ago that the crop in a paddock of 50 acres had to be destroyed. Mr Cheek has tried several ways to eradicate the weed and in some has met with success, two of which are, pulling up the weed in the thin patches, in the thick using a special American harrow. The harrowing he has done fortnightly, and as often as six times. The crop afterwards from this field yielded equal to 48 bushels.  The other method is spraying with a solution of sulphate of copper with good results. Rain, however, sometimes destroyed the effect. If spraying is done under correct conditions, the crop sustains no injury.

Pleasant Banks — This estate is owned by Mr J. B Gibson, M.H.A. and its history also belongs to the early days. The house was built nearly eighty years ago, by the late Mr. David Gibson.  The freestone used in its construction was brought from Ross, and. even in those days, the cost of this, and the labour and workmanship, must have been enormous as the finish and elaboration of design bear favourable comparison with much more modern homes. The estate Contains 1400 acres, 200 of which are under crop, the rest is used for grazing stud sheep principally Merinos. Mr Gibson also keeps some excellent hunters — Uno, Liberty, and Lancer. Uno has taken a number of prizes, perhaps more than any other horse in Tasmania. There is a fine frontage to the South Esk and this portion of the stream, Mr. Gibson has kept preserved and well stocked with the best class of salmon trout. A very nice garden surrounds the house, with flowers in profusion. At hand, a private golf links has been marked off. Mr. Gibson at last election gained the seat as member for South. Esk. He has been municipal councillor for seventeen years, is now Warden, and has filled that position for six years.

Andora — This is Mr J. O. von Stieglitz’s estate, and has a frontage of nearly two miles to the South Esk. It is 1100 acres in extent and is used for grazing and agricultural purposes. Merino sheep is the class bred by Mr. von Stieglitz and as the ground is very suitable for Merinos, being clean and dry, the clip from the sheep is always a good one. About 250 acres is nearly always under a crop of oats, wheat, and barley, giving an aggregate return during the year of 9000 bushels of grain. The residence is quite a modern one, having only been erected about seventeen years ago. It is elegant in construction and possesses all the latest improvements and conveniences. In naming the estate, Mr von Stieglitz was led to do so by having noticed, when passing through Italy, “Andora” over a railway station there. Mr. von Stieglitz is the son of one of six brothers that came out from Ireland to Tasmania in the twenties but afterwards got distributed to various parts of Australia, the mining town of Stieglitz, in Victoria taking its name from one of the six. Mr von Stieglitz owns a large battle station in Queensland, on the Lower Burdekin, and uses Andora, mostly as a residence.

Redbanks — This estate lies next to Andora, and is the property of Mr J. Hart, and consists of 1100 acres, 160 acres of which are under crop, in wheat oats, and barley, one field of barley looking remarkably well. The ground, although in some places lying low, does not hold the flood water long and the crops are therefore not retarded in any great measure in their growth. Mr. Hart breeds both cattle and sheep for the market and has had the estate for about ten years.

Ridgeside. — Mr S. Hawley owns this property, which contains about 900 acres, and crops about 150 acres with wheat, oats, and barley, and expects this season to be one of the best he has ever had. Besides the acreage named, Mr. Hawley also holds 2000 acres for grazing purposes, and carrying 2000 sheep, bred for the market as well as for wool. Shearing is now going on in full swing. The clip is a heavy one, and in grease; it is baled and hand-pressed at the shed and forwarded into Launceston for sale.

Harland Rise — This is a snug little property of, 600 acres, and in the. early days belonged to the late Mr J.- W. Gleadow, Solicitor, Launceston. Mr H. S. Smith is on the estate now and uses it for breeding Merino stud sheep. There is plenty of grass feed and the sheep look well.

Logan — Mr Henry Reed is the owner of this estate, which covers 6700 acres. Mr. Reed has also estates near Avoca and Chudleigh – Hanleth. 9700 acres and Wesleydale, the home farm, 2700 acres respectively. The three estates in the aggregate carry 10,000 sheep, the bulk of which are Merinos. . These are bred for the market, as well as wool. The clip is always a good, clean one, and when sold obtains a price not far from top. -Mr Reed has his shearing done by hand. This is going on at Hanleth just now, and, when cut out there, will be continued at Logan, probably in a fortnight from now. Under cultivation, there are about 300 acres altogether, also fallow land upon, which the sheep are fattened for market. Mr Reed purchased Logan about twenty years ago, and quite recently erected a very fine residence there, displacing the old one which stands about half a mile away.

– The Nile and Deddington will receive attention in the next article.

Auctioning a wife

Newspaper headlines are used to attract the attention of the reader. While one of our History Society members was doing some research, the headline above did its job very effectively.   

The Hobart Town Gazette and Southern Reporter of 1 March 1817 reported that “A Hibernian whose finances were rather low brought his wife to the hammer this morning, and although no way prepossessing in appearance, to the amazement of all present, she was sold and delivered to a settler for one gallon of rum and 20 ewes. From the variety of bidders, had there been any more in the market, the sale would have been very brisk!

One wonders whether our researcher thought that such a sale could not have occurred unless the wife was happy to go and leave the Hibernian behind.  Perhaps it was the case of anything had to be better!

Further research into this story yielded nothing other than the fact that the headline used in 1817 was good enough to raise attention when the story was cited once again in 1890 (Launceston Examiner 10 May 1890) in an article about the writings of Mr James Bonwick, F.R.G.S. who, the story states, had provided another important contribution to Australian literature through his paper on “Early Struggles of the Australian Press.”

The headline continued to grab attention when the Hobart publication, World on 12 Mar 1921 published a response to a speech by the then Governor who referred to Governor Arthur as “my distinguished predecessor”.  The article was all about the immoral and crooked acts of some of the then Governor’s distinguished predecessors and in particular, ”mad Colonel Davey, the second Lieutenant Governor of Tasmania.”

This man, the article states concealed his departure from England from his family, and it was only at the last moment that they accidentally discovered he was sailing for Tasmania.  Apparently it gave him a most disagreeable surprise when they also came “tumbling on board.”

Davey sent his luggage by another vessel that happened to be intercepted by American pirates.  He sought compensation from the Government for the loss of luggage and was rewarded and “by the tallest lying succeeded in obtaining the biggest grant of land ever conferred in Tasmania, 3000 acres.” 

He is said to have also “imported 200 women by the brig Kangaroo, which he obtained from Macquarie, who had “an inexhaustible penal store”.  Apparently it was “a case of first come, first served, and the whole 200 vanished into settlers’ homes in one day”.  One of these women was the unfortunate woman sold by the Hibernian and this very episode was used as a claim of what life was like under Davey.

The article goes on: “Blessed be Davey—he laid the foundation stone of St. David’s Cathedral, and proclaimed a day of thanksgiving.  Incidentally, he ordered a pint of rum to be given to every soldier and constable.  He was known as Davey the Drunk.  He made a curfew law, and lashed everybody, bond or free, who left their house at night.  He was, however, quite jovial at Government House.  There was a nightly orgy and rum, and in the early hours Government House would empty its contents into the streets, and they would wend their way home with wild, drunken yells.

He, Governor Davey, ordered 200 lashes to a man who broke into another man’s house; he also ordered iron collars for women.  However, he was a most estimable parson.  He fined a man £1 for “breaking the Sabbath Day by driving a cart and bullocks loaded with sawn timber through the streets of Hobart.  Likewise he prohibited bakers from making bread on Sunday, because doing so was a profanation of the Lord’s Day, vulgarly and improperly called Sabbath breaking.

At that time, out of ten of Davey’s officers, not one was living with his wife, but all had concubines, who were very much under orders.

All persons ‘neglecting to send their men to church, if near enough, will be deprived of assigned servants,’ proclaimed Governor Davey.

It is quite clear that it is an excellent idea to call one of our chief streets ”Davey Street.”

This information about Davey would not have been revealed to the researcher if not for the eye-catching headline!

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.