The following article about Evandale appeared in the Daily Telegraph
(Launceston, Tas. : 1883 – 1928) Monday 9 November 1903, page 6
HIGHWAYS AND BYWAYS
[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.