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.