A classified historic town, Evandale is a storehouse of superb Georgian heritage buildings which remain in largely original condition. It is an agricultural and administrative centre located on a knoll rising from highly modified plains. Just minutes down the road from Launceston Airport, Evandale offers accommodation with that lovely village atmosphere.
Where Is it? Evandale is 20 km south of Launceston on Evandale Road via Midland Highway.
Evandale hosts the Australian National Penny Farthing Championships in February each year. The bronze statue 'Time Traveller', in Rudssell Street, Evandale, was erected in 2001 and is the work of Adelaide artist and sculptor Ron Gaston. It commemorates Australia's Centenary of Federation. The sculpture includes a representation of a Tasmanian milestone which is inscribed "to Launceston XI" on one face and "Hobart CXVI" on another. The total mileage of 127 Miles between Launceston and Hobart is similarly recorded on the Red Bridge at Campbell Town. Other statues in town celebrate Harry Murray VC, Australias most decorated soldier, and John Glover, distinguished colonial artist.
Logan Rd, Evandale
Trading: Every Sunday 8am - 1pm
Phone: (03) 6391 9191
Evandale's historic buildings include: Old State School; Cambrook outbuildings; Summer Field (old Police Residence); Dr. Stewart's House; Water Tower; Prince of Wales Hotel (c.1836); Old Manse (1838-40); Blenheim and outbuildings (1832); The Laurels (1830s); Council Clerk's Residence; Council Chambers (1867); Post Office (1888); Old School House; Robert Wale's House; Village Antiques and Old Butchery (c.1840); former Royal Oak Hotel and Stables (c.1840); Clarendon Hotel and store (1847); RSL Club (built as Methodist Chapel, 1836); Marlborough School and Library; Brown's Shop and Storehouse; Riverview; Pleasant Banks homestead and outbuildings (1838).
A much admired example of Greek Revival Architecture, St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Evandale, is recognised as the best preserved or restored place of worship in Tasmania. The Governor, Sir John Franklin, laid the foundation stone in 1838, the church was opened two years later. Since its door opened, St Andrew's has served the Presbyterian Congregation of Evandale and its surrounding environs and lately as the Uniting Church of Australia. Its first minister, Rev. Robert Russell, was a young Scot when he arrived in Evandale to commence his parish duties on the 9th April 1838. At that time there was no church building and services were being held in private residences.
St Andrew's Anglican Church
St Andrew seems to have been a local favourite as there is not one - but two St Andrew's Churches in Evandale. The St Andrew's Anglican Church that stands today is actually the third Church of England built in the town. The original was constructed with bricks from the abandoned works of the Evandale-Launceston Water Tunnel and opened in 1837. A new, larger, red brick church was completed around 1844, before being demolished in 1871 due to faulty foundations. The present church was built with many of the original bricks and consecrated in 1872.
The hotel was built in 1847 by Thomas Fall after leaving Blenheim. The large brick store was originally part of the early police buildings. The two storey Georgian hotel is classified by the National Trust, the hotel features 160-year-old convict-built walls in its beer garden. They are the remnants of the old watch house and convict cells where it is believed criminals were housed before being transported to Hobart. Among the prisoners who served time at Evandale was John Kelly, father of Australia's most notorious bushranger Ned Kelly. The Clarendon Arms was "home" to Kelly during his final two years as a convict, during which time he was part of a road gang that built the road from Longford to Evandale.
The old pub known to some as the pub where Mark "Chopper" Read was drinking before he shot former bikie boss Sidney Collins. Chopper spent six years in Risdon prison for shooting Collins after being at the Clarendon Arms in Evandale in 1992. Location: 13 Russell Street, cnr Scone Street, Evandale.
In The Area
Clarendon House is arguably one of Australia's greatest Georgian houses still standing today. It has formal gardens and grounds, a tree lined avenue, Italianate facade, restored early colonial outbuildings and is owned by the National Trust. The wealthy grazier and merchant James Cox (son of William Cox) had the house built in 1838. An architecturally significant two storey Georgian Regency style mansion which has the only example of a giant order portico on a residence of its period in Australia.
Clarendon has a fine reconstructed garden, notable outbuildings and an important setting in the landscape. The main facade of five bays is divided by two storey pilasters terminating in an entablature. The tetra-style portico has giant order Roman Ionic columns. French windows are flanked by pilasters with cornices. There are six paned windows at the upper level. There are double doors with fanlights and sidelights at the front and rear. A brick service wing is single storey, with iron tile skillion roof. Another brick service wing has lofts.
The house is accessible by guided tour, the last tour of the day at 3:15pm allowing ample time to enjoy the property prior to the gate closure at 4pm. Twilight Tours are also available, details on the website. Location: 234 Clarendon Station Road, Nile via Evandale Ph (03) 6398 6220.
Prominent among the early settlers, the Archer family built a number of grand houses and estates in the area. They farmed and developed the land, and built a number of homesteads which are among the finest in northern Tasmania: Woolmers Estate, Brickendon Estate (both on the Australian National Heritage List), Panshanger, Northbury, Fairfield, Cheshunt, Woodside, Palmerston and Saundridge.
Woolmers Estate, near the village of Longford and overlooking the Macquarie River, is acknowledged as one of the most outstanding examples of 19th century rural settlements in Australia. Accurate and authentic in the minutest detail, it is not difficult to see why the estate has received a World Heritage listing. Location: Woolmers Lane, Longford.
Woolmers Estate was settled in circa 1817 by Thomas Archer the 1st. It has existed through six generations of Archers, until the death of Thomas William the 6th in 1994. The array of extant buildings on Woolmers including family houses, workers cottages, former chapel, blacksmith s shop, stables, bakehouse, pump house, gardener's cottage etc. provides a rare insight into the social structure of a colonial pastoral estate. At an estate of this size, a virtual small village was formed where up to 100 people might be living and working at one time. The village remains intact.
In addition to the architectural the site contains a wide range of collections acquired by the Archer family over 180 years, providing a rare insight into six generations of one family. The combination of the historical collections, the buildings and the site itself represents a significant cultural resource and an important visitor attraction.
Guided tours of the homestead introduce visitors to the home's former occupants and the personal collections and furnishings they each acquired and ultimately left behind. The duration of each tour is approximately 45 minutes. Tours of the extensive grounds, outbuildings, rose garden and the walled-in gardens are self guided.
Located on the banks of the Macquarie River outside Longford, the outstanding Woolmers National Rose Garden displays all of the recognized rose families. Its 5,000 roses represent one of the finest collections of historic roses in the southern hemisphere, ranging from the earliest European and China roses through to the roses of the twenty first century. The plan of the National Rose Garden is formal and symmetrical and acknowledges the 19th Century context in which it sits. Some of the rose beds are planted in such a way that the visitor can enjoy an educational experience, with each variety identified by a nameplate.
Brickendon Colonial Farm Village
One of Tasmania's World Heritage Convict Sites, Brickendon Historic Farm and Convict Village was built in 1824; the village is still owned by his descendents. The complex affords the a rare chance to see a Georgian homestead, convict-built Gothic chapel, Dutch barns, chicken house, blacksmith shop and tool shed and stay in historic farm cottages. There is also a four hectare (10 acre) historic garden for you to explore.
Part of the rickendon Farm village, Brickendon Chapel is an enchanting Victorian Picturesque Rustic Gothic building featuring steep pitched shingle roof, original stained glass windows and the mellow timbers of its huon pine pews. Built around 1856, it has a high pitched shingled gabled roof, belltower and gabled foyer. The chapel is highly decorative with many neo-gothic features including brick buttresses and decorative fascias and stained glass windows.
The Farm Village, of which the chapel is an integral part, was the hub of Brickendon, a 465 hectare grant taken up by William Archer in 1824 on land opposite his brother at Woolmers, where he developed a new and innovative farming enterprise. William developed Brickendon into a mixed farm with cropping being a major focus, using a convict workforce of up to 50 people who lived in the tiny village he created. By the 1840's Brickendon was highly regarded as one of the best farms in the colony.
Pioneers of Note
John Batman, who settled in the north-east of the Van Diemen's Land Colony in the 1820s, is remembered for founding the city of Melbourne, and for his controversial purchase of land around Port Phillip via a treaty with the local Wurundjeru people. His days in Tasmania are lesser known, and paint a much darker image of the man who is widely considered to have been sympathetic towards Aboriginal people.
Illustration of Batman making a treaty with the Port Phillip aborigines
The artist John Glover, Batman's neighbour in Evandale, described Batman as "a rogue, thief, cheat and liar, a murderer of blacks and the vilest man I have ever known". Glover captioned one of his Tasmanian paintings Batman's Lookout, Benn Lomond (1835) "...on account of Mr Batman frequenting this spot to entrap the Natives." It was on Batman's farming property, near Ben Lomond, which covered more than 7,000 acres (2,800 ha).
Nowhere in Australia was the frontier fighting more intense, and nowhere was the Aboriginal resistance more effective than in Tasmania during Batman's years at Evandale. Close to 400 white people were killed or wounded in this time, and probably no less than 1,000 Aborigines lost their lives in violent encounters. By 1829, Batman had established himself as an enterprising farmer and, having captured the infamous bushranger Matthew Brady two years earlier had gained considerable renown for his bushcraft.
Batman was savvy and opportunistic, but also vain and adventurous. It is not surprising, then, that he seized on the Aboriginal Problem as a way to increase his holdings and inflate his reputation. In June 1829, Batman petitioned Governor Arthur for the convicts and resources to form a 'Roving Party' to go in pursuit of the Aborigines, conveying "the benevolent intentions of the Government." In return, Batman wanted 2,000 acres of land after the first year, plus a reward for every "live Aborigine" brought in. Fatefully, Arthur approved of all but the latter request.
Batman led numerous so-called conciliatory Roving Parties, but ended up shooting more Aborigines than he saved. Though his transgressions were generally swept under the carpet and he was heralded as a hero, Batman grew bitterly jealous of the man who was able to conciliate the Aborigines, George Augustus Robinson, and took every opportunity to undermine his rival's efforts. Seeking official recognition, Batman sought land grants in the Western Port area, but the New South Wales colonial authorities rejected this. So, in 1835, as a leading member of the Port Phillip Association he sailed for the mainland in the schooner Rebecca and explored much of Port Phillip. When he found the current site of central Melbourne, he noted in his diary of 8 June 1835, "This will be the place for a village." and declared the land "Batmania".
Batman and his family settled at what became known as Batman's Hill at the western end of Collins Streetin Central Melbourne. His health quickly declined after 1835 as syphilis had disfigured and crippled him. On Batman's death on 6 May 1839, his widow and family moved from the house at Batman's Hill and the house was requisitioned by the government for administrative offices.
The Kelly homestead at Beverage, Victoria, built by John 'Red' Kelly.
John 'Red' Kelly
John 'Red' Kelly, father of the bushranger Ned Kelly, worked in the township as a convict. The eldest of five sons from Clonbrogan in the county of Tipperary, Ireland, John was the first of the Kellys to go to Australia. The truth is, he was sent, because on 4th December 1840 he stole two pigs "value about six pounds" from a James Cooney of Ballysheehan, and then went and sold them at Cahir market about 14 miles further on. So the police records tell us anyway and the authorities seem to have trusted the police reports because on 7th January 1841, John Kelly was found guilty at Cashel Court and sentenced to 7 years transportation to Van Diemen's Land for pig stealing.
Kelly arrived in Hobart Town aboard the The Prince Regent on 2nd January 1842. By this time John Kelly had already served one year of his sentence and the next six years were spent at convict and labouring jobs in Tasmania. Towards the end of his sentence Kelly found himself on the road gang constructing the new road from Evandale to Longford. On 11th January 1848 he was granted his Certificate of Freedom. Sometime during 1848/49 John Kelly crossed the Bass Strait to the Port Philip Colony, now Melbourne, and he headed inland along the old Sydney Road and worked as a carpenter around Donnybrook and Kilmore, an area with many Irish settlers.
In 1850 he met Ellen Quinn, who had come out from Ballymena, County Antrim, with her family as a young girl. They were married in Melbourne on 18th November 1850. They purchased land at Beveridge, Victoria, then rented 40 acres near Avenel, and it was here that Ned and his seven siblings were born. John Kelly died of Dropsy on 27th December 1866, aged 46 years, when Ned was 11 years old.
Artist John Glover arrived in Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania) on his 64th birthday in 1831, two decades before the goldrush of the 1850s. He brought with him a strong reputation as a landscape painter. He acquired one of the largest grants of land in Van Diemen's Land at the time at Mills Plains, Deddington, near Evandale. He named his new property Patterdale after Blowick Farm, a property near Patterdale, at the foot of Ullswater in the English Lake District, which he had once owned.
Glover is best known now for his paintings of the Tasmanian landscape. He gave a fresh treatment to the effects of the Australian sunlight on the native bushland by depicting it bright and clear, a definite departure from the darker 'English country garden' paradigm. Note this example Patterdale Farm . His treatment of the local flora was also new because it was a more accurate depiction of the Australian trees and scrubland. Glover noted the "remarkable peculiarity of the trees in Australia and observed that "however numerous, they rarely prevent your tracing through them the whole distant country".
One of his most subjective works, the painting 'Natives on the Ouse River' is informed by European notions of an Antipodean Arcadia, with Indigenous people living in a landscape unsullied by European contact. However, it stands in marked contrast to the actual situation of the traditional owners of Ouse River country - the Braylwunyer people of the Big River nation - which was one of dispossession and violence at the hands of the colonists. John Glover's last major work was painted on his 79th birthday.
The John Glover Society was established to honor and promote Glover's memory and his contribution to Australian art. The society commissioned a life-size statue of Glover unveiled in February 2003 in Evandale. It also runs an annual landscape art competition called the Glover Prize in Tasmania. It is the richest art prize in Australia for landscape painting.