10 Things to See and Do in Evandale Tasmania Australia
Evandale is a National Trust classified Georgian Village. The unspoiled heritage buildings vary from grand homes built to impress, to more practical but still lovely smaller cottages.
Evandale is situated on the South Esk River, 20 km south of Launceston. The 2016 census records the population of the village at 1,345. In 1811 it was originally a military outpost. The name Evandale, named in 1836, was in honour of the first Surveyor-General, G.W. Evans.
The main street of Evandale is perfect to wander along and see how a late Georgian/early Victorian village would have looked like. There were no front gardens here, the houses and businesses were built right next to the street and footpaths.
Click here to read about some of the picturesque and historical homes in Evandale
There are more than ten things to see and do in Evandale, below are just a list of my ten personal favourites. This is a town that I keep coming back to visit, rediscovering old friends and finding new ones.
1. National Penny Farthing Championship and Village Fair
Who could resist a village fair and period themed festival? Veteran cars, colonial costumes, live entertainment, food and drink stalls, wares made by local artists and artisans all culminate in a Grand Street Parade. Held annually in February, this event also features Penny Farthing bicycle racing. Enthusiasts come from Australia and around the world come to enjoy this fun event. It is recognised internationally as the largest annual event in the world devoted to racing antique bicycles. Started in 1983, there are events for riders of all ages and skill levels.
A 20 mile road race starts from Evandale and heads south to the finish line at the historic Clarendon Homestead. It has been completed in just over an hour by the fastest riders. This race is held on the Sunday following the colonial Village Fair.
Many of the buildings in Evandale are from Victorian times, so it is a perfect setting for these antique bicycles. They were the first machines to be called bicycle (bi meaning two and cycle for the wheels). The name came from the large front wheel and small back wheel, which resembled the largest (penny) and smallest (farthing) coins in England at that time. Invented by British James Starley the front wheel was just over 2 metres in height and quite difficult to mount.
A statue of a penny farthing and its rider stands at the crossroads across from the Clarendon Arms Hotel.
2. Clarendon Arms Hotel
Built in 1847, this building is part of the early police buildings. In the beer garden still stand walls that were built by convicts, and are the remnants of the old watchhouse and cells. John Kelly, father of infamous bushranger Ned Kelly, was housed here during his final two years as a convict. It is also the pub where Mark “Chopper” Read was drinking before he shot former bikie boss Sidney Collins in 1992.
In 2021 when I visited it had undergone a facelift, with both internal and external paint. Each of the separate dining areas in this cosy setting feels more like favoured guests dining in a friend’s old home. There is a real peaceful feeling here, quite contradictory to its humble beginnings of outlaws and prisoners. The food is delicious and the staff are wonderful. It is a true pleasure to be able to return here frequently. Live music is often heard in the outdoor, tree shaded beer garden.
3. Evandale Visitor Information Centre
Housed in the old schoolhouse building that was built around 1889, here is more than a collection of brochures on the local area, although them have them too. The centre has broadband internet access, a gift shop, history displays and is staffed by very knowledgeable and enthusiastic volunteers. The Evansdale Historical Society is housed in the building and is a great resource for genealogists and history buffs. Behind the centre is Morven Park.
Visitors can pick up a brochure from the centre that gives a self-guided tour around Evandale and a brief summary of some of the more important buildings in town. Check out the diorama some clever people have created that is on display in the visitor centre. It certainly gives a picture of convict labourers and their overseers in the 1800s.
4. Village shops
All along the main thoroughfare of Russell Street are old Georgian style shops.
Stepping over the threshold of this Village Store felt as if I had time travelled back to the 1800s. Inside is a wonderland of choices where goods were served from staff behind a counter, and lollies from jars as per your requirements, not prepacked to a standard size. It is a delight to browse through the items on offer here.
The Village antiques and a gift shop are housed in a building from 1840. The brick building was originally a saddlery and harness shop. The weatherboard section is a later addition. The buildings have been used as a boot shop, butchery and general store. The antique store has been opened since 1973.
Another antique shop is Evandale Antiques. These were stables built around 1840. It is in keeping with the stable theme that a horse watering trough has been placed in front as it probably was long ago when horses were the mode of transport before cars.
The old municipal chambers, built in 1887 are now a licensed cafe and bakery.
5. Evandale Coffee and Take Away
There are several excellent bakeries and cafes in town and they often get written about. I found that even the local take away shop sells delicious food, and visitors can also sit inside or outside when eating here. A small gift shop next door is perfect for browsing through whilst waiting for your food to be cooked fresh.
6. John Glover statue
John Glover was born in 1767 in England. He became a talented landscape artist in watercolours. 1799 saw his start to paint in oils and exhibited in Paris as well as opening a successful gallery of his own in London.
Three of his sons had left for Tasmania in 1829. John and his wife Sarah followed them and arrived in Launceston in 1831. John was 64 years old the day he arrived. Allocated land at Deddington, near Ben Lomond, John started to paint wonderful Tasmanian scenes of his newly discovered landscapes.
In 1835 he sent sixty-eight pictures to London for an exhibition of Tasmania. In 2009 one of these paintings sold for $1.5 million. Today his works can be found in the Louvre in Paris, major Australian and British art galleries and museums and galleries in Tasmania.
Glover died in 1849 and is buried in Deddington Chapel, which he helped build. In 2003 a life-sized statue of Glover was unveiled in Evandale. There is an annual Glover Prize for depictions of Tasmanian landscapes. The Glover Prize is the richest annual landscaping prize in Australia.
7. Harry Murray statue
The most highly decorated allied soldier of World War 1, Lt Col. Harry Murray VC, CMG, DSO and Bar, was born near Evandale in 1880. In the gardens at Rodgers Lane, there is a statue erected to commemorate and remember him.
In the visitor information centre, a room is dedicated to Murray and contains a wealth of information about this Tasmanian son.
8. The St Andrew's churches
St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church
With its Greek Revival architecture, this church definitely stands out. Built in 1839 and opened for business in 1840, it is now the Uniting Church of Australia. Above the Tuscan columns of the front entrance is a circle that seems to serve no purpose. Maybe it was intended for a clock?
St Andrew’s Church of England
Across the road is a church with the same name, but of a different denomination. There were three Churches on England built over time in Evandale. This one was built in 1871 – 1872, and is of a Gothic Revival style, with its steep roof and 32.5 metre tall spire. It used many of the bricks from the previous church.
9. Accommodation venues
There are twelve Bed and breakfast venues listed in Evandale. Two of the ones that stood out for me are repurposed buildings.
Built in 1836 by former convict Joseph Solomon and his brother Judah , this building was the Clarendon stores for many years. As a typical country general store it sold everything that local residents needed and included a bakery. Over the years it has also been a restaurant, museum and various shops. Currently it offers accommodation.
The Old Wesleyan Chapel, built in 1836, is now a bed and breakfast.
10. Tasmanian Gourmet Sauce Company
Julie Barbour developed the idea for this company more than thirty years ago. She wanted to showcase the fresh, natural Tasmanian ingredients, including honey, pepperberries, stone fruits, tomatoes and vegetables and single malt whisky. All their products are natural with no added colours, artificial flavours, fillers or preservatives. Exported overseas as well as being sold in Australia, their products include: fruit based jams, mustards, chutneys and relishes, pasta sauces, savoury sauces and dessert sauces. Individual products as well as gift baskets can be purchased. I thought the presentation of a jam in a Tasmanian devil wrapper was splendid.
Julie’s husband Tim is a horticulturalist and avid gardener. This is evident when you visit their beautiful property and wander around their vegetable garden and wonderful topiary nursery. Visitors can take the self-guided garden tour.
The views out over the beautiful Tasmanian plains are fantastic from the gardens of the Sauce Company are a short drive out of down at 174 Leighlands Rd, Evandale.
Bonus mention: Evandale Sunday Markets
These popular markets are a huge attraction for both visitors and locals. Held at the show grounds each Sunday between 8am and 1.30pm
#maturesolotraveler #ayearintassie #solotravel #solotraveler #solotraveller #australia #caravanning #nationalgeographic #tasmania #discovertasmania #seeaustralia #historicalhomes #georgian #victorian #evandale #pennyfarthing #statues