Duncan Cooper's painting of Evandale, 1851 (W.L. Crowther Library, SLT)

Evandale is a small rural town in the northern midlands of Tasmania, some nineteen kilometres south of Launceston. It was originally established as a military post on Governor Macquarie's orders and settled about 1816. Evandale was possibly named after George William Evans, the first surveyor-general in Tasmania; earlier names were Paterson Plains and Morven. In 1836 a plan was devised to supply Launceston with water from the South Esk River, via a tunnel excavated through a hill at Evandale, using convict labour. The scheme was abandoned, but Evandale continued to grow. It became an important pastoral and agricultural marketing centre, particularly as the junction of two important railway routes after 1876.

Today, Evandale is a popular tourist destination with its rich heritage of well-preserved buildings. The Evandale Village Fair, the National Penny Farthing Championships and the Railex Model Railway Exhibition are popular events.

Further reading: K von Stieglitz, Days and ways in old Evandale, Launceston, 1946; A summary of known information on the Evandale–Launceston water scheme 1835–1837,n.d, TL; Let's talk about Evandale, 1972, TL.

Margaret Harman