Saturday, March 09, 2013

Evandale was a Highlight

We took a drive down to a town by the name of Ross, halfway between Launceston and Hobart but the town or village that took our interest was Evandale. What we can't get over here in Tasmania is the lack of graffiti, the cleanliness of the streets and the relaxed and friendly atmosphere from the locals. It's like the 1950s.

Evandale in particular was pristine, beautifully maintained hedges and gardens greeted us at every turn. The residents take great pride in their village.
Evandale is only 18 kms out of Launceston on the banks of the South Esk river. These days it has a population of around 1000 but with a couple of pubs, and many cafes. It lives off tourism and survives very well from its annual events such as the Penny Farthing bicycle championships and the John Glover painting award. John Glover came to Evandale in the late 1800s from England and became well known as an artist of Tasmanian landscape scenes. They hold an annual competition in his honour and this weekend was the announcement of the winner.

Sue saw this sign on the way to Evandale and had to pay a visit - AND to buy some of their produce.
I was intrigued by their dog that was giving a good impression of "Dead Dog" and basically didn't move from that position while we were there.

Evandale initially was founded in 1811 by Governor Macquarie under the name of Collin's Hill and later as Morven. Other famous and in some cases infamous sons lived in the region including John Batman, founder of Melbourne and John Kelly, father of the bush ranger, Ned Kelly.

The first post office opened in 1835 when Evandale established itself as a township. Its a very pretty town these days deriving its existence from tourism and its annual events.

Wall Art - not graffiti in Evandale

John Glover

Painting by John Glover of the local Tasmanian landscape.

The main reason of travelling through Evandale was to see the heritage village of Ross about halfway between Launceston and Hobart but Evandale wins hands down for charisma. I didn't bother taking photos of Ross and found the town disappointing. We did have lunch there at the local historical pub but found it less than friendly. Many of the places we stop at, we have not found it at all difficult to strike up a friendly conversation - but it didn't happen here.
Ross had what was called, "the Women's Factory" a place where the female convicts were housed and worked. Not far away were cemeteries, not one but a few. Obviously these were for the various levels of society in Ross.

Our ancestry records show convict records from a woman of convict parents that married into the Sims family in the late 1800s so from that point of view it was interesting to visit Ross.

We came home from Ross via the town of Longford. We were impressed by Longford and unbeknown to Sue, I was familiar with the town as it hosted the Australian Grand Prix in in the 60s. They ran a race car circuit on public roads from the 50s to the 60s with several international drivers such as Jim Clark and Graham Hill from the UK and American Phil Hill. Heady days and brave hearts from the drivers back then. Jack Brabham cut his teeth at these events before becoming GP Champion on the European circuit in years to come.

We needed to put some cash back in our wallets so at Longford I stopped at an ATM and as I did I saw a man get out of his Alfa Romeo Spyder wearing an "I Love My Alfa" T-shirt. Strangely enough it was a T-shirt I produced for the Victorian branch of the Club and so we struck up a conversation talking about cars and Tasmania. The man, Hilton was his name had come from Colorado and had been living in Longford for 10 years. He said he loved it although there were some "Bogans" in the area. Hilton had done much travelling and found it strange that there were people that had lived in Longford that had not been to Hobart let alone out of their island state. Interesting feedback in a discussion that starts from a simple Hello!

Our meal that night was at a restaurant up on the hill behind us. It came highly recommended by the grocery store next to it. The Chef actually came into the tore as Sue was buying our Friday night Champagne. On recommendation, we made a booking and was not disappointed. We sat outside on the terrace on a balmy summers night overlooking the Tamar River and watching the locals walking the dog, jogging or just driving home. We could have been anywhere in the world.

Today we take off for the east coast of Tasmania - Sue needs to see waves crashing and sandy beaches.


  1. What a lovely time you are having! Wish I was with you, looking at the landscape, tasting the food (I don't care much for wine) and striking interesting conversations with strangers. Life is good!

  2. Nadege - Thank you, yes we are enjoying ourselves with new experiences. Tomorrow we are off to a food festival in the city of Devonport where the ferry arrives from Melbourne in its journey across Bass Stait.
    I'm sure Sue will love it. Tell you more before we leave Tasmania.

  3. What happened to the description of the dinner at the cafe/bar the night before ? :-)
    Sounds like you are having good time. It is strange how you can find one place that is unfriendly, there is always one! Like our neighbour who nobody talks to as he is such a moaner. The food festival sound like it will be fun especially for Sue. Have a good weekend D & N

  4. It looks and sounds like a beautiful place. Coincidentally, today's (UK) Daily telegraph travel section featured Tasmania! One of their best pick restaurants was the Black Cow Bistro in Launceston. They raved about the steaks. You've probably already been there!

  5. Thanks so much for the details about Evandale. I hope to visit some friends there...I love their photos and descriptions of the area, as much as yours!


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