No. 694 - Evandale's First and Second Anglican Churches (1837-1870)

Evandale is an historic town approximately 20 kilometres from Launceston. Originally established as a military post in 1811, the general area was variously known as Collins Hill, Patersons Plains and Morven. The settlement’s name was changed to Evandale in 1836 in honour of Tasmania's first Surveyor-General, G.W. Evans.

On approaching Evandale from Launceston, Saint Andrew’s Anglican church dominates the village’s skyline. The history of this church was the topic of an earlier article in ‘Churches of Tasmania’. This article examines the two lesser known Anglican churches which preceded it.

The first Anglican church at Evandale opened on 19 February 1837 with Sir John Franklin performing the opening ceremony. It was a small structure that also served as a schoolroom on weekdays. The Hobart Town Courier’s report on the church’s opening makes it clear that the building was considered a temporary structure:

“On Sunday last the new Church at Evandale was opened for Divine Service: His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor, with Major Ryan, and accompanied by the Rev. R. Davies, attended; and, after an appropriate and impressive sermon, by the reverend Chaplain, a subscription was collected for the purpose of building a larger Church. His Excellency contributed liberally, and expressed much pleasure at the attendance of so numerous a congregation; he was pleased, also, with the school, of which Mr. and Mrs. Pettingell have the charge at that place…”.

No description of this building exists but given that it was replaced within seven years, it is likely to have been be a timber structure. The church which replaced it was a far more substantial brick building which resembled the Anglican church at Westbury with its large square tower. The similarity between the Westbury and Evandale churches can be clearly seen in John Richardson Glover’s ink and wash drawing of the building which is dated circa 1850.

The new church was officially opened on Sunday 21 April 1844 by Bishop Nixon. No record of the opening service appears to have survived although a report published in the Launceston Examiner, the day before the opening, provides some information about the church:

“The new church at this township is to be opened to-morrow, when it is expected the bishop will preach. The members of the Church of England in this vicinity have long been insufficiently accommodated in the old place of worship; and we are glad that the exertions of the Rev. Mr. Wilkinson have been at length successful. Like every other public building, the Evandale church is encumbered with a considerable debt; but as the times improve we trust an esteemed minister will be supported with that liberality he deserves. We believe the arrears amount to about £700, for which a few liberal gentlemen in the district have made themselves responsible”.

While the new church was of considerable size and appeared solidly built, its foundations soon proved to be faulty and over time the building became unstable and was assessed as being beyond repair. In 1869 plans were drawn up to replace the cracked and unstable building with a new church. The old building was demolished but the bricks and timber were reused in the new church in order to minimise costs.

The style of the new church, which opened in 1872, is a markedly different building from the building it replaced. Visitors to Evandale would not fail to be impressed by this magnificent Victorian Gothic structure but may be surprised to learn that the church a reincarnation in brick.

The Evandale Anglican Church c.1850 - A detail of an ink and wash drawing by John Richardson Glover. (see full drawing below) no copyright restrictions - source National Library of Australia  (

The Evandale Anglican Church  and school - c.1850 - A detail of an ink and wash drawing by John Richardson Glover. No copyright restrictions - source National Library of Australia  (

Notice of the opening of the first Anglican church at Evandale in 1837 (Launceston Advertiser)

Notice of the opening of the second Anglican church at Evandale in 1844 (Launceston Exaniner)
St Andrew's - the third Anglican church built at Evandale. (my own photo)

St Andrew's at Westbury which the Evandale church resembled. (my own photograph)

An incident reported about a burial in the church's cemetery in 1846. (The Cornwall Chronicle)


Launceston Advertiser, Thursday 16 February 1837, page 2
The Hobart Town Courier, Friday 24 February 1837, page 2
Launceston Examiner, Wednesday 17 April 1844, page 4
Launceston Examiner, Saturday 20 April 1844, page 6
The Cornwall Chronicle, Saturday 26 December 1846


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