Welcome To Evans Head
Evans Head is described as the Jewel in the Crown of the Richmond Valley. Situated on the North Coast of New South Wales about 700km north of Sydney and 180 km south of Brisbane, the beautiful village boasts long, sweeping stretches of clean beaches and river estuaries. The town’s population is approximately 3000; however this increases dramatically during holiday periods. Evans Head is readily accessible from major centres and is an easy stop over on transit to other regions. Evans Head is a peaceful fishing village resting on the banks of the Evans River.
The tourism industry for Evans Head is based on the river and the beaches. The coastal village is a holiday haven for families and a quiet getaway for all ages, offering a unique blend of cafes, clubs, shopping, fishing and accommodation. During the ‘off season’ the town attracts people from other states, particularly Victoria who are escaping the colder weather. This influx incorporates the volume of visitors whom take part in the Evans Head Bowling Club’s ‘Seafood Carnival’. Many of these people stay in Evans Head for two to three months with the carnival as their highlight and finale to their stay. The Seafood Carnival has been running since 1968 with a majority of the participants playing in the carnival year after year. They enjoy the friendships made and reacquainting each year on their pilgrimage to the North Coast.
Things to do in Evans Head include:
- Beaches –Main Beach, Airforce Beach, Shark Bay all adjacent to town and Chinamen’s Beach to the south.
- Evans River– popular for boating, fishing and swimming. The river-side beaches are very protected and ideal for young children.
- Marina– charter fishing and cruise operators, boat launching ramps.
- Fisherman’s Co-op – fresh seafood
- Coastal and riverside picnic areas and reserves.
- Sealed bike track. You can ride from one end of town to the other.
- Walking trails, bushwalks and lookouts – including Goanna Headland, Gumma Garra walking track and Razorback lookout.
- Aquatic Centre.
- Shopping and dining – galleries, boutiques, contemporary eateries.
- Surf lessons, kayaking.
Why go there
Evans Head is a quaint beach town surrounded by national parks, with miles of surfing beaches and pretty coastal scenery.
It’s the perfect location for an easy-going family holiday where the kids can swim in the river or at the shallow beaches along the river estuary. Evans Head has great surfing beaches, with main beach patrolled throughout the school holidays.
Things to do
- Enjoying the beach is the major pastime here for visitors. Serious surfers ride the swell around Goanna Headland while the main beach and river estuary are great for kids and other swimmers.
- Rock, beach and ocean fishing– there’s plenty of choice at Evans Head.
- Explore the National Parks along the coast to the north and south of Evans Head. Bundjalung National Park has 38 km of beaches while Broadwater National Park to the north has 8 km. There are good bushwalking trails, perfect for enjoying the beautiful wild flowers and birdlife.
- Evans Head Fishing Classic in July.
- Great Eastern Fly-in in January.
- Crankfest Extreme in April.
- Beef Meets The Reef at Evans Head in May.
- Evans Head Ocean Swim in June.
- Evans Head Longboard International in October.
- Riverside markets on 4th Saturday of the month.
- Razorback Lookout with views north to Cape Byron Lighthouse on a clear day.
- Salty Lagoon Walking Track in Broadwater National Park.
- Gumma Garra picnic area on the banks of the Evans River in Bundjalung National Park.
- Canoeing on the pristine Evans River in Bundjalung National Park.
- Fish’n chips overlooking the river.
- Great surf at Chinaman’s Beach to the South of town.
History of Evans Head
Although the area around the Richmond Rivers owed its early life to cedar cutters who arrived about 1842, white men came to Evans Head for a different reason. The Evans River was named after Lt Evans, who was making a coastal survey on a chartered ship commanded by Captain Tom Paddon, who was to become the first settler in 1877 when he was attracted to the district by gold fossickers on the beaches south of the present town.
The earliest business in Evans Head was a small general store in a 12ft by 18ft wooden building opened by John Rosolen with his daughter Rose in December, 1919. John Rosolen who came from Italy with the Marquis de Rays’ expedition became a blacksmith and sawmiller at New Italy. Although the site he chose at Evans Head was dense heath land and the only other buildings in the area were a wine shop, two boarding houses and a few private homes, he realized the village’s potential. In 1930 he rebuilt the store on the same site on the intersection of Woodburn and Cashmore Streets; he is also responsible for organizing the first butcher and baker shops and was among the pioneers of the Bowling Club and the Aerodrome.
Between 1935-37 a civil aerodrome was built on the present site for small planes. Butler Air Transport Pty Ltd began commercial flights in August 1946, continuing a regular flight service until they transferred their operations to Casino in 1956. The airfield continued to be a significant aspect of the towns developing history. Evans Head has the distinct honor of being the largest training base in the Southern Hemisphere during the Second World War. The establishment of the No. 1 Bombing and Gunnery School was approved on 20 March 1940, and approximately 92 acres of land were gazette as an armament range on 15 August. On 26 August Wing Commander V. E. Hancock officially took command of the school which continued until 9 December 1943. The No.1 Observers school also operated from the Evans Head aerodrome. Aircraft used included the Fairey Battle, Gipsy Moths, Ryans and Wackett trainers. Queen Elizabeth landed in Evans Head on a stage of her 1954 Australian tour.
Tom Paddon brought the first educationalist, S. F. Cashmore, who later wrote many poems about the district, to Evans Head as a tutor for his sons, and although some efforts were made in 1911 to obtain a provisional school, it was in 1920 that the first school building was erected.
Evans Head was the first port in Australia to catch prawns commercially.
This was the first commercial prawning port in Australia – there still good catches of school and king prawns today. The first European settler, Captain Thomas Paddon, named the river after the first lieutenant of his ship. Paddon tried gold mining in the late 1870s, before embarking on oyster farming and later, prawning.