A Historic Event
First held in 1983, based on an event held in Tunbridge, Tasmania, in the 1970's. Evandale has attracted penny farthing enthusiasts from all states of Australia and from New Zealand, USA, England, Ireland, Holland, Germany, Czech Republic, Sweden, Singapore and Japan. Recognised internationally as the largest annual event in the world devoted to racing antique bicycles.
Penny farthing enthusiasts converge on Evandale from throughout Australia and overseas to vie for a series of races, held on a triangular circuit in the centre of the village. Market stalls and a variety of entertainments are situated in the streets and parks surrounding the race circuit, creating the ambience of a colonial country fair.
Organised by the Evandale Village Fair Inc.
In The Town of Evandale
The streets of Evandale, Northern Tasmania, Australia. 20 km south of Launceston, 5km south of Launceston Airport. Evandale is one of the state's earlier settlements, with buildings dating back to the 1820's. Many buildings are from Victorian times when penny farthings were the bicycle of the day. The village's well preserved streetscapes provide a perfect backdrop for this event.
History of the Penny Farthing
The penny farthing evolved from the Velocipede or "Boneshaker" in the 1870's, when it was realised that the larger the front wheel, the further the machine would travel with each turn of the pedal.
The first bicycle to be mass produced, especially in England and America. There was no large scale producer in Australia, bicycles were made here from imported components.
The first bicycles to be raced to any great extent in Australia. In Tasmania regular race meetings were held at the Cricket Grounds in Launceston and Hobart, and the state's first bike club, the Northern Tasmanian Cycling Club, was formed in 1884. Early Austral Wheel Races in Victoria were raced on penny farthings.
Production phased out in the 1890's, when the "safety" bicycles with chain drive made the large front wheel unnecessary.
"Penny Farthing" is acknowledged as a nickname. In their day, they were called "bicycles". British enthusiasts now prefer the term "Ordinary Bicycle", while the Americans prefer "Highwheelers".