Harness-Maker, Saddler, Bootmaker
Until about 1930 most communities had a saddler and harness-maker, as horses were still the principal mode of transport. This trade can be likened to that of the motor-car repair garage of today. More often than not, the leather trades were combined, so that saddlers and harness-makers were also bootmakers.
Edward Robert Evans was Emu Bay’s pioneer bootmaker and retailer. Ned Evans was the son of a Welsh officer in the 99th Regiment of Foot. The 99th was one of the best known of the Imperial garrisons assigned to a tour of duty in Van Diemen’s Land in the mid 1800s. When his father died, Ned was very young and working with ticket-of-leave men in Hobart. At the tender age of nine, he began to learn the trade of boot-making. In the 1880s he moved to Emu Bay, where the riches from the Mount Bischoff tin mine were offering a rosy future for the small town.
Ned Evans established his bootmaking business in Wilson Street and did great trade with a special miner’s boot he designed for the rugged, damp conditions the diggers experienced in the West Coast mines. Such was its suitability for rough conditions the Evans boot became well known throughout Australia. His shop display boot is exhibited here.