Devon North

Devon North is a rural village in south Gippsland, 5 km north of Yarram and 170 km south-east of Melbourne. It is in the foothills of the Strzelecki Ranges and consists of undulating, mostly cleared land.

The area was first brought under occupation in the 1840s as the Tarra Creek pastoral run, and in 1855 part of the run was acquired by John Carpenter and named Devon. How the suffix North was added is a puzzle: the Devon pastoral run was well north of the village, and there is no village or place named Devon.

Selectors first took up farms in the area in the mid-1850s, but it was in the 1880s that community amenities first emerged. A school was opened in 1885, a general store in 1888 and a post office and undenominational church were opened in 1891. The main farm activity was dairying, although timber clearing in the ranges enabled the opening of a sawmill in the 1880s. There were creameries at Devon North (c1892) and at Calrossie (1891) about 3 km north. The latter was a large establishment.

In 1923 a spur railway line from Yarram to Won Wron via Devon North was opened. Whilst seldom a busy line it transported agricultural produce and supplies until its closure in 1953. The time of the opening of the railway coincided with a peak population figure and the formation of cricket, football and tennis clubs. In 1945 a community hall was opened and in 1957 a Methodist church replaced the undenominational hall.

Devon North's proximity to Yarram limited its retail catchment, and both the store and the post office closed in 1979. The school, however, showed every sign of continuing viability with 47 pupils in 1999. The enrolment in 2014, however, was 11.

Devon North's census populations have been:

area census date population
Devon North 1921 298 
  1961 225 
Devon North and environs 2011 478

At the 2011 census dairy farming accounted for 12.1% of employment. Affiliation with the Presbyterian and Uniting churches was recorded by 24.3% of Devon North's residents (Victoria 7.4%) (2011 census), and the Uniting church has monthly services in the former Methodist church.

Further Reading

Back to Devon North, 13th-16th April, 1968, 'E.J.W.', 1968

E.J. Wood, The Devon run, the author, 1991