Deviot is easy to bypass, nestled as it is on the banks of kanaluka/the Tamar River between Sidmouth and Robigana, and stretching westwards, but it has had a fascinating past, shaped in part by its proximity to the Tamar and the Supply Rivers.
The pannarlapannaa nation evidently used the Supply as a source of water and possibly a meeting place; Aboriginal stone tools have been found nearby.
Bass and Flinders were just the first of early European explorers to visit, and Governor Macquarie had lunch at Retreat Cove just south of the present Batman Bridge as he made his way by boat from Launceston to George Town in 1821.
One of the first buildings in the area was the Supply Flour Mill, although it is actually in Robigana on the southern side of the Supply.
The water mill provided exports to as far away as Mauritius.
Other early industries included a salt distillery and brickmaking, but the few 19th century residents were generally involved with sheep and timber.
Deviot developed rapidly when much of its land was subdivided into orchard blocks in 1908.
A shop and a tennis court quickly followed and some noteworthy houses stem from this time.
Orcharding continued into the 1970s, but for much of the 20th century Deviot was a place for holidays.
Blocks were sold to city businessmen as weekend retreats, while a well-regarded boarding house was built as early as 1910.
Apart from tennis, the attractions included swimming, boating, fishing and just lazing about on one of the many beaches.
From the 1930s small house blocks, mainly for shacks, were made available and the advent of electricity in 1936 would also have encouraged more people to make Deviot a permanent home.
However, even in 1947 there were only 59 inhabitants. Nindethana, the Girl Guide camp house, was built in 1937.
The character of Deviot started to change in the 1960s.
Reticulated water replaced the ubiquitous tanks, and the straightening and widening of the West Tamar Highway, followed in 1968 by the building of the Batman Bridge, meant it became possible for residents to commute to Launceston or George Town.
The orchards had largely gone by 1970 and this provided more blocks for houses; Deviot is now a home largely for commuters and retirees. The shop closed in 1984, but the hall and tennis court remain as a central community focus.
- Jill Cassidy’s book about the history of Deviot, Deviot Talks, has just been published. See www.deviottalks.com