Evan Hawke – Artist Profile


Sadly Evan Barry Hawke died on the 7th of December 2012 aged 67. A sculptor in metal, a painter, a poet and a stalwart of the Burra Regional Art Gallery. Evan not only supplied art works to the gallery but served as a volunteer hanger, maintenance man and resident poet. A metal artwork by him hangs in the Gallery as Evan’s thankyou to the other volunteers who give their time to work in the Gallery. Evan supported many other worthy causes in his home town of Burra including being an active member of the Burra Art Society.

To begin we have a neat animation of one of Evans sculptures. It’s a small file I recommend you check it out. Please let the Gallery web site administrator know if you have issues playing the animation.

Wire Weeds / 1997 / Barbed wire, copper tube and bullet casings

Evan’s father was a car and machinery salesman, and travelled extensively in country SA. Evan attended school in Cummins, Coulta, Wattle Park, Finiss, Tintinara, Keith, Murray Bridge and completed his education at Burra High School.

Key and padlock / 1985 / The railway gang lost an S-key (station lock) so Evan decided he would make one they couldn’t lose. The Valentine gift was for Cheryl.

The variety of occupations he pursued after leaving school was an education of another kind: building, dairy, trucking, garbage collecting and farm work – planting grain, ploughing, stock handling, carting, fencing, weed control, and more.

Swan / Doorstop from blacksmith-made harness hook and spacer block from Clode’s auction, painted black.

At the age of 18 he joined the railways as a trainee fireman but had an altercation with the law and ended up in Gladstone prison for 2 months. When called-up for the Army he was rejected from serving due to deafness in his left ear caused by a fencing wire accident.

He then worked in Terowie as a truck driver and for the Elliston Council as a dozer operator and truck driver. In an engineering shop in Streaky Bay he learnt welding, making sheds and doing general repairs.

Maquette for millionth sleeper monument

Poetry and art were always part of his life. Creative thinking carried him through long nights sitting behind the wheel of truck or tractor, most of it forgotten next day.

Millionth Sleeper Monument.Co-designed and built by Evan Hawke to celebrate the laying of the millionth sleeper, placed between Idracowra Road and the Finke River, next to Impadna Railway Siding and adjacent to the Ayres Rock turnoff (50km from highway to railway line).

Evan Hawke – Bob the Railway Dog

A job in Adelaide followed, working for a scrap metal dealer ripping up railway lines in Port Adelaide (sent on contract to the Riverland to be used for fence posts), then for AB Denning building buses, for Rio Fixers specialising in stressed concrete, then the Festival Theatre, Hoadleys, and bridges, jails, hospitals and schools.

Evan Hawke – Marcus’ Daisy – 2010

Evan Hawke – Praying Mantis with Flower – 1999 –  Horseshoes, screw spike, dog spike, scrap copper and wire.

He worked on a cray boat off Port Adelaide, Kangaroo Island and the West Coast, and went to Queensland to Gladstone Alumina Refinery, then 4 years hunting sapphires at Anaki Gem Fields. Bad luck, he missed out on the good one, found one week after he left.

Evan Hawke – Iron Man

Evan Hawke – Iron Man and Friend

Queensland Rail was next, working on the line from Emerald to Mt. Isa. He flew from there to Alice Springs and with some mates went by “chaser train” to Port Augusta (the freight train that followed the Ghan) – a very uncomfortable ride – no air conditioning, no food or water, but faster than walking. Arriving in Port Augusta they slept on the platform among New Year garbage with his old dog Winky Dink, great-grandmother to Frank Fennell’s whippet cross.

Evan Hawke – Chain Daises – 1998 – Old iron base, chain links

Next morning all scored jobs with ANR on the Tarcoola-Alice Springs railway line. To take up this job Evan had to leave his gun and his dog with his sister Raelene in Burra. The job entailed construction and being in charge of a “flying gang”, working in various sites from a camp train. During the construction phase, Evan was given the honour of co-designing and building a monument for the laying of the millionth sleeper.

Bruce’s leftovers / Bruce is the white pointer shark from the movie “Finding Nemo”. He is a vegetarian who consumes a vegetarian fish at the Cafe de Muroroa. Evan’s comment on fish morphed by nuclear radiation. Gesso, glass beads, plough disc, split link chain, cultivator shear, conveyor belt, joiners for teeth, 8 gauge wire and 6.5mm. reinforcing coils.

Evan Hawke – Bruce’s Leftovers

Christmas 1985 Evan met his future wife Cheryl at Alice Springs. They married on Mothers Day 1986 in the garden of the Alice Springs Old Telegraph Station. Cheryl accompanied Evan, living in a caravan along the railway line between Manguri and Chandler and moving to Keith laying concrete sleepers on the Melbourne to Adelaide Line, Wolseley through to Coonalpyn. The family moved then to Murray Bridge, and lived by the river two houses from the bridge near the railway station. Cheryl repainted the house’s 14ft. inside walls using scaffolding and Evan cleared of boxthorn and mowed the tract of land alongside the railway line.

Bird in Hand – Steel Sculpture – Welded dog spike, moon dropper, 4 inch nails and old glove stiffened with fencing wire.

Evan Hawke – Bird in Hand – Steel Sculpture

The change was made from broad to standard gauge on the Melbourne Line, and Evan piloted the first locomotive over standard gauge track from Wolseley to Dry Creek, worked on the standardisation of the Appumara Line from Monarto South to Appumara (the old Sedan Line), the Loxton Line, and prepared the Pinnaroo Line.

Evan Hawke – Ram

Bird in Bush- 2007-Caterpillar D6 dozer ripper boot, flattened 8 gauge wire, white marble eyes, old lawn mower blade, beak from light gauge angle.

Evan Hawke – Bird in Bush – 2007 – Steel Sculpture

Evan Hawke – Spoon

He was then made redundant, the rails keeping on only skeleton crews, a clear false economy given the trouble they are in now.

Evan Hawke, Ethel’s Son – 2000 – Portable heavy-metal music machine on wheels. Powered by recycled home-brew, to be towed along by a piece of string if you can get the motor started. Evan’s answer to Thomas Alva Edison’s phonograph.

Evan Hawke – Weather Vane


They returned to Burra and Evan’s niece Tanya Waters told him of a Heather Parker workshop in watercolour painting.

Cheryl in Water / Oil Pastel

The rest is history…

Klembt’s Windmill at Mongolata / 2000 / Oil Pastel

Strainer Post / 2010 / A memorial to the working man, made for Mental Health Week in Peterborough and later shown in the Burra Regional Art Gallery. Accompanied by poem.

Leave a Comment

All fields are required to be filled in.

  1. Peter W Harvey (20th, Apr 2011)


    Great to see your work again. So creative. Miss it. The two poems you wrote for us ahave pride of place here in Tasmania.

    Peter and Clare Harvey

  2. Brook (21st, Apr 2011)

    I just updated your profile and discovered it’s your birthday today! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Brook, Kerry and Alia

  3. sharedarts (12th, May 2011)

    Your work is very strong Evan.
    An excellent profile too, all the things we didn’t know about you.

  4. Brook (11th, Dec 2012)

    Thank you for your friendship, sculpture, and poetry. I will miss you Evan!

  5. anthony collins (19th, Jan 2014)

    my old ganger from when I started back in manguri 20/8/1986

  6. Jason Christie (16th, Feb 2016)

    Great to see all of you work again I miss you pa I have been reading your poetry book still and I only wish that I could give you one more hug and listen to just one more story I wish I could of taken away all your sickness and pain just so you could do what you loved most I miss you so much

    The grandson who wished he listened more Jason Christie