Hepburn Springs, Victoria

Spa Town in Australia



Hepburn Springs, Victoria

Hepburn Springs is a resort town located in the middle of the largest concentration of mineral springs in Australia. It is in Victoria, 48 km northeast of Ballarat. At the 2016 census, Hepburn had a population of 599 and Hepburn Springs had a population of 329. Total population of Hepburn-Hepburn Springs was 928. The town is named after Captain John Hepburn who was an early squatter of central Victoria.

Hepburn and Hepburn Springs are twin towns which are often badged together under the Hepburn Springs name. Hepburn Springs was originally known as "Spring Creek" and Hepburn as "Old Racecourse". Old Racecourse is the location of the recreation reserve and "new racecourse" is Victoria Park in nearby Daylesford. Both Hepburn and Hepburn Springs were located on the Jim Crow Diggings and the towns were settled by miners in the 1850s, predominantly from England, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France. The Hepburn Post Office opened on 1 January 1854 and closed in 1964. Later, the Hepburn Springs Post Office opened on 1 October 1908

Today the village is known as a tourist destination spa town where visitors can sample the local mineral waters, and has spa and massage retreats, three cafes, six restaurants, four food takeaway venues, two pubs, a live music venue, three bars, a general store, shops and galleries.

Hepburn Springs is predominantly Edwardian architecture unlike the Victorian architecture of nearby Daylesford. This is due to the devastation of the 1906 bushfire which destroyed most buildings in the settlement.

Hepburn Springs is located in the Wombat State Forest between former volcanoes - Mt Franklin and Wombat Hill. The prevalence of mineral water in the area is related to the distance from the great dividing range and the volcanic nature of the geology.

Hepburn Springs has 7 sites on the Victorian Heritage Register: Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve including the bathhouse and the pavilion; Hepburn Pool which was named Victoria's Favourite Built Place in 2004; Parma House; Blowhole Gold Diversion Tunnel where Chinese miners diverted the Jim Crow Creek; Former Macaroni Factory which is still owned by the descendents of the Lucini family; Jim Crow Creek Gold Mining Diversion Sluice and Breakneck Gorge Puddling Site which is located near the Blowhole.

The Hepburn Planning Scheme also lists a number of sites of local heritage significance including the Savoia Hotel, Wyuna, Mooltan, the Grande, the Palais, Dudley House, Mineral Springs Hotel and the Breakneck Gorge culvert.

The Palais is a well known and popular bar and music venue which regularly attracts national and international acts including Paul Kelly, Mark Seymour and Lloyd Cole. The Palais was a popular dance venue in the 1920s - 1950s and has a sprung wooden floor which is good for dancing.

The recreation reserve is a popular place for walking amongst the trees planted by Laurie Sullivan, many of which are now memorials to local stalwarts who were instrumental in the development and management of the reserve.

The area is well known for its health, wellbeing and food. Several day spas utilising mineral water are located in the township as well a wide range of restaurants, cafe, hotels, guest houses and accommodation options.

The town is surrounded by the Hepburn Regional Park. There are many opportunities for short or long bushwalks, often along old gold mining water sluices and peppered by mineral springs.

Playgrounds are found at the Hepburn Mineral Spring Reserve and at the Laurie Sullivan Recreation Reserve. Barbecue facilities are located at the Hepburn Mineral Spring Reserve and the Hepburn Pool.

Hepburn Springs is the location chosen by Permaculture cooriginator David Holmgren for the Permaculture demonstration site called Melliodora. Tours are offered by David Holmgren regularly.

Healing waters

Historic Hepburn Springs is in the middle of Australia's largest concentration of mineral springs, which are full of health-giving minerals. Taste the different mineral formulations at old-fashioned pumps and pipes in Hepburn Springs Mineral Springs Reserve.

Your mind and body will also experience the benefits of these health-giving minerals at a local spa and wellness centre. Soak up local history – literally – and indulge in hydrotherapy, massage and beauty therapy at the beautifully restored Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa, established in 1895. Stay a little longer and keep your wellness retreat going with visits to The Mineral Spa and the Shizuka Ryokan Japanese Country spa.

Seasonal bounty

Revel in La Dolce Vita thanks to the hard work of the Swiss Italian migrants who established Hepburn Springs during the 1850s gold rush. Enjoy a coffee at one of the local cafes, sample the season's best at the Argus Dining Room, or grab a beer and bar snack at The Old Hepburn Hotel. Be sure to stock up on fresh local produce and wines from surrounding vineyards before you go.

Natural gifts

Follow the waters and walk through Hepburn Regional Park in spring and see colourful wildflowers and myriad animals and birds. Venture along the 16-kilometre Tipperary Track and explore Sailors Falls, Mount Franklin Reserve, the Blowhole and the Hepburn Pool.


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