Hepburn Pool - strong links to the Swiss Italian community as it was
built for Zelman (Bellinzona), had community members involved in its
construction and restoration. In 2004 it was named Victoria's
Favourite Built Place.
You can find out more about Swiss Italian history at www.ballaratheritage.com.au/articles/swiss-italian.html or in the book 'Bullboar macaroni and mineral water" availabe from www.ballaratheritage.com.au/bookstore/theme.html
Victorian Heritage Register Statement of Significance
What is significant?
The Hepburn Springs Swimming Pool was built in the early 1930s by local labour and financed by Ernest and Victor Zelman, prominent Swiss Italian settlers. It consists of a concrete dam across a natural basin in Spring Creek with associated terracing. The basin was deepened by blasting. The dam has a small weir for flood water and a valve low down in the wall which handles normal environmental flow. The pool is within the Mineral Springs Reserve, which was created by early Swiss and Italian settlers and other interested citizens to protect the mineral springs from ruination due to mining. The pool is one of the early competition pools in the state, and was utilised for State swimming championships in the 1930's. After a period of dilapidation the pool was refurbished by volunteers in 1993 using old photographs to replicate missing features such as seating.
How is it significant?
The Hepburn Springs Swimming Pool is historically and socially significant to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
The Hepburn Springs Swimming Pool is of historical and social importance as a rare, intact, surviving example of a community swimming facility created from a natural feature. Such pools were once commonplace in Victorian country towns but in most cases have either disappeared or fallen into disrepair. It is the best surviving example of its type and complements the Eastern Beach Swimming Complex (VHR929) in Geelong.
The Hepburn Springs Swimming Pool is a socially important link with an era of rising popularity of swimming, partly as a result of the fame of swimmers such as Annette Kellerman, and more importantly in Victoria, (Sir) Frank Beaurepaire who is known to have visited this pool on a number of occasions. Ironically, it was partly Beaurepaire's championing of the Olympic pool standard that ultimately led to the demise of natural swimming pools.
The Hepburn Springs Swimming Pool is of historical and social significance for its long associations with the settlement of the State's premier mineral springs recreational area based around Hepburn Springs. The construction of the pool was undertaken by descendants of the Swiss Italian immigrants who settled this area and it is located in an area directly associated with some of the prominent local guest houses, also owned at the time by members of the Swiss Italian community.