Hepburn Shire Council - Hepburn Shire - a brief profile
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Hepburn Shire - A Brief Profile

Location: Hepburn Shire is located in central Victoria, just over an hour from Melbourne. The city of Ballarat joins the Shire to the west and Bendigo is nearby to the north.

Population: The Shire's population is approximately 15,000 (June 2006) and has a healthy growth rate of 0.5% per annum. The population is projected to reach 17,000 by 2021.

Main Towns: The Shire's main townships are: Daylesford/Hepburn Springs with 3,500 residents; Creswick with 2,480 residents; Clunes with 920 residents and Trentham with 710 residents. The remaining 6,710 residents live in the many small towns and rural areas across the Shire.

Smaller towns: Outside the five main towns live approximately 45 per cent of the Shire's population consisting of more than 30 towns, villages and rural locations.

Geography: Hepburn Shire's geography is varied and the region is renowned for its natural beauty and mineral springs reserves. The eastern part of the Shire is hilly with high rainfall levels and significant native forest areas. The western part is characterised by rolling hills, medium to lower rainfall and broad acre farming land. The total area of the Shire is 1,470 square kilometres.

Key features and attractions: Our region contains over 80 per cent of Australia's mineral springs. These unique reserves are both important geological and hydrological features and are a major draw card for the hundreds of thousands of visitors who visit the region.

The Shire's townships also have their own share of history and natural features. Trentham is home to Australia's highest single drop water fall, Creswick has carved out a name for itself as the home of forestry and artist Norman Lindsay, and Clunes is the first registered gold strike town in Victoria.

As the spa capital of Australia, the Shire is known for its special environment and relaxation weekends with the added benefit of spectacular heritage buildings, parks, reserves and native forests. Hepburn Shire is the place to visit, invest in and live in. Lifestyle choices are many with the added advantage of easy access to Melbourne.

The Economy: The Shire's economy has become increasingly diversified in recent years. While agriculture, forestry and manufacturing continue to be important, other sectors such as tourism, art, service industries, retailing, education and health and community services are rapidly growing.

Your Council: Hepburn Shire Council is committed to working with and empowering the community by taking a strategic and forward thinking approach to our future. One that is mindful of our heritage, enhances our environment; creates economic growth and fosters a strong community spirit.

Heritage: The Shire's heritage is rich and varied and is reflected in the makeup of our community today. The clans of the Djadja Wurrung people were the original inhabitants of the region, occupying the country between the Avoca and Loddon Rivers. The breached volcanic cone of Mt Franklin was a significant ceremonial site and numerous tools and implements used by Aboriginal people have been discovered on surrounding farmland.

Captain John Hepburn arrived in the district in 1838 and took up a squatting run near present-day Creswick, which he named Smeaton Hill. It is after Captain Hepburn that the Shire takes its name.

In the late 1830s and 1840s, white squatters arrived with their sheep, disrupting the Djadja Wurrung's way of life and displacing them from their land. Traditional food sources were reduced, and Aboriginal people became exposed to new diseases. Aboriginal Protectorates were established, including one in the Shire at Franklinford; however little remains of the former protectorate site today. The Larnabarramul Sanctuary commemorates both the original occupation of the Franklinford area by the Djadja Wurrung people and the protectorate. Artifacts may be seen in the Daylesford Museum located in Vincent Street.

Later, gold seekers, timber cutters and farmers came to the region - including over a thousand miners of Swiss-Italian descent from the Ticino region in Switzerland. Many of these gold miners remained in the area after the gold rushes and settled into small farms or in businesses in Yandoit and Hepburn Springs. Many fine buildings remain from this era and are protected for future generations.


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