Hepburn Springs Bathhouse
The historic Hepburn Springs Bathhouse reopened for business following a $10.6 million redevelopment that has increased its capacity to accommodate growing demand while maintaining its iconic Edwardian heritage features.
The Victorian Government, in partnership with Hepburn Shire Council, recognised the need to invest in the redevelopment of the bathhouse to ensure its sustainability and to capitalise on the tourism opportunities presented by the rise of the spa industry.
The redevelopment needed to consider the heritage elements, physical setting, architectural scale and character of the existing bathhouse complex.
Major Projects Victoria managed the construction project, working closely with Cox Architects and Ballarat-based construction contractor A.W. Nicholson, a fourth-generation family business that delivers large scale projects in regional Victoria.
Works commenced in October 2006, providing employment for up to 60 local tradespeople at the peak of construction, and were completed in May 2008.
The result is a world class bathhouse and spa which allows visitors to continue the historic Hepburn tradition of 'taking the waters', but in 21st Century luxury.
Features of the revitalised bathhouse
- More than 30 wet and dry treatment rooms, making it one of the largest day spas in Australia
- The heritage listed building has been refurbished while retaining its iconic Edwardian features. Known as the Private Spa, this section of the bathhouse contains high quality wet and dry treatment rooms, private change rooms, the individual mineral bath rooms, a relaxation room and office facilities
- The new bathing wing incorporates a mineral water bathing pool, a salt pool, a steam room, two interconnected spa pools, a relaxation deck and a unisex change room
- Nestled in a deep creek gully, the new building is connected to the mineral springs carpark at its upper level by a footbridge
- The new building is open, airy and light with skylights and large windows. This serves the dual purpose of allowing potential patrons to see inside and provides open views of the creek and bush setting to increase the tranquillity of the spa experience
- The creek has been revitalised with clearing of the creek bed, new rocks and planting of indigenous vegetation
- The internal design is sleek and contemporary throughout both the new wing and the heritage building, featuring neutral tones and natural materials such as timber to reflect the local landscape
- Regional Development Victoria
- Hepburn Shire Council
- Department of Sustainability and Environment
- Victorian Mineral Water Committee
- Sustainable Energy Authority of Victoria
- Federal Government
- Cox Architects
- A.W. Nicholson (construction)
The Hepburn Springs Bathhouse refurbishment has been awarded:
- the 2009 Australian Institute of Architects' (Victorian chapter) Public Architecture Award (Alterations and Additions category) as well as a Regional award
- the 2009 Master Builders Excellence in Construction Awards Regional Builder of the Year was awarded to A.W Nicholson for their work on the bathhouse. The state award followed a win at the regional awards in the Best Commercial/Industrial Project (over $3 million).
2009-08-05 - Victorian major projects win Master Builder Awards (Hepburn Bathhouse)
Three Victorian major projects have received top honours at the Master Builders Excellence in Construction Awards, held in Melbourne over the weekend.
Major Projects Minister Tim Pallas said awards for the Melbourne Recital Centre and Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC) Theatre project and the Hepburn Springs Bathhouse redevelopment recognised the Brumby Labor Government’s excellent record in delivering major projects.
“The Brumby Labor Government is taking action to invest in vital infrastructure that boosts the local economy, creates jobs and delivers world-class facilities for Victoria,” Mr Pallas said.
“It is wonderful to see these outstanding and extremely complex Government projects earning such high praise and getting the recognition they deserve.”
Mr Pallas presented Bovis Lend Lease with the Master Builder of the Year award for the Recital Centre and MTC Theatre project, which also won the Excellence in Construction award for buildings over $80 million. The Regional Builder of the Year accolade was awarded to A.W. Nicholson for their work on the Hepburn Springs Bathhouse.
“Congratulations goes to both Bovis and Nicholson’s on jobs well done,” he said.
“The quality of the Melbourne Recital Centre and MTC Theatre is a tribute to local skills and workmanship. The Recital Centre is a landmark building and one of the most intricate music halls ever built – a masterpiece of design, engineering and construction.
“The world-class restored bathhouse is local triumph, employing more than 60 local tradespeople. The construction alone had an economic impact of $30 million, much of it spent with local suppliers.”
Master Builders Deputy Executive Director Radley de Silva said the two major award winners were important community projects.
“The Melbourne Recital Centre and MTC Theatre joins a long list of iconic Victorian projects to win the coveted award,” Mr de Silva said.
“This project included pioneering techniques with the extensive use of free-formed glass, reinforced concrete panel and acoustic hoop pine panelling. Its stunning façade is matched by its acoustic performance internally.
“In addition, A.W. Nicholson’s outstanding Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa displays the commitment to quality of Victoria’s regional builders.”
The Melbourne Recital Centre and MTC Theatre now moves into contention for the National Excellence in Construction Awards to be announced on the Gold Coast in November.
2008-09-12 - Historic Bathhouse opening to boost jobs and tourism
A new era in tourism for the popular Daylesford region began today with the opening of the refurbished $10.6 million Hepburn Mineral Springs Bathhouse.
Regional and Rural Development Minister Jacinta Allan said the restored bathhouse is expected to directly generate 60 to 70 new jobs over the next two years and create flow-on investment and continued growth of the already strong tourism industry.
“This refurbishment is backed by $8 million from the Brumby Government’s Regional Infrastructure Development Fund, boosting the local tourism industry which supports 2,200 jobs and is worth more than $262 million annually,” Ms Allan.
“This world-class day spa will reinforce the national and international reputation of Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges as Australia’s spa capital.
“The heritage-listed bathhouse, which dates back to 1895, has been carefully renovated and a new wing has been built to house the unique mineral water bathing pools.
“This project has revitalised a well-loved community and tourism icon, ensuring that future generations will be able to enjoy its unique mineral water bathing experience that is so closely entwined with Hepburn-Daylesford’s history and development.”
With more than 30 wet and dry spa treatment rooms, Hepburn Mineral Springs Bathhouse is now one of the largest day spas in Australia.
Ms Allan congratulated Cox Architects and Planners, Ballarat construction contractor A.W. Nicholson, and Major Projects Victoria on the outstanding quality of the refurbishment.
Major Projects Minister Theo Theophanous said the project was a credit to local builders, tradesmen and suppliers.
“This project is very much a local triumph, having employed more than 60 local tradespeople during the last year – the builders, contractors and suppliers can all be justifiably proud of what they have given to the region," Mr Theophanous said.
"The design and workmanship of the revitalised bath house is world-class and will serve the community for many years to come."
The Hepburn Shire Council, Department of Sustainability and Environment, the Victorian Mineral Water Committee, Sustainability Victoria and the Federal Government contributed $2.6 million to the project.
Member for Ballarat East, Geoff Howard MLA said the bathhouse has been brought into line with 21st Century expectations of a luxury spa experience while still preserving its heritage charm.
2008-05-19 - Revitalised Bathhouse on track for early June finish
The $10.6 million Hepburn Mineral Springs Bath House project will be finished in early June as expected the Major Projects Minister Theo Theophanous said today during a site visit to the historic facility.
Mr Theophanous, who toured the site with Regional and Rural Development Minister Jacinta Allan and Environment and Climate Change Minister Gavin Jennings, said the Bath House had been transformed into an exceptional facility.
“The redeveloped Bath House will reaffirm the region as the spa capital of Australia, bringing with it international attention and the continued growth of tourism in the Daylesford and Macedon Ranges area,” Mr Theophanous said.
“The design and workmanship is of an excellent standard while the materials and finish of the Bath House are world class. We have delivered a facility that will drive the local tourist economy and serve the community for many decades to come.
“This project is very much a local triumph, having employed more than 60 local tradespeople during the last year – the builders, contractors and suppliers can all be justifiably proud of what they have given to the region.”
Ms Allan said the Brumby Government had provided more than $8 million through the Regional Infrastructure Development Fund toward the project that would have wide benefits for the Daylesford and Hepburn area.
“This wonderful development will boost the already strong local tourism and wellbeing industry, which supports 2,200 jobs and is worth more than $262 million annually,” Ms Allan said.
“The new Bath House, which includes the refurbishment of bathing rooms in the existing heritage building and the construction of a new building to house three public bathing pools, will attract even more tourists to the region.”
Mr Jennings, who recently announced Belgravia Health and Leisure Group as the new operators, said the historic facility would provide around 60 new jobs in the area.
“The community can take confidence in this five star facility with a first class operator backed by an extensive, established marketing campaign that will take tourism in the area to the next level,” he said.
“Belgravia Health has a reputation for tailoring its services to meet the needs of the local community and tourists and vast experience in operating and managing major leisure facilities.”
The Bath House will open for business once Belgravia has commissioned the new facilities and completed a staff recruitment and training program.
2008-05-02 - Historical Hepburn Bathhouse under new management
Belgravia Health and Leisure Group have been selected as the new operators of the recently redeveloped heritage-listed Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve Bathhouse.
Environment and Climate Change Minister Gavin Jennings announced the decision today and said the selection of the new operators for the iconic Victorian tourist attraction followed a comprehensive tender process.
“Belgravia Health and Leisure Group will bring exceptional experience and enthusiasm to operating the Bathhouse and I am confident their work will be first class,” Mr Jennings said.
“The Group manages 50 sporting and leisure venues across Australia including many aquatic centres and is known for its ability to tailor its services to meet the needs of the local community and tourists at each site.
“The Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve Bathhouse is located among the most significant concentration of natural mineral water springs in Australia and managing the bathhouse is a key task for this important area.
“The newly appointed operators will manage a facility providing mineral water bathing and day spa facilities for massage and spa body treatments.”
Member for Ballarat East Geoff Howard MP welcomed the decision and said: “The Brumby Government contributed more than $8 million out of the total $10.6 million cost of redeveloping the Bathhouse, with the local Council and Commonwealth Government providing the rest of the funding.
“The redevelopment is a boost for the Daylesford and Macedon Ranges region because the spa and mineral springs experience attracts many tourists to the region.
"The redeveloped Bathhouse should re-establish the region as the Spa Capital of Australia and ensure it is recognised internationally.
“The redevelopment includes refurbishment of the relaxation, therapy, massage and private bathing rooms in the existing heritage building and the construction of a new building to house three public bathing pools.
“The heritage-listed Edwardian bathhouse building itself dates back to the early 20th Century and people have experienced the benefits of ‘taking the waters’ at Hepburn Springs for health and social reasons since the 1880s.”
The Bathhouse is situated in the Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve, a Crown Land reserve managed by the Hepburn Shire Council.
The Bathhouse will open for business once Belgravia has commissioned the new facilities and completed a staff recruitment and training program.
For more information, visit www.dse.vic.gov.au or call 136 186.
2007-09-27 - Hepburn Mineral Springs Bathhouse on track
The Hepburn Springs Bath House redevelopment continues apace, the Minister for Major Projects Theo Theophanous said during a site visit today.
“Construction at the Bath House is on track and going well with the roof beams for the North wing currently being installed,” Mr Theophanous said.
“This is due in no small part to the dedication of the building contractor, Ballarat’s A.W. Nicholson, which has worked through rain and snow on this job.
“The Bathhouse redevelopment is a success story for the region with many local companies supplying their skills and products.
“For example, the metal connector plates at either end of the roof beams were a particular challenge. Because of the corrosive nature of the mineral water used in the Bath House normal or even stainless steel was not suitable.
“After an exhaustive search and consulting international experts, Ballarat foundry Grigsby’s provided a home-grown solution using a special alloy of bronze and aluminium.
“This was a great result from an innovative local where no other foundry in the country was willing or able to accomplish the delicate process.
“The $10.7 million Hepburn Mineral Springs Bath House redevelopment will play a strong part in the continued growth of tourism in the Daylesford and Macedon ranges area in Central Victoria.
“Recognised as one of regional Victoria’s most beloved tourist attractions with more than 250,000 visitors per year, the Bath House is the lynchpin of a local tourism sector supporting 2,200 jobs and worth more than $200 million annually.”
The redevelopment will increase the capacity of the 1896 Bath House complex which has been unable to accommodate recent increasing demand while maintaining the building’s iconic Edwardian heritage features.
The redeveloped Bath House will open for business in 2008.
Highlights of the redevelopment include:
- refurbishment of the existing heritage building for relaxation, therapy and massage rooms;
- construction of a new public pool and spa building;
- a new access bridge to the reception area; and,
- new state of the art change rooms, ‘wet areas’ and amenities.
Members of the public will be able to see progress on the redevelopment at an open day on Saturday 6 October 2007 hosted by Hepburn Shire Council.
2006-10-04 - Ballarat company to rebuild Hepburn Bathhouse
Ballarat master builder Nicholson Construction has been appointed to rebuild and refurbish the historic Hepburn Mineral Springs Bathhouse, the Minister for State and Regional Development, John Brumby, announced today.
“This significant milestone means the redevelopment is on schedule for construction to start in late October this year and be completed by early 2008,” Mr Brumby said.
“Nicholson Construction is a fourth-generation family business with about 50 employees, including carpenters, joiners and administration staff.
“The company has a great track record in delivering large-scale building projects in provincial Victoria, including the Bellinzona Grange Country Retreat in Hepburn Springs.
“Nicholson Construction intends using mainly local labour and local suppliers in its redevelopment of the Hepburn Bathhouse and expects there to be up to 60 tradespeople on site at the peak of construction.”
Member for Ballarat East welcomed the announcement and said the redevelopment would provide a major boost for the local economy.
“This project will ensure the new complex becomes an international mineral spa attraction well into the future,” Mr Howard said.
“The redevelopment includes refurbishing the existing heritage building for relaxation, therapy and massage rooms and a new building comprising public pool and spa facilities, an access bridge to reception and a state-of-the-art wet area”
Mr Brumby said the Bracks Government had provided an $8 million grant under the Bracks Government’s Regional Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) for the project, which is being managed by Major Projects Victoria (MPV).
“Since its inception, the RIDF has contributed $324.3 million to 118 announced major capital works projects throughout provincial Victoria with an estimated total value of $862 million,” he said.
“The Government is committed to continuing to grow the whole of the State, and that is why we have announced an additional $200 million in funding for the RIDF, as part of our $502 million Provincial Victoria Statement Moving Forward.”
2006-04-06 - Hepburn Bathhouse to continue to be tourist icon
The Bracks Government has moved to ensure the Hepburn Mineral Springs Bathhouse continues to be an iconic tourist attraction for years to come, Acting Minister for State and Regional Development and Tourism Minister, John Pandazopoulos said today.
Mr Pandazopoulos said the Victorian Government would provide $3 million from the Regional Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) to complete the project, with Major Projects Victoria (MPV) to oversee the project’s completion, subject to Hepburn Shire Council’s endorsement.
He said the total Hepburn Bathhouse redevelopment would cost $9.4 million and provide a high quality mineral spa experience and ensure continuing community access to the facilities.
“The redevelopment will spearhead growth in the tourism industry and provide a major boost for the local economy, ensuring that the new complex becomes an international mineral spa attraction for many years to come,” Mr Pandazopoulos said.
“Spa tourism is one of the fastest growing areas in the tourism industry, increasing nationally each year between 2001 and 2004 by about 14 per cent and Victoria has a healthy share of spa tourism accounting for around 29 per cent of the total tourism market.
“In addition to the Hepburn Bathhouse, the region is recognised nationally for its many attractions including award winning food, restaurants, wineries, galleries and parks.
“The redevelopment of the Bathhouse will ensure the region has the right infrastructure to remain a major tourist destination.”
Member for Ballarat East, Geoff Howard, said the Victorian Government had worked closely with Hepburn Shire Council to ensure with the redevelopment’s completion.
“This project is significant for the region, a fact the Bracks Government has acknowledged by its support for the redevelopment,” Mr Howard said.
“The current Bathhouse operator will continue to manage the facility until construction starts late in 2006, ensuring continuing employment for staff.”
“This project is part of the Bracks Government’s plan to rebuild and renew provincial Victoria,” he said.
Mr Pandazopoulos said the overall commitment by the Bracks Government to tourism has seen the industry nearly double over the past six years.
He said since its inception, the RIDF had contributed $279 million to 108 announced major capital works projects throughout provincial Victoria with an estimated total value of $765 million.
“The Government is committed to continuing to grow the whole of the State, and that is why we have announced an additional $200 million in funding for the RIDF, as part of our $502 million Provincial Victoria Statement: Moving Forward,” he said.
2004-10-29 - Hepburn Springs Bathhouse lease settled: Delahunty
Planning Minister, Mary Delahunty today announced that Hepburn Spa Group would be assigned the existing lease for the historic Hepburn Springs Bath House.
Ms Delahunty said a full Expression of Interest process would be required to select a lessee for the facility in the longer term.
“This is the best way of protecting the public interest, particularly as the Bracks Government has provided over $5 million to redevelop the bath house,” Ms Delahunty said.
“The public process will ensure the best possible operator for such an important community asset.”
Hepburn Spa Group would be able to participate in that process, she said.
“The lessee of the Bath House, Romny Grange Pty Ltd, was placed in voluntary administration in May 2004 and the administrator began the process of on-selling the existing lease,” Ms Delahunty said.
Hepburn Spa Group was recommended to the Hepburn Shire Council, as the committee of management, by the administrator to be the assignee of the lease and the Council sought government agreement to assign the existing lease (which expires in March 2006) to the Hepburn Spa Group and to grant a further lease term.
The State Government commissioned two reports to help inform the Minister’s decision on the lease.
PricewaterhouseCoopers was engaged to examine the business and financial capacity of Hepburn Spa Group while Phillips Fox examined the probity of Council processes in relation to the assignment of the lease for the Hepburn Spa Bath House.
“An extensive analysis of the Hepburn Spa Group by PricewaterhouseCoopers found the group’s proposed corporate and financial structure to be acceptable,” Ms Delahunty said.
“Legal firm Phillips Fox examined all relevant council files, interviewed councillors, the Council’s CEO, the independent chair of the Council’s audit committee and various local stakeholders.
“The inquiry found there was a great deal of local misunderstanding of the process that was undertaken by Council. This was not an open Expression of Interest process but one of on-selling the existing interest of Romny Grange.
“Phillips Fox also found there were no grounds to suggest that the process the Council followed was corrupt.” she said.
Ms Delahunty said the Hepburn Springs Bath House was an important part of the Hepburn community and was pleased the leasing arrangements had been settled.