Healesville, Victoria

Healesville is a town in Victoria, Australia, 52 km north-east from Melbourne's central business district. Its local government area is the Shire of Yarra Ranges. At the 2016 Census, Healesville had a population of 7,461.[1] The median age was 44 years.[2]

The Grand Hotel at Healesville
Coordinates37°39′22″S 145°30′50″E
Population7,461 (2016 census)[1]
Elevation199 m (653 ft)
LGA(s)Shire of Yarra Ranges
State electorate(s)Eildon
Federal Division(s)Casey
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
19.2 °C
67 °F
8 °C
46 °F
1,020.1 mm
40.2 in
Localities around Healesville:
Chum Creek Toolangi Narbethong
Dixons Creek Tarrawarra Healesville McMahons Creek
Coldstream Gruyere Badger Creek Woori Yallock Don Valley

Healesville is situated on the Watts River, a tributary of the Yarra River.


Traffic to the more distant Gippsland and Yarra Valley goldfields in the 1860s resulted in a settlement forming on the Watts River[3] and its survey as a town in 1864. It was named after Richard Heales, the Premier of Victoria from 1860–1861. The post office opened on 1 May 1865.[4] The town became a setting off point for the Woods Point Goldfield with the construction of the Yarra Track in the 1870s.


Climate data for Healesville (1927-1990)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 26.0
Average low °C (°F) 11.2
Average precipitation mm (inches) 56.9
Average rainy days 4.8 4.8 5.5 7.8 9.9 10.0 11.2 12.2 10.2 10.2 8.1 7.4 102.1
Source: Monthly climate statistics[5]


Healesville is well known for the Healesville Sanctuary, a nature park with hundreds of native Australian animals displayed in a semi-open natural setting and an active platypus breeding program.

The Yarra Valley Railway operates from Healesville Station on every Sunday, most public holidays and Wednesday to Sunday during school holidays.[6]

Schools in Healesville include the Healesville Primary School, St Brigid's Catholic primary school, the rural Chum Creek Primary School, Badger Creek Primary School, Healesville High School and Worawa Aboriginal College, an Aboriginal school whose former students include noted Australian Rules Footballer David Wirrpanda.

Much of what is now Healesville lies on the ancestral land of the Wurundjeri people. The Coranderrk Aboriginal reserve, set up in 1863, was located just south of the main township.[7]

Industries in and around Healesville include sawmilling, horticulture, tourism and viticulture.

Healesville has an active CFA (Country Fire Authority) volunteer fire brigade established in 1894. The Healesville Rural Fire Brigade was formed in 1941, and disbanded and membership amalgamated with the Healesville Urban Fire Brigade in 1985. The amalgamation of the Chum Creek Rural Fire Brigade with the Healesville brigade occurred in 1996. The Healesville Fire Brigade[8] now operates a main and a satellite station with members from both the Healesville and Chum Creek areas.


At the time of the 2016 census, there were 7,461 people in Healesville.

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 3.7% of the population.
  • 77.5% of people were born in Australia. The next most common countries of birth were England 5.6% and New Zealand 1.7%.
  • 89.5% of people spoke only English at home.
  • The most common responses for religion were No Religion 44.4%, Catholic 16.3% and Anglican 12.2%.[1]


The town has an Australian rules football team, the Healesville Football Club, competing in the Yarra Valley Mountain District Football League.[9]

Healesville has a tennis club, the Healesville Tennis Club, which competes in the Eastern Region Tennis junior and senior competitions.

Healesville has a picnic horse racing club, Healesville Amateur Racing, which holds around seven race meetings a year with the Healesville Cup meeting in January.[10]

The Healesville Greyhound Racing Club also holds regular meetings.[11]

Golfers play at the course of the RACV Country Club on Yarra Glen Road.[12]

Healesville has a soccer team known as Healesville Soccer Club that plays in the Victorian State League 4 East.

Notable people


Healesville has been a tourist destination since the 1880s, with the Grand Hotel built in 1888, and the 60 room Gracedale House in 1889.[14][15]

A Tourist and Progress Association was created in the 1920s.[16] The association published "Healesville, The World-famed Tourist Resort"[17], listing over 40 beauty spots and 20 hotels and guest houses. The construction of the Maroondah Dam in the 1920s brought several hundred workmen to Healesville. Their departure and the onset of the 1930s depression exposed Healesville's restricted range of industries. Timber and tourism were not stable enough for sustained growth. Notwithstanding the depression, the 1930s saw increased motor tourism (partly bypassing Healesville) and decreased railway patronage. Only 10% came by rail at Easter 1934. Tourism was still active but a local newspaper commented that Healesville would be "heaps better off calling itself the good-time town instead of the world-famed-tourist-resort—that's got whiskers on it".[18]

In modern times Healesville has become a major centre for tourism based around the wine and food industries of the Yarra Valley, with attractions including Healesville Sanctuary, Badger Weir Picnic Area, Yarra Valley Railway, Healesville Organic Market, numerous cafes and restaurants, and volunteer-run events such as the Healesville Music Festival, Open Studios, and the Yarra Valley Rodeo.[19][20][21][22]

The Memo, a centre for community arts and cultural activities, was built in 1924 as a soldier’s memorial hall..[23]

Film and television

The Internet Movie Database has Healesville and its environs as the filming locations for a number of films and TV programs: the Australian TV series Young Ramsay (1977), Felicity (1979), the natural history TV series Life on Earth (1979), Frog Dreaming (1986), the Australian TV short film Harry's War (1999) and Killer Elite (2011).


  1. "2016 Census QuickStats Healesville". Australian Bureau if Statistics. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  2. "2016 Census QuickStats: Healesville". quickstats.censusdata.abs.gov.au. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  3. "THE BEST TRACK TO THE RIVER JORDAN . GOLD-FIELDS". The Age (3, 199). Victoria, Australia. 28 January 1865. p. 6. Retrieved 21 April 2017 via National Library of Australia., ...No works have been at present executed upon this permanent line until the track reaches the township of Healesville, near the Watts river...
  4. Premier Postal History, Post Office List, retrieved 11 April 2008
  5. "Bureau of Meteorology". Climate statistics for Australia. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  6. "Yarra Valley Railway Fares and Timetables", Yarra Valley Railway, archived from the original on 24 October 2009, retrieved 7 May 2009
  7. https://www.victorianplaces.com.au/healesville-and-healesville-shire
  8. "Healesville Fire Brigade".
  9. Full Points Footy, Healesville, archived from the original on 5 April 2008, retrieved 25 July 2008
  10. Country Racing Victoria, Healesville Amateur Racing, archived from the original on 28 July 2008, retrieved 7 May 2009
  11. Greyhound Racing Victoria, Healesville, archived from the original on 31 March 2009, retrieved 15 April 2009
  12. Golf Select, RACV Country Club, retrieved 11 May 2009
  13. Flanagan, Martin (25 January 2003). "Tireless ambassador bids you welcome". The Age. Retrieved 31 October 2008.
  14. https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/115356/download-report
  15. https://trove.nla.gov.au/work/207658821?q&versionId=227883485
  16. https://tourismnetworkyarravalley.com.au/
  17. http://digital.slv.vic.gov.au/view/action/singleViewer.do?dvs=1574392754949~358&locale=en_US&metadata_object_ratio=10&show_metadata=true&VIEWER_URL=/view/action/singleViewer.do?&preferred_usage_type=VIEW_MAIN&DELIVERY_RULE_ID=10&frameId=1&usePid1=true&usePid2=true
  18. https://trove.nla.gov.au/work/207658821?q&versionId=227883485
  19. https://visityarravalley.com.au/badger-weir-picnic-area
  20. https://visityarravalley.com.au/healesville-organic-market
  21. https://www.healesvillemusicfestival.com.au/
  22. https://www.yarravalleyrodeo.com.au/
  23. "The Memo, Healesville". www.yarraranges.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
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