History

The first Swiss/Italian Festa was staged in 1993 as a community initiative. It was designed to encourage and promote an annual event that celebrated the history, culture and lifestyle of Hepburn Springs and Daylesford with an emphasis on the region’s Swiss and Italian heritage.

Over a ten day period the people of Hepburn Springs and Daylesford show off to their neighbours and the wider community of Victoria, their pride in the strong links to the Swiss and Italian settlers of the district in the 1850’s.

The Festa also highlights the wide-ranging skills and diversity of the present community and the area s unique environment, still closely linked to “taking the waters” at the numerous mineral springs.

The aim of the Festa is to arrange, encourage and promote a regular Festival celebrating History, Culture and Lifestyle in Hepburn Springs with an emphasis on the region’s Swiss Italian Heritage.

The theme of the Festa is supported by the community to acknowledge our history, celebrate our lifestyle and to nurture our cultural heritage for tomorrow.

The Shire of Hepburn, the towns of Hepburn Springs and Daylesford and the townships and villages of the surrounding region are proud of their Swiss/Italian heritage, the people who came for the gold or to escape the political upheaval and persecution in their home regions and who stayed because this region reminded them so much of home. They created a distinctive architecture and culture, which is still clearly obvious throughout the Hepburn Shire.

They hailed from the northern Italian areas of Piedmont, Lombardy , Veneto, Emilia-Romagna and the Duchies of Modena and Parma (before Italy even existed as a nation), as well as from neighbouring Italian speaking canton of Switzerland , Ticino . It is to them we owe the discovery and preservation of the mineral springs and spas which are the region’s trademark, the early wineries, the early establishment of a multicultural community and the lifestyle which is reflected in so much of the district today.

READ A DETAILED HISTORY IN “BULLBOAR, MACARONI & MINERAL WATER – Spa Country’s Swiss Italian Story” by Clare Gervasoni

Every year the festa features a varied program that offers a wide spectrum of events for the local community, descendants of the early settlers and visitors to the region.