Small rural centre on the Werribee River
north of Melbourne
Ballan is a small rural centre located 78 km
north west of Melbourne on the Western highway.
A man named Von Steiglitz took up land in the
area in 1838 and named the site of the town
after Ballan in Ireland. By 1851 gold had been
found nearby at Dolly's Creek and, for a brief
time, the area was covered with enthusiastic
The town has some small reputation for its
mineral springs although, obviously, it has not
enjoyed the same high profile as places like
Hepburn Springs and Daylesford which lie just to
Ballan has not fared very well in literature.
In his autobiography 'The Road to Gundagai',
Graham Innes wrote of the town in the 1920s:
'Ballan itself was ungracious and unlovely.
There were two streets: one was the main
Melbourne to Ballarat highway and the other ran
at right angles up to the railway station. The
prevailing impression was of openness,
dissonance and a ramshackle unplanned confusion
as if the town had been thrown down in a hurry.'
Things to see:
Oldest House in Town
The old house next to the Ballan Hotel is
probably the oldest standing house in the town.
It dates from around 1850.
Located on the eastern edge of the town the
Caledonian Park is a pleasant place to stop. The
visitor can go for a swim or have a picnic.
Brisbane Ranges National Park
The Boar Gully bush camp is a pleasant woodland
area which is a good base for bushwalking. There
are several campsites, toilets, a picnic area
and a water supply. To get there head south on
the Anakie Road. 18 km from Ballan is Mt
Wallace. Turn left here onto the Bacchus Marsh
Road and follow it east for 6 km until you see
the signposted turnoff on the right which leads
to the camping area. If you wish to camp in the
park it is necessary to contact the Anakie
office first, tel: (03) 5284 1230. For further
information on the park see the entry on Anakie
or contact Parks Victoria on 131 963.