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Woolnough's Crossing Mineral Spring

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Woolnoughs Road, Glenlyon VIC 3461

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  • Mineral spring tap
  • Picnic table
  • Scenic creek
  • Information sign
Stop by the scenic Kangaroo Creek in Glenlyon and sample the mineral water from the spring at Woolnough's Crossing. 

Surrounded by decorative stones, this secluded tap is set right alongside the creek and is accompanied by a picnic table and an information sign. 

Another mineral spring and larger picnic area is located 5.5 km away at the Glenlyon Mineral Springs Reserve

History and information

An information sign stands at Woolnough's Crossing, and displays the following text:

Very little is known about the Woolnough's Crossing spring. It was first mapped in 1893 by Mr Taylor of the Geological Survey of Victoria.

Part of Geological Survey map showing this mineral spring, 1893. State Library Victoria

Mr Foster, also of the Geological Survey, inspected the spring in 1930 and recommended that a bore be drilled here. It was later drilled privately.

In 1980, David Bolton had a bore drilled for mineral water on the Crown Allotment , Parish of Glenlyon, adjacent to Kangaroo Creek. He was licenced to extract 5 ML of mineral water per annum. The last extraction was reported in 1987.

Laing of the Geological Survey recommended in 1981 that this spring be returned to public use for tourism and recreation. A small car park and pump were installed. 

A new bore was drilled in 2006 and a hand pump fitted. The mineral water is a sodium-magnesium-bicarbonate type.

Woolnough's Spring has similar amounts of calcium, magnesium and sodium to the spring at Glenlyon's Recreation Reserve, yet it has only half the amounts of dissolved salts (about 2000 mg/L) and total inorganic carbon (about 2350 mg/L).

There are other springs situated in the bed of the creek. They are only visible in summer or periods of low stream flow. Whilst they issue from small vents in the bedrock, the flow of the springs have been reported as being large. 

Mary Ann Woolnough was the daughter of the land owner after which these springs were named. 

How mineral springs are formed

The water in our mineral springs starts out as rain. Much of the rain water evaporates again fairly quickly or runs off into streams to be eventually carried back to the sea. 

Some of the water, however, seeps into the ground to enter an aquifer - consisting of fractured rock which holds water - where it is stored.

This groundwater in the aquifer flows very slowly; percolating throughout all the cracks and holes in the rock to eventually come out at a natural spring. 

Minerals and carbon dioxide

So why is the natural mineral water around the Central Highlands different to other drinkable groundwater?

Essentially, it is the right balance of the minerals and the gas, carbon dioxide, that make it so special. 

The aquifer is made of tiny grains of different minerals; the groundwater naturally reacts with some of these. The wrong balance of minerals makes the water brackish; the right balance makes it excellent drinking. 

Carbon dioxide is a natural component of ground-waters.  When it mixes with water in large quantities, the water becomes pleasantly effervescent (fizzy).

The lack of air underground also means the water contains no harmful aerobic bacteria. 

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