LOCATED JUST OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE OF BURRAWANG, AN EVER-FLOWING SPRING OF PURE NATURALLY-FILTERED WATER IS THE SOURCE OF THE SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS’ SPRING WATER, HEART SPRING.
Words Kylie Matthews
Bubbling below a lush green rainforest gully, towering gumtrees and a herd of curious cows on a farm outside of Burrawang is a natural spring trickling an endless flow of spring water.
At 600 metres above sea level, this generous spring emerges from a fault in the basalt rock and flows endlessly into the Wildes Meadow Creek, home to the Fitzroy Falls Spiny Crayfish, a rare native species which then connects with the Fitzroy Reservoir and Shoalhaven Head Waters.
Harvesting just five per cent of the spring’s daily flow is Mittagong local Chris Cloran, owner and distributor of Heart Spring.
“The uniqueness of this spring water is that it’s highly filtered because it travels through natural layers of sandstone and iron and as it rises to this height the solids drop away, so we end up with this really pure water that is sweet, light and very drinkable,” Chris says.
However the site the water originates from is something historians and scientists are still to determine.
“The amazing thing is we’re sitting on the top surface of this fragile globe, but we don’t know a lot about what’s underneath,’ continues Chris.
‘The academic point of view is it comes from New Zealand but local Aboriginal stories suggest it travels underground from Alice Springs. It’s quite normal for springs to travel huge distances under the earth, and it’s this journey that turns it into what people 100 years ago called ‘grandfather water’.”
Chris says Heart Spring is naturally free of chlorine, fluoride and environmental and agricultural contaminants,. Harvested directly from the spring, the water is transported by tanker to Heart Spring HQ in Mittagong, where it’s bottled and delivered to customers. Heart Spring 15 litre bottles are BPA-free, refillable, recyclable and local bottling results in lower carbon footprint.
“We regularly deliver to local customers here in the Southern Highlands and once a week I drive to Sydney to deliver as well.”
Chris previously worked in the printing industry in Sydney for 30 years before he and his family made a tree change to the Highlands in 1999.
“We’d often come to the Highlands for day trips and when my wife and I got married we even had our honeymoon here,” he says. “We really connected with the Highlands and decided to move to the area.”
Chris and his family have been drinking water from this spring since 2004 and when an opportunity arose four years ago to buy the business, they jumped at the opportunity and have since rebranded as Heart Spring.
But for Chris, this delightful natural spring is so much more than just a natural water tap. He also shares an uncanny family connection he’s only just beginning to uncover.
“I knew I had some long-dead relatives in the St Peter’s Church graveyard (in Burrawang) and that these ancestors dragged a plough along the tracks from the Shoalhaven and started farming in Burrawang, but that was pretty much the extent of my knowledge,” he says.
“My nephew discovered that when my ancestors sold their Burrawang farm in 1917, their advertisement described it as a ‘100 acres dairy farm with a never-failing spring’ and ‘near St Peter’s Church’.
“The spring comes out at several points and, at this stage, I’m not sure exactly where my family’s farm was, but my spring is near the church so it’s very possible it’s the same one.”