Viewbank is a residential suburb 15 km. north-east of Melbourne, and east of Rosanna. Its name comes from the property and residence Viewbank, owned by Dr. Robert Martin who came to the Heidelberg area in 1843. The area was a popular resort of the Melbourne Hunt Club towards the end of the nineteenth century. Viewbank adjoined the Banyule estate, and both extended southwards to the Yarra Valley. Remains of the Viewbank farm can be seen in the stock feed silos in Banyule Road, near which are reputedly the remains of Martin's homestead.
Viewbank, being about 1.5 km. from the nearest railway station, was unaffected by residential subdivisions until the 1960s. A primary school was opened in 1966, and a high school (Rosanna East) in 1971. Viewbank does not have shopping facilities apart from one or two neighbourhood premises, and the nearest centre is at Rosanna. Although Viewbank adjoins the Yarra Valley, it is on quite high ground and in the east of Viewbank there is a radio mast site surrounded by the Yarra Valley Parklands. The Rosanna Golf Club adjoins the parkland.
The name Viewbank has overtaken Banyule as the name of the suburb notwithstanding Banyule's historic prominence. Banyule estate and homestead were established in 1846 by Joseph Hawdon, a pioneer overlander of grazing stock from New South Wales to Port Phillip ten years before. The Banyule property was about three times larger than Viewbank, and was sold to Robert Martin in 1867. The Banyule homestead is a large gothic-design residence overlooking the Yarra Valley, and in recent times was used as a public art gallery before returning to private hands. Its name is continued in the Banyule Flats Reserve, several adjoining facilities and the Banyule primary school (1960). The Banyule high school (1962) was renamed Viewbank secondary college. Being nearer to public transport and shopping facilities, Banyule was residentially settled a few years before Viewbank, and apart from a neighbourhood shopping centre, relies on Rosanna for more extensive retail facilities.
During the 1960s Viewbank was also shown in some directories as being part of Lower Plenty.
Cummins, Cyril, (ed.), Heidelberg Since 1836: A Pictorial History,
Heidelberg Historical Society, 1992.
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