Welcome to the archived site of what was formerly ‘Banyule Homestead Matters’. Most of the original material is here, organized chronologically.

Banyule Homestead is a proud, pre-Gold Rush mansion that must be carefully protected. After VCAT upheld a refusal to grant a permit to subdivide the land surrounding Banyule Homestead in 2013, the property was sold in 2015. Now in 2016, there are plans to make changes to Banyule Homestead under a proposal to use it as a function venue.


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‘Remembering ’67’ Exhibition at HHS

In the year 1967, building blocks on the  Banyule estate were advertised each week.  Unlike the subdivisions of the 1940s and ’50s, Banyule Estate was sold with made roads and footpaths and the services already laid on.  This was a change from earlier subdivisions in Heidelberg, where the blocks were sold and the roads remained unmade for years.

If you lived, learned, played sport, shopped or drove in the old City of Heidelberg back in 1967, you’ll love the exhibition at the Heidelberg Historical Society each Sunday between 2.00 and 5.00 p.m.  It’s called ‘Remembering ’67’ and, as part of HHS’s 50th Anniversary celebrations, the exhibition features life in Heidelberg/Ivanhoe/Rosanna during the year 1967.  The exhibition is at the Heidelberg Historical Society Old Courthouse, Jika Street Heidelberg, opposite the park. Entry is $5.00


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Withdrawal…for now

In the last weeks, those of us who put in a submission to Heritage Victoria about the proposed use of Banyule Homestead as a function centre received notification that the applicants had withdrawn their application.

Who knows what the next step will be….


Heidelberg Leader, 18 October 2016 p. 1

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Council meeting 22 August 2016

The issue of Banyule Council’s response to the proposal on heritage grounds came before Council on 22 August 2016.

An extract from the agenda for 22 August, showing the submission that Council forwarded to Heritage Victoria and the Heritage Advisor comments on which it was based can be seen at this link:


At the Council meeting, the following motion was put and passed:


And with that, Council’s submission joined the others sent from the community.

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Banyule Homestead Fighting Fund

Challenging a development costs money! A fighting fund has been established for Banyule Homestead, and you might like to make a financial donation.

The link is:



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Have you sent off a letter to Heritage Victoria yet?

Submissions on the permit application for Banyule Homestead are open until Wednesday 10th August. That’s this coming Wednesday- you can email them directly.  The permit application number is P25085 and you can see the application at


(You’ll need to scroll down the Heritage Victoria page for the Banyule permit to become visible.)

There’s probably not time to post it, so email it to



There’s lots of paperwork and documentation attached to the application on the Heritage Victoria website.  I posted links to them on an earlier posting so scroll down this page or click here to find links to all of them in my earlier entry ‘And so here we go again’.

I’ve had a look through and these are things that I think are most interesting.

Heritage Impact Statement Part I


This document gives the history of Banyule Homestead and the changes that have been made to it over time.  Have a look at p. 7  for a sketch showing the floorplan of the original 1846 house and p.8 for the 1908 additions.  Even though the proposal makes much of the changes brought about by works carried out in 1960, 1977 and 1995, I think that it’s quite amazing that the 1846 and 1908 floorplan is still clearly discernible in Banyule today. It is this original part of Banyule that I’m most concerned about- not the recent 1995 additions. The room layout of the 1846 and 1908 section, most particularly the southern end of the building, will be vastly altered by the proposals put forward here.

Plans – Part 1


This document has plans of the existing house and the changes that are being sought.  I’m particularly interested in the changes to the ground floor. If you look at page 3 you’ll see the existing floor plan.    Page 4 shows the planned changes.  You’ll see that the original ballroom and sitting room are being largely opened up into one space, leaving the chimney only separating the two rooms.  A new archway will be opened into the ballroom, meaning in effect that the entry hall becomes part of one large space across the front of building.  The former study and sitting room at the back will be combined.  You can see that the terrace will be covered with a retractable pergola.

Plans – Part 2


This section shows diagrams of the external appearance of Banyule if the pergola and marquee go ahead. Page 2 shows the west elevation (i.e. what you will see looking at the front of the building from Buckingham Drive). You can see the black steel frame of the pergola on the right hand side, and you’ll get a sense of how large it is.  Page 3 shows the south elevation. As you can see, the pergola runs along the length of the building, in effect cutting it in half diagonally, and extends out beyond the building.  Page 4 is the east elevation, i.e. from the back.  The pergola extends southwards from the building, and the marquee is in the existing courtyard.

So- have a good look! There’s lots of information here.


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Banyule Homestead in Heidelberg Leader 2 August


There’s a good article about Banyule Homestead in the Heidelberg Leader of 2 August 2016. You can read it by going to the Leader page at


and selecting the Heidelberg Leader. (I’d like to link directly to the article, but their Privacy Policy was too offputting).

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And so here we go again…

The next chapter in Banyule Homestead’s long history has started. It opens with a proposal to transform Banyule into a function centre called ‘The Voeux’.

On 7 June 2015 the Heidelberg Leader carried this story:


See: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/east/heidelbergs-banyule-homestead-could-become-melbourne-wedding-venue

This was, of course, not news for neighbours who had been watching, with some alarm, as trees were felled, water tanks installed and landscaping commenced in the garden. Even more alarming has been the advertising of the function centre ‘The Voeux’ that proclaims that it is “coming soon in January 2017”.

See The Voeux website here.

Banyule Council’s response so far:

Banyule Council, which had received many complaints and queries about the works being undertaken at the site, issued the following Q&A sheet.

June 2016

Residents and interest groups have recently expressed concerns about works being done at Banyule Homestead in Buckingham Drive, Heidelberg.

The following questions and answers, which will be updated as required, provide an overview of the current situation.

What is Banyule Homestead?

The homestead is an ‘A’ grade heritage listed property dating back to the 1840s, which is on the Victorian Heritage Register.

Is the homestead owned by Council?

No. The property is privately owned.

What recent works have been done on the site?

Landscaping works have comprised: upgrades to paths, terraces, lawns and a car parking area; removal of vegetation; replantings; and other minor works

Why is Banyule Homestead treated differently to other properties in Banyule?

Because of its historic significance, Banyule Homestead is on the Victorian Heritage Register and is covered with a Heritage Overlay in the Banyule Planning Scheme, which means it is subject to state and local controls in relation to what can and cannot occur on the site.

What powers do Heritage Victoria and Council have when it comes to protecting Banyule Homestead?

Heritage Victoria is responsible for protecting the heritage of Banyule Homestead while Council’s role as the responsible authority is to consider any changes to the use of the site, and any buildings and works associated with a change of use of the site.

Has Heritage Victoria provided permit exemptions for the external works that have occurred?

Under Section 66 (3) of the Heritage Act 1995, Heritage Victoria gave the owners of Banyule Homestead permit exemptions for:

  • Tree works, in accordance with Australian Standards, to pre-1995 trees;
  • Removal of trees planted after 1995, including a Pyrus hedge, that were of no cultural heritage value;
  • Removal of recent vegetable beds and small, hard landscape elements dating from the 1990s;
  • Upgrades of paths and terraces;
  • Creation of a ceremony area near the Algerian Oak tree;
  • Conversion of the swimming pool to an ornamental pond;
  • An upgrade of the exiting car park; and
  • Other related external works.

Have any of the works been done without appropriate permits?

Yes, in recent weeks three native trees were removed from the site without an appropriate planning permit from Banyule Council.  Appropriate action has been taken against the owner in relation to the illegal removal of these trees. Council officers, who have inspected the site on a number of occasions, are satisfied that the remainder of works on the site did not require a planning permit from Council.

What protection measures are in place to protect remaining trees?

Council is working with the property owner to ensure that tree protection zones are established on site and Council is also closely monitoring the situation.

Are painting works on the outside of the building approved?

The painting of heritage listed buildings is the responsibility of Heritage Victoria. Council has notified Heritage Victoria about resident concerns and has asked that it investigate and monitor external painting at the site.

Has Council received an application for a change of use for the site?

No, Council has not received an application for any change of use for the site. However, the owners have indicated that an application will be lodged in the coming weeks. Once it receives the planning application, Council will appropriately advertise the planning application and consider it on its merits.

Does the owner propose to use Banyule Homestead as a functions venue?

While Council has not yet received an application for a change of use of this nature, the owners of the property have created and website and Facebook page saying that this is their plan.

Heritage Victoria Planning Application

As Banyule Homestead is listed on the Victorian Heritage Database, permission has to be received from Heritage Victoria before any substantial work that might affect the heritage value of the property is undertaken.  If you’ve been following this site for a while, you’ll remember that in 2013 Heritage Victoria granted a permit for the subdivision of part of the surrounding land in exchange for external work on the property. Banyule Council refused a permit for the subdivision, and that refusal was upheld at VCAT.  Now that there is a new proposal for internal and external works on the property, the owners need to obtain a permit from Heritage Victoria.  They would need to do this if they intended keeping it as a private home as well.

Heritage Victoria’s concern is with the cultural heritage significance of the registered place only. They do not deal with matters like change of use, car parking, noise, traffic impacts or other planning issues.  They are matters for Banyule Council.

On 20/7/16 The Age carried this public notice for an application to Heritage Victoria under the Heritage Act 1996.  It can be found on p. 31, in the Business Age section.

The whole purpose of a heritage policy is a recognition that some buildings and locations belong, to some extent, to us all- that the owner is a custodian of an aspect of shared heritage.  This means that you can put a submission to Heritage Victoria.  You don’t need to be a neighbour.  The questions about noise, traffic etc. are for another day. At this stage, it’s about the impact of the proposed works on Banyule Homestead itself.
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