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June 29, 2011  |  Member's Statement

Banyule Homestead: future

I rise to voice my support and the support of the residents of the Ivanhoe electorate for the Banyule Homestead at 60 Buckingham Drive, Heidelberg. There is a potential land grab and development that would ruin the integrity of the site. The property is located on the eastern side of the road and is one of the most prominent sites as viewed from the abutting parkland, known as Banyule Flats Reserve. The subject site is a 9101-square-metre parcel of land occupied by the Banyule Homestead which enjoys an A-grade status in the heritage citation and is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. The main building was constructed in 1846, with more recent additions made in the late 1990s. From 1977 until it was sold by the Kennett government in 1995 the homestead was used for National Gallery of Victoria exhibitions, mostly of the Heidelberg School of artists. I remember attending many sessions there as a local school student.

We are now concerned that Heritage Victoria is considering planning applications and subdivision proposals for that site. There is talk that this is being hidden away behind a smokescreen of funding some redevelopment and maintenance on the site, but really it is about destroying the integrity of this historic site, a land grab and trying to make some money. I am very supportive of Banyule City Council’s application to oppose these planning applications. I wish the council well with that, and the local community will continue to fight hard to protect the integrity of the Banyule Homestead for the future. I expect and hope that Heritage Victoria will reject these planning applications.