[You may be aware that I am very concerned about issues involving Banyule Homestead in Heidelberg. I have started another blog dealing with Banyule Homestead and Heidelberg more generally, and please visit it! You can find it at http://banyulehomestead.wordpress.com I have cross-posted this entry]
The area of land between the Yarra River and the Darebin Creek was prime agricultural and grazing land, and the Government knew it. It was parcelled up for sale at the first Government Land auction that was held in Sydney in 1838. The fact that the sale was held in Sydney is significant: it meant that you needed to be in Sydney to purchase. As a result, the land was purchased largely by Sydney-based speculators, especially Thomas Walker, who remained in Sydney. The 920 acre Portion 6 that Banyule Homestead was later to be built on was purchased by Richard Henry Browne for 1334 pounds.
However, Portion 5, to the west of the Banyule Estate (the Brown St. hill and up to Upper Heidelberg Rd for 21st century locals!) did not sell, and was offered up for sale, in Melbourne this time, on 26th February 1840.
And just to show that position, position, position was important then too- here’s the advertisement from the Port Phillip Herald 21 February 1840. You’ll see that Banyule (spelled ‘Banyuille’) is mentioned, and that Joseph Hawdon (who had not yet built Banyule Homestead) is listed among “the most respectable gentry” who lived in the area. And for those of you stuck in traffic along Rosanna Road, remember that you are travelling on a “romantic and beauteous road”.