The History

Friends of Banyule's Virtual Tour workshop

Friends of Banyule organised a Workshop on 23 February 2011 for members to participate in the creation of the Banyule Flats and Warringal Parklands Virtual Tour project. The Virtual Tour will include stories about Banyule's past & present  and will be made available on our website in the coming weeks.

At the workshop, we shared stories, knowledge and passion about this unique area which is currently under threat by the proposed North East Link freeway. Thanks to Marion, Lene and Kevin who facilitated the workshop.


The-Yarra-in-flood-1934   Regatta-on-the-Yarra
The Yarra in flood 1934 (left)  Regatta on the Yarra -right (date unknown)  Source: Darebin Historical Library

The ideas & information will chronical one of Melbourne's most valuable assets - The Banyule Parklands.  The Virtual Tour is designed to increase interest in this much loved part of the city...

When proposed plans for the $6 billion North East Link freeway project were made public in 2008 the residents of Banyule realised with alarm that the unique features of the area's parklands were under threat. Local residents joined forces to form Friends of Banyule and together with Warringal Conservation Society, Protectors of Public Lands & other groups, have been actively campaigning against the proposed freeway ever since by looking for ways to increase public awareness with the view to preserving this significant area of pristine parklands.   The idea for the Virtual Tour was the brainchild of  Friends of Banyule and the project has received a Grant from Banyule City Council. 

The Virtual Tour will take visitors back in time with stories of aboriginal life and the beginnings of European settlement. It will also pay tribute to the artists who came to Heidelberg and captured so many local scenes and gave birth to Australiam Impressionism, internationally known as The Heidelberg School.  The Virtual Tour will showcase the amazing diversity of flora and fauna of the Banyule Flats Wetlands, Warringal Parklands and Bolin Bolin Billabong along with the many activities that Melburnans enjoy throughout these beautiful parklands.  For the many thousands of people who use the parklands for cycling, sports activities, picnics, wedding and family gatherings there is no doubting the richness of this unique asset in the heart of the city.  

Ecologically the parklands are a success story. With deliberate revegetation of native plants starting over forty years ago we regularly see native fauna such as wombats, koala, platypus and kangaroos. The number of bird species that inhabit these green wedges are one of the largest and most diverse in Melbourne. Groups of school children often visit the parklands to learn more about caring for their environment and the many creatures who share these spaces with us. 

IMG_0509   Wetlands_VT_1   Kayaking-on-the-Yarra

To those who truly appreciate our open spaces, a Freeway would be unthinkable. Marion Ware of Friends of Banyule said that the Virtual Tour project will become significant to Melburnians and help them understand that the Warringal Parklands are an extremely valuable asset which needs to be protected.  "We want to involve the community, to share their stories, how they use the parklands and to provide an educational aspect for children visiting the area." she said. "We also want to make the area accessible to people with disabilities who may not be able to physically access the parklands. The Tour will provide a digital environment for them to experience this unique area.  We envisage continuing to add to the information we will intially provide on our website, through evolving the Virtual Tour and enabling local people and visitors to contact us with information and their personal stories about one of Melbourne's last remaining 'green wedge' areas.


If you have ideas or stories of Banyule's past or present , please contact us


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