Banyena is a rural locality in the Wimmera, situated at the junction of the Richardson and Avon Rivers approximately midway between Horsham and St Arnaud. It was named after the Banyena Plains pastoral run (1844). 'Banyena' is thought to have been derived from an Aboriginal word describing a tribal leader's name or meaning an old camp.
Banyena was situated on a coach route from Glenorchy to the Donald and Jeffcott districts during the 1860s, and this probably accounts for closer settlement reaching Banyena by the early 1870s, despite the locality being remote from present day arterial routes. A school was opened in 1874 and a post office, hotel and Catholic church in 1875. A weir was built across the Richardson River in 1886, and during the 1890s there were some small dairies and creameries on the Avon Plains (eastern) side of the river. In 1888 a mechanics' institute was built. Banyena was a minor local centre by the turn of the century, and was described in the Australian handbook in 1903:
The school continued until closure during 1946-67, and finally closed in the late 1970s. In 1909 the spur railway line from Murtoa to Rupanyup was extended to Banyena, providing a freight service for sheep and wheat. A silo was built at the Banyena siding, which is all that remained after closure of the line in 1983. A Catholic church and a hall remain in Banyena Road near the bridge over the Richardson River.
Banyena's census populations have been:
Neil A. McLennan, Back over the track of time, the author?, 1970