Banyule City was formed on 15 December 1994, from most of Heidelberg city (excluding a small part of the Mont Park grounds), the parts of Diamond Valley Shire south of the Greensborough Freeway (Bundoora, Watsonia and Greensborough) and the parts of Eltham Shire known as Montmorency and Lower Plenty. Its area is 63 sq km.
The name came from the Banyule homestead, built by pastoral overlander, Joseph Hawdon, in 1848. The heritage listed homestead, at Buckingham Drive, Heidelberg, overlooks the Yarra Valley. The name is thought to be an Aboriginal word for hill.
During the late 1950s a Banyule locality was developed on residential subdivisions east of Rosanna Road, Rosanna. Banyule primary school opened in 1960 (518 pupils, 2014) and the high school in 1962. The high school overlooks the Yarra Valley. The name is also given to a small neighbourhood shopping centre and to the Banyule Flats reserve, part of an extensive chain of valley reserves and wetlands extending from Heidelberg to View Bank. The reserve contains the Banyule Nature Gardens.
Banyule Homestead was an art gallery linked to the Victorian Arts Centre in the 1980s, but its sale by the Arts Centre has led to it becoming a community arts centre. In 1993 the Banyule high school was closed, and its site became an environmental centre.
Banyule City's central point is 13 km north-east of Melbourne. The council's main office is in the former Heidelberg council office in Ivanhoe, and subsidiary offices are at Greensborough and Rosanna. A railway runs north-east through Banyule City. Motor vehicle traffic follows a similar trajectory via Rosanna and Greensborough Roads, only slightly relieved by the metropolitan ring road further north. Bell Street is a heavy carrier of traffic.
The Plenty River runs from north to south through Banyule City, for the most part bordered by parks and wetlands.
Banyule City is bounded on its south-east by the Yarra River and on the lower part of its west by the Darebin Creek. Both have linear parklands with cycle paths. The Yarra boundary has particularly extensive open spaces, including the Ivanhoe and Rosanna golf courses, various ovals and sports facilities. Many of the dwellings in the part west of the Darebin Creek (Heidelberg West, Bellfield) were built by the Housing Commission.
The main shopping centres are at Ivanhoe (mainly a strip shopping centre), Heidelberg (a smaller strip shopping centre, but with the drive-in Warringal shopping centre) and the Greensborough drive-in shopping centre (1978, 54,000 square metres with a department store, a discount department store and 206 other shops). A main street shopping area adjoins the drive-in centre.
Ivanhoe, Eaglemont and Heidelberg are high income suburbs. The suburbs immediately west of them are low income. Banyule City has an above average proportion of freestanding houses. When snow is plentiful, the Winter in Banyule Festival is held in August. In 2013 the city released an Arts Plan for 2013-17.
Banyule City's census populations have been:
Heidelberg City, Bundoora, Greensborough, Lower Plenty, Montmorency and Watsonia entries