Viewbank is a residential suburb 15 km north-east of central Melbourne and east of Rosanna. Its name comes from the property and residence Viewbank, owned by Dr Robert Martin who came to the Heidelberg area in 1843. The area was a popular resort of the Melbourne Hunt Club towards the end of the nineteenth century. Viewbank adjoined the Banyule estate, and both extended southwards to the Yarra Valley. Remains of the Viewbank farm can be seen in the stock feed silos in Banyule Road, near which are the remains of a former owner's homestead (1839) which Martin enlarged when he acquired the property.
Viewbank, being about 1.5 km from the nearest railway station, was unaffected by residential subdivisions until the 1960s. A primary school was opened in 1966, and a high school (Rosanna East) in 1971. Viewbank does not have shopping facilities apart from one or two neighbourhood premises, and the nearest centre is at Rosanna. Although Viewbank adjoins the Yarra Valley, it is on quite high ground and east of Viewbank there is a radio mast site surrounded by the Yarra Valley Parklands. The Rosanna Golf Club adjoins the parkland.
Viewbank is associated with the Banyule estate. The Banyule homestead was established in 1846 by Joseph Hawdon, a pioneer overlander of grazing stock from New South Wales to Port Phillip ten years before. The Banyule property was about three times larger than Viewbank, and was sold to Robert Martin in 1867. The Banyule homestead is a large gothic design residence in Buckingham Drive overlooking the Yarra Valley, and in recent times was used as a public art gallery before returning to private hands. Its name is continued in the Banyule Flats Reserve, several adjoining facilities and the Banyule primary school (1960). There was also a Banyule high school (1962-93).
During the 1960s Viewbank was also shown in some directories as being part of Lower Plenty and it was known as Rosanna East until about 1985. Both the Viewbank ruins and the Banyule homestead are heritage-listed.
Viewbank’s census populations have been:
Cyril Cummins (ed), Heidelberg since 1836: a pictorial history, Heidelberg Historical Society, 1992