Heidelberg is a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 11 kilometres (7 mi) northeast of Melbourne's central business district.
- Area:2.934 km2
- Elevation:35 m
- Local Government Area:Banyule City Council
Heidelberg is a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 11 kilometres (7 mi) northeast of Melbourne's central business district. Its local government area is the City of Banyule. In 2016, Heidelberg had a population of 6,225.Once a large town on Melbourne's outskirts, Heidelberg was absorbed into Melbourne as part of the latter's northward expansion after World War II. Heidelberg once had its own historic central business district including its own municipality in the former City of Heidelberg.
Heidelberg lends its name to the Heidelberg School, an impressionist art movement that developed in and around the town in the late 19th-century.
The land at Heidelberg was sold by Crown auction in 1838, making it one of the earliest rural allotments in Australia, as Melbourne was founded only three years earlier. By 1840, Warringal had been established as a surveyed township, the name referring to an Aboriginal term for eagle's nest. Eventually, Warringal was changed to Heidelberg by a land agent, after the German city of Heidelberg. Following Anti-German sentiment during World War I, the Heidelberg City Council proposed to change the name to a British-sounding name, with the most prominent suggestion being Georgetown after British Prime Minister David Lloyd George. However, despite public debates and a community naming competition, the name Heidelberg remained unchanged.When it was settled, Heidelberg was reached by track from Melbourne via Fitzroy North and, in 1841, the Heidelberg Road Trust was formed. As a form of Local Government, it preceded the Melbourne Town Council. By the late 1840s, the road had a toll bar at Merri Creek, and a Macadam surface. It became a tourist attraction, enhancing Heidelberg's reputation as a desirable place for views, excursions and rural estates. Cattle overlander Joseph Hawdon built his Gothic Banyule Homestead in 1846, overlooking the Yarra Valley.
The Post Office opened on 19 October 1853 as Warringal and was renamed Heidelberg in 1865. Heidelberg was proclaimed a Shire on 27 January 1871.
Heidelberg's rural scenery attracted artists during the 1880s, due to the absence of public utilities or a railway (until 1888), causing houses to be vacant, and available at low rents. Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton, Frederick McCubbin and other members of the Box Hill artists' camp relocated to Eaglemont in 1888, forming what was subsequently named the "Heidelberg School" of Australian art. Two years later, the Chartersville Homestead was occupied for similar purposes.
Heidelberg was proclaimed a city on 11 April 1934, but its rural space exceeded the urban area. The Heidelberg Town Hall was built in 1937. Subdivision and settlement clustered around Heidelberg Road and the Melbourne to Hurstbridge railway line, which bisected the municipality in a generally north-east direction. Along that line are Darebin, Ivanhoe, Eaglemont, Heidelberg, Rosanna, Macleod, Watsonia and Greensborough. Mont Park was reached by a spur line from Macleod. Heidelberg West, then and now unserved by a railway, was sparsely settled until the 1950s, when it was built on by the Housing Commission of Victoria.It also provided the site for the athletes' village for the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games.
By the 1970s, the residential development of the Heidelberg Municipality was complete, except for some areas in Viewbank and Lower Plenty. The shopping areas were mostly strips, but a free-standing centre was built in Heidelberg West in 1956, to a design by the Housing Commission which drew on American trends.The population of Heidelberg Municipality (before the severances in the 1960s) was 8,610 (1911), 34,401 (1947, excluding Greensborough), and 60,007 (1961). The population in 1991 was 60,468. On 15 December 1994 most of Heidelberg City was united with part of Eltham Shire to form Banyule City.
Evidence of Heidelberg's long history and early settlement can be found throughout the Municipality. The cemetery on Upper Heidelberg Road contains some of the oldest graves in Victoria. The Heidelberg Old Cemetery, the size of a house block near the corner of St James Road and Hawdon Street, contains graves dating to 1852. Heidelberg Primary School opened in 1854, Banyule Homestead was built in 1846, St John's Anglican Church was built in 1849 and the Old England Hotel on Lower Heidelberg Road first opened its doors in 1848. All of these buildings still stand today.
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