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We want to investigate what came before us and what we can learn from it.

Human history in this area is at least 60,000 years old.

European incursions into this district commenced in the early 1830s, with a number of squatters arriving overland from Sydney.

Government Land Sales

Warringal Park

Land ownership around Melbourne followed the British legal system as rights of the First Nation were ignored.

Old George Street Market

The Old George Street Market in Sydney, where the first Melbourne land sales took place.

In 1838, the first land sales took place for the Heidelberg area, under the British land ownership system. The sales were held in Sydney at the George Street Market. Why Sydney, not Melbourne? The purchases were dominated by speculators, especially Thomas Walker.

There is plenty of interest to find out in the European occupation context. Land ownership followed the British legal system as rights of the First Nation were ignored. Even an attempt by John Batman who attempted to "purchase" land directly from the local Wurundgeri, was over-ridden by the government in Sydney, so the First Australians were left with nothing as their land was sold to the new arrivals.

Our Stories

Rather than trying to tell the whole story of Heidelberg, this website offers information on a range of topics, most of them unfortunately, from European records. The Museum Research Collections offer more detail and ideas on how to pursue topics of interest.

Reading about Heidelberg History since 1838.

A number of books have been written about the settlers' history of Heidelberg since 1838 when the first Government land sales took place.

These include:

"Heidelberg : the land and its people, 1838-1900", by Donald Garden, published 1972

"Heidelberg since 1838" by Cyril Cummins and Peter Williams, published by Heidelberg Historical Society.

Both books can be seen at the Heidelberg Historical Society Museum.

TROVE ( is an excellent source of searchable historical records, including matierials about Heidelberg. These include NSW Government Gazette, Port Phillip Gazette, newspaper collections that include many items about Heidelberg, including those examples mentioned above.

ACADEMIA is a web site that offers many thousands of articles on subjects that include the experience of First Nation Australians post colonial contact. Searching the site for articles is required. Try selecting "Cultural History" from the History List. Then try searching "Australian Aborignal history" or similar. Many academic documents can be downloaded.


Some local suburbs got their names from early land European owners.


Sydney land investor Thomas Walker purchased Portion 1 in the 1838 land sales. In 1839, he sold an allotment from this Portion to Archibold Thom. On March 2, 1840, The Port Phillip Patriot had an advertisement in which Thom tries to sell the land which he calls "Ivanhoe".

Archibald Thom and his wife Elizabeth Thom both came from Scotland. There is a story that Thom called the property Ivanhoe after Sir Walter Scott's novel of that name, but his reason for doing so is open to speculation.

Subsequently, a number of streets in the Ivanhoe suburb were named after places and characters in the book, including Sherwood Road, Locksley Road, Rowland Avenue, Robin Hood Road, Scotts Parade, Wilfred Road, Wamba Road, Cedric Street, Athelstane Grove, Lochabar Court. Also, Scott lived at Abbotsford in Scotland (Abbotsford Grove), and the series of novels that included Ivanhoe was known as the Waverley novels (Waverley Avenue).


A house at 46 Laverockbank Road, Trinity, Edinburgh, Scotland, was formerly known as "Viewbank" and later "Strathavon Lodge". It was originally built between 1804 and 1817 and enlarged around 1850.

The name of Viewbank suburb, near Heidelberg, came from the name given to his farm by James Williamson, an early purchaser of the land, who bought part of R.H. Brown's Portion in 1839.

The Williamson family lived in Viewbank Trinity, before coming to Port Phillip. Amongst other references, a Scottish Post Office Directory 1833-4 of Trinity gives Mrs James Williamson, Viewbank as the resident (page x).

A later resident of the same house was the renowned inventor of chloroform, Dr James Simpson. He used it as his "country retreat", even though Trinity was a suburb of Edinburgh and couldn't really be called the countryside.

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Heidelberg Historical Society (Inc. No. A0042118P)