Although the painters of the Heidelberg School had based themselves at Montsalvat in Eltham, they ranged back and forth all over the middle reaches of the Yarra valley, from Warrandyte upstream to Alphington downstream. Montsalvat, set well back from the river itself, was not ideally located for painting in the lower reaches of the river.
Thus it was that a second, smaller establishment was to be built. Sited on high ground among the Banyule Flats wetlands, the building – little more than a large shed – was a place to store materials, unfinished works and reference daguerreotypes and photographs. In the event of inclement weather, it also served as erstwhile shelter.
It was the storage of references that came to give the building – and later the area – its name. As painters and their works came and went, the collection of images steadily grew in size and range, a veritable bank of views that made it increasingly unnecessary for painters to actually go out into the surrounding area in search of pleasant vistas.
The Heidelberg School is long since dissolved, but the mighty hill of Martin Lane and the swamps to its south are still called Viewbank.
Suburbs near Viewbank: