There has always been a touch of elegance to the lifestyle of the folk from Ivanhoe which is at the centre of a well-defined district lying between Darebin Creek and the Yarra River in Melbourne’s north.
The original village took its name from the title of a Walter Scott novel and, according to a contemporary report, life in the 1850s revolved round two hotels, market gardens, orchards, a private church school a rustic racecourse and a covey of ‘gentlemen’s villas’.
Even in the 1930s when Heidelberg was still glorying in the cachet bequeathed by the district’s association with a school of celebrated artists, the burghers of Ivanhoe were able to woo the local alderman from the Heidelberg town hall to the new, art deco civic centre in Ivanhoe.
Some of that character lingers on, especially in the renowned Boulevard which overlooks the public golf course and the Yarra Valley. Modern Ivanhoe is part of the Banyule municipality, which, along with the neighbouring Manningham, Nillumbik and Yarra Ranges councils, has formed the Heidelberg School Artists Trail, which is marked by coloured, interpretive signs tracing the footsteps and history of the internationally acclaimed cadre of Impressionists who has such a profound effect on the development of Australian art.