For tens of thousands of years what is now called the Yarra Valley has been part of the extensive territory of the Wurundjeri people (their name for the Yarra River is Birrarung). When the first European settlers came to the valley in the 1830s, it is said that Aboriginal women camped along this bend in the Yarra River; when newspaper proprietor David Symes took up the land in the 1860s he named it Lubra Bend.


In 1959, the family of Russelll Stokes moved to the property and built a house designed by renowned Australian architect Guildford Bell. During their 40 years on the property Margaret Stokes created a large garden including 60 old camellias, 12 magnolia trees, a rose garden, and an extensive vegetable patch, oaks and elms.


Rosemary Simpson and her husband (now deceased) moved to the property in 2000. In February 2009, after nine years of drought, the property was completely burnt out in the bushfires. With the help of neighbours, the house and the garden were saved. Banksia Bend lost 1000 trees, kilometres of fencing, gates, a hayshed and 400 large bales of hay. It took five years of dedicated effort to bring Banksia Bend back to a working unit .