Brunswick, Victoria

Brunswick, Victoria

Infobox Australian Place | type = suburb
name = Brunswick
city = Melbourne
state = vic

caption = Sydney Road, Brunswick, looking south to Melbourne's central business district
lga = City of Moreland
postcode = 3056
pop = 20,780 (2006)
pop_footnotes=Census 2006 AUS | id = SSC21115 | name = Brunswick (State Suburb) | accessdate = 2007-09-29 | quick = on]
area = 5.2
elevation = 50.4
elevation_footnotes= [Cite web |url= |title=Map of point 144.96, -37.767 near Sydney Road - Bonzle Digital Atlas of Australia | |accessdate=2007-07-19]
est =
propval = $620,000 [Cite web |url= |title=Brunswick, 3056 |work=Suburb Profiles | |accessdate=2006-11-27]
stategov = Brunswick
fedgov = Wills, Melbourne
dist1 = 6
location1= Melbourne
dist2 =
near-nw = Pascoe Vale South
near-n = Coburg
near-ne = Coburg
near-w = Brunswick West
near-e = Brunswick East
near-sw = Parkville
near-ssw = Carlton
near-s = Princes Hill
near-se = Fitzroy North

Brunswick is an inner-northern suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Its Local Government Area is the City of Moreland. Brunswick is designated one of 82 Major Activity Centres in the Melbourne 2030 Metropolitan Strategy.

Approximately four kilometres due north of Melbourne CBD, it has a southern border with the suburbs of Princes Hill and Parkville, the boundary being Park Street. To the east, Brunswick is bordered by Brunswick East, the boundary being Lygon Street and Holmes Street; To the north, Brunswick is bordered by Coburg, along the boundary of Moreland Road, while the western border with Brunswick West follows Grantham, Pearson and Shamrock Streets.

The point of Brunswick which is lies furthest below sea-level is the Heller street round-about. The main thoroughfare is the north-south Sydney Road, which begins as Royal parade, before transgressing into Sydney road, which to the north becomes the Hume Freeway.


Early History

Brunswick is located in the area known as Iramoo by the Aboriginal people who inhabited and hunted in it. Occupied by the Wurundjeri people who spoke the Woiwurrung dialect, white settlement began in the 1830s, with Assistant Surveyor Darke surveying the area - under the instruction of Robert Hoddle. North and south boundaries were drawn up, running in an east-west direction between Moonee Ponds Creek and Merri Creek. These boundaries would become Moreland Road and Park Street, respectively. A narrow road was surveyed down the centre to service what were intended to be agricultural properties, which would eventually become the major thoroughfare of Sydney Road. Ten allotments were drawn up on each side of this road, with each block of land running all the way to either Moonee Ponds Creek or Merri Creek. These wide strips of land are still reflected in the current street layout.

The land was sold at auction in Sydney, and attracted speculators, many of whom would never see the land they purchased. Only one original buyer, James Simpson, settled on his land. Simpson subdivided his land and marked out two streets; Carmarthon Street (later Albert Street) and Landillo Street (later Victoria Street). Because the land was too marshy, he left the area in 1852 with much of the land unsold.

In 1841 two friends, Thomas Wilkinson and Edward Stone Parker, bought land from one of the original buyers. Stone soon left, but Wilkinson stayed on, subdividing his land for sale or rent. He marked two roads, which would eventually become extensions of the roads marked out by Simpson. Wilkinson named the streets Victoria Street (after Queen Victoria), and Albert Street (after her husband Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha).

Wilkinson had been an active campaigner for the rights of Caroline of Brunswick, the estranged wife of King George IV, and thus named his estate Brunswick, in her honour. When the area's first post office opened in 1846, it took on the name of Wilkinson's estate, establishing the name of the whole area.

In October 1842, Miss Amelia Shaw became the licensee of the first hotel in the area, the Retreat Inn. The hotel also had a weighbridge, so that bullock drivers could refresh themselves whilst their wagons were weighed. The establishment was rebuilt in 1892 and renamed the Retreat Hotel, which still stands today.

Also in 1842, work began on a new road along the central surveyors division. The road was originally known as Pentridge Road, for it led to the bluestone quarries of Pentridge (now Coburg. In 1843, William Lobb established a cattle farm on his allotment, and the area would become known as Lobb's Hill. A laneway down the side of his property, originally called Lobb's Lane, would later be named Stewart Street.

In 1849, Michael Dawson, one of the original land purchasers, completed work on an ivy-covered mansion on his property called Phoenix Park. The property was named after Phoenix Park near Dublin, Ireland. Dawson cited his address not as Brunswick, but Philiptown, after a town in Ireland which has since reverted to its original name Daingean. Philiptown eventually grew into a village along the track which lead from Phoenix Park to Sydney Road. This track was later named Union Street.

Goldrush era

Henry Search opened a butcher's shop in 1850, on the south-west corner of Albert Street and Sydney Road. This was the first retail establishment in Brunswick. By 1851, gold diggers began making their way through the area, on their journey from the populous suburbs of Fitzroy and Collingwood. Brunswick provided a convenient place for lunch, before the diggers reached the beginnings of the roads to the goldfields, near present day Essendon. A small village sprung up to meet the needs of the travellers, near the present day Cumberland Arms Hotel. The village included a tent market, described as being like a bazaar, where miners could buy goods needed for the goldfields.

In 1852, Wilkinson established "The Brunswick Record", the area's first newspaper. This changed its name in 1858 to "The Brunswick & Pentridge Press".

By 1857, the local population was estimated to be 5000 people. The Brunswick municipal council was established in this year at the Cornish Arms Hotel, which still stands. The first municipal chambers were established in 1859 on Sydney Road at Lobb's Hill, between Stewart and Albion Streets. The present Brunswick Town Hall is an imposing Victorian edifice, built in 1876 near the centre of Brunswick on the corner of Dawson Street and Sydney Road.

In the 1860s, quarries, and, notably, a large brickworks, were established in Brunswick, using the local clay and bluestone. This quickly became the largest industry in the area. In 1884 the first Brunswick railway line opened, running from North Melbourne to Brunswick and Coburg. The line ran directly into the Hoffmans Brickworks, reflecting the importance of the brickworks industry to the local community. Prior to World War I, Brunswick was the "brickyard capital of Victoria". Remnants of the brickyards are still visible in some parts of Brunswick, but most of the yards have long been converted to residential housing or parks. [cite book | first = William F. |last=O'Donnell | year = 1999 | title = Transport in Brunswick 1839-1995 | chapter = The Brunswick Baths | editor = Francesca Folk-Scolaro | publisher = Brunswick Community History Group | location = Brunswick, Australia | isbn=0-9587742-5-0] A few years later - in 1887 - a cable tram line was laid along Sydney Road.

Post-Goldrush era

In 1908, Brunswick officially became a city. Textiles became a large industry in the area in the early parts of the 20th Century. Quarrying declined with the depletion of reserves. By 1910, the population of Brunswick had grown to 30,000 people.

Post-World War II era

In the post-World War II era, Brunswick became the home of a large number of migrants from southern Europe - particularly from Italy, Greece and Malta. More recently, migrants from Turkey and other Islamic countries have arrived. The brickworks and much of the textile industry has also begun to close, as gentrification began in the 1990s, and considerable amounts of renovation and new residential development is occurring.

In 2004, Brunswick and nearby Carlton were the location of several murders in what has been widely reported in Melbourne's media as an "underworld war"; in any case, the violence occurred between a numerically tiny group of organised criminals and left the overwhelming majority of residents unaffected. The area's overall crime rate is not regarded as particularly high.Fact|date=August 2008


Commercial activity is mainly centred on Sydney Road and Lygon Street in neighbouring Brunswick East. While separated from the tourist strip in Carlton northern Lygon Street has a substantial number of restaurants. Barkly Square is Brunswick's major covered shopping centre, located on the east side of Sydney Road, close to Jewell Railway Station, though there are a wide variety of supermarkets to be found all along the Sydney Road strip.


Brunswick is a multicultural suburb in demographic flux, having a high proportion (23%) ["ABS Census: Year of arrival of overseas-born residents, Brunswick, MCC and MSD 2001, table p.17 of Brunswick Suburb Profile 2004 from:" [] ] of newly arrived residents from overseas compared to the Moreland LGA and the Melbourne metropolitan area overall. Its population is highly culturally and linguistically diverse with many different population groups making their presence felt. However, while residents of Moreland speak over a hundred different languages, people speaking a Language other than English (LOTE) at home in Brunswick have declined since 1991 from over 50% to 40%, though this is considerably higher than for Melbourne as a whole ["Language spoken at home, p.18, of Brunswick Suburb Profile 2004 from:" [] ] . The top ten LOTEs spoken by residents (in order) are: Italian, Greek, Arabic, Chinese languages, Turkish, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Spanish, Hindi and Croatian. In terms of ancestry, the top ten sources in Brunswick are: England, Australia, Italy, Ireland, Greece, China, Lebanon, Germany, Scotland and Turkey ["ABS Census: Top 10 ranked ancestry of people in Brunswick, 2001, table, p.22 in Brunswick Suburb Profil 2004, from:" [] ]

Contrary to other suburbs in Moreland, which has a higher proportion of religious affiliation than Melbourne overall, religious affiliation in Brunswick is declining, particularly Christianity. The top ten religions in Brunswick (in order) are: Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity, Anglicanism, Islam, Buddhism, Uniting Church, Presbyterian and Reformationism, Hinduism, Christian 'other' and Baptism. ["ABS Census: Top 10 ranked religions in Brunswick, 1991-2001, table p.22 Brunswick Suburb Profile 2004, from:" [] ]

Some of these trends can be explained due to the growing proportion of younger people moving into Brunswick ["Brunswick Suburb Profile 2004, from:" [] ] . There is a substantial group of tertiary students partly due to a combination of affordable rents and the relative proximity and ease of access to the University of Melbourne and to RMIT University, which also has a small campus in Brunswick. There is also a growing population of young professionals as well and increasing signs of gentrification. These diverse groups live together with little discord and Brunswick is well-known as a successful example of multiculturalism. Fact|date=July 2007


During the Great Depression in 1933 Brunswick was the site of free speech meetings by the Unemployed Workers Movement, which were harassed and suppressed by the police. Young Australian artist Noel Counihan played a significant part in this campaign. A Free Speech memorial was built in 1994 outside the Mechanics Institute on the corner of Sydney and Glenlyon Roads to commemorate the free speech fights. Counihan's work as an artist and local resident is also commemorated by the Counihan Gallery run by the City of Moreland Council.

Brunswick has long been a stronghold of left-wing politics in Melbourne Fact|date=July 2007, with the federal and state parliamentary seats held by the Australian Labor Party with very comfortable margins over free enterprise parties. Greens candidates are gaining an increasing proportion of the vote, and in 2002 elected a Greens Councillor to Moreland Council, with a second Greens Councillor being elected in 2004. As well as the "mainstream" left, however, Brunswick and nearby suburbs have for many years been a holdout of other left-wing parties, radical socialists and anarchists. The anarchist infoshop Barricade Books has operated in Brunswick since February 1995.

The Brunswick Progress Association has had an active role in representing residents particularly on local issues to Council, but also at the State and Federal levels. It was formed in 1905.


In the 1980s, Brunswick's major nightspot was the Bombay Rock, a notoriously dangerous venue that saw considerable violence between ethnic groupsFact|date=May 2007, and was featured in the 1991 movie Death In Brunswick. It was destroyed by a fire in the mid-1990s. Despite recent demographic shifts, Brunswick still has a number of nightclub venues that cater to specific ethnic groups, such as Italians, Greeks and Lebanese. Fact|date=July 2007

The Sarah Sands Hotel has hosted tours from a number of local and international acts, mostly punk, skinhead, goth or alternative in nature. It ceased operating as a venue for original bands in 1993 when the owner leased management of the venue to the Bridie O'Reilly's group. Fact|date=July 2007Several of the bars now offer live original music as well; the Cornish Arms Hotel (est. prior to 1857), in particular is regarded as one of Melbourne's major blues and roots venues Fact|date=July 2007, as well as The Retreat Hotel, which caters more to the alternative, student scene. Both of the aforementioned venues are a good example of the gentrification of Brunswick; in their previous incarnations, as recently as 2001 for the Cornish Arms and 2004 for the Retreat, both were 'old style' pubs with eccentric landlords and a small but devoted (and aging) clienteleFact|date=May 2007.

Pubs in Brunswick include: Bridie O'Reilly's, The Brunswick Hotel, The Cornish Arms, The Spot, The Retreat Hotel, The Railway Hotel, Zagame's (The Duke of Edinburgh Hotel), The Moreland Hotel, The Union Hotel, The Quarry Hotel, The Lyndhurst Club; seven are located on Sydney Road, and one on Lygon Street.

The Sydney Road Street Party, held annually in late February, is a major event in the suburb, during which a large proportion of Sydney road is closed to all traffic, and is a prelude to the Brunswick Music Festival, held in March, featuring blues, roots, and world music.


Brunswick has a soccer team, Brunswick Juventus. There are two cricket teams, a tennis team (West Brunswick, which is actually located in Brunswick) and an Australian Rules football team. The main sites for sporting activity in Brunswick are focused around Clifton and Gilpin Park and the Gillon Oval. A hockey ground is located at Brunswick Secondary College. The Brunswick Velodrome is in Brunswick East. Brunswick Athletic Club has been operating since 1953, competes in the North West Region of Athletics Victoria and has produced athletes who have represented Victoria and Australia. North Old Boys Football Club compete in the VAFA.

Facilities and Services

Among the most notable, popular and long-standing of Brunswick's community facilities is the Brunswick City Baths - initially opened in 1914 and added to since. Today it comprises an indoor and outdoor heated pool, a spa and a gymnasium. It is owned by Moreland Council and managed by the YMCA.

The Brunswick Town Hall building houses the Brunswick Library, part of Moreland City Libraries, and the Counihan Gallery, while the former council offices are now used by a variety of community organisations.

While several of Brunswick's schools were sold-off by the Kennett Government in the 1990s for private housing, the former Brunswick Secondary College building on Victoria Street was saved from privatisation Fact|date=July 2007 and has found a new use as the Brunswick Business Incubator, run by the economic development unit of Moreland council.

Brunswick has a large number of social service agencies, from large Commonwealth corporate providers such as Centrelink, local government services and community-based organisations. Among the most notable are the two services for asylum seekers and refugees, the Asylum Seeker Welcome Centre and Foundation House. Fact|date=July 2007


Brunswick has a variety of educational facilities. While Brunswick North PS in Albion Street, is the only government primary within the boundaries of Brunswick, residents of the suburb have access to four additional primary schools in the vicinity: Brunswick South PS, Brunswick East PS (in Brunswick East), Brunswick South West PS and Brunswick North West PS, as well as two Catholic primary schools. There are two government secondary schools (Brunswick Secondary College and the Sydney Road Community School), a Catholic secondary school and a Maronite Christian college. There is a campus of RMIT University focusing on Textiles and Printing in Dawson Street.

Public open space

The main areas of open space in Brunswick are on its western edge, comprising several recreational areas that almost combine into a single space: the Alex Gillon Oval, Raeburn Reserve, Brunswick Park, Clifton Park and Gilpin Park. These areas are separated by Victoria and Albert Street. The remaining open spaces within Brunswick are small to tiny-sized 'pocket parks' and reserves. The most notable are Temple Park, Warr Park and Randazzo Park, the latter having won awards for its contemporary landscape design. Fact|date=July 2007 The southern edge of Brunswick faces directly onto Royal Park and Princes Park, which are large areas of regionally-significant open space in the suburbs of Parkville and Carlton North. Though not actually within Brunswick, there is good access to the Merri and Moonee Ponds creeks, which are linear open spaces with bike paths along them, in Brunswick East and Brunswick West respectively.

Places of Worship

Brunswick's diverse religious communities have many places of worship. Various Christian denominations have prominent churches, including Maronite, Serbian Orthodox (Located in Brunswick East), Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Baptist, and Uniting Church. Other Christian groups with places of worship are the Church of the Latter Rain and Jehovah's Witnesses. There are also two mosques and a Buddhist centre. Most of these places of worship are located along Sydney Road or its immediate hinterland.


The area is among the best-served by public transport in Melbourne, with the Jewell, Brunswick and Anstey stations on the Upfield suburban train line. In addition, there is the number 19 tram service to Melbourne University and the city on Sydney Road, and the number 1 and 8 (formerly 22) trams along Lygon Street, and the number 55 tram also heads through Royal Park and to the city from nearby West Brunswick.

There are also east-west buses on Brunswick Road, Glenlyon Road/Dawson Street and Victoria/Blyth streets, though these bus services are not frequent enough to adequately serve cross-suburban travel in the way that the trams serve travel into and away from the city. These services do not operate after 10pm weeknights - most, in fact, not after 7pm, and do not operate at all on Saturday or Sunday nights.

Brunswick itself is relatively flat and is ideal for cycling. Brunswick East is bounded by the Merri Creek Trail; and Brunswick West by the Moonee Ponds Creek Trail, though neither of these can be described as flat. The Upfield Bike Path follows the Upfield railway line from Fawkner, through Coburg and Brunswick joining the Capital City Trail at Park Street. Streets in Brunswick vary, from too narrow for two cars to pass to reasonably wide. Many of the wider streets have cycle lanes, though riding on these lanes, like the narrower streets, often means riding close to parked cars, presenting a significant hazard to cyclists from opening car doors.

Landmarks and notable places

The most prominent structures in Brunswick are the heritage-listed chimneys of Hoffmann's brickworks on Dawson St. At their base, one of the brick kilns has been preserved, though the remainder of this site has been redeveloped as medium-density attached housing and low-rise apartment blocks. Other landmark buildings are the many churches along Sydney Road, the Brunswick Tram Depot, and the large bluestone warehouses in Colebrook Street.

Of the newer structures, the four new buildings at the RMIT University campus on Dawson Street are of notable contemporary character, each having its own unique architectural style, with two buildings by noted Melbourne architect, John Wardle. The Brunswick Community Health Centre on Glenlyon Road, completed in the late 1980s, presents a collection of eclectic, differently coloured forms juxtaposed on a small site. It was designed by Melbourne architecture firm, Ashton Raggatt McDougall, who have since become internationally prominent.

Being one of Melbourne's oldest suburbs, Brunswick has a large number of places of heritage significance, in the form of individual buildings as well as urban conservation precincts covering entire streets or substantial parts of them.

ister cities

* Solarino, (Italy).
* Sparta, (Greece)

Brunswick has more Greeks of Lakonian origin than anywhere else in Australia. Fact|date=July 2007 The president of the Greek Community first suggested a sister city connection between Sparta and Brunswick in 1970. The sistership protocols were signed in 1987. A party comprising the Mayor of Sparta and eight dignitaries came to Brunswick for the official function in 1988, at which Talbot Street, (off Sydney Road, one block north of Victoria Street) was pedestrianised and renamed Sparta Place in recognition of the political and cultural link between the two places [Efstratiades, T. (1994), The Greeks in Brunswick, in Penrose, H. (Ed) Brunswick: One history, many voices, South Melbourne:Victoria Press, p.269] . In 2005, Sparta place was significantly remodelled.

See also

* City of Brunswick - The former local government area of which Brunswick was a part.
* Death in Brunswick - A 1991 film set in Brunswick, starring Sam Neill, Zoe Carides and John Clarke.
* [ 'Kick'] a 2007 television sitcom set in Brunswick


Note: Moreland Council demographic data - look for the page numbers in the text of the document (centre, bottom etc) as these are out of sync with the pdf page-numbering.

Further reading

* Barnes, Les (Ed)(1987) It Happened in Brunswick: 1837-1987, Brunswick: Brunswick Community History Group (ISBN 0-9587742-0-X)
* Brunswick Community History Group (2005) Brunswick Green: Historic Parks in Moreland, Brunswick: Brunswick Community History Group with Moreland City Council
* Brunswick Community History Group (1993) A Walk Along The Upfield Line, Brunswick: Brunswick Community History Group (No ISBN)
* Cunningham, L. and Burchell, L. (4th ed, 1999) Brunswick's Hotels, Brunswick: Brunswick Community History Group (No ISBN)
* Eckersall, K. (2006) The Pillars of Our Land: Brunswick Citizen Pioneers, Brunswick: Brunswick Community History Group (ISBN 0-9587742-9-3)
* Folk-Scolaro, F. (Ed)(2002) Faith of Our Fathers: Churches of Sydney Road, Brunswick, Brunswick: Brunswick Community History Group (ISBN 0-9587742-6-9)
* Himbury, A (2000) "As long as you could see the Hoffman's Chimneys you wasn't lost": Saving Brunswick's Brickworks, Brunswick: Save the Brickworks (ISBN 0-646-39234-4)
* Penrose, H (Ed)(1994) Brunswick: One History - Many Voices, Melbourne: Victoria Press (ISBN 0-724184538)

* - An account of a women's hydrotherapy group at the Brunswick Baths.

External links

*History and geography
** [,_victoria/ Australian Places - Brunswick]
** [ John Curtin and the Brunswick Football Club]

*Festivals, shopping and restaurants
** [ Sydney Road Brunswick Association] - Detailed information about festivals, shopping and restaurants in Brunswick and surrounding areas along Sydney Road.
** [ Brunswick Music Festival]

** [ Draft Brunswick Structure Plan]

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