Brunswick is a suburb found only 6 km north of Melbourne’s CBD. Its boundaries are Park St in the south, Lygon St and Holmes St in the east, Moreland Rd in the north and Grantham, Pearson and Shamrock Sts in the west. The suburb’s area is 5.km2 and it has a population of around 22,764. It is governed locally by the City of Moreland. Brunswick was named after King George IV’s wife, Caroline, Duchess of Brunswick.
Although originally occupied by the Wurundjeri people, white settlement of the area began in the 1830’s when the area was surveyed and boundaries marked out with a narrow road down the middle which eventually became the major thoroughfare Sydney Rd. The land was sold off but not settled until the the 1840’s. The Retreat Inn was established around the same time and Brunswick’s first Post Office opened in 1846. The gold rush era of the 1850’s saw the start of comercial enterprise in Brunswick, the first being a butcher shop on the corner of Albert St and Sydney Rd, as well as a tent market near present day Cumberland Arms Hotel selling provisions to travellers on their way to the goldfields near present day Essendon. One of the area’s first residents, Thomas Wilkinson, established the first newspaper in 1859 called The Brunswick Record for the 5000 local residents. The Brunswick Municipal Council was established in 1857 at the Cornish Arms Hotel which is still standing, and the imposing Brunswick Town Hall, also still standing, was built in 1876 on the corner of Dawson St and Sydney Rd.
The 1850’s saw the development of quarries and brickworks in Brunswick using local clay and bluestone. This became the largest industry in the area and, when the railway line commenced in 1884, it ran directly into Hoffmans Brickworks reflecting the importance of the brick making industry to the local community. In fact, up until World War 1 Brunswick was known as the “brickyard capital of Victoria” Today there is some evidence of the existence of these yards but most of them have long been converted to housing or parks. By 1908, Brunswick officially became a city. The quarrying industry declined and textile manufacturing took over as the main local industry offering employment to its then 10,000 people.
Essentially a working class suburb from its early days, Brunswick saw an influx of Southern European migrants after World War 2, particularly from Italy, Greece and Malta. These migrants helped shape the suburb of Brunswick and contributed to its multicultural feel. Many opened small business including fruit shops, cake stores, small grocery stores, restaurants and cafes. More recently migrants from Turkey and Islamic countries have arrived and continue to add to Brunswick’s cultural diversity. Despite the high number of residents born overseas, Brunswick’s residents include a number of young professionals and a substantial group of tertiary students, all who enjoy Brunswick’s eclectic ambiance.
The residents of Brunswick are fortunate to be very well served by public transport with 3 train stations on the Upfield line, (Jewell, Brunswick and Anstey) as well as several tram routes along Sydney Rd, Lygon St and Nicholson St. Destinations such as Melbourne University, Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne Zoo and the City CBD are an easy tram or train ride away. Cyclists have access to the Upfield Bike Path and many of Brunswick’s wider streets have cycle lanes.
Most of Brunswick’s shopping activity is along Sydney Rd with a substantial number of restaurants and also a growing bridal shop presence. Barkly Square is Brunswick’s major undercover shopping centre with a wide variety of supermarkets dotted along Sydney Rd.
- Residents of Brunswick have access to several schools in the area including:
- Brunswick North PS,
- Brunswick South PS
- Brunswick East PS
- St Joseph PS
- St Margaret Mary’s PS
- Brunswick Secondary College
- Sydney Rd Community School
There is also a campus of RMIT University focusing on textiles and printing in Dawson St.
Brunswick’s main open space includes Alex Gillon Oval, Raeburn Reserve, Brunswick Park Clifton Park and Gilpin Park which are bases for the suburb’s soccer, cricket, tennis and football clubs. Also dotted throughout Brunswick are smaller parks and reserves such as Temple Park and Randazzo Park. Other notable facilities include the Brunswick City Baths first opened in 1914. The Library and the Counihan Gallery are located in the Brunswick Town Hall. Being one of Melbourne’s oldest suburbs, Brunswick has a large number of heritage listed buildings and precincts such as the Hoffman Brickworks chimneys as well as several churches and buildings along Sydney Rd. Other significant structures include the Brunswick Tram Depot and the large bluestone warehouse in Colebrook St as well as the many hotels located on Sydney Rd including The Sarah Sands, The Cornish Arms, The Duke of Edinburgh Hotel and the Quarry Hotel. Brunswick holds several annual events including the Sydney Road Street Party in February and the Brunswick Music Festival held in March.
Moreland City Council: www.moreland.vic.gov.au