Brunswick East is a suburb 6 km north from Melbourne's
central business district. Its Local Government Area is the
City of Moreland. Bordered
generally by Lygon Street and Holmes Street in the west; the
Merri Creek in the east adjoining Northcote; Park Street,
Nicholson Street and Glenlyon Road in the south adjoining
Carlton North and Fitzroy North; and Moreland Road in the
north adjoining Coburg. Brunswick East is a mixed use
suburb, consisting of primarily residential and commercial
According to the 2006 Census just over 7,400 people were
living in Brunswick East. The suburb has a
higher proportion of people 18–34 years and a lower
proportion of children 0–17 years and older people over 70
years, than the Moreland average. While cultural diversity
is declining, just nearly one third of all citizens were
born overseas which is substantially higher than the
metropolitan average, although lower than the Moreland
average. Almost 40 per cent of citizens speak a language
other than English at home. Religious affiliation in
Brunswick East is declining with one of the highest rates of
no religious affiliation registered in the 2001 census in
the Moreland municipality. However the proportion of
Buddhists and Hindus is increasing slightly.
Brunswick East has a high proportion flats, units,
apartments or semi-detached, row, terrace or townhouses.
Separate houses make up just over half of all dwellings.
More than one in four households in Brunswick East are lone
person households and 14 per cent are group households,
which is higher than the Moreland and metropolitan averages.
There is also a high proportion of rental households, which
is significantly higher than the metropolitan and Moreland
Residents of Brunswick East tend to be highly educated with
28 per cent having a bachelor degree or higher, and over
half of all residents having completed Year 12 schooling,
significantly higher than the municipal and metropolitan
averages. A high proportion of professionals work in
Brunswick East, with declining numbers of labourers, trades,
production and transport workers. Income data from the 2001
census highlights that there are still pockets of
disadvantage in the suburb with almost half of the citizens
on weekly individual incomes of less than $400 per week with
10 per cent of citizens on incomes of less than $120 per
In 1839 under the instructions of Robert
Hoddle, chief surveyor, the area of Brunswick, including
East Brunswick, was surveyed. Big blocks were marked out of
1½ miles long by 1/4 mile wide. The blocks were bought
mostly by land speculators.
Bluestone quarrying was one of the first industries in
Brunswick East. By 1852 the local stone quarries had been
worked to the point of exhaustion.
Significant residential subdivision of the area took place
in the 1880s (Brunswick East Post Office opening on 13
January 1888) and also in the period after the World War
I. In 1916, the tram along Lygon Street was electrified,
making access much easier.
Brunswick’s first textile factory, Prestige Hosiery, opened
in 1922, and the suburb became the location of numerous
textile and garment factories. The textile industry has been
in substantial decline in the suburb since the 1980s with
the liberalisation and elimination of tariff controls by
successive Federal Governments.
During the 1990s redevelopment of commercial and industrial
property has taken place for medium and high density
housing, which has prompted concerns by local residents of
The area has traditionally been considered an
Australian Labor Party stronghold, although with recent
demographic changes the area has contributed to the election
of an Australian Greens Party Councillor to the Moreland
council in 2001, 2004 and again in 2008.
Commerce and culture
At the southern end of the
Brunswick East strip of Lygon Street there is an increasing
diversity of restaurants and cafes offering a variety of
cuisines including: Italian, Greek, Lebanese, Vietnamese,
Japanese, Indian, Thai, and Malaysian foods. This restaurant
strip is quite separate from the longer established "Little
Italy" strip of restaurants and street cafés further south
in Lygon Street, Carlton. At the northern end of the
Brunswick East strip of Lygon St is a neighbourhood strip
with a mixture of community, retail and entertainment
venues. Between the two, Lygon Street is predominantly light
industrial buildings undergoing a process of redevelopment
to mixed-use. The East Brunswick Club Hotel became popular
in the mid noughties as a music venue.
Community radio station 3RRR moved from Fitzroy to the
corner Blyth and Nicholson Streets in late 2004, opposite
another music venue, the Lomond Hotel. Although it has very
good tram access to the city, Nicholson Street is a mixture
of underutilised industrial properties and free-standing
houses on large blocks, with very little retailing or
commercial uses occurring.
Three tram lines service Brunswick East.
Tram route 1
travels from the terminus at Bell Street,
Coburg East to South Melbourne Beach (via Swanston Street &
Melbourne University). Catch it on Holmes street or Lygon
street in Brunswick East.
Tram route 8
travels from the terminus at Moreland
Road/Cameron Street to Toorak (Glenferrie Road) via Swanston
Street & Melbourne University. Catch it on Moreland Road,
Holmes Street or Lygon Street in Brunswick East. This was
previously the route 22 tram until it joined with route 8 on
17 October 2004. As far back as the 1950s, 60's and 70's, it
was known as route 15 and travelled to St. Kilda Beach.
Tram route 96
travels from East Brunswick (Blyth Street /
Nicholson Street) to St Kilda Beach (Acland Street) via
Bourke Street, Melbourne. Catch it on Nicholson Street in
Brunswick East. Some trams on this line (route number 94)
only travel from East Brunswick (Blyth Street / Nicholson
Street) to the Southbank Tram Depot (Normanby Road).
Several bus routes travel east-west through the suburb,
Essendon - East Brunswick via Brunswick West, Brunswick,
Bus service operating Monday to Saturday by Moonee Valley
Moonee Ponds - Westgarth via Brunswick West, Brunswick,
Fitzroy North, Northcote
Bus service operating Monday to Saturday by Moonee Valley
Moonee Ponds - Alphington via Brunswick West, Brunswick RS,
Bus service operating every day by Dyson's Bus Services
Essendon - Ivanhoe via Brunswick West, Moreland RS,
Bus service operating every day by Moreland Buslines
Cyclists have available many, on road cycle lanes as well as
easy access to the Merri Creek Trail along Merri Creek. On
the southern edge of the suburb the old Inner Circle railway
line is now a linear park which is a part of the Capital
City Trail for pedestrians and cyclists. This trail connects
the Merri Creek Trail to the Moonee Ponds Creek Trail in the
network of pedestrian and bicycle shared use paths for
Cycling in Melbourne.
A highlight of Brunswick East is the CERES
Community Environment Park.
A long-standing landmark of the northern half of Brunswick
East is the Brunswick East Primary School, Stewart Street,
first established in 1893, which still retains the original
bell tower construction and much of its overall core
structure, plus necessary additions over the decades.
The heritage-listed buildings at Brunswick South Primary
School on Brunswick Road are a local landmark.
Public open space
Houses in Brunswick east, looking towards Melbourne city
from Jones Park hillEast Brunswick has several parks and
reserves of varying size as well as the Merri Creek corridor
which is managed by a long-standing community group and has
a popular bike path connected to the main Yarra Trail. The
public open space forming part of the Merri Creek corridor
or directly accessible from it includes:
Allard Park (oval)
Sumner Park (small oval/soccer pitch)
Merri Creek Reserve
Within the built-up area of East Brunswick, public open
Fleming Park + Brunswick Bowling Club
Balfe Park (soccer pitch)
Brunswick East has two
government primary schools, Brunswick East PS and Brunswick
South PS, and a Catholic primary school, Our Lady Help of
Christians. CERES provides courses about environmental
Brunswick East is an area in
transition. Lygon St and parts of Nicholson St are its main
activity centres, with a mix of commercial, retail,
community and light industrial in the former, and a bias
towards light industrial and residential in the latter.
Rises in land values due to gentrification, have resulted in
many of the industrial uses vacating their buildings, which
have become attractive to developers of medium and
higher-density residential projects, often with a small
commercial or retail component. Many of these projects have
been contentious among the local community, the most notable
being a proposal for a 16-storey tower immediately to the
north of a Maternal and Child Health Centre.
such as the Brunswick Progress Association have been active
in anti-development campaigns, along with the local branch
of Save Our Suburbs, Brunswick Residents Against
Inappropriate Development. In 2006, Moreland City Council
commenced a consultative process to develop a Structure Plan
for the Brunswick Major Activity Centre, whose study area
incorporates Lygon St, Nicholson St and much of the
adjoining suburb of Brunswick.