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Brunswick East

About Our Area

Brunswick East


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 properties.


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 averages.

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 week.


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 inappropriate Development.


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, including:
  • 503

Essendon – East Brunswick via Brunswick West, Brunswick, Anstey RS

Bus service operating Monday to Saturday by Moonee Valley Bus Lines

  • 506

Moonee Ponds – Westgarth via Brunswick West, Brunswick, Fitzroy North, Northcote

Bus service operating Monday to Saturday by Moonee Valley Bus Lines

  • 508

Moonee Ponds – Alphington via Brunswick West, Brunswick RS, Northcote, Fairfield

Bus service operating every day by Dyson’s Bus Services

  • 508

Essendon – Ivanhoe via Brunswick West, Moreland RS, Thornbury, Fairfield

Bus service operating every day by Dyson’s Bus Services

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)
  • Anderson Reserve
  • Jones Park
  • Roberts Reserve
  • Brunswick Velodrome
  • Sumner Park (small oval/soccer pitch)
  • Merri Creek Reserve
Within the built-up area of East Brunswick, public open space includes:
  • Fleming Park + Brunswick Bowling Club
  • Methven Park
  • Fisher Reserve
  • Balfe Park (soccer pitch)
  • Douglas Reserve

Educational facilities

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 sustainability.

Development issues

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.

Local groups 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.