Brunswick East

Brunswick East is an inner-urban suburb 6 km north of Melbourne. It lies between Lygon Street and the Merri Creek, and adjoins Carlton North and Fitzroy North at its southern border.

Brunswick East is within 900 metres of Sydney Road which formed the spine of Brunswick when it was first settled. An early industry in Brunswick East was bluestone quarrying, and there were numerous farms. In 1882 land subdivision centered on Evans Street was released for residential purposes.

The swampiness of some of the land was modified by drainage works, and a primary school near Lygon Street (named Brunswick South), was opened in 1886. Another subdivisional sale at the northern end of Lygon Street occurred in 1887, and another school opened in 1888, and the East Brunswick Omnibus Company began its horse bus service along Lygon Street the next year.

Lygon Street became a successful shopping strip, wider than Sydney road, and retaining its period character one-hundred years later.

An old stone quarry was filled in and became Fleming Park, the home of the East Brunswick cricket and football clubs (1919). In 1916 the tram along Lygon Street was electrified, putting the site of Brunswick’s first textile factory, Prestige Hosiery (1922), within easier reach of its workforce. A returned servicemen’s housing area was begun in 1923, identifiable by the Maori Street names, probably in acknowledgment of the Anzac War tradition.

There are eight neighbourhood parks and reserves in Brunswick East, with another being formed over the former Brunswick tip. Next to the Merri Creek is the Brunswick Velodrome, and in the 1980s the Council began its support of CERES, a site for low-energy demonstrations and sustainable ecology, also near the creek.

Another tram service, along Nicholson Street, was opened in 1956.

Brunswick East has a primary school (1893), and the Brunswick East Secondary College, which closed in 1992, was actually in Brunswick.

Brunswick West

Brunswick West is a residential suburb 6 km. north of Melbourne. It lies between the Moonee Ponds Creek and central Brunswick with the Royal Park lands at its southern border.

It was the last area to be settled residentially in the former Brunswick municipality, being somewhat remote from north-south public transport services. Settlement in fact predated the opening of the Melville Road tram line in 1925-7. The area’s first primary school, west of Hoffman’s brickyard, opened in 1888.

An early, although unsuccessful, residential subdivision was in the north-west, at the Hopetoun Estate in 1892. Ten years later the area came under a State Government Closer Settlement Scheme, attracting about 200 residents. It was named Moonee Vale. The south-west was more attractive, being closer to Melbourne and less flood prone. Subdivision lots were larger than in Brunswick central and Brunswick East, and the predominant house design was the Californian bungalow.

Little or no shopping was developed apart from two small areas along the Melville Road tram route (1926). Schools, however,were plentiful: Brunswick North, originally Moonee Vale (1925), Brunswick South West (1927) and Brunswick North West (1929).

The last area to be subdivided into its present allotments was the Closer Settlement area at Moonee Vale, during the 1940s and early 1950s. Cream bricks and flats dot the postwar landscape.

Brunswick West has an array of linear parks along the Moonee Ponds Creek, but some of them must be reached by crossing the Tullamarine Freeway along the creek valley. There are two small reserves along an unused railway reservation and the large Dunstan Park with ovals.

Brunswick West has higher median house prices than the easterly parts. The prices have also risen faster than the metropolitan average, reflecting the suburb’s gentrification during the late 1980s and the 1990s. In 1987 Brunswick West’s median house price was a shade under metropolitan Melbourne’s, and in 1996 it was 144%.

Further Reading:

  • Blake, Alison M.T., (ed.), “Three ConservationStudies in Brunswick”, Footscray Institute of Technology, 1989.

Carlton North

Carlton North is a residential suburb 4km. north of Melbourne. Its southern boundary is Princes Street/CemeteryRoad. On its west is Princes Park, next to which is the Melbourne General Cemetery.

In 1853 both the Melbourne General Cemetery and a penal stockade came to Carlton North. Melbourne’s first cemetery at the Flagstaff Gardens was over-full by 1849, and a 8 ha. site was laid out to the north. By 1853 the very obvious increase in population persuaded the Government to also close Melbourne’s second cemetery (now the Queen Victoria Market site), to all except those claiming a grave or vault there. The 8 ha. site in Carlton North was doubled and the resulting MelbourneGeneral Cemetery was laid out by the Government Botanist, Ferdinand von Mueller.

The stockade (called the Collingwood Stockade, as Carlton was not named in 1853), was opened beside a bluestone quarry. These sites are now the Lee Street primary school and the Canning Street neighbourhood reserve respectively. Carlton North’s geological structure fortunately had the basaltic land ending just east of the cemetery, which is on mudstone or sandstone.

Carlton (south of Grattan Street) was subdivided and the stockade madean asylum for the next seven years.

Carlton North was subdivided in 1869 between Princes and Fenwick Streets.The final subdivision was at Princes Hill, north of the cemetery, in 1876-9.The settlement was almost all residential, brick, and much of it two storeyedor terraced. The standard was a step up from many of the timber cottagesin Carlton. Around the north of the suburb some of the architecture wasFederation period and Californian bungalows.

Public transport provided three north-south tram services: NicholsonStreet (1887), Rathdowne Street (1889-1936) and Lygon Street (1916). Therewas also an east-west train service at the very north – the Inner Circle(1888-1948). Shopping strips in Carlton North reflect the tram routes, thestrongest areas being in Rathdowne and Nicholson Streets.

Carlton North’s first primary school was opened on the Lee Street asylumsite in 1873. The present building (1877) is on the Victorian Heritage Register.The Princes Hill primary school was opened in 1959.

At its border near Carlton, Carlton North became involved in the HousingCommission’s slum reclamation program when the Lee Street block was proclaimedin 1968. The block was near Princes Street, also threatened with becominga conduit for traffic off the Eastern Freeway. In 1969 Princes Hill residentsparticipated in the formation of the Carlton Association, soon to becomean influential body for changing Government and Council policies. The Commission’sLee Street proposal was stopped and the Association went on to influencetraffic-restraint programs brought in by the Council.

The extremely successful gentrification of Carlton North led a newspapercolumnist to observe in 1992 –

On North Carlton’s gracious streets the student’s bicycles viefor footpath supremacy with well-dressed thirty-something mothers. Pushingtheir pricey strollers, their offspring dressed in Osh-Kosh, these womenhead out of their heritage-coloured terraces en route for banana and gingercake at Cafe Paragon . .

Princes Park is west of Carlton North. It was tentatively reserved as parkland in 1844, permanently reserved in 1854, and the Melbourne council was made one of its joint trustees in 1873. In 1897 the Carlton FootballClub gained permissive occupancy of an oval as its home ground. The Councilbecame the park’s Committee of Management in 1917 and under a special Actleased the oval to the Club in 1966. The oval later became a home groundfor the Hawthorn Football Club, which was replaced by the Footscray FootballClub. In 1993 the oval was named Optus Oval, arising from a sponsorshipdeal. Enlargement of the oval’s capacity and car parking in the park havecaused some friction with local residents.

The Inner Circle railway line ran across the top of Carlton North. Therailway stations lay unmanned after 1948, until the goods line was lastin used in 1980. In 1983 the Carlton North railway station was made a communitycentre and a linear park created along the former train line. The open spacewas contested when the State Labor Government built housing on it in 1992,the Government being opposed by an alliance between residents and left-wingunionists. Ultimately a number of units were built, several on railwaysland that had been commercially leased.

The median house price in Carlton North in 1987 was 38% above the medianfor metropolitan Melbourne and in 1996 it was 85% above the metropolitanmedian.

Carlton North had a census population of7,977 persons in 1986. Over 25% had a degree or higher qualification.

Further Reading: