Brunswick Residents Network Newsletter, April 2022

Bunnings victory by residents analysed. “Why 30kph is the go”, highlights from our March forum. Plus our regular news on everything from planning to parks. Scroll down to read in clunky cut and paste formatting, or read in full original beauty here.





Bumper edition: a great community victory over Bunnings, but Gilpin Park hi-rise gets go-ahead. Why 30kph is the go. Time to get ready for elections, and lots of cultural events

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Brunswick Residents Network Newsletter,
April 2022







Why 30kph is the way to go

Lena Huda was our guest in a BRN lunchtime Zoom forum on 31 March, with discussion ably chaired by Brunswick resident Dan Ziffer. Lena is a co-founder of 30Please – a community campaign that’s campaigning for slower speeds in quiet residential streets across Australia. We were pleased to see the Moreland Mayor and councillors, the Council CEO, along with traffic and planning staff (and of course many residents) joining the session.

Moreland Council plans to trial 30kph zones, but have been required by the Department of Transport to firstly test their evaluation methods (they have recently been authorised to test the test!) 

Here is a summary of evidence presented by Lena Huda to our meeting, with a couple of her excellent explanatory pictures. 

30kph is the “sweet spot” for drivers and safety

  • 30kph does not change your travelling time greatly, compared to 50kph
  • At 30kph risk of death is greatly reduced, and lowering speeds has been shown to reduce injuries. 
  • As shown in the graphic above, 30kph is the optimal speed, balancing travel time for motorists with safety for all

It’s cheaper

  • Simply lowering speed limits can save Councils money, as traffic calming infrastructure like speed humps and chicanes may not be needed 
  • A constant low speed costs drivers less for fuel

Intelligent speed assistBack up 30kph with smart signage and emerging technology

  • Low speed zones can be reinforced by signage (not expensive) and signs displaying your car’s speed.
  • From this year, new cars in the EU must have “intelligent speed assist”, which sets the speed limit as the maximum speed (like an automatic cruise control) as shown in this picture. It costs just $93 per vehicle. 

Lower speeds are not so controversial
Although there are a lot of noisy objections to 30kph, most Australians support lowering speeds in neighbourhoods: only 13% don’t support this, according to a Heart Foundation study. 

Broader benefits:

  • Children’s “well being” scores are higher in 30kph countries (compared to countries with higher urban speed limits like Australia and the USA)
  • It facilitates tree planting, street gardens and outdoor dining
  • Where the average speed is low, crossings and separate paths for walking and riding may not be needed. 

Read, watch and listen:





Voting for Wills

In case you hadn’t noticed, the Federal elections will be held on Saturday 21 May. You have until Monday to enrol!

Sitting MP Peter Khalil of the Australian Labor Party will face off against a number of declared candidates for the seat of Wills:

  • Sarah Jefford (Australian Greens) 
  • Sue Bolton (Socialist Alliance) – currently a Moreland councillor
  • Emma Black (Victorian Socialists) 
  • Tom Wright (Liberal Party)
  • Michael El-Hallaja (United Australia Party)
  • Leah Horsfall (Animal Justice)  

For people living in the pocket of Brunswick East which is south of Glenlyon Road and east of Lygon Street, you have now been relocated from Wills to the federal seat of Melbourne, currently held by Greens leader Adam Bandt. Check out:

Have you turned 18 or moved house? If you are an Australian citizen aged 18 years or older, you are required to vote in the federal election. You must be correctly enrolled by 8pm on Monday 18 April 2022. If you are already enrolled but need to update your name or address, you can update your details online.
Climate Action Moreland, Neighbours United for Climate Action, and the Coburg Uniting Church are organising a climate-focused candidates’ forum for the seat of Wills. These events are always a good chance to check out the candidates, and see how well informed they are on local and policy issues.
WHAT: Wills Meet the Candidate Forum
WHEN: 7pm – 8.30pm Tuesday 26 April. 
WHERE: Coburg Uniting Church Hall, 19 Victoria Street, Coburg.
INFO: here  or see the Facebook event





Feature article:
VCAT rejects Bunnings project after massive community campaign

In a major win for community campaigning, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has refused a planning permit for a proposed Bunnings warehouse and timber yard at 145 Glenlyon Road, Brunswick. The Bunnings network is owned by Wesfarmers, one of Australia’s largest corporations, and the decision is a significant defeat for the conglomerate after a community campaign that mobilised hundreds of objections to the project.
The controversial proposal by Brunswick Investment Project Pty Ltd – the property developer for Bunnings – was to build a new store and trade timber business on a former industrial site, not far from the intersection of Lygon Street and Glenlyon Road, Brunswick. However this site is surrounded by apartment blocks and fronts major transport routes used by pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and buses. Vehicle access and exit was clearly going to be a nightmare.
Before public notification of the project in the middle of the 2020, Moreland Council staff had engaged with Bunnings for many months. It seems they failed to identify or challenge the weakness of the application – especially around many adverse impacts on neighbouring apartments and on traffic congestion. 
The developer’s initial traffic report, submitted as part of its proposal, massively understated the traffic generated by the development, as well as impacts on surrounding streets given the existing traffic conditions. Yet Council failed to require the developer to submit a proper traffic analysis. It was only after a massive community campaign and hundreds of objections, along with residents exposing the significant errors in the traffic report, that Moreland Council fully came on board, with councillors voting to reject the permit application. 
Bunnings then appealed to VCAT and Moreland Council hired a barrister to contribute to the case before the planning tribunal. The lengthy hearing in April–June 2021 ran over time, requiring a further hearing day in July. The hearings involved duelling barristers, testimony from numerous planning and traffic experts, site visits by the two VCAT members, but also strong interventions from local residents and their planning advocate, who highlighted the many flaws in the proposal. 
Even after 12 days of formal hearings, the case continued with a dispute on a point of law (whether the development could be refused on the basis of oversupply of carparking – a separate ruling from the highest VCAT member on 12 October said No!). The VCAT members also called for further submissions in December 2021 after the passage of Amendment VC204 to the Victorian Planning Provisions (see our report in the January 2022 BRN newsletter on the importance of these crucial amendments for safety and sustainability in urban transport). Then we waited, and waited, and waited for the result.
As VCAT finally rejected the permit application on 8 April, they said: “The applicant submits their objective is to provide a ‘Brunswick Bunnings’ rather than a Bunnings located in Brunswick. . . . Unfortunately, this proposal has failed to achieve this outcome in an acceptable manner when all relevant policies are balanced in favour of sustainable development and net community benefit.”
Against Moreland Council’s perspective that the decision would be made on a couple of core issues, resident objections covered many grounds. The case before VCAT ranged over a number of issues, including: the size and scale of the building; the height of the facade and roof; the acceptability of Bunnings signage and colour scheme in the neighbourhood; the number of car and bicycle parking spaces within the site; possible noise from the timber yard; overshadowing of neighbouring properties; and the impact of vehicles entering and leaving the site (not only for Glenlyon Road and the Pitt Street exit but for traffic in surrounding streets). 
The lengthy VCAT ruling centred on a number of concerns:

  • “The physical and policy context relevant to this site and this proposal for a Bunnings store and trade supplies in this location;
  • “The acceptability of the design response having regard to DDO19 [development design overlay] and urban design and built form policy; 
  • “The acceptability of the social impacts including whether there is a significant social impact associated with this proposal;
  • “The acceptability of the amenity impacts to the abutting residentially zoned or residentially used properties; and 
  • “The acceptability of the access arrangements and the impacts associated with the traffic generation.”

In their ruling, VCAT accepted that “in general terms, the overall proportions of the building including the height of the façade and the roof form behind are acceptable.” However, they highlighted a range of other concerns about the signage, street frontage and entry points, saying that “the question for us is whether in combination these features and this refinement provides an acceptable response to this activity centre context. We have come to the conclusion they do not.” 
People living in neighbouring apartments had objected about loss of light and amenity, noise from trucks exiting the warehouse and timber yard or overshadowing and overlooking of their property. Some, but not all, of these objections were accepted by the tribunal. If the project had proceeded, there would have been significant negative impacts for some nearby apartment dwellers.
From the beginning, Brunswick Residents Network (BRN) joined with local residents from adjoining properties and community groups like the Moreland Bicycle Users Group to oppose the proposal. BRN’s original objection to Council and later submissions to VCAT highlighted the problems of traffic congestion related to the project. During the lengthy VCAT hearings, there was extensive debate about whether vehicles entering and exiting the property would disadvantage pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users and undercut the transport hierarchy advocated by Council through the Moreland Integrated Transport Strategy (MITS).
A crucial VCAT finding was that “Planning policy specifically encourages modal shift in transport, and this will not occur without encouragement of sustainable transport alternatives and design details that seek to protect and enhance existing alternative transport modes. . . . This proposal does not strike an acceptable balance in its encouragement of sustainable transport modes.”
From the beginning, it was scandalous that Moreland Council and Bunnings did not properly interrogate the original transport report submitted by consultants in 2020. This report foolishly suggested that “the additional traffic generated by the proposed Bunnings Warehouse will have no impact on the road network and any queueing that occurs is relatively short in length.” 
After residents exposed the gross inadequacy of this report, Moreland Council was forced to commission its own peer review. This review concluded that “the traffic modelling presented by the applicant is deficient and unsatisfactory in a number of critical aspects, to the extent that Council should take little confidence in the conclusions reached.” The nonsense of the first report was further undercut by testimony and questioning throughout the VCAT hearing.

To bolster their case, Bunnings was forced to hire two more traffic experts (both very experienced consultants who had testified about previous Bunnings applications). Residents also raised money to hire traffic expert Jason Sellars, who had been involved in applications for Masters big box hardware stores and provided crucial testimony about the transport impacts. 
The case exposed, however, that residents are real life experts on the traffic flows in our neighbourhood! From the start, it was clearly ridiculous to locate a major warehouse and timber yard so close to the intersection of Lygon Street and Glenlyon Road. The proposed exit for trade and timber vehicles via Pitt Street would have funnelled heavy vehicles across both Lygon Street tramlines. Entry/exit of customer vehicles on Glenlyon Road, so near to the Lygon Street intersection, would disrupt safe movement on a road with a bus route, cycle lane, major pedestrian traffic and lots of turning trucks and cars. 
Despite hours of contrary testimony by highly paid consultants, it was clear to residents that this was a potential traffic nightmare. VCAT’s ruling diplomatically agreed with our multiple, forceful submissions:
“We are persuaded by all of the material before us . . . that this location is sensitive to the impacts of traffic congestion. Whilst this intersection may have similarities to other inner-city intersections, we are not persuaded this site’s interface with Glenlyon Road is ‘typical’. It accommodates pedestrian traffic on the footpath, bicycle traffic, a public transport bus route, and private vehicle traffic that regularly has queues in peak hours extending past this site.”
“The impacts upon the saturation of the intersection, increased queue lengths, delays in public transport service times, and the need for changes to existing road conditions including keep clear space, loss of on-street parking, potential impacts on the design and safety of cycle lanes, the type of additional traffic ranging from private cars to heavy rigid vehicles, the access points for all of these vehicles – all in combination fail to contribute to the advancement of the transport policies, particular the sustainable transport policies.”
During the hearing, BRN members also highlighted the likelihood that customers would rat run through local streets to get to the store, rather than be stuck in traffic on Lygon Street and Sydney Road. We’re really pleased that VCAT recognised “there has been limited to no analysis of the anticipated traffic impacts upon local streets” by Bunnings’ traffic experts. The decision also accepted our evidence on the role of GPS satellite navigation apps, which increase the re-routing of traffic through quiet residential streets. 
The VCAT members also rejected Bunnings submission that Amendment VC204 and changes to the Victorian Planning Provisions were irrelevant to the case, ruling: “We are not persuaded of this and prefer the submissions of the Council and community members. . . . The strategy about designing development to promote walking, cycling, public transport and to minimise car dependency is clear and unambiguous about where development priorities regarding transport (including traffic) should focus.” They added: “In circumstances where there are other policies seeking street activation and prioritising street space for public transport, cycling and pedestrian use, we are not persuaded this proposal strikes the right balance.”
Bunnings’s barrister also submitted that VCAT should not outright refuse a single planning application because of traffic issues, “particularly as an inevitable consequence of 
consolidation is traffic.” VCAT rejected this submission, claiming they retain the discretion to consider impacts associated with traffic generation (no small matter in Brunswick, where major projects often have adverse traffic impacts!). Rejecting Bunnings’ submission, VCAT noted: “We agree in general terms, however that does not mean that refusal on such grounds will never be appropriate. Rather, it depends upon the merits of the particular proposal, in light of the relevant facts and circumstances of the site and its surrounds and the relevant planning policies and controls” (emphasis added).
Beyond the formal legal battle at VCAT, this wonderful outcome is the result of inspiring community organising. Local resident groups joined with people from adjoining properties directly affected by the proposal, as well as cyclists and public transport activists, and local disability activists living in nearby residential housing. Despite being represented by a Senior Counsel and a supporting junior barrister, Bunnings could not compete with the wealth of expertise and the detailed evidence gathered and presented by the residents.
The work of the ‘Stop Bunnings Glenlyon’ campaign provides a model for community action on other major projects. It coordinated community objections, educated residents about the planning system and lobbied Moreland councillors (we thank our South Ward councillors, who eventually recognised the folly of this project, joining other Moreland councillors to reject it). 
One terrible imbalance of our broken planning system is the cost to residents in challenging inappropriate development. A big effort was required to raise funds to hire planning expert Stephen Rowley and transport expert Jason Sellars to present objections before VCAT (we thank them for their commitment, especially as the days of hearings were repeatedly extended). 
Andrea Bunting, who lives in a neighbouring property, played a vital, courageous role in coordinating the campaign. On the night the project was rejected, neighbour Jill Stark complemented her passion and commitment: “You always said we would win, Andrea, and I never truly believed it, because the big guys always tend to steamroller the community. But this just proves that not only were you right, but we mobilised a grassroots campaign so convincing that it couldn’t be ignored. What a day!”
Now is the time for celebration, but also for further discussion about what sort of redevelopment would be suitable for this prime location. This community victory also provides the opportunity to engage with Moreland councillors and Council planning staff, to share lessons from the Bunnings campaign and discuss how we can better protect our neighbourhood from inappropriate projects. It’s also sparked wide discussion both locally and in mainstream media. 





The Inner North report

The Inner North Community Foundation has just published their second Inner North Report, identifying our top community priorities as addressing poverty, homelessness, housing, mental health care and violence against women.

The first Inner North report, providing a snapshot of our communities, was launched in May 2021, with the new report on priorities in March 2022.  

The Foundation has funded community initiatives across 30 suburbs in the municipalities of Darebin, Moreland and Yarra. A new grants round will be held in April 2022 to fund projects that respond to community priorities. To find out more, please contact Ben Rodgers, EO of the Foundation at or phone: (03) 8689 1967





John Street fire appeal

John Street after fireLast Thursday around 1pm, a major fire razed the Alpha Trading Wholesale warehouse in East Brunswick. A new block of nine townhouses next door at 47 John Street (on right of this picture) caught fire and will probably need to be at least partly demolished. Residents who were at home got out just in time.

  • A Go Fund Me appeal for tenants has been set up by property managers Raine and Horne (one of their staff was a tenant):
  • This appeal has sparked a lively discussion, which you can read about, along with alarming pictures and description of the fire:





Planning news: wins and losses

Despite the good news about Bunnings, there’s mixed results for other projects that have been reviewed by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). 

Gilpin Park woes . . .

VCAT has ignored the formal objections of more than 1,400 residents and our elected Councillors to approve a permit for Mirvac’s 11-storey project at 395–411 Albert Street, Brunswick – a project that will loom over and divide Clifton and Gilpin Parks! 

VCAT has decided that Mirvac can go ahead and build its ‘future vision’ of 500 Build-to-Rent apartments, subject to a few minor changes internally within the property (lowering the current building gap in building 2 to enable more light into their interior courtyard, and changing the sizes of some units).
It’s a blow for the community campaign “Scale it Down”, which organised local residents and park users to seek reductions in the scale and bulk of Mirvac’s build to rent apartments. As they lament, “VCAT has decided that any impact of the development on the Brunswick Central Parklands and the residents and others who visit is irrelevant!”
A second VCAT decision about another nearby nine-storey development, proposed by Stockland for 429 Albert Street, is still pending.
Community donations to the “Scale it Down” VCAT fighting fund were used to ensure formal joint objections from 370 community members were presented in the VCAT Hearing for each of the two proposed Albert St developments. These objections were prepared by contracted town planning consultants.
Before the hearings began, almost 1,400 people signed a petition that objected to both developments and sought a four-storey limit on future developments within the immediate vicinity of Brunswick Parklands. In addition almost 500 community members completed a survey of how they used the parks. The petition and the survey information provided valuable evidence in arguing community concerns at both VCAT Hearings. 
The project had been taken out of the hands of Moreland Council by the State government. VCAT acknowledged that if Council had remained as the responsible authorising authority, “it would have refused permission on five grounds that raised several built form, height and massing considerations, together with amenity and policy matters. They strongly object to the proposed scale of the development and question the interpretation of some aspects of the strategic planning framework including whether this proposal is consistent with the meaning of quality medium density housing and mid-rise development. Concerns are also expressed about the appropriateness of the proposal in terms of the level of change this proposal will bring to the character of the locality.” 

. . . but Victoria Street glows

Last year, Moreland Council refused a planning permit for the construction of a six-storey building with 15 dwellings, office and car parking on land at 262 Victoria Street, Brunswick (on the corner of Victoria and Beith streets). The current building on the site is a single storey weatherboard house, so the project would have moved multi-storey construction further east of Sydney Road, directly opposite more single-storey housing.
The developers took the case on appeal to VCAT, but Council maintained its opposition to the grant of a permit, referring to the project’s overall height, the street wall height, setbacks and interface with the public realm. The picture shows what they are referring to! There were almost 100 comments, most critical but some loving it, when we posted this on our Facebook page in March 2021. Victoria street proposal

VCAT acknowledged that “the proposed redevelopment to replace a single dwelling with a multi-level, mixed-use building is acceptable within the context of a major activity centre where significant change is envisaged and sought by the Planning Scheme.” 
However after assessing the design, the VCAT member said: “I have concluded that the Council’s decision should be affirmed and a permit for the proposed development should not be granted. In particular, I have not been persuaded that the proposed presentation to Victoria Street [at the rear of the site], as a combination of the street wall height, the upper-level setbacks and the overall height is acceptable when assessed against the provisions of DDO18.” 

Brunswick Market on the market

The Brunswick Market in Sydney Road has been put up for sale for the second time in two years, with the sale price expected to push towards $20 million.
Brunswick Voice reports that “the joint owners of the 3000 square metre site are selling to concentrate on other ventures. The site, which was once owned by convicted drug kingpin Tony Mokbel, was bought by a joint venture of Canberra property developer Molonglo Group and the founder of the Aesop skin business, Dennis Paphitas, for $17 million in 2020.” 

Our December 2020 newsletter reported on the Molonglo Group’s original plans for the re-development, so it’s back to the drawing board for a new developer.





Traffic and transport


Disability access for our trams

Tram demoOn 24 March, disability activists and supporters blocked trams on Sydney Road as part of a campaign to improve accessibility to public transport. 
People living with disabilities are angry there are no accessible tram stops on Sydney Road, along a 5 kilometre stretch between Brunswick Road and Bakers Road in Coburg North. This puts the Brunswick and Coburg shopping strips out of reach for people in wheelchairs or mobility devices and often makes it difficult for parents with children in prams, or the elderly with heavy shopping trolleys. On Lygon Street, there are no accessible stops north of Elgin Street for routes 1 and 6. 
The Disability Resources Centre is campaigning for better infrastructure, along with a fully staffed, properly trained and supportive system. By sending an email to your local MP today, you can demonstrate to the Victorian government that they must invest in a public transport system that works for everyone and implement the Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002

Tram protesters take their action to the streets, Brunswick Voice, 24 March 2022

Traffic next door

Neighbouring council, the City of Yarra, has released a new transport strategy for discussion, with a long term vision of “a transport system that is innovative, efficient, sustainable and accessible.”
The “Moving Forward” strategy contains 15 individual policies that will be of interest for people in Brunswick grappling with the challenges of moving about the inner-north, and improving conditions for pedestrians, cyclists, public transport users and motorists. 

Stupid headline of the month 

Bike meme 

Our prize for stupid headline of the month goes to the Herald Sun: “CBD bike lanes leave motorists marginalised.” 
Their article argues that new protected bike lanes in the City of Melbourne have raised concerns that “motorists are petrified to come into the city because it’s crawling with bicycles.” To which we respond, toughen up, snowflake!
As we’ve seen with the Kent Road bike lanes in the north of Moreland, there can be fierce backlash when Council’s introduce infrastructure to protect cyclists. But Moreland councillors should take heart. When it comes to new bike lane proposals, there’s plenty of examples around Melbourne (Albert Street, Wellington Street, Latrobe Street and more) that show this sort of ‘bikelash’ – amplified by mainstream media – is inevitable, but generally not very permanent or effective. 

Similar evidence is available overseas. A Canadian study of social media commentary on newly installed bike lanes in Victoria, British Columbia, found “attitudes associated with change in bicycling infrastructure may have a cycle, with initial negative responses to change, followed by an uptick in positive attitudes.”





Open Space 


Climate risks in Moreland

At the Moreland Council meeting on Wednesday 13 April, councillors will decide on adopting the draft Climate Risk Strategy, before releasing it for “community and stakeholder engagement.”
A 2019 audit found that Council was in the early stages of climate risk and resilience planning and recommended that climate adaptation controls be strengthened. Now there will be an opportunity to comment on the new draft strategy throughout May and June, before a revised version will be presented for adoption at the November 2022 Council Meeting.

Share your ideas for Merri Creek

For people who love the environs of Merri Creek, there will be an in-person workshop on 10 May, looking at the future of the Creek and its surrounds. Bring along your ideas for the future of Merri Merri as a healthy and safe waterway, with community collaborations flourishing up, down and around the local waterway. 

WHAT: Merri Merri Wayi – in person workshop
WHEN: 10 May 2022 from 9AM-1.00PM
WHERE: CERES Community Environment Park

Playing at Garrong Park

After lots of discussion last year, Moreland Council is moving ahead to upgrade the play equipment in Garrong Park in Tinning Street, Brunswick.
The play equipment has now been ordered and installation should begin in May 2022.

Upgrade to Melville Shopping Strip

Council is improving areas along the Melville Moreland Shopping Strip, Brunswick West, aiming to revitalise the shopping strip and improve pedestrian amenity, walkability, safety and street presentation.
Stage 1 of the project is completed, with Stage 2 wrapping up and stage 3 on the cards soon. 
Mind the temporary bollards! The works is expected to be completed by June 2022 and all the landscaping works, including low-level plants and trees will be done at the end of the project. 





Culture corner


See local comedian Ben Lomas, with Brunswickians’ discount


Reliably funny Brunswick resident Ben Lomas is back with two extra Saturday shows for his comedy festival hit ‘Any Questions?’ – all new material, bigger laughs and now in a bigger room. This year, he tells us about his 2021 hospital experiences. In an exclusive offer to his fellow Brunswick residents, use the code ‘Brunswick’ for a 20% discount (This is our first ever discount, everyone). There are at least two Brunswick jokes.

Sean Choolburra 

Surrounded by bored children (aged 4-12) during the school holidays? Bring them along (with an accompanying adult) to Brunswick Town Hall on Tuesday 19 April, for an indigenous cultural performance by Sean Choolburra (stand-up comedian and voice of Maynard in Bluey!). 
It’s an hour of dancing, stories, didgeridoo and more as he teaches the crowd about Indigenous culture and history. Please book for all attendees to secure your spots. This event is subject to Covid-19 restrictions and recommendations.
WHAT: Sean Choolburra – Indigenous cultural performance for kids
WHEN: Tuesday 19 April 2022, 10:30am – 11:30am
WHERE: Brunswick Town Hall, 233 Sydney Road, Brunswick.
BOOKINGS: Free but essential! Here

Murals and walls

Through the RenuWall Mural program, Moreland Council is supporting local artists to create street art and murals across the municipality. If you’re near the Nicholson Street/Brunswick Road intersection, keep an eye out for the work by artist Abbey Rich. 

MoreArt on the Upfield shared path

There’s still a couple of weeks to check out the art work of The Last Collective on the Upfield shared path from Moreland to Coburg stations, until 29 April. Their work is part of Moreland’s public art festival, MoreArt, with this year’s theme “Evidence of Life: MoreArt 2022”.
As well as exhibiting a changing suite of photographic paste ups along the Upfield path, the LAST Collective will also present improvised performances and activations between Moreland and Coburg Stations on Saturday 23 April, between 12-4pm. Get out your trundlie!

Iran in Brunswick

The Counihan Gallery (located at the Brunswick Town Hall, entrance off Lygon Street) is hosting two new exhibitions throughout April and May that relate to the Iranian diaspora. Yeki Bood, Yeki Nabood is a solo exhibition by Hootan Heydari which evokes memories of his life in Tehran before the Islamic revolution in 1979. The Sky After Rain shares the stories of three queer members of the Iranian diaspora: Payam, Shyla, and Shaya. Their stories are told through a combination of interviews, spoken word poetry, moving images, sound design and dance.
WHAT: Yeki Bood, Yeki Nabood / The Sky After Rain
WHEN: April 2 to May 29
WHERE: Counihan Gallery, 233 Sydney Road (inside Brunswick Town Hall)
INFO: Check the Counihan website

Become a Brunswick Rogue

The Brunswick Rogues is a friendly community choir run by Emily Hayes. All welcome, no auditions. Meets Tuesdays in term time at 7pm to sing a variety of songs in parts. We gather in the garden or (for winter) the meeting room at Foundation House in Gardiner Street. For details including fees, dates, or to come to a “taster” session, contact 





History time

Glimpses of Brunswick before the Invasion

The Brunswick Community History Group will host a discussion with Dr. Cheryl Griffin on 7 May, who will discuss her research on William Thomas and pre-colonial culture in Bulleke-bek (Brunswick). Working for George Augustus Robinson, Thomas was the Assistant Protector of Aborigines in the 1840s, and lived in Brunswick.  Both had a deep interest in indigenous culture and language and their recording of words and stories are a major reason why these have survived as well as they have.
WHAT: Glimpses of Brunswick before the Invasion
WHEN:  Saturday 7 May, 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
WHERE: Siteworks, 33 Saxon Street, Brunswick, Victoria 3056
INFO: Brunswick Community History Group: Phone: 0407050870 or Email:

Frame by Frame: a History of Brunswick’s Picture Theatres

In the BRN newsletter of July 2021, we published a feature on the glory days of movies in Brunswick, looking at historic cinemas around our suburb. If you’d like more information on these grand old picture palaces, have a look at Laurie Cunningham’s wonderful 1995 book: “Frame by Frame: a History of Brunswick’s Picture Theatres.”
This book, and lots of publications by this great local historian, can be purchased at the Brunswick Library or through the Brunswick Community History Group website:





Welcome Cr Harte

Congratulations to new Moreland City Councillor Monica Harte! The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) conducted a countback of votes for the extraordinary vacancy in Moreland’s North West Ward, created by the resignation of Councillor Milad El-Halabi on 10 February. In the counback, Monica was declared elected to Moreland Council (See our April BRN newsletter for a summary of the history of the Moreland vote-rigging scandal that led to the countback.) 
Monica Harte is a long-term Brunswick resident and supporter of our network. She’s most recently worked in emergency housing, and in the past as a tram driver. She stood for Council as a supporter of Councillor Sue Bolton. 
For the intricacies of the count-back, see

VCAT are still considering the broader question of whether the 2020 election for the North West Ward was fair, including whether there should be a fresh election for that ward. This system (with VEC authorities required to declare the election – even with evidence of improper behaviour – and referring the question to VCAT) has not served us well in this instance. 





Moreland Council stuff

Regular Council meetings – held on the 2nd Wednesday of each month –  are normally held at: Council Chamber, Moreland Civic Centre, 90 Bell Street, Coburg.

Future dates are:

  • 13 April
  • 11 May
  • 8 June
  • 13 July
  • 10 August
  • 14 September
  • 12 October
  • 9 November
  • 29 November – Mayoral Election (Tuesday)
  • 7 December.

Meeting details are available on the Council website
Council meetings can be watched online, either live, or later – you can find details here along with the agenda for the next Council meeting when it’s posted on the Friday before the monthly meeting. You can register there to receive an alert when the agenda is posted. 





Email us!

Please note our email address: And write to tell us what you think of the newsletter. We love feedback. 

If you are able to offer some time to volunteer to help organise our campaigns, and support our work, please get in contact. Our work includes organising meetings, leafleting and letter boxing, graphic design and publicity, and research; on planning, greening Brunswick and traffic management.

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Contacts for our local councillors

Mark Riley (Deputy Mayor)
Mobile: 0499 807044

Lambros Tapinos
Mobile: 0433 419 075

James Conlan 
Mobile: 0409 279 335






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Election commentary authorised by N. Maclellan, c/- 135 Albert Street, Brunswick, Victoria 3056.






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