Brunswick Residents Network Newsletter, September 2022

Meet local candidates and discuss issues in State elections at Brunswick forums. Check out our submission on neighbourhood design guidelines. Plus our regular round-up of news on transport, planning, and parks; and history, art and culture events. Scroll down to read in clunky format. Check out this and past issues and subscribe, at Mailchimp:

Pre-election politics, building height challenges, hot issues, and lots of local culture

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Brunswick Residents Network Newsletter,
September 2022




BRN Election Forum with Brunswick candidates

After the Victorian elections in November, who will represent the state seat of Brunswick in the State Parliament?

Come along to meet, greet and quiz the candidates bidding for election, including sitting member Tim Read MLA (Greens), Mike Williams (ALP), Nahui Jiminez (Victorian Socialists), and others who may nominate in coming weeks.

More details in next month’s BRN newsletter, but put the date in your diary today!

WHAT: BRN Brunswick election forum
WHEN: Thursday 20 October, 7pm – 8.30pm
WHERE: Brunswick Uniting Church, 214 Sydney Road
INFO: Nancy on 0490 182041

Plus: Pre-election Zoom forum on hot planning issues 

BRN is also preparing a pre-election information session on planning issues, in particular regarding threats to resident rights of notification, appeal and review, and community input on planning applications.  We’re hoping to have a prominent planning expert to speak to you, in early October. Watch our FaceBook page and look out for an email announcement in coming weeks.



Jane Garrett farewelled

BRN was represented at the State memorial service for former MLA for Brunswick, Jane Garrett, who died from cancer on 2 July at age 49. The ceremony, on 2 September at Brunswick Town Hall, included tributes from former State Premier Steve Bracks, Sharon Knight and former Rail, Tram and Bus Union secretary Luba Grigorovich.

Jane represented the state seat of Brunswick from 2012 to 2018. Early in her term she and her office staff supported the work of Brunswick Residents Network and local residents groups, in particular around issues of traffic management and safe transport.

Jane’s early support for Brunswick East residents who were campaigning for slower speeds around the Nicholson Street “bends” kicked off a long campaign, which this year resulted in some effective treatments. She also helped BRN distribute our 2013 traffic survey to document local views on traffic hazards and solutions.

After a lot of community anger, she took strongly expressed resident concerns about the East West Link back to the state government, which eventually ditched the flawed project (see book notice, below).

Condolences to Jane’s family and friends. She is survived by children, Molly, Sasha, and Max, and her husband, James.



Planning policy

Council knocks back too-tall projects in Lygon Street

Last month, Moreland Councillors voted to refuse a planning permit for a major project proposed for 251 Lygon Street. The application is now set to go before VCAT on 22 November, with the developer seeking to overturn the Council decision.

Under Planning Application MPS/2022/4, Pace Development Group sought construction of an eight and five storey mixed used building, above two levels of basement, at 251-265 Lygon Street and 1A Pitt Street, Brunswick East (just north of Glenlyon Road).

Councillors and Council planning staff agreed with community concerns about the height of the building (28 metres in a zone where the “preferred maximum height” is 17 metres), noting that “the proportions of the development would enclose the public space within the adjoining streets due to building height and minimal upper level setbacks.”

Council also accepted that loading and unloading facilities are inadequate, impacting on amenity, traffic flow and road safety. This is recognition that delivery trucks were likely to use Evans Street – given this street is primarily residential and very narrow, this is not appropriate. Council staff noted that cross-ventilation to some apartments was ineffective, so the development didn’t meet the required standard.

. . . and Albert Street

In August, Council also refused a planning permit application for a project on the northern side of Albert Street, between Cross and Sedgman Streets in Brunswick East, next to Fleming Park.

Developers had sought a permit for a six storey apartment building at 53-57 Albert Street, Brunswick East. The project application sought a building for 71 apartments at a maximum height of 21 metres (in an area with a preferred overall building height of 14 metres!).

Council planning staff reported that the overall building height exceeds that of the DDO19 (the relevant development design overlay for the area). Within the building itself, staff were critical that the design provides “compromised internal amenity including daylight to habitable rooms and private open space areas.”

In their report to councillors, Moreland Planning staff noted the site abuts the more sensitive and highly valued public open space of Fleming Park, and “the proposal results in overshadowing of the Albert Street footpath and Fleming Park.”

So, with Council’s rejection, it’s off to VCAT, with a compulsory conference in October and VCAT hearings in December.

“Designing our Neighbourhoods” submission

As reported in our July 2022 BRN newsletter, Moreland Council has launched the “Designing our Neighbourhoods” project, starting to review residential zones across the municipality, to look at existing policy in the Moreland Planning Scheme on housing design and neighbourhood character.

Brunswick Residents Network (BRN) made a detailed submission to the recent Council survey – we’d encourage you to have a look at our concerns, and consider the implications for the character of our neighbourhoods, in readiness for the next round of discussions (The pictured Albert Street redevelopment, with double driveways crossing the footpath and dominating its appearance, is an example).

Moreland Council planning staff are currently collating responses to their recent survey. Their next report – including possible draft planning controls on neighbourhood character – is scheduled to come back to Councillors in February or March next year. This then opens the way for more detailed consultations on changes to the Moreland Planning Scheme in mid-2023.

If you have further questions or need more information about this project, the contact at Council is Angela Schirripa, Principal Strategic Planner  (Phone 9240 1111 or email You’re also welcome to get back to us to discuss our submission and concerns:

Report on how to fix the planning scheme

On 2 August, the Legislative Council Environment and Planning Committee of the Victorian State Parliament tabled its interim report on the “Inquiry into the protections within the Victorian Planning Framework.”

In 2020, the committee of ten MLCs launched the inquiry, looking at “the adequacy of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 and the Victorian planning framework in relation to planning and heritage protection.”

Brunswick Residents Network joined many other community groups to make submissions to the inquiry, and we’re pleased to note that our submission was cited and quoted in many places in the report. However the Committee chose not to hold public hearings and has wrapped up this stage because of the looming state elections.

Given the range of issues facing the planning scheme, and the need for reform of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), there’s plenty to do for the next government. The incoming Government has six months to respond in writing to any recommendations made by the committee.

We’d encourage you to bail up candidates standing for November’s poll for the seat of Brunswick, and ask them what they think of the report, and what they’re going to do about its recommendations if they win!

Renters surveyed

Brunswick Member of Parliament Tim Read is gathering opinions and stories from renters, about Victoria’s rental system. Have your say in this three-minute survey.



Parks and nature

Wylie Reserve upgrade

Moreland Council is looking for your ideas for an upgrade of Wylie Reserve, a small piece of open space opposite Brunswick South West Primary School. How should the play space and park be upgraded, given the limited space available, surrounded by Union Street and the adjoining hockey club?

You can send your ideas through the Conversations Moreland website before 7 October (link below) or by contacting Deborah Piattoni in Moreland’s Open Space unit (email:

Cat curfew report in October

Cat lovers and people concerned about the feline massacre of local birdlife may be interested to check in to the October Moreland Council meeting. There have been more than 1,500 submissions to a Council consultation and survey on the idea of a cat curfew, as part of Council’s Domestic Animal Management Plan.

After a review of all the feedback, a report on the findings will be presented to Council on 12 October before a decision is made, as to whether to adopt a 24 curfew, a dusk to dawn cat curfew (where cats are not allowed outside of your property at night-time), or other measures.

Magpie alert!

MagpieSpring has sprung, and it’s the time of year when magpies start to dive bomb passing cyclists and the occasional pedestrian.

Even in Brunswick’s concrete canyons there are plenty of places where magpies nest. They’re smart, extremely territorial and will swoop riders from up to 100 metres away from their nest. Almost all attacks are made by male birds that see people who ride or walk as a threat to their young. This means that they swoop anywhere and everywhere – in urban and rural areas, in parks and gardens, along bike paths and in schools.

Being aware of swooping areas can also help us avoid venturing into these birds’ territories and take extra precautions while protecting their nests and young.

Crowd sourcing websites like ‘Magpie alert’ and the Victorian Swooping Bird Map shows locations where people were swooped, mainly during the annual spring breeding season:



Transport and traffic

Shared zones approved around Fleming Park

Moreland Council has agreed to make two shared zones near Fleming Park permanent, after a long community campaign and a lengthy trial slowing traffic around the popular parkland and open space. At their August 2022 meeting, councillors agreed “to make permanent the shared zones on Victoria Street and Albert Street, Brunswick East by seeking state government (Department of Transport) approval to permanently lower the speed limit in the shared zones to 20 km/h.”

The idea of these shared zones was mooted by Brunswick Residents Network more than a decade ago, and later integrated into the Brunswick Integrated Transport Strategy (For the record, it’s worth noting that a Council resolution calling for interim traffic measures in Victoria and Albert Streets has been on the books since December 2011!).

After the trial closure of John Street and the construction of two sections of shared zone in 2020-21, Council surveyed locals and road users. 130 people completed a survey relating to the Albert Street shared zone and 88 completed a survey for Victoria Street. In both cases, more respondents felt the trial shared zones increased safety, pedestrians said they were more likely to use the space, and drivers were slightly less likely to use the space as a result of the trial.

Brunswick Residents Network and the Moreland Bicycle Users Group did a short survey of bike riders in 2021, and reported that a substantial majority of riders felt safer. As well as slowing traffic, most felt drivers were paying more attention. Riders made a list of suggested improvements that were reported back to Council: some of these (e.g. on sight lines and signage) have been already acted upon.

Council’s response to the community survey highlights the value of these zones in improving safe access for the many kids, dog walkers and joggers who use the park:

  • “Traffic surveys indicate that there has been an increase in pedestrian within the shared zones (compared to background levels in December 2020). Bike ridership volumes have steadied or increased in the shared zone indicating that bike riders are not discouraged by pedestrians getting priority.
  • “Vehicle volumes are lower compared to background levels and there is no indication that vehicles are avoiding the treatment by using other local streets in the area.
  • “Vehicle speeds are 10 km/h slower in the shared zones than immediately outside.”

BRN thanks all those community members who lobbied for safer streets around Fleming Park, and the Council traffic staff who have laboured on this project over many years. Moreland Council will now work on a detailed design of a permanent shared zone in 2022/23 “with a view to permanent features and reduced maintenance costs.”

. . .  And bike lanes approved on Dawson Street

Last month, Moreland Council also agreed to move ahead with permanent shared bike lanes in Dawson Street Brunswick, west of Sydney Road near the Town Hall and Brunswick Baths.

With responses from 135 people to a Council survey, there was strong support for the separated bike lane, due to the perceived improvement for bike riding safety. The total ridership (and especially female ridership) in the separated bike lane treatment was significantly higher than in a nearby comparison site on Dawson Street, where there are painted bike lanes only with no physical separation.

The study found that traffic volumes and speeds in the area saw minimal to no impact from the trial. However some concerns were raised by Dawson’s Street Children’s Co-operative about safety when dropping off and picking up children, and access to the Brunswick Secondary College.

Based on this community feedback, Council will now undertake further design work to make the Dawson Street lanes permanent, taking on suggestions after the trial (Removing existing 1m wide refuge islands; installing ramps to provide access; modifying the bus stop to remove conflict points; and removing 10 m of kerb parking adjacent to the school car park to improve sight lines when exiting the school car park.)

Election transport forum in Brunswick

The Metropolitan Transport Forum, together with Moreland Council, are hosting a pre-election forum on transport issues for Moreland in the Brunswick Town Hall. They’ve invited four candidates for local upper or lower house seats, from Labor, Greens, Liberal and Reason parties.

DATE AND TIME: 6.30–8.00 PM on Tuesday 4 October
VENUE: Brunswick Town Hall, also livestreamed

East West Link: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce

Many Brunswickians were involved in the community campaign against the East-West Link. Now a new book by James Murphy “The Making and Unmaking of East-West Link” tells the sorry saga of the capture of policy making by the roads lobby and policy entrepreneurs in the public service.

As we head towards the State elections in November, and the Liberal opposition proposes to ditch state government road programs, it’s worth a read about how bad decisions get made in our state.

The East West Link was a proposed 18-kilometre tollway to connect the Eastern Freeway with the Western Ring Road at Sunshine West. The State Coalition Government signed a $5.3 billion contract with the East West Connect consortium in September 2014, just prior to the November 2014 state election, then proceeded to lose the election. The incoming Andrews government then cancelled the contract at a cost of $1.1 billion from your taxes and mine.

Based on Murphy’s Melbourne University PhD project, this book is a great read. It highlights the role of “policy entrepreneurs” like Ken Mathers, the Linking Melbourne Authority, and the roads lobby in driving government support for East-West Link.

As Melbourne on Transit blog notes: “While Mathers did not succeed with East-West Link, his approach to winning support for a project in a polity (a) without a strong transport plan, (b) with a weak or fragmented bureaucracy and (c) with urgent political needs due an upcoming election could be instructive. That’s because all three remain so today.”

Critical mass in the city

There will be a mass cycling event in Melbourne on Friday 30 September, as cyclists move through the CBD in a critical mass. Gather at the State Library in Swanston Street at 5pm, with more details to follow on social media

WHAT: Melbourne Critical Mass
WHEN: Friday 30 September at 5pm
WHERE: State Library Victoria, Corner Swanston and Latrobe Streets CBD

And for all the grumps who plan to email us complaining how bikes are getting in the way of cars in the CBD, please watch this first . . .

If you’re cycling or a pedestrian and you have to talk with car drivers who say you’re in their way, here’s an interesting guide from the UK campaign group Possible about how to promote the re-design of cities to benefit all road users:



Culture Corner

Sydney Road Blaks exhibition

In 1847, ten black men were surveilled travelling down Sydney Road. Where did they come from? Where were they going? The Assistant Protector for Aborigines investigated and, to his astonishment, found the men were South Sea Islanders ‘imported’ by Benjamin Boyd.

The new exhibition ‘Sydney Road Blaks’ considers settler surveillance, the racial hierarchy between white settlers, Aboriginal peoples and Pacific Islanders, and the underlying colonial networks of capitalism and trade that haunt Sydney Road, both before 1847, and after.

This exhibition at the Counihan gallery (next to Brunswick Town Hall) features works by Aboriginal, South Sea and Pacific Islander artists including Paola Balla, Daniel Boyd, Destiny Deacon, Lisa Hilli, Kim Kruger, Savanna Kruger, Mandy Nicholson, Sofii Belling-Harding and Stacie Piper. Curated by Kim Kruger, Savanna Kruger and Lisa Hilli.

WHAT: Sydney Road Blaks art exhibition
WHEN: Saturday 10 September 2022 to Sunday 30 October 2022 (11am-5pm daily except Sunday 1-5pm)
WHERE: Counihan Gallery, 233 Sydney Road, Brunswick (entry at Brunswick Town Hall)
INFO: 9389 8622 or email:

¿Hablas español? Join Spanish story time

For Spanish speakers, entertain your children at Spanish Storytime, held every month at Brunswick Library.

Join Jaime and Ximena for stories, songs and craft activities – in Spanish.

WHAT: Spanish story time
WHEN: 10.30am on Tuesday 20 September, 18 October and 15 November
WHERE: Brunswick Library, Corner Sydney Road and Dawson Street
INFO: 9389 8600 or

Parlez-vous français?

A similar gig for children who speak or are learning French – join Oceane at Brunswick Library on Tuesday 27 September for stories, songs and craft activity. All welcome.

WHAT: French story time
WHEN: 10.30am on Tuesday 27 September
WHERE: Brunswick Library, Corner Sydney Road and Dawson Street
INFO: 9389 8600 or

Queer Book Group

Every fourth Tuesday in the month at 7pm, the Queer Book Group meets at Campbell Turner Library in Brunswick West. Join the literati for discussion and debate, by contacting Sue at

WHAT: Queer Book Group
WHEN: 7pm on Tuesday 27 September, 25 October, 22 November
WHERE: Campbell Turner Library, 220 Melville Rd, Brunswick West 3055

Ladies that lift

Interesting in weight lifting, but not sure how to get started? As part of ‘This Girl Can’ Week, Active Moreland is running a class for budding weight lifters on Wednesday 14 September.

At this free class, you can expect to learn more about using weights in the gym and a trainer will demonstrate correct lifting techniques. All abilities welcome

WHAT: Ladies That Lift
WHEN: 8.30am-9.30am, Wednesday 14 September
WHERE: Brunswick Baths, 14 Dawson Street
INFO: Bridget, Community Engagement Senior Coordinator, Phone: 9381 1840



History Corner

Sex Workers in Nineteenth Century Melbourne

Sex workers in early Melbourne were judged morally corrupt by the ‘respectable’ world around them. But theirs was a thriving trade, with links to police and politicians of the day.

On Thursday 15 September, Brunswick Library will host a presentation by author Barbara Minchinton on her book “The Women of Little Lon: Sex Workers in Nineteenth Century Melbourne”, drawing on archaeological excavations in Little Lonsdale Street, family records and rare archival material.

WHAT: The Women of Little Lon
WHEN: 7pm on Thursday 15 September
WHERE: Brunswick Library, Corner Sydney Road and Dawson Street
REGISTER: 93898600 or

Melville House

Melville House, located at 104 Melville Road, Brunswick West, is an imposing nineteenth century villa, hidden by a large hedge, which has intrigued neighbours for many years. The next meeting of the Brunswick Community History Group features a discussion on this local landmark.

On Saturday 1 October, freelance history curator, artist and writer Kitty Owens will present on “The Many Lives of a Minor Moreland Mansion”, outlining the history of Melville Road House. This talk explores the interesting history of Melville House (including a couple of scandals), and also reflects on suburban history in our municipality.

WHAT: The Many Lives of a Minor Moreland Mansion
WHEN: Saturday 1 October at 1.30pm
WHERE: Siteworks, 33 Saxon Street Brunswick.
INFO: Brunswick Community History Group –



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:

  • 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.

[Wondering why this email comes to you from Our Mailchimp email service doesn’t like a gmail sender’s address, so we use a member’s address. Add this address your contacts so our emails don’t get filed as spam, but don’t write to it)



Contacts for our local councillors

Mark Riley (Deputy Mayor)
Mobile: 0499 807044

Lambros Tapinos
Mobile: 0433 419 075

James Conlan
Mobile: 0409 279 335




Welcome to new readers! To contact organisers of the Brunswick Residents’ Network, or to offer help with future activities, please email (This gmail is our preferred address, rather than replying to this email). Thanks to those who have contributed to this edition.

Please forward this e-letter to other Moreland neighbours who’d like a say in the way their community is changing. It’s easy to sign on, or edit your details to include your interests – just go to

For meeting details, survey and newsletter archives, go to:

Check out our Facebook page for a range of lively discussions: Brunswick Residents Network. Help us reach more people by liking our page, commenting, forwarding this newsletter, and tweeting it using the links below.

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




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