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Brunswick Street

Possibly named after Captain Brunswick Smythe, Brunswick Street was created when landowner Benjamin Baxter divided his newly purchased allotment to allow for greater street frontage. Proclaimed in 1851, it was one of the first streets in Fitzroy to develop commercially. Shops, first apparent in the 1840s, were rivalling those of Bourke Street by 1854. St Patrick's Cathedral stands at the southern end of the street. At the northern end is the Brunswick Street Oval, home of the Fitzroy Football Club for over 80 years until the club moved in 1967. The street had shed much of its humble origins by the 1980s, becoming cosmopolitan while remaining relatively unpretentious. Workshops and sweatshops have all but disappeared, replaced by fashion boutiques, restaurants, and trendy caf├ęs attracting locals and tourists alike. The street is also home to many nightclubs and a live music scene. Warehouses have been turned into expensive, upmarket low-rise apartments, contrasting with the large Housing Commission estate and the Brotherhood of St Laurence, testaments to Fitzroy's history of social disadvantage. Noted for its distinctive 19th-century streetscape, the Brunswick-Gertrude street precinct has a number of shops and residences listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.

Alistair Harkness