News / Council

Big ideas sought for Saxon Street public space

Moreland Council expects a community and arts centre will be operating on the site of a former school by 2025

A view of part of the open space and the 133-year-old heritage building within it.

Mark Phillips
Friday, July 2, 2021

IT’S one of the jewels of central Brunswick, but many people would not even know it’s there.

Moreland Council is edging closer to realising its vision for a community and arts space in the former school buildings known as 33 Saxon Street, squeezed between the Brunswick Baths and the Brosnan Centre on Dawson Street.

With $13.4 million set aside to develop the site, the council is now asking residents to help plan and design 2000 square metres of public open space within the property.

The council bought the land in 2010 after the Trinity Catholic Regional College closed.

In addition to the open space, the site also includes a double-storey school building facing onto Phoenix Street, a heritage house which was built in 1888, stables and community gardens.

Sign up for our mailing list

Current tenants Blak Dot Gallery and Siteworks have operated there since 2016.

The redeveloped site at 33 Saxon Street will host a number of future users and tenants, including the Brunswick Neighbourhood House, which will be relocated from Garden Street, a maternal and child health centre, creative spaces and commercial tenancies.

A site operator has yet to be appointed, but a strategic framework endorsed by the council in 2017 identified possible future tenancies as also including studios for writers, film makers and visual artists, and a performing arts rehearsal space. Some of these types of tenants are already operating in the school buildings.

“In a strongly growing, dense neighbourhood, the site will become a calming oasis for local residents and an important local community resource offering indoor and outdoor spaces for community gathering and learning and creative industries,” the framework declared.

“The purpose of the site is to address contemporary social needs through creative and cultural activities, drawing on the skills and resources of the private and community sectors. Through their physical co-location and common purpose, tenants and users engage with the wider community on important social issues via a diverse range of creative programs, events and cultural activities.”

The framework projected up to 100 people working within the complex by 2025, with interaction between community organisations and events catering to all age groups on the ground floor and creative workers and artists on the first floor. The complex would open onto Phoenix Street and be open seven days a week, and would include a café.

Brunswick residents can comment on the development on the Conversations Moreland website until the end of July.

The concept plan for the public open space will be finalised by October.

Want more stories like this? Click here to sign up to our mailing list to get the latest from Brunswick Voice delivered to you.