Drawing Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Nearly every day for the last thirty years I have jumped on the number 11 tram to travel down Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. I have wandered along the shops, eaten kebabs, and enjoyed cappucinos and eggs benedict in the cafes. But it took a trip overseas for me to come home and truly “see” Brunswick Street. Now I notice the shapes of the rooftops, the ghost signs, the towers and the cast iron lace. I can’t believe all this beauty has been here in front of me for so long and that I have simply taken it for granted.

No longer. I have challenged myself to a very long term project of drawing the buildings along Brunswick Street. As a librarian I also want to research the history of the area so that I can learn more about the people who lived here in times past. I want to learn more about this local community of mine, and discover how I fit in. It’s going to take a very long time – years in fact – so that in itself will be a lesson in patience and mindfulness for me. If you would like to follow along with me you can keep an eye on this blog, or follow me on Instagram.

Collection of prints showing buildings and street fronts from Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Acknowledgement of country

Before going any further, I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land around Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, the Wurundjeri people, and to pay my respects to their ancestors and elders both past and present.

My drawings highlight a fairly recent urban history, only since the 1850s, and I’ll be getting my stories from passers by, vintage photos and old newspapers. The indigenous history of the area is much better described by people other than myself, and you can read more about it here –  https://aboriginalhistoryofyarra.com.au/ and https://www.wurundjeri.com.au/

Drawing Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Videos about my Brunswick Street sketches

Blog posts – sketching in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Urban sketching at the Black Cat, Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Urban sketching at the Black Cat, Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

This week we should have been exhibiting another year of Brunswick Street sketches at the Black Cat. But, alas, due to Melbourne’s coronavirus lockdowns it is now on the back burner ?. The Black Cat in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, is a Melbourne icon. It is Cool, with a capital C. It’s retro. It’s quirky. They have a DJ. They support local artists. Like us.

Instagram – #helendrawsbrunswickstreet

Brunswick Street prints


  1. I like your sketches

  2. I love your print of Bruswick st specially 483 as I lived there as a young girl..I was there from when I was born in 1944 until about 1952 when my family split up. I also visited the Town Hall house as my Grandpa worked there as the caretaker in about the same time frame. Several houses in Rae street were also family homes.Numbers 14 (demolished) 18 and 91..
    I would love to revisit the area but I’m a bit old now to travel. Keep up your great work..
    Kindest regards..Jenn.nee Carter..

    • Thanks so much for your stories – it’s really lovely to hear a little about the people who lived in the area 🙂


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