Demolition Threat: Oct 2020

A new permit application has been lodged with Heritage Victoria for the complete demolition of the Brick Pressing Shed and the Steam Engine House.

Permit application P31711 for a permit to demolish the brick pressing shed (B5) and former steam engine house (B6) and construct a seven storey replacement building with rooftop garden.

The roof of the Brick Press Shed where it was damaged by fire in 2018. Heritage Victoria required that the roof be re-instated to protect the building and equipment from the elements. To date, the roof has not been repaired. 
A north and west section of the Brick Press Shed was demolished to make way for the Gatehouse apartment building. The majority of the northern wall was not closed or protected from the elements in any way and remains open today. 
The Brick Press Shed and brick-making equipment have been subject to vandalism, which suggests that the site is not adequately secured. Photo from October 2020.

On this page:

  1. What is happening now?
  2. Details of the application
  3. Permit application documents
  4. How to make a submission about the application
  5. Submissions that have been made to Heritage Victoria

1. What is happening now? (updated June 2021)

As at 24 March 2021, Heritage Victoria are yet to make a decision regarding the permit application lodged by the developer in October 2020.

In June 2021, we were notified that the developer had withdrawn its application to Heritage Victoria for the demolition of the Brick Press Shed and Engine House (permit application number P31711).

If you made a submission to Heritage Victoria, we’d love to keep a copy of it on our submissions page. Please send a copy of your submission to Save the Brickworks:

2. Details of the application

The application seeks to demolish both the Brick Pressing Shed and the Steam Engine House, citing reasons of poor condition and contamination.

The proposal contains plans for a seven story apartment building with an interpretative centre on the ground floor. The interpretative centre would house some of the brick-making equipment.

Save the Brickworks will be preparing a summary of the permit application and listing key issues of concern: both will be added to this page on the website.

For full information about the permit application you can go to

All of the permit application documents have been downloaded and are below under point 3. Permit application documents.

The previous permit application (2017) can be viewed on another page and some of the submissions lodged in 2017 are here.

3. Permit application documents

There are two sets of documents associated with the permit application. The first set is what the applicant (Sungrove Developments Pty Ltd) initially lodged with Heritage Victoria. The second set have been provided by the applicant in response to a request for further information (RFI) from Heritage Victoria. There are 18 documents in total.

Initial application by Sungrove: documents

Architectural drawings & Landscape concept

Architectural drawings Part 1

Architectural drawings Part 2

Reasonable or Economic Use

Landscape concept





Heritage Impact Statement

Heritage Impact Statement

Second set of documents submitted by Sungrove

Additional information provided by Sungrove

Further information response from Applicant

Architectural drawings – Amended (3 parts)




Archaeological assessment: Archaeological assessment report

Cost Plan: Cost Plan

New structural grid overlay: New-structural-grid-overlay

Reasonable or economic use statement – Supplementary: Reasonable use

Heritage Impact Statement – Supplementary: HIS Supplement

Works completed under Emergency Orders to date: note that there is a 3rd Emergency Order now in place

Works under Emergency Orders

4. How to make a submission about the application

Would you like to make a submission about the proposed Brickworks development?

Deadline for submissions is 10 November 2020

Listed below are some of the issues that you may like to consider. Note that a submission to Heritage Victoria is intended to discuss issues related to heritage matters.

Your submission should be made on the ‘Heritage Victoria Public Submission Form’: we have added the place and permit details to make it easier: download here.

Your submission should be sent to  – with a copy to Save the Brickworks

In preparing your submission, you might also like to look at the National Trust’s Heritage Advocacy Toolkit: with their permission we are sharing this section on Objecting to an application for a permit to change a place or object included in the Victorian Heritage Register.

The key part of your submission goes under point ‘3. Submission Details’…

You can write in the box on the form, or refer to an attached letter, or both.

You may wish to start your submission with this sentence:

I/We object to the issuing of a permit and urge the Executive Director,  
Heritage Victoria to refuse the application on the following grounds:

And then you can consider the heritage issues below. Use your own words – or you may copy and paste any of our words if you wish. But it more effective to use your own words! Don’t forget to express what this place means to you – as part of your local heritage, as part of Brunswick’s history and identity etc.

Heritage issues to consider 

The heritage value of the Brick Pressing Shed and the Steam Engine House

The Brick Pressing Shed (B5) and Steam Engine House (B6), and the equipment in the Brick Pressing Shed, are listed on the Victorian Heritage Register and have been acknowledged as key heritage sites by Heritage Victoria, Moreland Council and The National Trust. 

The buildings and equipment are at the heart of the industrialised brick-making process and are a large part of what make the Former Hoffman Brickworks a significant site.

The brick-making equipment in and around the buildings (including the brick presses, hoppers, chutes and associated equipment) are scientifically significant, demonstrating the high degree of technical achievement in the Hoffman Brickworks. 

The buildings and equipment offer an increasingly rare opportunity to experience an original industrial process on an original site. 

Previous commitments to restore the the buildings and equipment

The development of other parts of the Brickworks site was intended to help fund the restoration of the heritage core. These buildings are key to the heritage core, particularly now that the kilns have been developed into apartments. Moreland Council and Heritage Victoria have granted numerous concessions to the developer on the basis of this future restoration. 

The current poor condition of the buildings appears to be due to inadequate maintenance and therefore should not be used to justify their demolition.

The proposed demolition

The demolition of the two buildings will result in a negative, irreversible impact on the cultural heritage significance of the Brickworks. 

The removal of equipment including the brick presses, hoppers and chutes, and relocation of some of these elements to a interpretive centre, will result in the loss of an authentic, original industrial processing site. Authenticity is a key principle of good interpretation practice.

Options for remediation of the site which retain these important heritage buildings do not appear to have been considered. Successful remediation can be achieved without demolition of significant buildings.

The proposed development 

The proposed development will visually overwhelm the surrounding heritage area. Retention of an appropriate setting is an important part of heritage conservation. 

The attempt to “recreate” the shapes of the engine house and brick pressing shed through building design is not convincing and is more like facade decoration than a sincere attempt to emulate the original buildings.  

The three chimneys (built in 1884, 1888 and 1908) have been icons of Brunswick’s skyline for over 100 years and are a daily reminder for residents of the significant impact this operation had on the area. The proposed development of 7 storeys will visually overwhelm views of the chimneys from all directions. 

Below is a word document containing the above text about heritage issues – feel free to download it and copy whatever details you need:

Below is the first page of the Heritage Victoria form with the building and permit details already filled in:

5. Submissions that have been made to Heritage Victoria

Check out the submissions that others have made to Heritage Victoria regarding this application.

If you make a submission, we’d love to receive a copy to add to this page.

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