Famous people of Merri-bek

A selection of well-known people and organisations with a significant and public connection (past or present) to the City of Merri-bek.
The library may hold some works by or about these people or organisations.


  • Noel Counihan. Artist and political activist.
  • Staff at the Counihan Gallery In Brunswick can provide details of other well-known local artists.


  • B.A. Santamaria. Journalist and key political activist of 1950s. Spent early life in Brunswick.


See Made in Merri-bek: local authors

Business-people and organisations

  • Hoffman Brickworks. One of many famous potteries operating in Brunswick in 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • Ferguson Plarre Bakehouse. Bakeries in Sydney Road since 1913.
  • Franco Cozzo. Furniture retailer.
  • Holeproof factory. One of a number of textile factories in Brunswick during mid-20th century.
  • John Ilhan. Mobile phone entrepreneur. Founder of 'Crazy John's'. Owned mobile phone shop in Brunswick in 1990s.
  • Bob Jane. Racing car driver in 1960s and prominent businessman.
  • Kodak. Operated large site in Coburg during 20th century.
  • Mariana Hardwick. Dress designer. Recently refurbished Hooper Building in Sydney Road. 
  • Whelan the Wrecker. Famous demolition company based in Sydney Road.



  • Catherine Deveny. Comedian and columnist.
  • Vasili Kanidiadis. Presenter of 'Vasili's Garden' and author of 'Vasili's garden: from the garden to the kitchen Mediterranean style'.


  • John Batman
  • John Fawkner


  • John Curtin. Australian Prime Minister. Spent early life in Brunswick.
  • Phil Cleary. Independent member for Wills.
  • Robert J. Hawke. Australian Prime Minister and Member for Wills.

Religious figures

  • Father John Brosnan. Chaplain at Pentridge Prison. 


  • Raylene Boyle. Australian athlete.
  • Herb Elliott. Australian athlete. Former member of the Coburg Harriers.
  • Frank Sedgeman.  World-famous tennis player in 1950s.  Won Wimbledon in 1952. Lived in Brunswick.