These articles were originally published in the Brighton Historical Society Journal. To read more stories like these, become a BHS member today.
For over thirty years, from the beginning of the 1880s until the First World War, the north-eastern corner of Hampton and Dendy Streets, Brighton was a little corner of France. Amidst a large and rather wild garden stood a modest wooden cottage, with rambling extensions in several directions bearing the name of ‘Charente’, the department of France from which its owners came.
Few sports can be more closely identified with an Australian summer than cricket, and early Brighton settlers wasted little time in getting their favourite sport under way. Indeed, at its foundation in 1842, Brighton Cricket Club was only the second such club in Australia, the first being the Melbourne Cricket Club..
War may have ended on 11 November 1918, but for many the scars lingered long after the last shots were fired. Tens of thousands of ex-servicemen and women returned home with life-altering injuries: blindness, deafness, lost limbs, debilitating bullet and shrapnel wounds, respiratory diseases from gas attacks, to say nothing of the psychological trauma. For many of these people, returning to their former lives and jobs simply wasn’t possible.
We were delighted yesterday to receive a visit from Ken and Judy Paynter, who with Tom McEvoy are working to preserve the Brighton family’s long history in Melbourne fashion.
There is a story, possibly more of a legend, about a young Melbourne couple who were married in the early days of the colony and chose Brighton for their honeymoon. This was not unusual for the time, as the burgeoning seaside town was already a popular holiday destination. However, writing in his popular Australasian newspaper column in 1885, Robert “Aegles” Wallen mused that no newlyweds before or since had spent their honeymoon as these two did – “up to their necks in the sea”!
The date of the wedding was February 6, 1851, and the couple had been forced to take shelter at the beach from the infamous Black Thursday bushfires.