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These articles were originally published in the Brighton Historical Society Journal. To read more stories like these, become a BHS member today.

Esmé Johnston stands out as a colourful figure of 1930s Brighton, a journalist, actress, radio announcer and script writer with a palpable zest for life.

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.

More than 3,000 women served as army nurses in World War I. Marjorie Yuille was one of them. You might recognise the name - Yuille Street is named after her family.

As building work got underway on Gardenvale in 1906, the Brighton Southern Cross hailed it as “the Cinderella of the Brighton stations” – long denied, but now at last allowed to come to the ball.

A century ago, Brighton experienced a weather event unlike any Melbourne had seen before or since.

If you are in your retirement years, you may well have had your first date at the Prince George in Church Street, attracted by the dual cuddle seats in the upstairs balcony and the screening of continental films.

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