COFFEE @ Brighton Schoolhouse Cafe – BRIGHTON 3186.
Integrated into an 1840s heritage-listed former schoolhouse, the vibrant Brighton Schoolhouse Café still carries some of the hallmarks of its educational past. The early-days school chairs, desks and long wooden tables wouldn’t be out of place in a classroom or dining hall. Throughout the original building, many features have been retained and new, contemporary additions have been playfully and respectfully incorporated.
With its vast outdoor seating area and children’s playground, variously shaded by trees and umbrellas, Brighton Schoolhouse Café offers an intriguing exterior wonderland for kids and adults. Clever wire frame sculptures and a herb garden only add to the fascination.
The Gothic Revival style of the building is replete with finials and parapets, and is built from stunning locally quarried ironstone and features a slate roof. The symmetry of the schoolhouse is very satisfying from an architectural viewpoint.
Visit for an al fresco meal or simply tuck yourself away in a secluded corner and read the newspaper, or book a large table for a group get-together. Brighton Schoolhouse Café is well worth a visit, and not just once because there’s so much to see, you’re sure to spy something new each time.
NOW & THEN around Brighton, Melbourne
You know you’ve found Brighton when you see the 82 gloriously vibrant bathing boxes which date back to as early as 1862, positioned in sentry order alignment along the shoreline.
In the chilly winter of 1840 England, Henry Dendy snapped up – for the princely sum of £1 per acre – 8 square miles of land in Port Phillip, without having ever seen it. When he arrived on Australian shores in 1841, he found administrative issues and problems with squatters on the land. Additionally, due to the lack of fresh water, plus the financial depression of 1843, land sales ground to a halt. Dendy became insolvent and the land was ultimately resold privately. Five years later, the parcels of land started to sell and, after Melbourne and Portland, Brighton became the third most populous town in the Port Phillip District.
Affluent settlers who desired building sites of generous proportions flocked to Brighton which was all the more appealing thanks to the drawcard of bathing in the sea. By 1854, Brighton boasted a population of around 3,000.
The aforementioned bathing boxes were installed to preserve the stringent Victorian morality of the day, and remain in situ even now. By 1906, with the completion of the St Kilda to Brighton Beach tram line, the demand for bathing box permits skyrocketed and today, the asking price for a bathing box license is around $260,000.00!
A photographic record of my visit to Brighton
Nowadays, some of Melbourne’s wealthiest residents call Brighton home. Many of the schools and homes in the suburb reflect its affluent history. World-renowned artist Sir Sidney Nolan (1917-1992) and celebrated composer, arranger and pianist Percy Grainger (1882-1961) hailed from Brighton.
The following images illustrate how Contemperiod has been introduced to the suburb through modern alterations and additions. Instead of detracting from the exquisite 19th century architecture, the infusion of contemporary elements has added character to buildings in the Brighton area.
It’s important to note that allotments in Brighton were created to be very big and a great proportion of them remain so today. This means you can’t see a lot of what probably exists behind high privacy fences. As such, my images are always limited to what is visible from the public domain, not just due to access restrictions but also because that is my focus. I intentionally view buildings from the perspective of the historic streetscape, and how changes are made to older buildings without impacting on their heritage significance in any unacceptable way.
A drive or a stroll around Brighton will give you a sense of the area’s history and will probably set your daydreams in motion. Aim to identify the examples of Contemperiod and you’ll see how important it is to restore old buildings but make them more liveable in the present day through the addition of current materials and designs.
Brighton falls within the local government area of Bayside City Council. You can find information and guidelines about altering, restoring and developing buildings in Brighton on the Bayside City Council website.
eMelbourne – The Encyclopedia of Melbourne Online
Bayside Bay City Council website