Brighton is one of a number of seaside suburbs along the beautiful Gulf St Vincent and a personal favourite of mine, though as all the coastal suburbs differ slightly they are all worth a visit should you have time. Most visitors, being time poor, will opt for one or maybe two stops along the coast.
My Adelaide and my separate series’ on Glenelg and Semaphore will hopefully give you a taste of what lies between Outer Harbor to the north and Brighton to the south of the LeFevre Peninsula – a distance of around 30kms. While it may not be an option for most visitors, cycling along this beautiful white sand beach coastline is the best way to see it.
I digress, back to Brighton.
Pre-European settlement, this area was dominated by large sandhills and long sandy beaches. While the former have made way to roads, houses and other developments, the later remain. Even the original Aboriginal inhabitants of this area, the Kaurna people, enjoyed a paddle in the sea and would visit the area in the summer time.
In 1833 Colonel William Light, first Surveyor-General of the Colony of South Australia and thus responsible for the design/layout of Adelaide generally, surveyed the Brighton area which was assigned to wheat and grape growing before it became a place of retreat for wealthy city professionals. With the advent of the car and railway (which now terminates at Grange, a few kilometres up the coast) the small settlement here grew quickly becoming a popular day trip destination for Adelaideians seeking that famous Aussie tan though, off course, in the early days beach attire was not what it was in the 1960s and later.
Hotels and guest houses soon opened as did shops, cafes and ice cream parlours along Jetty Road. The Roaring 20s was the heyday for Brighton. Art deco, as a form of architecture, reigned supreme in Brighton (as it still does today, to a greater extent than other similar vintage places along Gulf St Vincent). Further advances in cars actually lead to a decline in Brighton’s fortunes for a time while punters headed further afield. In recent years, however, as people have become less time rich there has been a resurgence of interest in Brighton which has duly been tarted up and has again assumed its role as the trendy place to be seen wining, dining and promenading.
In more recent times, the Jetty has also had a facelift, paid for by a local telecommunications company as evidenced by the thinly disguised mobile phone tower on the end of the jetty.
In addition to relaxing by the beach, promenading on the esplanade or visiting a café (the oddly named ‘A café etc’ with it Marilyn Monroe theme on Jetty Road, depicted in picture 3, is one of the more popular cafés here) do have a look at St Jude’s Cemetery – final resting place for many early South Australian pioneers, Sir Douglas Mawson – famous Antarctica explorer and a rather eccentric priest – the Reverend Alexander Macully (more on these later).
While on the Esplanade do take a minute to remember those who have died in various wars and conflicts – you can’t miss Brighton’s very distinctive Arch of Remembrance. For those with more energy to burn, head south for a walk along the cliffs and trails down the coast.