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By JOL Admin | 31 October 2008

As promised in a previous post, on Sandgate, here is an overview of Brighton's history. 

Brighton is said to be named after the English town or borough of the same name and is also the name of a suburb of Melbourne bounded on one side by Port Phillip Bay.  Similarly, Brighton, Queensland is bounded on one side by a bay, Bramble Bay.  The present area of Brighton encompasses the area previously known as North Sandgate.  

Lagoon and houses at Brighton.  Image No: 97782

Captain William Townsend arrived and purchased the Brighton Hotel (1866).  His name is now commemorated by Townsend Street.

Two early residential housing estates include:

  • Moreton Bay Estate (1882) comprising 98 allotments.
  • Brighton, North Sandgate Estate (1890).
  • Torquay dating from the 1880s and located at 50 Flinders Parade.
  • Meridian (1880s) located at 130 Flinders Parade.
  • Cremorne (early 1900s) at 154 Flinders Parade.  This residence was built for John N. Mc Callum, famous in the early theatrical scene.
  • Fallowfield on Brighton Terrace – owned by George Agnew of Nundah Carriage Works.
  • Hornibrook Highway spanning Hayes Inlet and Bramble Bay between Clontarf Point and Brighton.  This bridge was constructed 1932-5 by the firm M. R. Hornibrook and provided much needed employment during the Depression.  An area of the existing wetlands was reclaimed as a work area for the construction of the bridge.  Decker Park was created from a portion of this reclaimed land.

Opening of the Hornibrook Highway, 1935 Image No: 46101


  • Eventide Nursing Home.  This site was originally the barracks of the RAF Air Training School (December 1940 – May 1946) and was built on reclaimed wetland bordering Bramble Bay.  Eventide was established  in October 1946 when 768 aged inmates were transferred from Dunwich, Stradbroke Island.
  • Houghton Highway, opened 20 December 1979 and named after the Hon. Mr. Jim Houghton, State Member and Speaker of State Parliament.  Also, he was a former Mayor of Redcliffe.
  • Brighton Hotel.  This is the second hotel to occupy the site.  The original hotel was used as a private residence, by William Townsend and then as an orphanage from March 1893.  It resumed its function as a hotel in 1912.  During its period as a residence, Townsend called it Brighton House.  The original licensees were William Rae (1864) and John Patrick Byrne (1865).

Brighton Hotel, ca. 1929 Image No: 1882


Proposed railway extension to Redcliffe:

A rail line to Redcliffe was proposed in 1895 by Alderman Phillips.  The proposed line was to run along Flinders Parade to the Pine River, across its mouth by bridge, then across Hayes Inlet by means of an embankment/bridge, then along the shore of Bramble Bay, close to Woody Point and the jetty.  The line would then run north, along the eastern face of the Redcliffe Peninsula to Redcliffe.  The estimated cost was £200,000.  Another line could then link up with the existing north coast line.  Debate took place between the Redcliffe Divisional Board, Railway Minister and the Commissioner for Railways.  The plan was eventually shelved as the cost of the bridges was seen as being too high.  This was because the proposed bridges would need to be constructed of metal as opposed to wood due to the prevalence of the marine cobra worm in the area.

Some important dates in Brighton's history and development include:

  • 1861- the first bridge over Cabbage Tree Creek is constructed improving access to the area.
  • 1874 – James Ormiston’s coach ran Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from Brisbane to Sandgate.  Return cost 5 shillings.
  • 1877 – Cobb & Co coaches ran twice daily to Sandgate.
  • 1882 – Brisbane to Sandgate rail line was completed.  The special inaugural journey to Brisbane took only 29 minutes.
  • 1899 (1 January) – more than 8,000 people travelled to Sandgate.  Many bathing boxes existed along the Brighton shorefront.

Sandgate Railway Station, ca. 1910 Image No: 164309


  • 1912 – there are newspaper reports of a shark attack at Sandgate.
  • 1920 – Brighton State School was established with one teacher (Mr. Alfred Thompson).

more photographs of Brighton


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