Brighton

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 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).

Some important buildings, residences and locations in the Brighton area include:

  • 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 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 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 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).

Find more photographs of Brighton in the State Library’s collection.

Posted in Brisbane Jo Browse John Oxley Library
Conversation Hub
< PREVIOUS STORY
John Oxley Library archives responses to the Prime Minister's apology to Australia's Indigenous peoples.
NEXT STORY >
Famous Visitors to Queensland – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
12
COMMENTS.ADD YOURS
  1. Rebel Cry

    Captain William W. Townsend (Jan 16, 1833-May 25, 1915) of was an officer in the 27th Texas Cavalry during the War against the States (1861-1865).
    He is buried in Elm Grove Cemetery in Alpine, Texas. Please let me know if you would like to see a photo of his grave marker. Also, please let me know if you have other details about the life of this Confederate officer. Thanks!

  2. JOL Admin

    Hello Rebel Cry

    In a book on the Brisbane suburb of Sandgate titled “Sandgate: from the beginning” 1980 the following is written: “In 1867 Captain William Townsend is recorded as purchasing the only currently known hotel site in Brighton, together with the building. Townsend bought land and house from a Patrick Dunne, at a purchase price of 1 154 pounds. Dunne, it should be said, was the first to hold freehold title to the land, having written a memo of request for this title on 31 January 1866. His name was never associated with a hotel license.

    Townsend and his family used the building as their home for the next 10 years and there is no record of a license for a hotel there until 1883. In that year Samuel Hamilton, who purchased the property in 1882, was granted a license.”

    The Brisbane City Council has a website with suburb histories at http://www.ourbrisbane.com/suburbs/brighton/history. It says the following about notable residents: “Captain William Townsend arrived in Moreton Bay in 1867. He purchased the Brighton Hotel the following year. His purchase included land, which extended to Townsend Street which now bears his name. He used the Brighton Hotel as a family home for ten years until it was sold.
    Captain Townsend was a member of the Marine Boards and he was involved with the establishment and operation of the Queensland National Bank, which opened in 1872. After selling the Brighton Hotel he moved to an area near Moora Park into a residence called Mango Cottage. He is buried in the Bald Hills Cemetary.”
    That reference to him being buried in the Bald Hills Cemetary is, I think, a mistake. The only William Townsend that I turned up for Bald Hills on the Brisbane City Council Cemetary database died in 1893 at the age of 93. Must be a different fellow.

    We also have a photograph of William Townsend in our collection which you can view through out online catalogue.

    It would be great if you could send us a copy of his grave marker. Our email is heritage@slq.qld.gov.au. Postal address is Heritage Collections Unit, State Library of Queensland, PO Box 3488, South Brisbane 4101.

    • Judi

      Captain Townsend was 83 when he died in 1893 , not 93. He was buried at the Bald Hills cemetery on 12 August 1893. His surviving children were aged from 17 to 58. The three youngest children were from his second marriage. This information is taken from his death certificate, of which I have a copy. (His youngest child was my great grandmother.) More information can be found in newspaper archives from the National Library of Australia.

    • Thomas Helmer

      Captain William Townsend is buried at Bald Hills in the same grave as his third wife:
      – Townsend Elizabeth Salmon
      – Townsend William 11 / 08 / 1893 83 years
      Portion GD, Section 4, Grave 97.
      I am planning to go and check it this weekend.

  3. Barbara Noakes

    Captain William Townsend came to Queensland from Sumatra where his father was a ship owner and trader with the East India Company. His first wife was Clementina Cecelia Sophia Chew, she was born in Calcutta and that is where they married.

    • Thomas Helmer

      Captain William Townsend was married three times. He had 15 children with Clementine Cecilia Sophia Chew. When she died he married Adeline Jessey Maidman on 18 Jan 1864 in Padang, Sumatra, Nederlands Oost-Indië and they had one daughter Laetitia Wilhelmina Townsend. He left them behind en left for England with the five youngest to relocate to Brisbane and got shipwrecked on the way South of Melbourne. He had taken a distant cousin from England with them on the journey. When in Brisbane he declared his second wife dead to marry Elisabeth Salmon Thomas on 20th Feb 1872 in Brackenridge, to have another three kids.

    • Thomas Helmer

      Captain William Townsend was married three times. He married Clementine Cecilia Sophia Chew on 4th March 1832, Howra, West Bengal, India. When she died he married Adeline Jessey Maidman on 18 Jan 1864 in Padang, Sumatra, Nederlands Oost-Indië and they had one daughter Laetitia Wilhelmina Townsend. He left them behind en left for England with the five youngest to relocate to Brisbane and got shipwrecked on the way South of Melbourne. He had taken a distant cousin from England with them on the journey. When in Brisbane he declared his second wife dead to marry Elisabeth Salmon Thomas on 20th Feb 1872 in Brackenridge, to have another three kids.

  4. Sharon

    I am looking for information on my great grandfather, Alfred Holton (real name Alfred Holton Symons). He emigrated from England around 1911 with four sons who all went to war in 1916 (2 were killed and the other two never contacted him again).
    I know his address in 1923 was “Seacliffe”, Brighton Tce, Sandgate QLD but cannot find any record of a place called “Seacliffe” around that time. Can anyone help?

POST A NEW COMMENT

View our comments policy.Your email address will not be published.