Brighton-Le-Sands (also known simply as Brighton or Brighton Beach), is a suburb in southern Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Brighton-Le-Sands is located 13 kilometres south of the Sydney central business district, on the western shore of Botany Bay. Brighton-Le-Sands is in the local government area of the City of Rockdale and is part of the St George area.
Lady Robinsons Beach and Cook Park run along the eastern border of Brighton-Le-Sands, on Botany Bay. The beach is also commonly referred to as Brighton Beach. Brighton-Le-Sands features a mixture of low density houses, medium density flats, high rise apartments, retail, cafés and restaurants. The Grand Parade runs along the foreshore and intersects with Bay Street, at the commercial centre. The higher density developments are located along these streets.
The area between the Cooks River and Georges River was originally known as Seven Mile Beach. It was changed to Lady Robinson’s Beach in 1874 to honour Governor Sir Hercules Robinson’s wife. Cook Park is named after Samuel Cook who advocated it as a public pleasure area.
New Brighton was the original name used by tramway pioneer Thomas Saywell, after the famous seaside resort Brighton in England. Land acquisitions began in the 1840s but no significant development occurred until the railway opened to Hurstville, via Rockdale in 1884. In 1885 Thomas Saywell constructed a tramway from Rockdale to Lady Robinson Beach, along Bay Street. He was given a 30 year lease on the line. He also financed and built the public swimming baths, a substantial picnic area, a race course and the Brighton Hotel, on the current Novotel site. It was a huge success and to avoid confusion with the English Brighton, it became known as Brighton-Le-Sands. From 1900, the tramway was electrified and passed into government ownership in 1914. It was closed in 1949, as the Sydney tramway system was slowly wound down. Brighton Baths attracted a large chunk of Sydney’s weekend holidaymakers and the racecourse was popular with punters who could cool off after a stressful day at the races.
Brighton Hotel was stripped of its licence in 1892 due to violence and reckless behaviour that found expression in the hotel and its surrounding area. It is good to keep in mind that the depression of the 1890s may have had something to do with the crisis. There were many unemployed, and the area was a famous retreat. The area north of the hotel was used during the depression as one of many shanty sites that spread across Sydney. Thomas Saywell offered the development to The Scots College, who transformed the ground floor to classrooms and the hotel rooms into the dormitory. In 1895 The Principal of the College, Arthur Aspinall, decided to transfer The Scots College to Bellevue Hill. This was to avoid both the proximity of the local racecourse and the distraction the near-by beach was having on his students.
By 1900 there were pleasure grounds south of Bay Street, as well as a pony racetrack. Moorefields Racecourse was located at the current site of Moorefield Girls High School, at the intersection of Presidents Ave and Princes Highway, but ceased operation in 1915. Extensive development of the northern area of the suburb occurred in the late 1920s and again in the 1950s. For the first 20 years of the 20th century, a small boat ran a ferry service around Botany Bay, with an important stop at Brighton-Le-Sands. In 1966 a freak storm hit the coastline destroying the baths and much of the beach. The expansion of Sydney Airport and Port Botany involved dredging sand from the bay and disrupted sedimentary sand flows. This caused serious damage to the area. Beach restoration projects have attempted to restore the damage done to the coastline in recent years.
Bay Street, Brighton-Le-Sands
The main shopping precinct is located along Bay Street and extends to the foreshore on The Grand Parade and down a short length of Moate Avenue. The landmark Novotel Hotel Brighton Beach, located on north-western corner of the intersection of Bay Street and The Grand Parade, also contains a significant amount of commercial and retail space including a food court. Many cafés and restaurants are located along The Grand Parade and Bay Street, covering many types of cuisine: Australian, Greek, French, European, Italian, Thai and Japanese. Take-away food shops are also abundant, particularly for seafood, chicken, cakes, gelato and Greek food. Shops and services include supermarket, banks, post office, clothing, jewellery, hair dressers, doctors and fishing supplies.
The appearance of a Coles supermarket in Moate Avenue in the late 1990s decimated some of the smaller specialty shops. It also competed with the existing Flemings supermarket for two years before the latter closed and in 2005 the local family-run fruit store also folded. The supermarket is part of a high-rise residential development and the incorporation of a car park was a requirement for Coles to be allowed to trade from this site. Developments to the area are planned as part of a multi-million dollar upgrade called "Destinations Rockdale".
Brighton-Le-Sands is serviced by Sydney Buses. Routes 303 and X03 run from Sans Souci to the Sydney CBD via Brighton-Le Sands and Mascot. Route 478 runs from Miranda to Rockdale railway station via Ramsgate and Brighton-Le-Sands Route 479 runs from Rockdale Plaza via Rockdale railway station to Kyeemagh and Brighton-Le-Sands.
Olympic statue, The Grand Parade
Lady Robinson Beach, Brighton-Le-Sands Baths
Cook Park, White Oak Reserve, CA Redmond Field Memorial Playing Fields, Tony Baker Reserve, Bicentennial Park East
Bayside Church (Australian Christian Churches), church plant of Shirelive Church
St Thomas More Catholic Church, St Andrews Uniting Church, St Marks Anglican Church
Brighton-Le-Sands Primary School
Brighton-Le-Sands is a popular location for multicultural cuisine and night-time entertainment. The Novotel Hotel has a bar and buffet restaurant. Brighton-Le-Sands RSL is located opposite in Bay Street. The area has been dubbed 'Little Greece by the Bay’ for its many Greek cafés, restaurants and businesses. Restaurants include Mezes, Gecko, Kamari, Café Neptune, Bar Brazilia, One Bay, The Lazy Lobster, Sahra Lebanese restaurant, Souvlaki Bar, Botany Bay Seafood, Petar’s Seafood, Piccolo's Italian Restaurant, EuroBay, Le Sands Cafe, Italy on the Bay, Little Sicily, Gang Thai and La Rousse French. There is also a very talented family who are experts in the field of magic and perform on the streets at night.
The Kiosk, Le Sands Pavilion and the Signatures Brasserie are on the beach side of the Grand Parade overlooking the sand and the boardwalk.
It has been the centre of celebrations after Greece won the Euro 2004 Soccer cup. Bay Street was also closed at night and a large screen erected during the Athens 2004 Summer Olympics, however this proved less popular and was discontinued.