The City of Melbourne is known as Australia’s cultural hub, where art meets fashion. Everywhere you look, you’ll see boutique shopping strips that feature the latest fashion trends, cool cafés, art galleries, and hidden laneway bars. And if you head a little further down the coastline, you’ll find Australia’s trendiest beach that is reminiscent of a bright European summer.
Located in the City of Bayside, 17 km of foreshore to Port Phillip Bay, Brighton Beach is well recognised for its 82 rainbow-colored beach huts lining the shore of Melbourne’s most exclusive neighbourhood. While these colourful beach huts appeal more to the younger generation, did you know that they were built more than 100 years ago?
A Trip down the Memory Lane
Many people from all corners of the world come down to Melbourne to have their photos taken at the colourful bathing boxes. However, for locals, these are more than just a trendy backdrop. In the late 19th century, these huts were originally built to protect the morality and dignity of swimmers, especially women, during a time when bikinis weren’t accepted as a form of swimwear. These huts provided privacy while the ladies change into their swim attire.
Built over a century ago, the Victorian architecture remains untouched and features timber framing, weatherboards and corrugated iron roofs. They are also not equipped with electricity or running water even up to this day – thus preserving the 1800’s retro style.
The Bayside council has periodically built and sold new boxes in recent years, but most of the existing ones rarely hit the market as they are owned by founding Australian families and have been passed down from generation to generation.
The Colourful Boxes of Brighton
Although these boxes do not provide much comfort, what they lack in amenities, they make up for the breathtaking view of the Port Phillip Bay and the Melbourne City skyline. The bright huts also offer a striking contrast against the pastel sky and turquoise waters – a picturesque view that attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world.
Each bathing box has its own unique characteristics. The most popular ones are the two boxes that feature the Australian flag, where most visitors queue for a photo opp. Other boxes feature a boxing kangaroo, space invader, and a vintage Volkswagen van with the famous phrase, ‘Life’s a Beach’.
Owning your very own Brighton Bathing Box comes with a hefty price tag. Each box cost at least $200,000 and are only available for purchase to bayside residents.