Adelaide’s Brighton Beach

(pic - Story) Brighton SA - Title

It seems as if Brighton is actually a pretty popular name for a suburb. In fact I reckon a majority of states in Australia have a Brighton. For instance there is one in Tasmania, one one Victoria (which happens to be a really, really swanky suburb), one on Queensland, and of course one in South Australia. In fact, with the exception of Brighton Tasmania, all of them happen to be a seaside suburb (though they don’t strictly border the sea as Brisbane and Melbourne are both on bays, while Adelaide in on a gulf). Mind you, neither of them happen to be the original Brighton, namely because the original Brighton happens to be in England. As a side note, a friend of mine made a comment once about how somebody he knew rode a bike from St Kilda to Brighton, and he thought that that must have been a really long trek, until he realised that he was in Victoria (Brighton and St Kilda are neighbouring suburbs in Victoria, while in South Australia they are at opposite ends of the city). While it might be no challenge to do that in Victoria, and somewhat of a challenge in South Australia (and it is even possible to do it in Queensland) it is near impossible to do it in England since the original St Kilda is a small island way off the coast of Scotland.

Anyway, I won’t be providing a map for Brighton here, namely because I have a link above (along with lots of other links to Google Maps) so instead I’ll simply write about the beach. Okay, like Henley and Grange, I was only down here for a short time, namely to check out the three pubs (and since I was driving I wasn’t able to have a beer, but that’s okay because I’ve already had a beer at both of these pubs in the past). However Brighton would have to be my favourite of the four major beaches in Adelaide, namely because the water here is quite deep. In fact when I was a lot younger I used to have a habit of jumping off the jetty (which is known as Jetty Jumping) until one day I was standing up there, looking into the water, and saying to myself “why on Earth am I jumping off this perfectly good jetty?” Needless so say I’ve never jumped off a jetty since then.

(pic - Story) Brighton SA - Brighton Jetty
That’s a Mobile Phone Tower by the way

Actually, jetty jumping used to be a quite popular past time in Adelaide, that is until people started suffering serious injuries by jumping off the Glenelg Jetty. The reason that happens is because the water at Glenelg is really shallow, which means that when you jump off the jetty you really don’t have all that much water to slow your fall. This isn’t the case at Brighton (which is probably why there isn’t a ‘no jumping’ sign there), however I guess I had reached that point in my life that jumping off jetties was no longer that much of a thrill. Mind you, people also like to fish off the jetties, so I also had this concern that if I were to jump off of them I would find myself with a fish hook lodged into me.

Anyway, as I mentioned, Brighton is one of the four major beaches in Adelaide, the others being Glenelg, Henley Beach, and Semaphore. All of them, with the exception of Semaphore, are easily reached by non-bus public transport (though the walk from Grange Railway Station to Henley Square is probably about as long as the walk from the Glanville Railway station Semaphore). There used to be a railway line that ran down the middle of Semaphore road, but that was long ago removed (probably due to the same reason that the railway line running down Military Road to Henley Beach was removed). As for Brighton, the Brighton Railway station, which you can get to by jumping one one of the new electric trains at the Adelaide Railway Station, is just a short walk up the road.

Jetty Road
The Station’s up that way

As I mentioned, Brighton is actually my favourite of the beaches in Adelaide, namely because it is what I call a swimming beach. Unlike the other beaches (or at least Glenelg which I’m fairly familiar with, and I have some vague recollections of Henley Beach, but I hardly went to Semaphore because that was a bit too far out of the way) Brighton actually becomes quite deep a little way out from the shore. This I really like because it means that I can actually swim, as opposed to simply jumping around and having a bit of a splash (which is what happens when you go to Glenelg). With the other beaches, if you want to have a decent swim you have to go a fair way out, though at least you don’t have to worry about sharks (or do you – I believe some university student was taken by a shark once, so I guess you better ignore that statement, particularly since South Australia is famous for it’s great whites).

Actually, I used to live down around this area – well that’s putting it a bit simplistic because I actually lived up in the hills, which meant that walking to the beach probably wasn’t a real option (I could’ve done it, but I really wasn’t in the mood – ever). However I did have a car at that stage in my life, so driving down there was quite easy. Mind you, in those days I was never in a huge going to the beach mood, probably because we actually had a pool in our back yard, which meant that if I wanted to go for a swim, all I had to do was go out the back and jump in (which is what I did quite a few times).

(pic - Story) Brighton SA - Beach

So, after picking up my friend (and having a drink at the Brighton Metro, which I wouldn’t recommend visiting by the way – it’s sort of that pub that is a little further back from the beach so it doesn’t have that same beach feel about it) we then headed down to the beach, simply to have a look around and to relive some old memories. Well, we did relive a couple of memories, sitting out the front of the Esplanade Hotel having a drink and watching all the beach goers go about their daily, beach going, business. Actually, my friends aren’t huge beach people either, and I had left my swimming trunks (they call them bathers in South Australia) back in Melbourne, so I guess all we were going to do was sit at the pub.

Mind you, the pub wasn’t bad, but unfortunately it doesn’t live up to it’s namesake in Melbourne (not that the Esplanade was named after the St Kilda Icon, even though both carry the nick-name ‘The Espy). Unlike the one in Melbourne you don’t have a Gershwin room, and you don’t have hard rock playing to all hours of the night. I suspect they might have live bands playing, but from what I could see there didn’t seem to be any room for such (though I could be wrong). Rather, it just seemed to be your average, everyday, beachside pub that even had a juice bar (which is something I don’t see in all that many pubs mind you).

(pic - Story) Brighton SA - Explanade Hotel

I probably should also include a picture of the juice bar, just in case you don’t believe me.

(pic - Story) Brighton SA - Espy Juice Bar

Actually, one thing that did strike me when I arrived was the War Memorial that sat at the entrance to the jetty. Actually, when I saw the jetties I wondered whether there was a time when ships actually used them. One of my friends did mention that his Dad remembered a time when ships would dock at the jetties, but that was a long time ago. Actually, there is one jetty, at Port Stanvac (that used to be an oil refinery) that I do remember ships docking at – namely oil tankers. However the oil refinery was closed down years ago and no ship has docked there since. They are even talking about ripping the jetty up, however the fishermen are objecting since it is the longest jetty in Adelaide.

(pic - Story) Brighton SA - War Memorial

After we had finished our drinks when then headed on down the Esplanade to the last pub that we were going to visit – the Seacliff Beach hotel. Like Brighton, you can also get there by train because the Seacliff Railway station is also just up the road. I remember coming to this pub years ago with a friend to play a game of pool, but my friend really didn’t like this place namely because it was where his Dad would also drink, and for some reason you aren’t supposed to drink at the same pub as your Dad (or at least that was the case when you were in Uni – mind you, the only time my Dad drinks at a pub is when I’m with him, and even then half the time he stays out in the car).

(pic - Story) Brighton SA - Seacliff Beach

Even though Seacliff Beach is technically it’s own beach, in my mind it the same as claiming that Grange and Henley Beach are different beaches – their not. Sure, you get off at another railway station to get to Seacliff Beach, but in reality it is only a short walk (or drive) down to road so as far as I’m concerned they are effectively the same beach. I’m sure there are locals that would say otherwise (especially those that live at Grange – they would probably take some offence at me suggesting that Grange is the same beach as Henley Beach, but I guess I work on a different scale to them).

Anyway, the pub in a way was the same, but different. As I said I haven’t been down here for ages, and when I did come down here it was only once and that was to play a game of pool (actually, I haven’t played pool in absolute ages – probably because I don’t actually have somebody that is as bad as me to play pool with). However it wasn’t all that bad, especially the wooden fish that hung about the bar.

(pic - Story) Brighton SA - Wooden Fish

As my friends were finishing off their drinks (I tend to be somewhat faster), I decided to go out and have a bit of a walk around the area immediately in front of the pub, particularly since the only time I ever came down here was at night. However, after that it was time to call it a day, especially since I had work in the morning, so we decided to make our way back. Who knows, I might come back down here again sometime, even if it is only to go for a swim (and take a video of one of the trains going by).


Creative Commons License


Adelaide’s Brighton Beach by David Alfred Sarkies is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you wish to use this work commercially please feel free to contact me.

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