Brighton Bathing Boxes
When Mr Pine painted his house purple, he inspired all of his neighbours to follow suit and so the white houses on Vine Street each took on a colour of their own. Whilst Mr Pine and his Purple House may have been the creation of children’s author Leonard Kessler, there is something very similar to Vine Street right in Melbourne, Victoria – only this Vine street is located at the beach and instead of houses, it is made up of bathing boxes; 82 colourful bathing boxes all sitting in a row, each one painted a unique colour combination.
Only 20 minutes out of Melbourne CBD, the Brighton Bathing Boxes provide a colourful vista for Dendy Street Beach, Brighton. The boxes were originally constructed during an era when it was still important to maintain a high level of modesty at the beach. The bathing box offered swimmers the privacy to change into their swimming costumes, shelter from the sun and store any personal belongings. The first bathing box in Brighton was believed to have been built in 1862. Bathing boxes soon became scattered on beaches all around Brighton, with the majority actually built on the water’s edge at the end of Bay Street, not the current Dendy Street location as seen today.
The boxes were moved to their current location following the state government’s foreshore construction programme. Rather than having the boardwalk run straight through Dendy Street Beach, the City of Brighton requested a break in the promenade allowing them to relocate all existing bathing boxes to this beach and thus preserve them.
Today there are 82 bathing boxes along Dendy Street Beach. The boxes are rented out by Bayside residents who hold an annual licence. Whilst providing a useful and convenient beachside facility for these residents, they also make for a colourful addition to the beach and a great photo opportunity.
Next time you are in Melbourne and looking for something to do, why not check out the Brighton Bathing Boxes.
Getting there: catch the Sandringham Line from the Melbourne CBD to Brighton Beach Railway station. Exit the station towards the beach, then turn right into the esplanade and follow the Bay Trail for about 20 minutes north until you come to Dendy Street Beach.