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Brighton Le Sands and Kyeemagh

Location

Brighton Le Sands (also commonly known as Brighton or Brighton Beach), and Kyeemagh are located 13 km south of Sydney’s CBD, on the western shore of Botany Bay.

Snapshot

Lady Robinsons Beach at Brighton Le Sands is home to a myriad of cafes, restaurants and retail shops that reflect the area's cosmopolitan mix of cultures. Both tourists and locals love to visit the popular location for a variety of multicultural cuisine and night-time entertainment and it has been dubbed 'Little Greece by the Bay’ for its numerous Greek cafés, restaurants and businesses.

The many other cafés and restaurants located along The Grand Parade and Bay Street offer all types of cuisine including Australian, Seafood, French, European, Italian, Thai and Japanese. Shops and services include supermarkets, banks, post office, clothing, jewelers, hair dressers, doctors and fishing supplies.

One of the three heritage-listed market gardens in the area, Occupation Road Market Gardens, is located in Kyeemagh and is amongst the oldest in New South Wales. It is amongst the last surviving examples of market gardens that flourished in Sydney, cultivated first by European settlers like the Cornish, Irish and Germans, and later by Chinese settlers.

Landmarks

Major features of the area include three schools, Brighton Le Sands Beach (and Baths); Cook Park, Kyeemagh Boat Ramp Reserve, White Oak Reserve and the Memorial Playing Fields.

History

The first settlements developed along the shores of Lady Robinson Beach in the 1800s. 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.
Kyeemagh takes its name from the former Kyeema Polo Ground, which was derived from an Aboriginal word meaning 'beautiful dawn'. The 'gh' was added at a later date, before the area was subdivided as the North Brighton Suburbs Estate.
Land acquisitions began in the 1840s but no significant development occurred until the railway opened to Hurstville, via Rockdale in 1884.

Thomas Saywell constructed a tramway from Rockdale to Lady Robinson Beach, along Bay Street. 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 many of Sydney’s weekend holidaymakers and the racecourse was popular with punters who could cool off after a day at the races.

Brighton Hotel was stripped of its licence in 1892 due to violence and reckless behaviour in the hotel and its surrounding area. However, 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 for locals and visitors.

Extensive development of the northern area of the suburb occurred in the late 1920s and again in the 1950s. 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.

Who lives here now?

These statistics are provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics latest Census for the suburbs of Brighton Le Sands and Kyeemagh.

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