By John Granger

It started with Franco Cozzo and ‘Foot-es-cray’, but today ‘Braahton’ has a solid claim as our most intentionally mispronounced suburb name. Is it fair? Certainly not! But, there’s always humour and history – such as, the cringing ‘Social Pages’ photo ops of yester-year and the Prue and Trude parodies in the ‘Kath & Kim’ series. However, the cloaked slings and arrows mask a bigger picture and Brighton rises above it all.

In short, Brighton is a great place to live – close to the city, spacious and green with boutique shopping and proximity to the beach. After the original land purchase by Henry Dendy (2,070 ha) in 1840, Brighton quickly developed and, within 20 years, rail links were in place and all Christian denominations were cementing the word at impressively built churches. Brighton beaches saw the advent of segregated bathing and the iconic bathing boxes – now relocated and colourfully painted, ever ready for the annual winners of the Grand Prix, Tennis Open and Melbourne Cup. But it hasn’t always been idyllic in Brighton waters – in 1930, a shark took a man off Brighton Pier. Today, Bay Street buzzes, but there are still architectural and social hints of gentler times with some older identities possibly lamenting the passing of ‘deb’ balls.

The Rotary Club of Brighton North was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Brighton and chartered on 29th March 1985. The Club is very active and engages in all aspects of Rotary service. This month, together with Rotary Melbourne, Brighton North hosted the Women in Rotary virtual event, which was streamed to over 4,000 people throughout Australia, NZ and beyond. Speakers included NZ Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern and Jennifer Jones (RI President- Elect 2022-23). This week, in a joint project with Rotary Glenferrie, 33 Brighton North members returned from a trip to Bairnsdale, where they focused on assisting the bushfire ravaged community of nearby Sarsfield. The trip complemented global and district grants from Rotary, as well as hands-on engagement by Rotarians.

Last November, the Club held its second ‘Larry’s Lunch’ to celebrate International Men’s Day and aims at promoting and educating attendees on men’s health and happiness. Funds raised were forwarded to Youth Suicide Awareness and TLC for Kids. Brighton North’s next major event, the Garden DesignFest in November 2021, will be held in conjunction with the Rotary clubs of Central Melbourne and Kew. Held over two weekends, it focuses on professionally landscaped private gardens with designers also on hand to enhance the experience for visitors. The plan is to open 50 gardens across Victoria, and involve 10 Rotary clubs across 3 Districts in the staging of the event. Garden DesignFest has raised over $600,000 since 2004. 

Brighton North Rotary meets at the Royal Brighton Yacht Club, 253 Esplanade, Middle Brighton on Thursdays at 6.30pm – a venue of charm and history (interestingly, the club of our first America’s Cup skipper, Jock Sturrock).