With a backdrop of the towering city skyline, the 82 colourful bathing boxes lining the foreshore at Brighton Beach represent one of the most recognisable and iconic vistas of Melbourne.

The boxes were built well over a century ago to preserve bather’s modesty in response to the notoriously strict Victorian code of morality and were a feature of beaches not only in Australia but also in England. The boxes are uniquely proportionate and uniform in scale and retain classic Victorian architectural features with timber framing, weatherboards, and corrugated iron roofs.  Each is painted in bright colours at the discretion of the owner

For several decades from the 1860’s Port Phillip Bay beaches and baths admitted the sexes at strictly different times.  By the 1890’s when the boxes were erected in earnest the scene on the open beach was mixed but still very prudish.  Historical photographs reveal women swimming in dresses and men wearing trousers and a waistcoat in the water.

It’s hard to believe now, but in 1975 the famous bathing boxes were almost phased out.  Prone to vandalism and storm damage the boxes were derided as private structures on public land with the state government of the day directing that they be removed “wherever and whenever the opportunity arises”. Today, they are protected by a Planning Scheme Heritage Overlay and are revered by international tourists and wedding photographers alike.  And the boxes have not been exempt from the massive residential boom that has swept Australia with one being sold in January 2016 for a record $285,000 ($215,000 USD).

To experience the beauty of the Brighton bathing boxes and capture that iconic vista of Melbourne, travel with Acacia on one of our private Melbourne tours.