The suburb with a Mediterranean vibe and relaxed suburban sensibility
Nicknamed ‘Little Greece by the Bay’ for many Greek businesses in the area, Brighton-Le-Sands combines Mediterranean sophistication with laid-back suburban sensibility.
Sydney’s longest beach, Lady Robinsons Beach, forms the eastern boundary of the suburb and was a key factor in settlement in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Recognizing the area’s potential as a seaside resort for working-class families, trader and developer Thomas Saywell funded and built a streetcar from Rockdale to Lady Robinsons Beach via Bay Street. He also built the public baths and the New Brighton Hotel. By 1900 there were pleasure grounds and a pony racing track, and Brighton-Le-Sands was a major stop in a ferry service around Botany Bay.
Residential development flourished in the late 1920s and again in the 1950s, so by the 1980s the suburb was well established.
George Kazzi, co-owner of Neptune’s, a family-run restaurant and reception venue right across the beach, says the mix of people from Europe, the Middle East and Australia makes it a culturally rich and welcoming community.
“It’s a great place for the kids,” says the father of three. “You have the beach promenade, you can cycle, there are play areas between San Souci and Kyeemagh and the beach is great for soccer and Frisbee.”
The beach is sheltered and calm, making it suitable for children, and backs onto Cook Park, a foreshore reserve housing a rescue club and picnic shelters.
Across the street, Neptune’s is indicative of the great selection of restaurants, many of which line The Grand Parade and Bay Street. Kazzi favorites include Thai by the Beach, Abode, the Ice Creamery, and Bay Vista.
Lebanese favorite Atlantis on the Bay boasts views of the bay next to Neptune’s, while Le Sands restaurant is located on the waterfront and has been serving delicious seafood for over 40 years. Seafood lovers also head to the Baygarden restaurant at the Novotel for its seafood buffet.
Opposite the Novotel, construction on the newest beachfront development in Brighton-Le-Sands, Seychelles, is about to begin. The site is well known to locals: it is home to five historic terraces built around 1884 by Thomas Saywell, who is said to have lived there until his death in 1928.
Developer Abadeen will restore and modernize the terraces as part of the project, which will also include 31 new apartments.
“They are part of the original fabric of the suburbs,” says Abadeen CEO Justin Brown. “Everyone knows them. This is an iconic row and they deserve to be preserved and brought back to their former glory.
Five architects were invited to participate in a design competition for the site, and Fox Johnston’s sculptural building, all in curved glass and banded concrete, was chosen for its innovative design principles. “The architecture is quite amazing,” says Brown.
There are one, two and three bedroom floor plans, including two penthouses, with the larger apartments being designed for downsizers and empty-nesters. Stylish interiors were designed by Lawless & Meyerson, and the Seychelles will include a landscaped garden to provide breathing space between the terraces and the new 11-story building.
Brown says Brighton-Le-Sands offers shoppers a beachfront address with a cosmopolitan vibe and a convenient location.
“We have proximity to the city and good access to transport and to the Novotel next door,” he says.
The beachfront location makes Seychelles a rare residential offering and Brown expects high demand from locals drawn to the promise of bay views and a coastal lifestyle that is very walkable.
“There hasn’t been any development on the seafront at Brighton-Le-Sands for at least 10 years,” Brown said. “I think there is a very captive market there, with people looking for a seaside life.”