Brighton History Book

Brighton History Book


For the first time a book has been written on Brighton and the surrounding area's history.

Dr Alison Alexander was approached by Brighton Council to write Brighton and Surrounds: a History of Bagdad, Bridgewater, Brighton, Broadmarsh, Dromedary, Elderslie, Mangalore, Old Beach, Pontville and Tea Tree.

The book was launched by the former Premier of Tasmania, Lara Giddings at Pontville on December 5 2006.

Using the Archives Office of Tasmania, the State Library, the Brighton Historical Society and personal interviews to source information, Dr Alexander said the book covered just about everything in the area's history. "Council activities, education, religion, sport, disasters, transport and external issues such as war are all aspects covered in the book," Dr Alexander said. "Brighton was essentially a farming district up until the 1960s when the main road was widened and straightened and vastly improved transport to the area. This led to a huge increase in population; it nearly doubled, as people could now commute to Hobart. Between 1820 and 1950 Brighton had a population of 2,000 and it has grown to in excess of 14,000 today," Dr Alexander said.

Highlights of Dr Alexander's research into the history of Brighton were the aerodrome and the army camps. "In 1931, the first airline service started in Tasmania and used a paddock in Brighton to land. Run by Charles Kingsford Smith, the airline also stopped at Launceston on the way to Melbourne with the whole trip taking a day. The service lasted almost a year before it suffered financially. The site of the aerodrome was then used as an army camp and had many uses, including the housing of migrants, especially Polish migrants after the war.

It took Dr Alexander 18 months to write Brighton and Surrounds and she found it particularly interesting because one of her ancestors had a farm at Brighton. A freelance historian, Dr Alexander has used her qualifications and experience in Tasmania's history to write 20 commissioned histories of Tasmanian institutions. Dr Alexander is currently preparing additional material for the book to be re-published soon.

Brighton and Surrounds may be purchased from booksellers in Hobart and the Brighton Post Office. For further information or to buy a book, please contact the Brighton Council on (03) 6268 7000, between 8.15am and 4.45pm (Mon - Fri).

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