On the afternoon of 2 February 1918, with prevailing north-westerly winds and hot sultry weather, a severe storm formed and moved off Port Phillip. Two strong wind gusts struck Brighton Beach simultaneously at approximately 5:45pm and moved inland, converging near the intersection of Halifax and Church Streets and resulting in a cyclone. Five minutes later, a third wind gust struck. The cyclone then tracked east over open fields.
The Brighton cyclone of 1918 caused wide-spread damage across Brighton and surrounding areas. Brighton Beach baths were wrecked and the kiosk landed across the road. At Billilla, stone urns from the parapet came loose and crashed through the roof and all but one of the trees were lost. The Hoop pine, to the right of the entrance, survived and still stands today. The cyclone completely destroyed the Hawthorn Road Methodist church, which was later rebuilt. Numerous homes were also demolished. It tore the roof off Royal Terminus Hotel and destroyed the verandah of Grimley's Hotel. Extensive damage was incurred to infrastructure on the Sandringham railway line. Several community and sporting facilities were destroyed including the cricket club grandstand and a bandstand. The cyclone also damaged the burial monument of Adam Lindsay Gordon in the Brighton general cemetery. Sadly, a man and a boy also lost their lives.
The Brighton Cyclone is the strongest storm recorded in Melbourne to this day.
The original photographs and reproductions in this display represent some of the few items available that provide visual documentation of this event.
On display from January 2018 until 28 February, in the ARTrium Exhibition Space, Bayside City Council, 76 Royal Avenue, Sandringham VIC 3191.
Open Monday–Friday, 8.30am–5pm.
The Brighton Cyclone article PDF by Faye Coates on www.brightonhistorical.org.au