At Bright Beach a woman sits reading a book on the stoop of one of the beaches famous ‘bathing boxes.’ Her rainbow towel made this particular beach box an obvious choice perhaps. The beach in front of her is busy, but she’s lost in her book and doesn’t notice the steady stream of people who pose for pictures in front of the various colorful bathing boxes.
Popular with tourists and locals alike, the bathing boxes were originally used as ladies’ changing sheds in the 1800s. Since then they’ve survived the elements and even a fierce cyclone in 1918. They are all privately owned, often not leaving family ownership for many years.
In 2013 the Bayside local council approved permission to allow 10 new bathing boxes to be built and auctioned. That sparked interest from potential purchases across Australia and the world, but only Bayside residents can purchase one of the highly sought after bathing boxes.
The opportunity to purchase the license to own a Brighton Beach bathing box is very rare. None of them have running water or mains electricity, yet today they are somehow valued at around a quarter of a million dollars each! The last bathing box auction (2015) saw box number 6, which is much the same as the rest of them, sell for $276,000. That’s a lot of money to pay for what is essentially a shed that owners don’t use that often. But consider this, that price tag also comes with some pretty strict rules that forbid various activities including staying in a bathing box overnight as well as renting or subletting a one.
Perhaps that’s why this particular beach box is painted with the colors of a rainbow, because it is essentially a pot of gold.
Stand on this beach yourself using Google street view.
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