If there were to be a theme to this preface, as to the body of my enquiry into the first twenty years of the history of Brighton, it would be in the nature of a plaint for the neglected art of writing local history in Australia. In Victoria, Melbourne itself has been badly enough served. Only in the eighteen-seventies and eighties, when, contemporaneous with the meetings of the Old Colonists' Society, we had the writings of Edmund Finn and T. A. Browne, had any serious work been done on the capital until quite recently. And it was worse in other areas. Often no interest was shown until it was too late. The first publication of records and reminiscences seemed to wait for the stimulus of a special occasion. Many were inspired by that off-shoot of antiquarianism, the jubilee, and by then there was a long gap to bridge. It was thus not until fifty years after the first settlement of a district, or after the founding of its institutions, such as churches, mechanics institutes and local government that any publication was made.