Braeside seems an unlikely place to build a village. It was an unpromising scrubland when European settlers first gazed upon it – the soil spongy but not quite a marsh, and too salty from the sea for all but the hardiest of plants to survive. The idea of settling there was looking upon dubiously at best, and scornfully at worst; it occasioned many a raised eyebrow.

But the indefatigable Vladimir Czatzdo was not so easily dismayed, nor ever a man to let little details like the facts of geography get in his way. He wanted a seaside village, and he would have one. From the first, unsurprisingly, the project was assailed by a sea of troubles. Buildings required unusually deep foundations if they were to remain standing. The constant deposition of salt caused health troubles among the builders (who were only commuting there for work each day – it didn’t take much imagination to see how that would effect actual residents). And Czatzdo’s inevitable financial misjudgements forced him to sell off bits of the land – and the only bits anyone would buy were those he valued most, the one adjoining either Port Phillip Bay or Mordialloc Creek. As a result, the border of his planned seaside village kept retreating inland.

Czatzdo abandoned the project in the end, selling off his outstanding interest to the government, which redeveloped the area (as it had neighbouring Dingley) to much lower income accomodation than Czatzdo’s visions of a well-to-do beach resort had ever considered. But the name it was given, commemorating that profusion of raised eyebrows, would remain.

Suburbs near Braeside:

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