Brighton East is a residential suburb 13 km south-east of central Melbourne. It is east of Hampton Street and between North and South Roads. Its northern section is crossed by the Elster Creek (which runs into the Elwood Canal), and it was better watered than Henry Dendy's Brighton township nearer the foreshore. By 1843, barely three years after Henry Dendy had his first land sales at Brighton, there were enough farmers settled east of Dendy's village to call their area 'Little Brighton'. Catholic settlers opened a school in 1848, the forerunner of St Finbar's primary school in Centre Road. In the 1880s Brighton East was mostly market gardens and farms, particularly near South Road.
A tram line and a train line to Brighton concentrated subdivisional activity in that area. In 1925 a tram line was extended down Hawthorn Road from Glen Huntly to North Road, which was in response to subdivisional activity between North and Centre Roads. Between 1922 and 1928 all the land in that area was subdivided for housing, and substantial activity occurred further south. By the late 1930s the whole of Brighton East's street pattern was established.
A primary school (in the north-west corner, and named Gardenvale), was opened in 1922. It occupied two sites by 1931 and was a central school until the 1970s. The Brighton high school (1955) is in Brighton East. Over the road is the council's golf course (1943), set in an area which includes Dendy Park with several ovals and sports facilities. St Leonard's Coeducational College (Uniting Church) in South Road was opened in 1914.
Brighton East has only a small shopping centre on its western border, and is equidistant from the upmarket Brighton shops and the more everyday but active strip in Centre Road, Bentleigh.
Brighton East's census populations have been:
Weston Bate, A history of Brighton, Melbourne University Press, 1962, 1983