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May 15, 2021

Byron nudist beach closure mooted

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A Facebook group that came together earlier this year to oppose the closure of Kings Beach car park has reactivated following the announcement that Byron Shire Council is considering ending 15 years of legal nude bathing at Tyagarah Nature Reserve.

Council will consider the controversial staff recommendation to revoke its clothing-optional status, declared in 1998, at its meeting tomorrow.

The report authored by compliance team leader David Murray recommends the ending of Council-sanctioned nude beachgoing on the grounds that the council has no control over the nature reserve.

‘Council currently does not have care, control or management of that part of the beach that has been declared as clothes optional. Land management in this area rests with three state government agencies – Crown Lands (NSW Trade and Investment), National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) and the Marine Parks Authority (MPA),’ it says.

 

Tourist cabins

But a spokesperson for the Save Kings Beach group said the motion is aimed at ‘sanitising the rainbow region and turning it into a reflection of the Gold Coast’.

Wayne Penn said, ‘what attracts people to this area is its tolerance for the kaleidoscope of people from all walks of life’.

‘In terms of the timing, it is interesting to note that one of Australia’s richest men is planning a 75-cabin tourist development behind the southern section of the clothing-optional beach.’

‘It is disappointing that Byron Shire Council, which claims it supports alternative lifestyles, should allow itself to fall victim to puritanical elements,’ he added.

‘This report identifies just one single specific complaint, which has been kept secret, and refers to a doof party, which doubtless would have taken place whether the beach was declared clothing optional or not,’ Mr Penn said.

The report points to unspecified acts of ‘antisocial behaviour’ and mentions a confidential complaint by an Indigenous community member claiming ‘desecration of a significant Aboriginal women’s site’.

‘This area (ie the clothes-optional beach and the nearby ti-tree lakes in Tyagarah Nature Reserve) now appears to have become a focal point for antisocial behaviour, with frequent complaints made to Council and to the police. In addition to the antisocial behaviour described in complaints, this area has also been subjected to illegal “doof” parties,’ it states.

 

Kings Beach car park

The report also mentions plans by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to close the car park at Kings Beach for ‘repairs and rehabilitation’ purposes (its quotation marks) and continues, ‘complaints about the proposal to close the Kings Beach car park could be mitigated by there being a clothes-optional beach available elsewhere in the shire, which is seen to be the responsibility of Byron Shire Council’.

While NPWS never mentioned concerns about antisocial activity at Kings Beach in its plan, one board member privately told this author there were hopes the longer proposed walk to the beach would deter ‘those kind of people’.

The report attempts to deflect anticipated criticism of its actions by stating the council never had jurisdiction over the area to declare it in the first place.

‘This report and its recommendation do not demonstrate that Council adopts either an anti or pro clothes-optional beach position. They simply recognise that Council has no jurisdiction to declare this part of the beach as clothes optional, nor does it have the means to enforce or regulate this,’ it reads.


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11 COMMENTS

  1. It is not necessary for either Local or State Govt. to declare a beach clothes optional for it to be in fact clothes optional. Justice Cross held in a case in the Lismore District Court in 1978 involving a German National who had been nude sunbathing some one klm. North of the Brunswick Heads Surf Club & had disturbed the local constabulary of the day that so long as the beach was isolated & that you were the 1st there or at least no other clothed persons were there before you then it was not indecent to shed you clothing because later arrivals could make the option of staying or departing. This decision basically put an end to one of the main pastimes of the then B.B. Police who were methodically harassing the nude sunbathers of the day. This decision would still be the Law & binding on all NSW Magistrates. I know this to be the fact because I was the Solicitor acting for the German National at the hearing.

    • That’s inspiring Lester, good on you for helping out the German National … how is that precedent still binding?

  2. Well I don’t get it !
    If Byron council has no authority to permit nude bathing then obviously it has no authority to end it !
    Nude bathing has been practised at this beach for tens of thousands of years and therefore a precedent has been well and truly set.Lets face it, what else has Byron got going for it ?

  3. Everyone knows about the unrestricted mostly gay sex and partner cruising that happens openly in these locations. Why use euphemistic arguments like nude bathing to make a change. Families who turn up unwittingly have been harrassed so they stay away. Many gays don’t go there because of the crass vibe. The innocence of Aboriginal ‘nude bathing’ that has gone on for thousands of years cannot be compared to those using these places now for pick-up sex. Tyagarah used to be a women’s sacred site. Kings used to be open for all. I support clearing the space and keeping it clean in every way.

  4. Would you rather have a nude beach, or a 75 cabin tourist resort owned by a southern billionaire, and a Council eager to do his bidding?

  5. All beaches should be clothes optional. However there should be specific clothing compulsory beaches, preferably remote, to accommodate people in the community who are convinced they have bodies with dirty bits that should never see the light of day.

  6. Go Nude if you like, but do it with respect for others. That is the main issue here; I have been enjoying Sunrise Beach both clothed and unclothed for many years and respect other beach-goers by not going nude near families or other people who are wearing swimmers. But I have several female friends who have been approached while on that beach by men for a ‘chat’, their goolies dangling in the wind just inches away. And when these girls show no or little interest; the guys keep hanging around (sorry for the pun) and trying to chat them up. Some of these girls are afraid to even go to that part of the beach on their own. So, unfortunately, a perfectly natural pastime has been given a bad name by the actions of a few sleazebags.
    I am also concerned about the proposed North Byron development of almost 200 cabins which can be viewed at http://www.byron.nsw.gov.au/development-applications/1987/208.3
    I hope this development, if it goes ahead, will not restrict public beach access or parking. Another example of someone too rich controlling too much land to the detriment of the general public. Australia really needs a major overhaul of Land Use and Land Rights for everyone.

  7. While the compliance manager is probably correct Byron has had nude bathing for decades – late ’60s and 70’s at Tallows and between the Pass and Clarks.

    As time has progressed and the activity increase this moved up to Belongil – and now anywhere from Belongil Creek to Brunswick it seems acceptable to have your togs off.

    Byron needs a nude bathing area it seems to be popular with many locals and visitors with over 300 at Tyagarah on Easter Sunday – accept what is current and forget about raising barriers and arguments with NPWS and the State Government.

  8. I am a female nudist and I used to go to Tyagarah Tea-tree Lake because I loved the feeling of being innocently nude in such a beautiful quiet and inspiring spot. It has a spiritual meaning for me. I have always felt a special connection there. Unfortunately every single time I went there for the last 4 years I have been sexually harassed, intensely by porn sex addicts to the point that I no longer consider the place an option at all.
    For me nudism is about enjoying the feeling of the air and the water in my skin in a natural environment giving me an opportunity to reconnect with my inner self and nature. For those who have done it they would understand what I mean. It is a wonderful feeling of freedom and acceptance.
    The constant harassment has made me feel like a prey for hungry wolfs, so instead of a relaxing spiritual experience what happens is that I have a ” fight or flight response” which gets me stressed and angry.
    The typical scenario is to get constantly interrupted by men double my age who “accidentally” pretend to be passing by, so many of them, some of them would sit a metre or so away, probably from a 3 m distance another is masturbating while staring at me…. I have done nudism in many other countries and I have to say that it is a shame for the Tyagarah area, as I have never felt so intimidated. It says a lot about Australian society too.
    A healthy nudist area is that where people are nude but doing any normal activities they would be doing in their clothes, swimming, reading a book, chatting to friends comfortably without staring at their sexual organs, eating lunch, etc. In Tyagarah, most of the visitors of the area seem to be looking for sex. So if they see a naked woman she automatically becomes a prey.
    The last time I was there I witnessed what I could call a porn movie.
    I believe ones freedom should stop where it is invading someone else’s freedom. Therefore what is really needed is to clean the place of those people who don’t respect boundaries.
    Council should be able to get those perverts banned from the place so that women can feel safe and enjoy the place; after all it is an Aboriginal women site.

  9. Naturism is about spirituality and connecting with nature just as the lady above this comment so beautifully describes. I too am a female nudist, my husband is German, so we simply do not understand why so many Anglo-Saxons i.e. Australians/Americans and British people are so puritanical and judgemental about such an innocent and restorative past-time. We’ve visited beautiful naturist resorts around the world, especially in Europe and have only ever encountered interesting and intelligent people, so we were horrified when we heard that Tyagarah Tea Tree Lake has become a no-go area because of perverted behaviour by a minority of ill-mannered, disgusting louts. The area should be adequately supervised by Rangers, the tea tree lakes were once world famous but like so many things in Australia they have been denigrated by the behaviour of a poisonous minority. In France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and many other countries nudity is hardly worthy of comment so accepted is it among main stream society. I don’t judge people because they choose to wear clothes to bathe in the sea and I do not expect to be judged simply because I choose not to wear clothes whenever possible. Take heart fellow nudists, there are some lovely resorts in Australia, but sadly public naturist beaches here are sometimes spoiled by anti-social and insulting behaviour which is the real issue here. Clamp down on perverts NOT innocent naturists.

  10. I’m a36 year old straight male who looks after his body and likes the freedom of stripping bear. I hate the fact I go to a clothes optional beach and are preyed upon by unliklies. Occasionally I seek refuge with others, this includes single females just so I can enjoy my day. But then I am frowned upon as a sexual deviate cause I’m I’m seeking refuge , that is looked upon as Here we go agian by the persons. I personally go to to be free of all that restricts me in my day to day life in these fantastic available locations made for people to be free, not to be harassed and preyed upon I can understand the perspective of women who are scared to go to the places they enjoy because of a few. Very unfair. In the end please dont close the beaches for amajority because of a few deviat minorty. These places are a place where people can be themselves not constricted to society, no judgement of who they are or what they look like, just people with the same interests.

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