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Byron Shire
August 15, 2022

Maintain Byron’s clothing optional beach

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Stuart Whelan, Publisher/Editor, TAN Magazine. 

I read with some concern Councillor Paul Spooner’s comments in The Echo that he plans to move a motion calling for the revoking of the clothing optional status for the section of the beach which has been set aside for this purpose since 1998.

I would ask if Councillor Spooner will also be seeking a ban on motor vehicles in the Byron Shire because people have been caught drinking alcohol and then driving and thus putting people’s lives in danger?

This is a rhetorical question, of course, as clearly Councillor Spooner would not do so. Playing Devil’s advocate for a moment longer, the banning of cars could be argued would deny people the access to a beneficial mode of transport but likewise the revoking of the clothes optional status would deny people access to a form of beneficial recreation that has been shown in scientific studies to provide greater life satisfaction by promoting healthy body image and positive self-esteem.

Naturists who enjoy clothing optional use of the beach are also disturbed by the illegal behaviour that has been reported and that has occurred in the precinct surrounding the clothing optional beach. The users want, for their own safety, to be able to enjoy their healthy and enjoyable pastime without the fear of being attacked or seeing illegal activity.

Byron Shire has long been known as a progressive and tolerant place to live, work and visit which in relation to clothing optional beaches puts it light years ahead of its neighbour Queensland that has no clothing optional beaches and yet has the same types of illegal activity around some of their beaches.

Those who wish to undertake illegal and anti-social behaviour have no place on our clothing optional beaches (or anywhere else) and Council should support those that regularly use the beach, the NPWS Rangers and of course the Police who, acting together, can work to stamp out this unwanted behaviour.


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  1. Those using the beach in a correct manner should use their mobile phones to record obscene behaviour and take the evidence to the local authorities. Although the NSW law states

    “Given that the law is clear regarding the exposure of genitalia in public, behaviour on nudist beaches could be called into question on this basis. However, the Local Government Amendment (Nude Bathing) Act 1996 (NSW) states that nude bathing cannot be prohibited if the conduct occurs at one of the listed designated beaches. Therefore, nudity on these designated beaches will not incline a charge of obscene exposure, providing that the council’s regulations are abided by.”

    That being said – I submit that the law would come into full force if a person is, or a coupe are, indulging in inappropriate behaviour.

  2. Well said Stuart. And I agree about the collaboration between the authorities and the community together to stand against any lewd behaviour.

    Signage at both ends of the legally designated area would help too!
    Perhaps the large (the bigger the better) sign could say:
    (in big bold writing to warn unsuspecting beachgoers)

    Beyond This

    (then in a slightly smaller print)
    All sexual acts are illegal. Call 000 (or a local number) to report lewd behaviour. Perpetrators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law (you could state what the min or max fine & prison sentence are)
    (then smaller print again)
    by order of the Byron Bay Shire Council.

    On the reserve side of sign… perhaps.
    Clothed beyond this point.
    This would clearly show the legally designated area.

    As there are still a few in society that deem the lifestyle as ‘wrong’ or ‘immoral’, some naturists have not ‘come out of the closet’ with their friends, families and work places. This fear of being found out, has more than likely stopped a naturist or two from reporting incidents. Help them feel safe, by simply stating there is a contact number that naturists can phone without fear of persecution, I believe that would also help.

    Perhaps a temporary sign could be placed at the entry to the track from the road into the Tea-tree Lake, advising nudity is NOT permitted there (as it is not part of the legally designated area). As some people need educating and it isn’t the naturists.

    I know the National Parks should not have to put up signs, but perhaps signs clearly stating not to go in the dunes. As not only do people trample the vegetation and worsen the effects of erosion, but they are destroying one of the few natural habitat’s set aside to help preserve our native wildlife, flora & fauna. Some people NEED a reminder of this. And once again, it’s about educating.

    Please don’t take away one of our few places, where we have freedom. We’re tax paying citizen’s too, please don’t discriminate against us.
    United in Nudity!


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