A Byron shire woman and her male friend were shocked to be fined $500 each after police confronted them as they sat naked sunbathing in an isolated part of Brunswick Heads beach recently.
The two friends told Echonetdaily they were just doing what they’d been doing for years: sunbathing in an area south of the dog-exercise area of Brunswick Heads beach in the middle of December, well away from where people swim or surf.
‘We didn’t see the police patrol coming, they stopped their four-wheel drive and asked for our ID then told us it was illegal to be naked on that beach,’ the woman, who preferred to remain anonymous, said.
‘They said we would be fined for offensive behaviour in a public place, but we see the $500 fine as much more offensive, it’s a lot of money for a misdemeanour.’
The two said they would pay the fine but wanted to warn others who frequent the beach and also swim or sunbathe naked of the hefty fine they could face.
‘We’ll have to pay it, there’s no point fighting it, but we want to make others aware of the issue,’ one said.
They said nude bathing or sunbathing in that area was ‘very normal for Brunswick, it’s part of what people here do’.
‘I have been doing this every day for five years, my friend for ten years.
‘I thought I was safe well away from Tyagarah Beach [the shire’s official clothes-optional beach] where the voyeurs and perverts tend to go, it’s one of the reasons I don’t go there, as I just feel safer in this spot, well away from people,’ she said.
The woman said she had been told by the officer who wrote the fine that police were acting in response to complaints from a local horse riding school.
- The original version of this story said the two people arrested were both male.