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Byron Shire
May 6, 2021

Stop shagging at the tea-tree lake

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Ali Leonard, Mullumbimby.

Today I decided to visit Tyagarah to see if it is still the safe and beautiful place I remembered. 20 years ago I used to come here with my girl friends and we would swim in the tea-tree lake, dive deep to retrieve the mineral rich mud from the bottom and lie in the sun until it had dried. It was the ultimate day spa. Oh yes, we could do this naked without fear of assault or stumbling into some weird pervert. 10 years ago (the last time I had visited) my friend and I were dismayed to find the lake surrounded by men shagging in the bushes or walking around with erections.

So with trepidation I drove down Gray’s Lane, hoping for the best. A police car was just pulling out from the bunch of cars parked along the road near the lake- not a good sign. I waved to the police and asked them if it was safe there. The lovely policeman sighed sadly and chose his words carefully. ‘I would avoid the lake if I were you. We patrol but we’re not always here.’ The other policeman said, ‘Are you coming for the nude beach?’ I replied no, I hadn’t been here for a long time and just wanted a swim. ‘Avoid the lake,’ they repeated and drove off.

I went to the beach and found the whole area to still have that very special feeling it always has but now with a menacing edge. Upon leaving the beach I saw another police car parked in the carpark, I couldn’t see the officers so I presume they were patrolling the dunes.

Seriously guys (yes, I am singling you out as of the many cars I passed on the way in the only occupants were men. One man in each car.) WTF? Tyagarah is not (despite what the internet might say) a sleazy gay pickup joint. Once upon a time it was an Aboriginal birthing ground. Yeah fellas, a sacred women’s area.

I have no problem with nudity or homosexuality. I do have a problem with a beautiful, truly sacred place being turned into a sleazy, perverted and unsafe place for women (or anyone not wanting a quick root in the bushes) to go.



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  1. It’s so sad that this crude behavior has become so frequent and visible….unfortunately this is not an isolated case….many nude beaches are now bonking grounds for men…….yes the lake is sacred and used for fertility preparation. The disrespect of women’s business and the spiritual environment displayed by these perverted men is very sad.

  2. Ali, I am saddened to hear that you again don’t feel safe to visit the lake.
    Safe Beaches Committee, which include Council, Police, NPWS, Naturists Locals and Stakeholders and also Byron Naturists are endeavouring to make both the Tea Tree Lake which is not Clothing Optional but a beautiful place to swim and take in a surreal feeling along with patrolling and confronting any Lewd or Inappropriate Behaviour on Tyagarah and Belongil Clothing Optional Beaches.
    Please join our Facebook Page Byron Naturists if you’d like to join others for family friendly, social days.

  3. When I arrived in Bruns in 1990 there was a very active gay beat operating in the Tyagarah Nature Reserve, just up from the Surf Club. When my son was in primary school he and his mates used to ride their BMX bikes along the old sandy road track and needless to say I was worried about their safety. I asked some gay friends why it was necessary for men to meet in the dunes when there was now plenty of gay bars and places for them to meet for casual sex. I was told it’s mostly “straight, married men who didn’t identify as gay” who frequented these beats and gay men who “liked it rough” to service them. I’m not sure if that is still the case, but as Bruns got more popular and the dunes less private the beat has moved further up towards Grey’s Lane. Male sexuality is certainly complicated and until we address the antipathy associated with being gay – men will continue to hide away in the bushes. PS My son and his mates were never threatened or accosted by those men seeking furtive sex!

  4. I can say this, it’s unfortunate that ( formerly, meaning myself) single, completely straight males, are also being actively approached by some seriously strange men at not only this once strikingly beautiful area, but others as well. Ive experienced this kind of thing on several occasions both at tyagrah and in the broken head area. I’ve even had weirdos masturbate themselves to some sort of infinity nearby whilst clearly looking in my direction and on two rather memorable occasions I actually felt it necessary to get up and worn the guys off that were responsible for this blatant transgression upon my or our right to get some sun. Most were genuinely apologetic when shown the error of their ways and I must say that goes a long way towards my acceptance of their innability to respect other people’s positioning on what is their sexual Hang up, or in these particular cases hangouts. However, rather disturbingly, some of these chaps were really quite annoyed and clearly not at all happy when I politely but firmly informed them that I, myself and my female partner were not impressed with their lewd behaviour and the sizing or remanufacturing of their particular appendages via some rigorous exercise. Some were quite aggressive and I even considered my options in defending ourselves. It’s come to this then that obviously … men, be they homosexual, half way gay, straight or otherwise deem it necessary to expose their wants and needs alongside their credentials to pretty much everybody and that’s concerning….so more power to the police and other regulatory bodies that do see the writing on the wall with this very confronting behaviour that can only at best create a slur upon otherwise well meaning and private gays. There will always be the ratbags and the plain demented in any avenue of Human sexuality and it certainly isn’t whole heartedly restricted to the gay community by any stretch of an imagination..Respect is where it begins and ends, unfortunately some people fail to understand that very basic concept and what it entails….to the guys out there engaging in this kind of behaviour, going about and insulting otherwise respectful persons on our beaches, do yourselves a great favour and seek some kind of regress into a behavioural pattern that can only bring you under the microscope of some seriously committed authorities.

  5. Oh please get over it. Its just sex. Bunch of puritanical crusaders. If you cant deal with it theres miles and miles of coastline you can enjoy where it doesnt happen. Sex in the great outdoors is one of the most enjoyable things life has to offer. As long as people are discrete I dont see any problem. Calling it “perverted” is so ridiculous and circa 1950. And its not a gay thing. The men that frequent beats are usually closeted married types so if youd like to know who the “perves” are theyre your fathers and your husbands. I can go to any busy beach and see many straight young couples canoodling, kissing, fondling and straddling in full public view and nobody bats an eyelid but a few men have a quicky in the bushes and its labelled perversion and and outrage. Hypocritical and storm in a teacup. Focus on real issues.


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