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.