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Byron Shire
September 23, 2021

Naturists celebrate Tyagarah lifeguard trial

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Lifeguards patrolling at Tyagarah at Byron Naturists’ family day on January 28.

Aslan Shand

Byron Naturists (BN) say that they have been celebrating the reduction in sex pests, the success of their Australia/Invasion Day family day event and the opportunity to have lifeguards at Tyagarah Beach over the summer holidays. However, local residents and councillor Jan Hackett have said that this will be a short-lived celebration as once things settle back to normal the sex pests will return.

BN say they have been keeping tallies on beach users and counted around 200 people at Tyagarah Beach at one point on Monday January 28. The family day event coincided with the end of Byron Shire Council’s lifeguard trial that, ‘families have especially valued having,’ said BN spokesperson Debra Conomy.

‘While the sky was picture perfect on the Monday, the sea was quite rough. So with the lifeguards looking on, parents could relax and let their kids play in the surf,’ she said.

Successful trial

Byron Shire Council voted to trail the NSW Lifeguard service at Tyagarah Beach between January 7 and 28.

Councillor Sarah Ndiaye, who proposed the trial, said she had been down Monday 28 to see if there were any improvements.

‘I am really happy with the trial. It was a positive move while the community was at a stalemate. By having the lifeguards down there it allowed people who had stopped going to the beach to come back,’ she said.

‘It really seemed to have received a positive response and everyone was grateful for the lifeguards being there.’

Scott Mcartney from the NSW Lifeguard Service said that while he, his manager and the lifeguards appointed to the site had had concerns about sex pests and other unsavoury behaviour prior to working at Tyagrah Beach they had not found any instances of this while they were there.

‘We were told from the reports that there weren’t many people down there but we performed a fair few rescues and there were a couple of code 16’s (sharks) and people were told to get out of the water. So it was really good to have them down there,’ said Mr Mcartney.

‘There were mainly families and big groups.

‘There were a few enquiries and comments about behaviour saying there had been a few incidents in the dunes the week before. Since we started there has been nothing.’

Move it to Byron

However, the local Tyagarah Community Association have said that they don’t believe that the presence of a few lifeguards will change the situation in the long term and the clothing-optional beach should be moved close to Byron where it can be patrolled effectively.

‘The Tyagarah Community Association is bemused by the thought that putting lifeguards on Tyagarah Beach for two weeks has anything to do with dealing with the complications of a clothing-optional beach operating in an isolated area,’ said spokesperson Richard Burford.

‘The clothing optional area at isolated Tyagarah Beach attracts consensual sex and predators. It leads to sexual harassment and an unsafe environment.

‘The lifeguard patrols at Tyagarah Beach show that a beach needs to be found for naturists which can be patrolled 24/7, 52 weeks of the year.

‘The public should know that isolated clothes optional Tyagarah Beach no longer has lifeguards.’

This position was reiterated by councillor Jan Hackett who said, ‘It’s not the job of lifeguards to check behaviour patterns. Besides, most lewd behaviour happens off the beach’.

‘Of course there were more visitors over summer with all the advertising and special events, most still from Queensland.

‘The only way Council could continue paying for lifeguards there for the handful of people who normally use the beach, would be for visitors to pay for it themselves,’ she said.

‘I agree with residents and police, once the event days have passed, the exhibitionists and abusers will return and hide amongst the naturists.

‘I’m all for having a legal clothes-optional beach, but it has to be in a more populated area which is easier to police and service. Removing the designation at Tyagarah will aid police in clearing out the sex addicts and bring some relief to the locals after 30 years of nastiness.’


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  1. Jan Hackett, I ask you when was the last time you were actually at Tyagarah Clothing Optional Beach?
    Jan, are you really so disappointed that the mismanagement of 20 years that now with community support has now for well over a 12 months period that the beach is a very safe family destination to go to. It’s a real shame that you, like a handful of ‘local residents’ are so negative about this transformed piece of paradise. For the record, 80% of Grays Lane Residents want the Clothing Optional Beach to stay.
    We’ve had hundreds every weekend attending Tyagarah without any issues whatsoever.
    Give up on historical negativity and rejoice that we now have one of the safest beaches in the shire.
    Thank you Councillors for all for voting ‘Unanimously’ for Sarah Ndaiyes proposed trial for lifesavers. It was an absolute success and all truly appreciated the Lifeguard attendance at Tyagarah over the 2 week holiday period.
    It was a pleasure to have Sam, Jess and Michael overseeing the safety of swimmers at Tyagarah.
    We’d put a proposal forward to Council 14 months ago to extend our current 800 metres of CO beach south another 1300 metres with a buffer 200 metre zone from the Public Access path Bayshore Drive to allow local residents to use the CO section of beach. It’s not rocket science this should be clearly considered as the best possible option for the Byron community.
    Debra Conomy
    Byron Naturist Group

  2. My partner and I are locals and we spent many hours at Tyagarah over the summer holidays. The atmosphere was positive and safe BOTH with and without the lifesavers! The Council trial been a huge success and the lifesavers were icing on the cake.

    Beach opponents keep rolling out the same tried and discredited arguments so it was refreshing to have Mandy Nolan recently give a non-partisan assessment of the place. She rejected the “honeypot” argument, frequently used by opponents, and celebrated “body positivity in action” – https://www.echo.net.au/2019/01/mandy-nolans-soapbox-fleshing/

    Mandy concluded: “You can’t limit the freedoms of everyone else to ‘control’ a minority of sick people. I am proud that I live in one of the few progressive communities in NSW that has a clothing-optional beach. If Byron Shire ever loses that, if we become another conservative town, then who are we?”

    Bravo, bravo!

    In contrast to this sane voice:

    Mr Burford’s silly statement that a nude beach needs to be “patrolled 24/7, 52 weeks of the year” shows that he and the Tyagarah Community Association want prohibition and not are not interested in constructive problem solving.

    Jan Hackett states that “most lewd behaviour happens off the beach” but she doggedly resists cameras in the car park.

    Jan also claims that only “handful of people” use the beach outside of the holiday period. This is sheer nonsense, based on my firsthand experience.

    It would be more accurate to say that only a handful of people use the beach north of Grays Lane. And those who do, in my observation, are in swimwear. Tyagarah residents have a safe and sublime beach at the end of their road. Those who want a legal nude beach and those in the neighbourhood who want a mainstream beach can harmoniously co-exist.

  3. I suppose it is easy for The Harbinger of Doom, Cr Hackett, to overlook the strenuous efforts that have been have been made to improve the situation at Tyagarah. To acknowledge improvements would simply weaken her argument for CO beach closure.
    However it is so wonderful to find that Jan has said: ‘I’m all for having a legal clothes-optional beach, but it has to be in a more populated area which is easier to police and service. ”
    So, we now are even more aware that it is not the naked activity that is ‘offensive’. But it is all the traffic on Grays Lane and importantly the positioning of a nudist beach nearby that might reduce potential property land values.


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