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April 22, 2024

Delay on clothes-optional beach decision 

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Nude rally at Tyagarah Beach 2024. Photo Tree Faerie.

Tyagarah Beach will remain a clothes-optional location until at least June 30, after the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) bowed to a concerted campaign from the local naturist community.

But calls are also growing for the clothes-optional designation to be permanently revoked for safety reasons, with some residents saying they have continued to be subjected to lewd and inappropriate sexual behaviour at the beach.

Hornet’s nest 

The NPWS kicked over a hornet’s nest two weeks ago, when it announced that Tyagarah would no longer be a nudist beach because it was not in keeping with the department’s policies and values. 

This followed a land mapping survey undertaken by NPWS, which found that a large area of the beach was under the jurisdiction of NPWS, rather than Council.

The decision, which was made without any consultation, drew an outraged reaction from local naturists who undertook a large nude protest at the beach on February 18, and launched an online petition which now has more than 6,200 signatures.

Nude rally at Tyagarah Beach 2024. Photo Tree Faerie.

In response, NPWS issued a memo to Byron Council stating that it wished to delay the implementation date of its decision until June 30, so that it could ‘undertake further consultation with user groups at Tyagarah’.

With any say that Byron Council may have had in relation to the beach now effectively stripped away by the NPWS, councillors were left with little choice other than to accept the decision at last week’s meeting.

They passed a resolution to this effect, and made a commitment to work with the NPWS to ‘remove or amend site signage, and update social media information, and have the changes implemented by June 30, 2024’. 

Mayor Michael Lyon expressed frustration about the way the NPWS had conducted itself in relation to the matter, stating that Tyagarah residents deserved safety and certainty.

‘In my view we should go and take those signs [saying “nude bating permitted”] down tomorrow,’ Cr Lyon said.

‘In the meeting [we had] with NPWS, they were all over the place. They indicated that if we did that it would be trespassing. 

‘That’s an indication of where this is all coming from, the politics of it. Originally it’s like “it’s our land, shut it [the nudist beach]”… then it was “oh God we’re getting lobbied…throw us a lifeline”.

‘I don’t want to throw them a lifeline, but anyway, there you go: June 30, there’s your lifeline. From our point of view, [come] June 30, the signs get removed.’

Antisocial and inappropriate behaviour has consistently emerged as an issue ever since Tyagarah Beach was first given a clothes-optional designation back in 1998.

Earlier, during the public access section of the meeting, representatives from both sides of the debate over the beach passionately expressed their views.

Ebony Eagles, who has recently moved to Tyagarah with her family, said that she and her children had been exposed to ‘uncomfortable and potentially dangerous encounters’.

‘On two separate occasions my partner was riding into Byron Bay on his bike with my daughter,’ Ms Eagles said, through a stream of tears.

‘On both occasions, rather coincidentally timed, a man closely crossed their paths, one with a semi-erect penis, and one with a full-blown erection.

‘I no longer walk alone on this beach, and I don’t take my children on the beach without the support of my partner, and needless to say he doesn’t ride his bike into Byron Bay.’

Naturists gathered on Sunday to oppose plans by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to revoke the clothing-optional status of Tyagarah Beach. Photo Eve Jeffery

But local naturist, Jessa O’Brien, described a very different experience.

Ms O’Brien said she had felt safe attending the beach naked on her own, and that it had a strong sense of community. ‘As a body positive advocate, another significant aspect that I feel is missing from the conversation is the positive role that clothing-optional beaches play in the wider community,’ she said.

‘As a female living in a world that upholds unrealistic body image standards and hyper-sexualises the human body, getting involved with the naturist community and having the option to enjoy non-sexual social nudity has been profoundly healing’.

‘Getting naked shouldn’t be a crime.’ 

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  1. Mrs Eagles. I don’t understand. You go to the beach and turn left and there is hardly a sole in sight.
    If you cycle right towards Byron bay you are moving at speed near the water line through the clothing optional area. So where is the danger.
    You can look towards the sea if it bothers you.

    This is right up there with the other local woman talking about all the new tracks in the dunes on a beach that she doesn’t go to

    Fairyland tales.

    • Utter Ignorance. It’s not the nudity that’s the problem it’s an obvious attempt to display an erection to a young girl. Seperate to the the fact that it’s a nudist beach entirely. It’s lewd behaviour. And it seems you have missed the point.

      • So this person saw a man on a bike with a child seated behind him from 50 metres away approaching at speed and then instantly got an erection and walked down to cross their path .
        Was there a flying pink pig?

  2. If you don’t like nude beaches, perhaps go to the hundreds that are not nude beaches and leave the nudists alone. You do have the option to not have the option. I suggest the new resident shouldn’t have moved in next to a nude beach if she or her husband are easily offended by penis. Instead they try to force the current users off the beach.

    I really am concerned about the way people going about their lives by being naked in a safe space for skinny dippers and having normal human anatomy, are starting to be referred to as creeps and performing lewd behavior. I’m not suggesting that it doesn’t exist at all, but it is being exaggerated by people who hardly go there and is largely historical. It has diminished incredibly and most people now have a great time at Tyagarah. A lot of it is being stirred up by businesses in the vicinity. Byron’s beaches should be for people not businesses.

    • The lewd behaviour and nudity is absolutely not contained only within the approved area. Of course there are genuine naturists, and they are not the problem, the problem is that having that as a designated nudist area in such a remote area sexualises the area and attracts sinister behaviour and people with less pure intentions. It has to go – it’s the first step to cleaning up the bad behaviour. Nudist beaches should be out in the open so that they are safe. Like Main Beach!

  3. What is this? There are naked people roaming the forest and beaches. I was told we live in Terra Nullius! As brave colonial administrator I will make a law to criminalise them!
    The colonial politics of “no shoes – no entry” are living on. God save Australia!

  4. Luke has referred to the clothing-optional area as a sexualized area with sinister behaviour. My partner and I have been there on many occasions and this was not our experience of the place. Most other beach users were couples, like us. The atmosphere was relaxed and convivial – not sick and sleezy. Also, the nude beach didn’t feel “remote” to us – it started 300m from a busy carpark.

  5. Get rid of it. We are also entitled to go to any beach we like especially with our kids. If you don’t like it buy a pool and do your stuff at home. Yes obviously your out voted and that to reflects on the many peodofiles we have around these days. Not saying you all are at all so don’t get me wrong but it’s just playing it safe for the community.
    Don’t any of you understand that? What if your child was one of those?
    Can’t you just look at the bigger picture here.

    • If you don’t want your kids to see naked people, go to a different beach. Nudists aren’t pedophiles anymore than any group.

  6. if you would like to look at the bigger picture then stopping looking through key -holes witho only one eye and move past what seems to be your own bigtory mindsets. I would as a nudist be more concerned by those individuals that entertain themsleves with porongraphic material-which within itself seemingly to promote a neagtive imagery of the human form. Save your children form that instaed of trying to spin-off some of unfounded rhetoric about nudism and the safety and well-being of children.

    If anything the nudist movement is a strong advocate of the saefty and well being of children and how many reported cases has there been where children who have grown within the lifestyle have come into direct threat of sexual abuse or have been a victim of sexual abuse. If, any thing the safety and well-being of children in paramount amonsgt the wider nudist communities.

    So, do not use this as a potential flawless and unfounded argumemnt to assume that nudists are sexual deviants or exhibitionists with the hope potential of being watched and showing an erection to young girls- as quoted by John within above men and Vicki’s unsupported comments.

    I think such comments are abhorerent and disgusting and unfounded and as a nudist and as a long term single nudist male find these both comments offernsive and potentially bordering on the defaminatory and discriminatory (legal sense).

    I have been a nudist for some years now and not once have I ever such thoughts or actions potentially crossed my mind as an individual and if anything I am strong advocate towards the safety and well-being of children and this also applies to many other genuine nudists both domestically and on an international basis.

  7. Seriously… I you don’t wish to see it, turn left n the beanot right, you have miles of beautiful beach that’s either same as what’s on the right. The overwhelming majority of people there are there for tge right reasons, and will not tolerate any lude behaviour and aren’t afraid of dealing with it themselves. I’ve been a nudist since a child with my family and fed up with precious Judgemental people who have miles of options but rather choose to take it from others who have little for their own advantage and prudish opinion. You nw t was there before you bought there, like people who buy under a flight path then winge about the noise. We don’t want you on our beach either because we don’t like judgement. Go left or shut up..

  8. Seriously… If you don’t wish to see it, turn left on the beach, not right. You have miles of beautiful beach that’s exactly the same as what’s on the right. The overwhelming majority of people there are there for the right reasons, and will not tolerate any lude behaviour and aren’t afraid of dealing with it themselves. I’ve been a nudist since a child with my family and fed up with precious Judgemental people who have miles of options but rather choose to take it from others who have little for their own advantage and prudish opinion. You knew it was there before you bought there, like people who buy under a flight path, then winge about the noise. We don’t want you on our beach either because we don’t like judgement. Go left or shut up..


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