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July 20, 2024

Nudity to be banned at Tyagarah by NPWS

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NPWS will close the Clothing-Optional Area (COA) within Tyagarah Nature Reserve by August 30. Photo Jeff Dawson

While Tyagarah residents have welcomed the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) decision to close the Clothing-Optional Area (COA) within Tyagarah Nature Reserve by August 30, naturists who use the beach have contested the decision-making process, and claim concerns around public safety are not supported by police statistics.

A NPWS senior media advisor said in a media statement the decision followed ‘extensive consultation and careful consideration’.

They said, ‘A recent stakeholder workshop was held during March, which included representatives from NSW Police, local businesses, community associations and naturist groups, and no viable alternative locations for the COA were identified’.

‘NPWS has requested that Byron Shire Council extend the permissibility of the COA from June 30 2024 to August 30, which will allow appropriate notification for the naturist community’.

According to the NPWS’s ‘decision brief’, both Mayor Michael Lyon and General Manager Mark Arnold ‘support ceasing the COA’. 

President of Northern Rivers Naturists, Bradley Benham, told The Echo the NPWS claim of ‘extensive consultation’ was just a ‘single two-hour roundtable in March’.

Benham also rejected ongoing concerns regarding public safety as a reason to close the beach.  

He said, ‘Concerns regarding public safety are not supported by police statistics’.

‘Northern Rivers Naturists requests that the section of beach from the south boundary of Tyagarah Nature Reserve to 200m north of the Bayshore Drive access track be reinstated as a legal co-optional clothing beach’. 

‘This north Byron/Sunrise Beach section was part of the legal co-beach designated in 1998, and operated as such until 2018. This section is under Council management and not affected by the jurisdictional error over who manages the beach’.

Nude Olympics best bum competition from 2015. Photo supplied.

Safety concerns 

Gyan Moyes from the Tyagarah Community Association told The Echo the NPWS decision ‘shows a genuine concern for the safety of women and families’. 

‘It is not only a win for those women who spoke out about the sexual violence towards them, but also a win for those who were too shattered and frightened to do so. 

‘Byron Bay residents and visitors are traumatised and fed up with predatory behaviour associated with the clothing-optional area, occurring in the Tyagarah Nature Reserve and spilling out into nearby locations. 

‘We are looking forward to working with residents, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and other stakeholders, to ensure the nature reserve and its beach become safe again’, Mr Moyes added.

Jenni and Dazee wanted to send a strong message. Photo Tree Faerie.

Behaviour disputed

Yet naturist, Duncan James, disputes that predatory behaviour is still an issue for the area, telling The Echo naturists removed the ‘unwanted’ lewd behaviour on the beach around 2018, and police incident statistics for the area reflect that. 

‘I believe the majority of beach users at Tyagarah go there to enjoy the beach respectfully, and this has always been the case’. 

‘The statistics in the police report that has been published proves this to be the case. We sincerely believe Tyagarah is a safe, respectful place, where the people in the community can enjoy clothes-optional bathing. 

‘There is a strong community of beach users who frequent the beach on a regular basis, they keep an eye on what happens on the beach. This community is the “happy place” for many, who often refer to each other as “family”. 

‘Many established, lasting friendships have come from this place. It is extremely sad to hear that NPWS want to take such a special thing from so many law-abiding, community-focused individuals. The NPWS have mentioned that Tyagarah clothing-optional beach doesn’t fit in with their values. 

‘We are yet to find out what their values are! 

‘It honestly seems to me that the people who appear to be making all these allegations and have control of the fate of Tyagarah Beach are those who don’t actually frequent the beach. 

Problems elsewhere

‘Maybe they should start paying attention to all the other beaches in the shire, and problems associated there, instead of focusing all this negative energy on just one particular beach, a beach that remains one of the last alternative spaces for our community’, Mr James said.

‘I honestly think its discrimination. I also think it will be bad for Byron’s already waning reputation as an alternate, free-spirited destination’.

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  1. If more women use the beach and more activities like volleyball etc are on then it’s more inclusive and any bad behaviour gets called out quickly given lots of Europeans visit Byron they must think where bonkers in such a joy climate and nudity is deraguer there moving it to subside belongil would make it safer for all concerned and when you look at the likes of dark mofo and winter solstice swims etc and other body positivity seems a shame to go back to the dark ages plus I think Queensland should have more nude beaches which would also be de stigmatize nudity there anyway people are still going to skinny dip regardless so to make it a crime is stupid let alone the fact kids and toddlers are nude all the time at beaches which is more of a concern with phones everywhere

  2. Now it will be treated like A Bay.

    Unofficial…………….. but not restricted to 800 meters

    Time for another RALLY at Belongil?

    Always was……..Always will be.

  3. Having been a part of the naturist movement all my life since I was 5 years old when my parents joined a club in the UK, I think there is nothing more natural than being naked, as we were born. In the private, protected, fenced environment of naturist clubs, (with strict club rules to adhere to) there was never any untoward behaviour. Nudity is a great leveller. It doesn’t matter what strata of society we come from, what we do for a living, whether we are famous or not…we are all bound by our love of the feeling of freedom. (In the right weather, of course, lol!)
    There was sport to enjoy, swimming, volleyball, tennis etc, camping out over the (UK) summer holidays and the making of great friends.
    See how everyone there is brown all over? No annoying white patches from pesky togs.
    And diving into the surf is so much freer and enjoyable without constantly hitching up straps & pants!
    Nudity is accepted much more broadly in Europe. So many more options there for naturists…the term I prefer, relating to nature.
    Not only that, when we emigrated to Australia, being members of the naturist movement – which is worldwide – we had instant connections out here, membership of local clubs which was a great help coming out otherwise knowing no-one.
    What is wrong with nudist beaches here, is the free entry it gives to the wrong sort of people, the perverts. How to deter them?
    As with surf lifesavers being on patrol, perhaps a nearby official or an easily reachable police officer to report inappropriate behaviour?
    We all have phones with us. (In this case, perhaps not in our back pocket, lol!)
    And perhaps that there are not enough clothing optional beaches in Australia for it to be a more acceptable idea.
    Are we such a prudish country? Certainly we have the ideal climate for the naturist ethos!
    Feeling sad at the closure of this miniscule part of our enormous coastline, denying access to those of us who love feeling close to nature, feeling the air, water, sun on our skin…in moderation of course!

  4. So the wowsers win the day. It was never the regular beachgoers that caused any problems and the police statistics showed no evidence of any undesirbable behaviour since 2018. Stack that up against the rates of assault and indency on all other Byron Shire beaches, and apply the same logic, then you wouldn’t be preventing nudists from enjoying the beach, you’d be banning all males from the beach even though it was rarely the locals or the regulars that ever caused any problems.
    Byron Shire is fast losing its edge as a progressive place – as the article says the decision to ban nudity at Tyagrah ‘ will be bad for Byron’s already waning reputation as an alternate, free-spirited destination’
    The Bay has become a place of Birenstocks, Range Rovers and incessant talk about property prices.
    The hippies left long ago as did the ferals

    • Are you naive enough to think anything will actually change at this deserted beach.

      It has been clothes optional decades before it was a declared clothing optional beach.

      Same as Belongil, Sunrise, Tallow and Kings and Whites beach.

      We policed our small 800 metre area. No issues as per Police stats over several years.

      The previous Police stats were Constable Tracey fining people being outside the declared area. The courts dismissed the $108 fine.

      What do you think will happen post August 30 to the kilometers of beach?

  5. Make all of Byrons beaches clothes optional. Having just one isolated beach is part of the problem of other users feeling vlnerable. The ban is not in line with current Australian beach costumes trends that has moved to botoms of costumes just being a string up ones backside with a tiny bit of cloth at front.

  6. as usual a few a wrecking for the many. i have no problem with nude beaches, however seeing some guy apparently masturbating at me while im body surfing just doesn’t seem right. iv never complained about this to council or police. but i wouldn’t take my kids to this beach ever!

    • Let’s review

      Wow great eye sight.

      So you went to tyagerah beach and walked 200 metres to the clothing optional beach

      Yet you had kilometres of beach to choose from.

      Is that your story

      Apparently indicates you weren’t certain

      Thanks for your anecdote

    • I agree with you re ‘a few’ and ‘no problem with nude beaches’. However, a nude beach is not what naturists are asking for. The term ‘clothing optional’ correctly shows respect for everyone’s right to choose a beach inclusive of all. The behavior you mention is totally unacceptable at any beach. Please advise when you witnessed that? and on what part of the beach?

  7. What an absolute narrow minded decision to ban a healthy and good spirited activity otherwise known as naturism. If the issue is the wrong type of people hanging around in the area – then police it properly instead of punishing the ones who used the space properly, appropriately and in the true sense of naturism.

    To those who dislike the idea…you don’t have to participate, attend or watch. A small patch of sand and water in a country blessed with plenty of sand and water otherwise known as beachfront.

    NPWS should reinstate the beach as it was or provide another area in close proximity where naturists can enjoy the freedoms they have now been denied.

  8. Like Abay.

    We will go from official to unofficial.

    Nothing will really change.

    Always was. .. . Always will be

  9. There’s a thing called punctuation which would make your comment a lot easier to read. Also use spellcheck. It’s free!!!

  10. Any person or law that proposes an ideology or implants a law, that the nude human body is offensive, is pure evil. This is an attack on the dignity of the human person. Any persons convicted so, are unjustly discriminated against.

    Pope John Paul II stated there is no sin in nudity and he was well aware of nudist practices in Europe and amongst peoples and cultures ancient or modern. He discussed at length the negative consequences of Puritanism in his “Theology of the Body”.

    Never tolerate any such evil people or laws that make nudity an offence or a crime in your society.

    Any reasonable, moral person, can differentiate between sexual behaviour that belongs in the private sphere and is subject to modesty, from nudity, like swimming in nature or sunbathing on a beach. Which by the way can be a religious observance and is for many who observe the “Mikvah” for atonement of purity.

    The shaming and criminalisation of nudity affected indigenous peoples who never felt shame before the coloniser came and with their great pride declared the indigenous lesser humans.

    Be careful, anti- human dignity actions, result in repercussions to society.

    The human freedom to be innocently nude on a beach and go for a swim is a precious freedom and the anti-humans are the only ones who would deny this.

    Of them beware.

  11. Poor nudists and naturisists.
    As a local of over 20 years I am also saddened about the loss of the clothing optional beach.
    Yet the supporters continue to fail to miss the point.
    We are not prudish and think there is nothing wrong with being naked.
    Yet the main problem was that over the last several years Tyagarah Beach had attracted a very bad element of sex pests that simply made for many locals going to the beach a very unpleasant experience.
    Yes there was little in the way of official complaints yet most locals had many confrontingly negative experiences.
    Many girls and woman simply stopped going to their own local beach.
    The naturists, police, Council and other authorities simply could not clean up the bad elements happening at the beach and Tea Tree Lakes. Good riddens to the end of the clothing optional beach.

    • That’s really sad that you openly discriminate against the very people ‘The Nudists’ that worked tirelessly cleaning up the 800 metres of Clothing Optional Beach.
      I will state again, where was the help we’d desperately asked for back in 2017 to rid the lewd element associated with Tyagarah.
      I’ll tell you, it wasn’t there by a handful of Tyagarah Residents who seem to choose to wait until we’d once again brought the beach back to family friendly.
      So many times you’d been requested to support your alleged allegations with evidence. Clearly you’d have done so if it was ever witnessed such any lewd behaviour.
      We’d done our bit in ensuring zero recorded offences on Tyagarah even as March 27 meeting this year.
      Full credit to Police and the Naturist Community in coming together to ensure safe beaches was actually realised.
      If only you’d seen the complete change to a once again safe family environment, a change after 20 yrs of nothingness from those same handful of Tyagarah Residents who chose to not only work with but made the most noise in ensuring the closure.

      Shame on you.
      Byron Naturists.

    • Elements could – the beachside land erosion has left part of the adjacent beach retaining the Elements land Title ( untill it is permanently covered by the sea, where upon the private Title is confiscated and it becomes Crown Land – which will be the scenario of all of private Byron Bay land with Climate Change sea level rises

    • Ha ha ha Alan, if only, but Cap d’Adge we don’t need here with lewdness overload, yes I’ve been there.
      Elements performed in conjunction with Tyagarah Residents over several years to secure the closure of the clothing optional area so I doubt it.
      Alan, one could though conjoin in independently buying up the 9 Lot Subdivision DA approved, owned by Elements Resort, approved approximately 2 years ago located on Bayshore Drive.
      This landholding literally adjoins Tyagarah Nature Reserve.
      This would have made a lovely community based parkland adjoining the reserve, but I guess development matters more, I mean once there is adjoining roads from Grays Lane direct to Bayshore Drive or Quarry Road, imagine what properties will be worth especially Grays Lane, I hear the 219 acres now close to sold, will be a huge development in Grays Lane.
      Just a thought worth thinking about.

  12. Claims of illegal acts on the beach in recent years are absolutely not supported by Police statistics. Claims made without proof. Police statistics do not lie.

  13. I was being cynical and basically pointing to the real reason for the closure Debra because we know full well that won’t happen and you say they want to build houses all over the old golf course to tyagragh interesting national parks have nothing against horse riding in tyagragh on the beach etc anyway end of a era unless a new council in September occurs and someone like Richard Jones can swing some of his mates in politics to do the right thing and advocate for freedom not oppression


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