Popular Aussie nude beach set to close (UPDATED: May)

May 9, 2024

Updated: Protesters Secure Temporary Reprieve for Tyagarah Nudist Beach

Tyagarah Beach’s nudist section has been granted a few more months of operation, with the proposed closure delayed until the end of June. This beach, a popular naturist spot in northern NSW since 1998 when Byron Bay Shire Council declared a portion of its shoreline “clothing optional,” now faces an uncertain future.

A 2023 land survey revealed that the New South Wales Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) holds authority over the 800-meter stretch of Tyagarah Beach, not Byron Bay Shire Council. In December 2023, the NPWS informed the council via a letter that the nudist beach did not align with the reserve’s management values.

Last month, Byron Bay Shire Council acknowledged this discrepancy and voted to retract its 1998 “clothing optional” designation. The council also agreed to collaborate with NPWS to remove the “clothing optional” signage from Tyagarah Beach by June 30.

Despite the NPWS initially requesting the removal of signage by April 8, the deadline was extended to allow time for community consultation. Labor Councillor Asren Pugh stated that the matter was largely out of the council’s control: “This [motion] is just noting what exists in reality… because there is nothing we can do about it anyway.”

Greens Councillor Duncan Dey expressed his support for nude bathing and advocated for making Byron Bay’s Main Beach “clothing optional” as well: “The safest place is the most public place… But I am also a dreamer; it may not happen.”

Dey credited local protestors for pushing NPWS to agree to a period of community consultation, a sentiment echoed by Bradley Benham from Byron Naturists. Benham said that after meeting with NPWS staff, it became clear that they had “opened a pretty big can of worms.”

Take Action: Support the Preservation of Tyagarah Beach

On February 18, Byron Naturists organized a nude protest at Tyagarah Beach that drew 150 people, highlighting their frustration with the planned closure. The nudist beach, one of the few remaining legal spots for nude bathing in New South Wales, has been a source of controversy in recent years due to reports of lewd behavior and sex pests in the area. In 2018, the council chose to install CCTV cameras instead of closing the beach.

An NPWS spokesperson recently stated that a final decision on Tyagarah Beach’s future had not yet been made. “The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) will continue to work with relevant stakeholders to identify alternative locations for the activity to take place,” the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, an online petition organized by Benham to keep Tyagarah Beach open has gathered over 6,000 signatures. The campaign aims to convince the NPWS to reconsider its position and preserve Tyagarah Beach as a clothing-optional location.

To support the cause, sign the petition at Save Tyagarah Beach from Closure and participate in community discussions to advocate for a solution that honors the environment and the values of freedom and inclusivity that Tyagarah Beach represents.

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