Nudist beaches not smart idea for the Smart State

Welcome to Queensland – 

the Smart State!

Courtesy Wikipedia

By Spencer D Gear

Surely there are beaches beyond measure in Australia for nudists! We should be able to find hundreds of secluded beaches around the country that would be ideal for nudists to use. We have thousands of kilometres of glorious coastline — 25,760 km to be exact. [2]

Why would anybody object to giving people the freedom they seek to engage in beach nudity? One nudist told ABC radio, “The ‘facts’ as put by the opponents of nude beaches are nearly always erroneous or based on religious teachings and leanings”. [3] Let’s check the facts to find if there are good reasons why nudist beaches do not serve the best interests of most Australians and why they are not a smart idea for the Smart State.

1.    Children at risk at nudist beaches

On 15th February 1975, Maslin Beach, 40km from Adelaide’s CBD, became Australia’s first legal nudist beach.[4] In 2004, a 36-year-old male paedophile abducted three boys, aged 8, 9 and 10 at an Adelaide park, and took them for a naked swim at Maslin Beach. The boys were not found until the next day. The paedophile “pleaded guilty to abducting the boys and was found guilty of causing them to expose their bodies for his prurient interest” and was jailed for three years. [5]

One nudist went public in Qld., stating that “legal nude beaches have been a part of life in several Australian states and territories for many years without any problems.” [6] The Maslin Beach conviction refutes that stance. We will discover many other problems worldwide associated with nudist beaches.

2. Negative effects on local residents

A friend who lives at Coonarr Beach near Bundaberg (Qld., Australia) told me that she was walking alone on the beach in December 2005. Apparently a nude man had been sitting among the fallen trees near the beach and she hadn’t seen him when she walked one way along the beach. After she had walked past him, he apparently entered the ocean. On her return, he waited until she was almost to where he was, walked out of the water towards her, and was so close he could have touched her.

She was so frightened by this encounter as she couldn’t see another person anywhere on the beach. She has now discovered that he visits there frequently.

On another day, while walking with her husband on the beach, a nudist walked within 10 metres of them. She said that the man regularly walks nude on the beach, has shorts in hand and puts them on just to walk past the residences.

Recently a nudist couple was on the beach, only metres away from other beach-goers who were clad in swimwear. She said that the police were called but did not arrive for 1.5 hours.

A few weeks earlier another resident observed a nude man walking through the car park to the toilets. When confronted he replied, “But this is a nudist beach.” Nudist beaches are illegal in Qld.

Almost every day, this woman reports that there is a nudist visiting the beach. Most of them are men and she does not feel safe walking the beach near her house.

3. Clothing optional beaches are not family-friendly

The local councils prepared for the publicity when perverts are attracted to such beaches and their actions attract mass media attention? Why can’t all Qld. beaches be kept family-friendly with a reputation for the modesty they promote rather than the trendy idea of nudist beaches? Do councils want these kinds of headlines?

  • Dogging takes place on our nudist beach;
  • Indecent sexual behaviour on sand dunes at our nudist beach;
  • Cruising for sex with nudists;
  • Nudists want more – a beach for open-air sex!

Six nudists in the summer of 2005 were “fined in a crackdown on illegal naturism at a Merseyside [UK] beauty spot visited by families.” Nudists were arrested in sand dunes at Ainsdale, Mersyside and were fined £80 each “for public order offences.”

A spokesman for Mersyside police said that “after we received a number of complaints from both visitors and residents in the area, we decided to launch an operation to stop this type of behaviour. This type of activity is not acceptable to the many families with young children who like to go out and enjoy the sand dunes on a sunny afternoon.” A local councillor said that “naked sunbathers had been a problem in the past, but recently the dunes have been a haunt for ‘couples behaving inappropriately.’ This time it became even worse.” [7]

4. Nude beaches are not good for a tourist reputation

Is this the type of headline that a local Council wants to promote its region, “Sex in open air scandal”? The respectable seaside town of Budleigh Salterton, Devon, UK, has had its reputation tarnished by its nudist beach appearing on a pornographic website where it was promoted as a “dogging” site, “a hot spot where people go to have sex in the open.” “Dogging” is a colloquial term to describe an activity where couples and strangers meet to view others’ sexual activities. “The website claims the town’s beach is an ideal place to meet ‘exhibitionists and gays’ and also attracts couples who are willing to join others in sexual activities.” [8]

“Dogging” is not an isolated example of what happens at nudist beaches. It is reported at Brittas Bay, Ireland. [9]
Naturists in the Florida Keys are pushing for a legal clothing-optional beach in their region. Part of their argument is, “Like it is with Haulover [Miami, FL], the local chapter plans to have beach patrols or ‘beach buddies’ who would maintain a wholesome family atmosphere on the beach. ‘Everybody knows it’s about family, not about sex,’ he said of the group’s nudity.” They claim that they “lose quite a bit of European tourist business. They call, find out there is not nude sunbathing in the Keys, and they go to Haulover.” [10]

This is a feeble excuse to promote nudism as there are nudist beaches around the world, including Europe, that are experiencing dogging, voyeurism and exhibitionism.

5. Nudists promote breaking the law

A visit to the Free Beaches of Australia Inc. website [11] reveals how this organisation promotes legal and “unofficial” (i.e. illegal) nudist beaches across Australia. The website gives descriptions on how to reach the beach locations. These nudists are encouraging the breaking of the law.

The Brisbane Courier-Mail reported that “Bargara (near Bundaberg) nudist and Free Beach Australia spokeswoman, Patsy Brown, said Coonarr [Beach] had been used as a de facto nude beach for more than 10 years now with no problems and no arrests.” [12] However, nudist beaches are illegal in Queensland.

6. Nude beaches create problems we do not need

There are reports around the world of the deleterious consequences associated with nudist beaches.

a.    In Oslo, Norway, nudists at an “open beach” at Huk “are being increasingly harassed by photographers, flashers and vulgar requests and police have had to respond several times” in the summer of 2005. “I don’t go to Huk any more,” said a 52-year-old woman who wanted to remain anonymous. She called the police “after feeling threatened by a man on the beach.” [13]

b. Nudists want more than just beaches for swimming and sun baking. A beach for public sex is now wanted: “The Dutch Naturists Federation (NFN) has called on the government to set aside certain beaches for people who like to have sex in public. Naturists feel that displays of public sex do not belong on regular nudist beaches, a spokesperson for the NFN said in a radio interview. Public sex involving couples and orgies in the open air are also said to [be] a growing phenomenon.” [14]

7. Police don’t need the extra work

I commend the superb work of the police force in Qld. Police have their hands full in dealing with illegal activities. They don’t need the additional pressure of pursuing nudist crimes.

BBC News reported: “Police strip to halt nudist crime” Why? “To try to help catch prowlers who are demanding sex from bathers on a nudist beach” at Studland Beach, Dorset. However, police chiefs said that the “undercover constables may wear swimming costumes or trunks and will not be naked” to try to deal with “the activities of several predatory males and concern from nudists that they were being approached.” [15]

A New Zealand nudist beach has caused extra work for police who “will begin patrolling a popular Bay of Plenty nudist beach after complaints about the behaviour of gay men in the sand dunes” where a man has been charged “with committing an indecent act in a public place after police visited Papamoa Beach.” [16]

8. Nudity is for private, not public, expression

It is common to hear nudists blast religious people for opposing public nudity, as one nudist did on ABC radio, “The ‘facts’ as put by the opponents of nude beaches are nearly always erroneous or based on religious teachings and leanings.” [17] As this document shows, reasoned arguments against nudism can be made without any reference to religious literature.

However, it’s important to note that the human body is not condemned or ignored in the Bible. The body has dignity as it is called “God’s temple” [18] for the Christian. This implies something special about the view of sex and the human form. The Bible is not prudish (read Song of Solomon), but the biblical emphasis is on modesty and decency, thus eliminating any indiscriminate display of public nudity.

Public nakedness should be a source of shame and embarrassment. Perhaps the resurgence and promotion of public nudity says more about our degenerate morality than its attempt to promote freedom.

Nudity is meant for private and not public display.

9. The Qld. Premier says that nude beaches are not wanted by the public

In a letter to a Coonarr Beach resident, dated 11th November 2005, the Chief of Staff of the Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie, wrote:

“The Premier does not support nude bathing. While the Premier is aware that there are some members of the community who would like to see the Government legalise the practice of nude bathing, he does not believe that the majority of Queenslanders support the introduction of clothing optional beaches.

“The Premier is not satisfied that the benefits for those Queenslanders who want clothing optional beaches are sufficient to justify the potential negatives of such a proposal.  The Premier is also concerned that the introduction of clothing optional beaches could create safety issues for people legally using the beaches, as well as others who live nearby.   

“Queensland beaches should be available to be enjoyed by all Queenslanders and visitors to our State.” [19]

The Qld. Premier highlighted an incident on ABC radio “in which a child was assaulted at Brisbane’s South Bank to exemplify his concerns about nude beaches. While the beach at South Bank is not a nude beach, the Premier says he is not convinced people attending such beaches would be safe from sexual assaults.” [20]

Why did the Burnett Shire Council near Bundaberg, Qld., reject the nudist beach proposal? Free Beaches of Australia reported that “a letter from the Premier’s office to a resident of Coonarr [Beach] was tabled stating that the Premier was not in favour of legalising nude beaches. The councillors voted 100% against and the matter was closed, all over and done within about three minutes.” [21]

10. Governments are trying to reduce health hazards, not sponsor them

“Queensland has the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world.” [22] This means that “every seven minutes a Queenslander is diagnosed with skin cancer” according to a TV advertising campaign” [23]

Having a deep summer tan on much of the body was considered a healthy Aussie summer look. Not any more! Governments have promoted the “slip, slop, slap” message and the wearing of sun-smart clothing to reduce the risk of sun cancer. 

At such a time when the dangers of skin cancer [24] are well known in Australia, I believe it is irresponsible for governments to legalise nudist beaches that encourage greater exposure to the sun and elimination of protective clothing.

Nudism is a public health hazard.

11. Nudist beaches are world-wide, but that doesn’t make them right or good

Because nudist beaches may be happening on a worldwide basis, this is not a good reason for legalising them. This research has shown the problems associated with some nudist beaches. Because many are doing it does not make it correct. Our governments, having a duty of care for all their people, should take the responsible role and not legislate anything that allows or promotes activities that are a threat to people and involve more responsibilities for an over-worked police force.

12. Discrimination redefined

A nudist told ABC radio that local and state governments that reject nudism are law breakers. His reasoning was: “We are part of the fabric of society but as a group we have been discriminated against in this state for too long and it must stop. Discrimination is illegal in Australia, and the failure of local and state governments to provide legal nude beaches for us and many tourists to enjoy is quite frankly against the law.” [25]

The public relations officer of the Free Beach Association of Queensland, Anita Grigg, promotes the same view, calling on a Qld. MP “to take a stand against discriminatory laws on nudism.” [24]

This is an interesting twist to the meaning of discrimination. Can’t the nudists see that it is they who are discriminating against those who want to wear clothing on beaches? If we accept the nudists’ line of reasoning, it means that many laws discriminate against several kinds of people. Couldn’t the paedophile, thief and murderer accuse the government of discrimination against them also? This is an extreme attempt by nudists to draw attention to their cause.

The nudists are breaking the law in Qld. As this article indicates, there are reasonable arguments for governments to reject public nudism.

13. Conclusion

We have traversed the landscape of some nudist beaches and discovered that all is not well for the promoters of naturist freedom. Children and adults are at risk and illegal activities are promoted. As a duty of care to all people, the smart idea in the Smart State is never to legalise nudist beaches.

Here I have presented reasonable reasons to support the view of Qld. Premier, Peter Beattie, that he “is not satisfied that the benefits for those Queenslanders who want clothing optional beaches are sufficient to justify the potential negatives of such a proposal.” [27]

Even the most rational approach to ethics is defenseless if there isn’t the will to do what is right(Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn) [28]


[2] Wikipedia, available from [cited 25 January 2006].

[3] Paul McCarragher, “Clothing-optional beaches: a nudist’s perspective,” 21 December  2005, ABC (radio) Wide Bay, available from: [cited 26 January 2006]. This link was unavailable on 27 January 2016, but the story was available at:!topic/rec.nude/DWhiDufMnMg (Accessed 27 January 2016).

[4] Free Beaches of Australia Inc., available from: (Accessed 27 January 2016).

[5] See the stories in the Adelaide Advertiser, 24 March 2004, 30 March 2004, 6 July 2004, 13 July 2004, 2 July 2005. For a report of the verdict and sentencing, see ABC South Australia (Online), “Man jailed for three years for triple abduction,” Available from: (Accessed 27 January 2016).

[6] Paul McCarragher op cit.

[7] Jessica Shaughnessy, Six fined for sunbathing in the nude” (Online) Jul 21 2005, Daily Post Staff, [Accessed 3 February 2007]. It is now available at: (Accessed 27 January 2016).

[8] “‘Sex in open air’ scandal,” Devon 24 (Online), 08 September 2005 (Online), [cited 3 February 2007]. This link was no longer available online, 27 January 2016.

[9] Available at: (Accessed 27 January 2016).

[10] Alyson Matley, “Bare truth: Naturists want beach,” 19 May 2005, Available from: [cited 23 January 2006]. This link was no longer available online on 27 January 2016.

[11] Available at: (Accessed 27 January 2016).

[12] Glenis Green, “Submissions sought on legal nude beach,” The Courier-Mail, 25 October 2005, p. 6.

[13] ‘Flashers pester nudists’, Aftenposten: News from Norway (online), 12 August 2005. Available at: (Accessed 27 January 2016).

[14] Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 10 August 2005, ‘Not under our boardwalk, we’re naturists’   (Dutch naturists want beach for sex in public). Available at: (Accessed 27 January 2016).

[15] BBC News, 20 July 2005, available from:
[cited 23 September, 2005].

[16] Police watch on popular nudist beach., May 2, 2002. Available at: (Accessed 27 January 2016).

[17] Paul McCarragher op cit.

[18] I Corinthians 3:16.

[19] I have a copy of this letter, but for the privacy of the people concerned, I withhold their names and addresses.

[20] “Beattie exposes nude beach fears,” 1 February 2005, ABC Sunshine & Cooloola Coasts, Queensland, Available at: (Accessed 27 January 2016).

[21] Patsy & Richard Brown, “Quest for Nude Beach at Bundaberg Fails,” Available from: [cited 26 January 2006]. This link was no longer available at 27 January 2016.

[22] Southbank Corporation, “Protecting Queenslanders Under the Sun,” Sponsor Profile – Suncorp, Available from: [cited 27 January 2006]. On 27 January 2016 this link was no longer available.

[23] Heard on WIN TV, Bundaberg, Qld., Friday, 27 January 2006, at approx. 6.15pm during the Channel 9 National News.

[24] “Skin Cancer Prevention”, Available from:
[cited 26 January 2006].

[25] Paul McCarragher op cit.

[26] “Govt urged to relax nude beach laws,” ABC News Online, 27 January 2005. Available at: (Accessed 27 January 2016).

[27] Peter Beattie op cit.

[28] Alexander Solzhenitsyn Quotes & Sayings (Accessed 27 January 2016).

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (Philippians 4:8).


Copyright © 2007 Spencer D. Gear.    This document last updated at: 7 October 2015.