Nude at Miners Beach

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Miners Beach in Port Macquarie has always been known as an unofficial but widely used nude beach. In what was once a secluded location for nude bathers to get in touch with nature, Miners Beach has now found itself in the middle of a newly built public walkway.

The new walking track is part of a bigger plan being promoted by local member for Port Macquarie Rob Oakeshott; to link the Port Macquarie CBD to Lighthouse Beach as a drawcard for visitors and locals to experience.

In what will no doubt be an impressive walking path to showcase the majestic beaches of Port Macquarie, visitors will also have to walk through the middle of an unofficial nude beach.

National Parks and Wildlife Services Mid North Coast Regional Manager Greg Croft, said that $100,000 had been spent upgrading the walking track, building timber walkways over two rocky outcrops, a timber staircase down onto the beach and a whale watching vantage point on the headland, as well as providing informative signs.

“Miners Beach is one of the few beaches in Port Macquarie that is only accessible on foot. Visitors now have a safer passage between the Shelly Beach car park and Lighthouse Beach along Miners Beach”, Mr Croft said.

Along the new walking path signs have been erected by National Parks to warn walkers that nude bathers may be encountered. The signage also states that Miners Beach is not a designated nude beach and that any complaints should be made to the Port Macquarie Police.

According to National Parks the signage was erected following a series of complaints made about nude bathers.

So, the question begs to be asked. Should Miners Beach or in fact any other suitable beach on the Mid-North Coast be made an official nude beach?

As it stands nude bathers are in fact breaking the law right across the Mid-North Coast because they have no official alternative. And, considering the delicate issue of nude bathing, local councils are reluctant to encourage debate about the issue. It seems to be a case of let sleeping dogs lie for the most part – but it should be remembered morally that as a nation we have come a long way.

In 1833, to preserve decency the Governor of the day banned sea bathing during daylight hours.

It was not until 1902, after a lot of civil disobedience and many arrests, that this law was finally revoked. Of course bathing was a complete cover up in those days, with some of the ladies’ costumes containing up to ten metres of material!

Also, bathing was segregated with separate hours or different parts of the beach for men and women. Once again civil disobedience won out and mixed bathing eventually became the norm.

In 1907 one lady was arrested for wearing a costume that exposed her arms and feet. The trend towards freedom continued and by the late 1930s it was backless costumes for the ladies and, shock horror, men going topless. After the war the two piece became popular, and then during the 1960s the bikini emerged. But again it was not without trauma, many girls being ordered off the beach or arrested because their costumes did not meet the bare minimum requirements.

It wasn’t until the 70’s that the State Government recognised that individuals in the community have a right to commune with nature in a natural state.

Due to the public demand for nude bathing in the late 1970s the New South Wales Government under Premier Neville Wran announced that certain beaches within National Parks, being beaches that had traditionally been used for nude bathing, would be officially declared as nude beaches. These beaches were Reef Beach and Lady Bay Beach, both in Sydney Harbour National Park, Werrong Beach in the Royal National Park and Samurai Beach in Tomaree National Park.

Several other beaches have also been made official nude beaches over the years but as it stands today no beach has been made official on the Mid-North Coast.

Several websites promote unofficial nude bathing on the Mid-North Coast at Shelly Beach and Pebbly Beach at Forster, Miners Beach in Port Macquarie, North Smoky Cape at South West Rocks and Little Diggers Beach at Coffs Harbour. Although it should be noted, none of these beaches are official.

The nearest legal nude beaches are located at Samurai Beach at Nelson Bay north of Newcastle and North Belongil Beach at Byron Bay.

According to Local Member for Port Macquarie Rob Oakeshott, nude bathing at Miners Beach is illegal and should be discouraged. Although Rob has no problem with anyone wishing to bathe nude he does have issues with Miners Beach being the selected unofficial nude beach for Port Macquarie.

“The Mid-North Coast has a lot of more suitable beaches than Miners Beach that could be utilised,” said Rob.

“Miners Beach is not the secluded beach it once was and is not a suitable area for a nude beach”.

The ultimate power to make Miners Beach itself a nude beach lies with the Port Macquarie- Hastings Council.

“Nothing has been raised before Council to indicate that the community is seeking any change to the current status at Miners Beach. The signs put in place by National Parks and Wildlife aim to help make those enjoying the coastal walk aware that the area is also shared by nudists. To date there hasn’t been any approach to Council to change this shared status,” said Bernard Smith, General Manager.

So is it a case of letting sleeping dogs lie or should nude bathers on the Mid-North Coast be forced to break the law? You decide.

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19 Responses to Nude at Miners Beach

  1. Mark Stevens says:

    I think that having a few, relatively remote beaches designated for legal nude swimming is a good thing. I used to go nude bathing, and it’s a really wonderful, liberating experience, but I haven’t done it for many years now so I don’t really have a direct stake in the argument. Yes, there are instances of inappropriate behavior on nude beaches, but these people are in the minority, and similar behavior often occurs on other remote beaches that aren’t designated for nude bathing. We’ve got to get things in perspective with this – I’m a parent of teenage children and I’m constantly amazed by how many parents are horrified by the thought of nudity, but are perfectly happy to let their children watch seriously violent movies and play equally violent video games. Its a sad world where nudity is intolerable but violence is considered acceptable entertainment.

  2. Port Resident says:

    I would be saddened to see nudist bathers lose the right to use Miner’s as a nude beach. It’s always been accepted as a nude beach, it’s important to remember that for the Hastings to grow as a region we have to embrace all opinion and choice, and allowing nude bathing to continue at Miner’s is in my opinion a vital part of embracing our differences as a culture.

    I don’t swim nude, but I have taken my young children to miner’s to swim and I have no problem with it, after all we are all born that way and if people have an issue with coming across nude bathers, use an alternative route. I’m actually surprised that Rob Oakeshott is so against it!! I support most of Rob’s views, but not that one! There’s plenty of beaches on the coast, leave this one as it’s always been and allow people to use it as they always have!

  3. Shelly Beach Age 59 says:

    It should be remembered in this day and age of ‘Open and Transparent Government” that the task of Government, (Federal, State and Council) is to reflect the will of the people, not to direct it.

    I would ask that Rob Oakshott and others, bear that in mind, before creating a mountain out of a molehill.

    In the 1970s, it became apparent that the populace needed to be heard, and with that in mind, many laws were relaxed.

    Perhaps what some of the stuffy and conservative oldsters need to do, is to actually visit Miner’s Beach, and realize that beyond their expected ‘shock and horror’, that there is actually nothing happening.
    No groping of young teenagers as occurs in all the bars, no lewd comments that occur when bikini clad youngsters wander from the water – nothing but respect for each other’s rights and the very simple and natural pleasure of freedom.
    Just because people are nude, does not make them a threat.

    Perhaps if more people saw more nude people, they would eventually grow to realize that it’s not the human body that is evil at all.

    I wonder why the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican still has 4000 nudes romping around the ceilings?

    Ironically, the capital cities have grown up enough to reflect the realities of humanity, while the regional centres seem locked up in the dark ages, and yet so many of us have arrived here on a sea-change from those very (liberal) capitals.

    Perhaps it’s time for us to stand up and declare our maturity as being more important than our prejudices.

  4. Sharon Duggan says:

    Miners beach is the best. What an exhilarating and beautiful experience to swim nude and feel at one with nature. I fail to see the difference these days in being nude and some of the skimpy swimwear that is available anyway. When will we come to realize that we should not be ashamed of our own nudity. Sure, there is a time and a place for it, but to be made feel dirty and undignified over a simple pleasure is truly a disgrace. You only need to watch one night of TV to see more than what you would at miners.
    Seeing that Miners has been an unofficial nudy beach for a length of time I wonder if the boardwalk could not have been altered in its path a little for the people who do not wish to see nude bathers, but not enough consideration or thought was put into the plan. Surely we all have a right and should be able to make our own choice. It’s only one beach in how many in our beautiful area.
    Sounds to me like passing the buck a little too. As long as it’s not in “our backyard”, then we don’t have to deal with it. How far would we have to travel just for a skinny dip? Come on, people have been doing it for how many years. It’s about time that we stood up for ourselves. Everyone has a right to say what they feel.
    All I can say is that those suits and collars should be ripped off and all would be forgotten in the relaxation of a natural, meditative, cool dip in the ocean. Just the way we were intended to be.

  5. Gerald Duncan says:

    I agree 100% with Mark Stevens. What is interesting is that no matter where an unofficial nude beach is used, people will then want to walk right through it rather than around it. Undesirable behaviour of any type on nude beaches usually stems from the fact that in Australia, they are removed far from ready access by the multitudes of people who may wish otherwise use them. Right across Europe and even in downtown Miami (Haulover beach) there are nude beaches you can drive right up to just like at Lighthouse beach and because of the popularity of easy access and the fact they are patrolled and have toilet and shopping facilities, they are heavily used by nudists and shared with non nudists alike. There are no reports of any increase in anti social behaviour due to nudism. Driving nudists away from the safety, facilities and ready access available to swimmers at textile beaches is akin to outlawing alcohol or cigarettes. It won’t stop it but will tend to make it easier for any undesirable behaviour to flourish. Accepting nudism and making it easy to access and keep safe will deter undesirable behaviour and bring much needed money into the community.

  6. Tourist says:

    My wife and I both enjoy the freedom of nude swimming. Were currently planning a break and have heard about Miners beach. Haven’t been there before, actually we usually drive/fly past Port on our way to wherever, but Miners sounds like a great place were we could spend a couple of days relaxing at the beach (nude), enjoying the restaurants, shopping, taking in the sights and sounds, and generally enjoying ourselves. However if this is going to get us fined or if were not going to be able to do the things we enjoy. It may be best if we look somewere else. We dont have to go to Port, we dont have to go to Miners, we just want to go somewere. I understand that Byron has a beach were we will be welcome. We leave on Friday.

  7. Steve Williams says:

    This 2010 not 1910 for love of god as another gent has commented if people want to protect the young and not so young take a look at the video game market for violence and semi and nude images. I too have teen age kids and I am more worried about the violence in these games than nude bathers.

    I have nude bathed and nude sunbaked using sun screen of course and it is very invigorating and up lifting. We should have more not less optional clothing beaches, here in QLD we are fighting for our first offical beach, how rediculous.

    I have just turned 50 and my mum and dad have been associate members of a naturist club and enjoyed the freedom and they are in there 60’s

  8. Fredom Lover says:

    We need more clothing optional beaches – not less. Let’s hope sanity prevails and all this nonsense about Miners Beach (and Little Congwong in Sydney) is put to rest

  9. Gary Dawson says:

    For gods sake leave it as it is, it is a perfect place.Give me nudity over all the violence you see on TV and so called video games any day and if Mr Oakshott realy wants to truly earn his keep he should concentrate on having them restricted

  10. mothgrl says:

    It’s sad to see the startled prudishness of a few may be given the power to end a tradition that has obviously given pleasure to so many! Clothing optional beaches are about freely enjoying nature in a state of nature, and encourage a healthy acceptance of the endless and beautiful variety of the human form. (Something that I think today’s society, with it’s high exposure to plasticized nakedness could greatly benefit from.) Pushing them off into “secluded” beaches is basically a cowardly way of avoiding the issue, and worse, gives tacit approval to those who for some reason can’t simply turn their eyes away from the sight of an offending buttock or breast.
    What it should come down to (if I may mangle grammar a little) is that those in charge find a way to prevent lewdness without punishing nude-ness, which of course requires that people be willing to acknowledge that there is a difference.

  11. malcolm says:

    It is important that people can be themselves provided the rights of others are respected.

    I had the pleasure of a nude holiday at Samurai beach a couple of years ago & I’d support Miners Beach maintaining its nudist status. Indeed though I’ve not yet visited it I hope that some way might be found for it to become official.

    I would also like to mention that I’ve only in the last few years thru counciling been encouraged to pursue my interest in nudity. I think the realisation that I can accept myself as having this interest is a help to my self esteem.

  12. Roger says:

    Miners Beach was never declared as nudist or clothing optional, as it was so very secluded from public view & very few sunseekers went there. The fact that a walkway has been introduced has forced sunseekers to be marginalised and forced to go to even more unsafe, unpatrolled beaches to pursue the freedom we all should enjoy. Australia is not of the closed-minded opinion of the US, nor should it become that way.
    As many have pointed out in this discussion, anyone can watch a TV and see worse attrocities committed than on a clothing free beach…..Has anybody asked the question of why nudity is a criminal offence?

  13. Warwick says:

    Leave Miners alone – Mr Oakshott is already far too big for his boots and that’s proven. The greater Hastings Council would be far better off turning their attention to the pot holes of this town if they want to do some good (and that would be just a start).

  14. Elizabeth says:

    It’s interesting that as always a minority try to enforce their lifestyle on the majority. I have no problem accessing the beach now that the walkway is up and running, but won’t take my grandchildren when the weather warms up. I shouldn’t be forced to explain this to them.

    So Miners Beach is now off our list of lovely beaches to play on, even when it is at our own back door. But then again, it could be a hoot, trying to explain why old wrinkly people have the need to expose themselves. Don’t see any good looking people down there!

    • Pappy says:

      You suddenly have to explain why you won’t take your kids there? People have been naked there for years and suddenly you are inconvenienced that a newly accessible beach tolerates nude bathing?

    • Brad says:

      Well I like to sun bake. Don’t like to be pail, Iam 48 years old. I wish I had the balls to doit years ago. I wasemt game thankfully now I don’t care what I look like, I just love the freedom off getting it of, now Iam not a pervert thou Iam shore that they are there. I do get sick of gays hitting on me. Err I don’t care most of them are polite an move on, don’t like it when through their towell down not ten yards away from me don’t like the head turners,they don’t get it. Iam single an strait an I like a full tann, if I wAs a female would not go to miners beach, they get flocked buy lonely blokes, ive seen it, maybe weird I’d like to meet someone that would go with me. Don’t like my chances of meeting someone special down there.if the walkers don’t like it dont look or walk around.

  15. Adrian Wollaston says:

    Nobody who knows me could ever call me a prude. I have sunbaked nude on the rocks at south Whale Beach and have had a few nude swims on Balmoral Beach late at night but I feel uncomfortable when I go to Miners. It’s a beautiful beach but when I, as a lone male, step onto the beach it seems that it galvanises a section of the population to wander aimlessly and very slowly toward the water. They time it to cross my path and scratch their genitals as they pass and I’m guessing that this is the activity that causes people problems.
    A little more discretion from the gay section of the beach would make it better for the rest of us.

  16. David says:

    Someone tell Elizabeth there is a half a dozen non nude beaches along the walk, pick one. You can access these without going near miners beach. Adrian your right, it does attract gay men… Its makes me a bit uncomfortable when I just want to relax and enjoy the day.

  17. Leigh Rowney says:

    Intending to visit Port Macquarie for a short break next week, I may or may not visit Miner’s Beach. If I do, I may or may not access the clothing optional opportunity. Will I look out of place with my long sleeve sunscreen shirt  and a broad-brimmed hat (which should be everyone’s compulsory attire)?

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