By Margie Maccoll
There’ll be no nudity on Noosa beaches say police who launched an operation last Sunday targeting Alexandria Bay, Noosa Heads National Park’s locally recognised nudist beach, to address the undressed.
“It’s been an unofficial nudist beach. Now it’s officially not. We’re going to police it,“ said Noosa Senior Sergeant Anthony Cowan.
Police issued infringement notices to 10 men and one woman for wilful exposure last Sunday and plan an initial blitz followed by regular policing.
The infringement notice incurs a $287 fine but the police have a range of options to maintain the law from issuing infringements to taking the matter to court.
Snr Sgt Cowan said police were responding to complaints, mostly to Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, not only of nudity but of indecent acts.
“We’ve had several complaints of people doing lewd acts, people masturbating in public, men approaching females and openly masturbating,“ he said.
“Some of the complaints are just disgusting.“
About seven years ago police cracked down on nudists in A-bay and it was met with strong opposition, including street protests so police expected opposition on Sunday.
“People were sun baking saying they were doing nothing wrong,“ he said. “Nudity is not acceptable. It’s never been legal.“
This week Noosa Today received a letter from a local resident protesting the police action, Queensland’s draconian laws and a lack of places for naturists.
The man, who doesn’t want to be named, described the scene on Sunday at A-bay as one where a handful of naturists were sunbathing peacefully when three police drove their 4WD vehicle on to the beach before “rounding up a number of naturists who were lying in the sand dunes and certainly not visible to the public before taking their personal details and informing them that they would be fined for indecent exposure“.
“Alexandria Bay and other sections of the Noosa National Park including Granite Bay has been known by locals and tourists alike for donkey years as being frequented by sun worshipping naturists,“ he said.
Snr Sgt Cowan tells a different story, saying there were certainly not trying to hide. “A lot of them were walking down the beach in full exposure,“ he said.
The resident described Alexandria Bay as a long and challenging walk for anyone who is accessing it via the national park main coastal track given its four-kilometre distance and two kilometres for anyone using other entrances such as the access from Sunshine Beach, Park Edge Road or McAnally Drive. “It begs the question why the police were bothering to target people who were not hurting anyone and were well away from the public gaze,“ he said
Snr Sgt Cowan said A-bay had become a busy thoroughfare for people moving between Noosa Heads to Sunshine Beach and last Sunday the beach was busy with people, many of them families with children.
The resident said Queensland was the only state in the country without a legal nude beach, called the state government “old-fashioned“ and said petitions by naturists had been ignored, leaving them with nowhere to go.
“Is that really fair for all beach goers including naturists who pay their taxes to this state and country and enjoy that particular life style?“ he asked.