Thursday 9 September 2010

Buchans Point beach again misses world's top nude beaches

Queensland is known for stunning beaches, and the Cairns region for it's beautiful coastline alongside the Great Barrier Reef.

The official unofficial nude beach, Buchans Point, just north of Palm Cove, missed out again in the list of the world's best nude beaches by Lonely Planet.

For the record, there's are no legal nude beaches in Cairns, contrary to what Cairns Regional Council Mayor Val Schier wrote in her fictitious book last year...

"While I am Mayor, I will promote a By Law to approve our first legal nudist beach at Clifton - which is long overdue. Attitudes have changed over the last 15 years and so must we to meet our visitor and community's expectations," Val Schier didn't write in Changing the Guard.

There's also no legal nude beaches in Queensland, however following a successful appeal from 77-year-old Ken Wenzel from the Sunshine Coast, the Queensland Summary Offences Act 2005 has been ruled not to apply to licensed free beaches. The Queensland Labor state government and the Sunshine Coast Regional Council have said that they will now consider any approaches for legal nude beaches in Queensland.

The popular, but hardly talked about, Buchans Point beach, just north of Palm Cove, has had a checkered past. As recent as 2001, a surprise afternoon raid, police arrested five men and two women.

"It's unbelievable that this is still going on," Marcel de Kievith of the Free Beach Association said at the time.

Smithfield Police that raided Buchans on Monday 1st October 2001, said that they conduct 'operations' at the beach frequently as a result of complaints.

Because of the number of complaints received, we conduct beach patrols fairly regularly, Senior Sergeant Tim Nolan said at the time. Until such a time as it is made an official nudist beach, it is a beach as any other, he said. However with changing attitudes, local Police now rarely get called to incidents at the popular nudist hang out.

"We haven't had any complaints for a number of years, given its isolated environment," Smithfield's Acting Senior Sergeant Tom McKellend told CairnsBlog. "The legality [status] hasn't changed, but social views are declining in regard to this. [Buchans] is not an area that we actively patrol."

Tom McKellend said they still get calls for complaints of nude sunbathing in the more popular beaches like Palm Cove and Trinity.

"It is an offence and we do attend those and take action where it's required," McKellend said. Public nudity is governed under the Summary Offences Act, and deemed a 'public nuisance.'

In August 2001, the Queensland Police Union expressed anger at the State government delaying introducing laws to allow clothing-optional beaches. Nine years on, there are still no legal beaches across Queensland to strip off.

In 2004, a push by locals to gain official designation as a legal nude beach, failed when then mayor Kevin Byrne said Cairns Council would not get involved in lobbying the State Government on the issue.

Then Barron River MP Dr Lesley Clark was asked to support the beach being nuded up officially, however passed the decision to Cairns Council.

Local residents whose houses nestle the hillside above the sheltered Buchans beach, have been divided on the issue, but lobbied against any legal designation being granted.

"Buchans for many years has been an unofficial nudist beach and we generally believe that the small number of mainly local people who use it," local resident Mrs Raeside said. "Together with people walking their dogs and the occasional family, mind their own business. However this beach is overlooked by a row of houses along the ridge which have a clear view of the beach."

New residents at Buchans have said the "strongly oppose" any official designation for the beach. "We consider any increase in nudist activity will have a detrimental impact," residents said, who fear publicity will have a significant impact on the area.

"Official designation may attract undesirable activities which will give our region a bad name instead of attracting tourism to it," Mrs Raeside said. "Such a beach should be located some distance from private homes in a more secluded area."
Paradoxically, Kevin Bryne ushered in topless sunbathing at the Cairns Esplanade lagoon a year earlier in May 2003.

"Full frontal nudity is banned, and topless beach volleyball, rugby or frisbee throwing is also banned," Kevin Byrne said at the time. "But bare breasts are permitted if sunbathers lie or sit still in the area north of the pool. Topless women have been asked to cover themselves if they venture into the pool or into areas where families are congregated."
Besides the remote beaches, for visitors there's some textile-free accommodation around the region.
It's well-known that Barrier Reef Sun Club has had a closed door policy for nearly 15 years, and acted like a secret society, often using the excuse that they need a "balance of male/female members" to ensure no one feels threatened, and it's rare that singles are accepted, especially males. There's also a male-only group that has sprung up in the last year or so called Cairns Sunboys. At Smithfield, there Robalwin, a homely nudist B+B, tucked away in the foothills (who would have thought). Further north, there's the rather odd White Cock or Two 'resort' at Mossman.
It's probably time for a legal nude beach in the region, providing a unique and easy tourism marketing opportunity for our depressed economy. I think we should invite the folk from Tourism Tropical North Queensland's office for a reccy one lunch hour to Buchans. Wonder what Rob Giason would say?

Officially unofficial nudie beaches around the sunshine state:
- Alexandria Bay, near Noosa,
- Bribie Island;
- Between Horseshoe Bay and Greys Beach, Bowen;
- Shelley Beach, at Pallarenda, Townsville
- Saunders Beach, 25 kilometres north of Townsville
- Balding Bay, the western stretch of Horseshoe and Rocky Bay on Magnetic Island
- between Horseshoe Bay and Greys Beach, Bowen
- Buchans Point, north of Palm Cove, Cairns
- Nudey Beach on Fitzroy Island.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I sometimes spend whole days unclothed, sunbathing and snorkelling among the otherwise clothed daytrippers on Nudie Beach, Fitzroy Island. Nobody takes any notice - at the start of the second decade of the 21st century, its close to being a non-issue. Queensland's legislation is way behind progression in aggregate societal attitudes. But, that's the kind of state it is.