Come September, nudists in Victoria will lose one of their four recreational beaches. Last week the Australian state's Planning Minister, Richard Wynne, approved a council request to strip Campbell's Cove beach in Point Cook of the clothing-optional status it's proudly held since 1986. Wynne cited population growth and an influx of families in the outer Western suburb as the reason for the overturn.
Surprisingly, many nudist groups are mostly in agreement with the decision, having expressed concern over people using the location as a hook-up joint. Others, however, are upset at what they see as an attack on their freedoms.
In a statement last week, Fiona Patten, Leader of the Australian Sex Party, called the Planning Minister's move "political correctness gone mad." She then invited him to accompany her to a nude beach "to experience the freedom and enjoyment of nude bathing" and "clear the cobwebs and get back to nature at its purest." The Planning Minister declined her request for a quaint day out.
In a submission to Wyndham Council's review of the beach's clothing-optional status made last year, naturist association Free Beaches Australia Inc. wrote, "Campbell's Cove is not the best clothing-optional beach. There is no sand, facilities such as toilets have been lacking... It is not a desirable beach for nudist families and naturist tourists to go."
The President of the Australian Nudist Federation advised nudists to visit other nudist beaches in Victoria before Campbell's Cove. The submissions overall favoured the change, and feedback showed "widespread concern about inappropriate behavior in the area."
Phil, a nudist from Metro East Association, told VICE that Campbell's had become a popular place to hook up. "It is 90 percent sex, and just nasty," he says. "It used to be wonderful but it got put on a website as a pick-up place around five to six years ago. The council was aware of how bad it was and did different things to try and correct it but as far as the nudity goes, the beach violated every rule we have in our nudist club. Proper nudists behave themselves."
The "proper" nudists Phil is referring to live by a strict code of conduct. If you're wondering what that code of conduct is, it's pretty much a nude version of what you'd deem appropriate in clothed society. There's no touching, staring, or as Phil says, "inappropriate god-knows-what." And if the inappropriate-god-knows-what stuff does happen, Phil says it's usually a member of the general public stepping out of line.
"We don't have trouble with the nudists, we have trouble with the pervs that follow the nudists," Phil says. "I've seen people spying on nudists from the sand dunes with binoculars. I've seen men and women getting up in the sand dunes using it as an excuse for all sorts on carry-on. But nudists work together with the park rangers and call the police to come down if they see violations happening."
There are currently no plans to open another nudist beach in Victoria. But in the meantime, do naturists a favor and refrain from having sex on the beach.
Follow Emma on Twitter.
Like this article? Like VICE on Facebook for more cool content