Sean Goedecke is a freelance writer trying to visit every cafe in Australia. If you enjoy his articles, it can't hurt to click the 'like' link at the bottom or subscribe.
Published October 11th 2012
Get naked in comfort
Despite the best efforts of religious lobby groups and the Herald Sun, nudism is alive and well in Melbourne. And while you might have to drive down to Bells Beach or the Mornington Peninsula to do some outdoor nude bathing, you don't even have to leave the suburbs to try the indoor version. There's something to be said for indoor nude bathing: you're unlikely to get sand in places you'd rather not have sand, the water is generally warmer, and after you're done you can have a nice hot shower. The nudist clubs of Melbourne have regular nude swimming nights – sometimes in public pools, sometimes in their own venues – that interested nudists can sign up for.
The Wave, a painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905).
If you're careful and polite, you can make friends and explore the wonders of naturism at the same time. Here's a list of the main groups that organise nude swimming pool nights.
The Solar West Nude Leisure Group
The Solar West logo.
The Solar West Nude Leisure Group gained a brief notoriety in 2011 when their regular Saturday nude bathing night at the Maribyrnong Aquatic Centre was shut down by the local council. Some images of the nude bathing night contained swimming children (naked, of course) and the resulting brouhaha gave the Maribyrnong Council the excuse it needed to chase the nudists away. Many members of Solar West are still bitter about Channel 9's involvement in the 'witch hunt'. Since then, the Solar West nude bathing night has bounced between Narre Warren, Doveton and finally Werribee, where it sits now. Check the website for specific updates – they put up a Google Plus event for every bathing night with more details – but the next night is scheduled for October 21 at the Werribee Swim Centre.
Metro East Association Inc.
Metro East has been a family-friendly nudist club for over thirty years. They're based in the South Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, have their own venue – the Rebound Leisure Club – and organise events on the first and third Saturday of the month. Visitors are welcome to show up and join in the many activities on offer: nude swimming, nude squash and racquetball, volleyball and many others. There's even an annual naked table tennis tournament, and of course Metro East have their own heated swimming pool and spa. Check out the calendar on their website for specific times and dates. Prices are fifteen dollars for visitors and ten dollars for members, and for that you get four hours' access to the squash courts, table tennis tables, pool, volleyball court and lounge area. It would be a bargain, nudism or no nudism – indeed, it can't be long before squash enthusiasts start playing naked just to save money on court hire.
Do you know any other nude swimming pool nights? If any others exist in Melbourne, they're staying under the radar – an understandable decision, given how the media tends to react to their presence. Especially if they're hiring space from a popular leisure centre that could be easily bullied by negative media attention, naturist clubs can't afford to advertise. Still, if you're willing to take the risk for some extra patrons, let us know in the comments. We'd love to hear from you.
A few factual errors, which have now been picked up and disseminated by the mainstream media. Still, in spite of the puerile sniggering of radio personalities, this is a good article, which should help, rather than hinder, the acceptance of naturism in our society.