To the uninitiated, Reef Beach is no more than a tiny slip of sand in Seaforth, opposite the better known Manly Cove. To those in the know, however, Reef Beach was once a central congregating point for naturists and nudists.
The beach was proclaimed to be a legal nudist beach by the Honorable Neville Wran during his Premiership in the 1970s. Visitors from the era report that up to 400 people would cram onto the beach and around the foreshore.
The demographic was varied, "ranging from families with children to teenagers and people through to their mid eighties."
Despite the efforts of the "Free Beach Association of NSW", there was considerable pressure emanating from the ranks of the ascendent NSW Liberal Party to eliminated the nudists from the beach. This culminated in 1993 in the summoning of 70 nudists before Manly Council.
It is an unusual piece of our city's history, but there are other reasons to visit Reef Beach.
While naturists depict the controversy surrounding nude bathing at Reef Beach as a significant loss to the community, the unintended benefit has been a significant reduction in the number of swimmers in the small expanse.
Located in the lower North Shore, Reef Beach is accessible through a variety of bus routes, as well as being located close to attractive reserves and national parks.
Just keep an eye out for the naturists of the past.