Fancy a nude at the beach?

nude bathing

The Dodgy Perth team takes a break from reseach

One day Dodgy Perth will tell the story of the building of Naval Base. It was basically one terrible government decision after another, wasting thousands and thousands of tax payers’ hard-earned money.

Wait. That is the story. So let’s move on to how a much better use for the disaster was found in the early 1930s.

By 1933, it had become the most fashionable spot on the coast for nude bathing parties.

Nude parties had long been popular along the Swan and at beaches closer to town, but the police started taking a more proactive line and few people wanted to spend the night in the slammer.

So those who sought to shed civilisation along with their clothes and frolic free with only the waves to envelop them had to find new locations.

So Coogee it was, and particularly around the Naval Base. There nude parties became nightly events. Regular readers of Dodgy Perth will not be surprised to find the media shocked to discover that it was not just the working-classes attending these parties, but perfectly respectable types too.

And more than one party of girls—and fairly high-class girls at that—have taken the opportunity to bathe in the moonlight at Naval Base.

If these were only single-sex parties, it seems hard to find anything wicked in them. But some young types had—we shudder—gone to Naval Base with the intention of having mixed events.

Take for example, the tragic case of five Fremantle girls, all from quite well-to-do families. They drove out to Naval Base for a “quick nude” at the beach one night.

They stripped off in the car park, and walked down to the sand. But imagine their consternation when they saw several young couples already playing on the water’s edge, every one in their birthday suits.

And as they turned to retrace their steps to seek a quieter spot two more car loads of nude bathers raced down the beach, and plunged in.

Having blushed their way back to the car they donned their clothes and made off for home. But on the way they were noted many other nude parties—mostly mixed—at Coogee and the Smelters.

This may not be the ideal time of year for a quick nude by Kwinana Power Station. But if you are going, do drop the Dodgy Perth team an invite.

The theatre and its knockers

We can't help admiring the hats on the right

We can’t help admiring the hats on the right, November 1939

A couple of weeks ago we wrote about the first stripper in Perth, who performed at His Majesty’s. However, we were slightly wrong when we said she was probably the first nude on the Western Australian stage.

In fact as early as 1939 some critics were saying that audiences were getting bored of turning up to His Majesty’s just for nudity and were now seeking higher quality plays. This was, of course, far too optimistic, and Perth’s grandest theatre was still trying to entice you with ‘beautiful nudes’ in the 1950s.

Naked women on stage were not illegal unless—and this is the bizarre bit—they moved. So for several decades, audiences at His Majesty’s were treated to a series of motionless ‘tableaux’, artistically arranged young women dressed only in their birthday suits.

In 1939, one of the stars who people paid good money to see was 20-year-old Barbara Clark, advertised as Australia’s No. 1 Glamour Girl. Strangely she claimed to have been doing her act for five years, which would mean she started performing nude at fifteen!

However, the critics may have been slightly right about how mere static nudity had become tiresome. By 1940, His Majesty’s was resorting to strippers to keep the crowd numbers up.

So, to the older generation who despair at the availability of pornography in the 21st century, ask yourself this: who was buying tickets for entry to His Majesty’s in the 1930s?

Embarrassing bodies

As is well known, only the most recent generation would be so stupid as to allow nude photographs of themselves to circulate outside of their control. Only today’s generation.

Which is why it is impossible their grandparents could have done so in the 1950s. Impossible, we tell you.

Well, except for those young Perth girls who were willing to get their kit off for a photographer and then unexpectedly find themselves in adult publications.

In 1953 it was all the rage to strip off for any photographer, professional or amateur. Sometimes the girl was paid. Sometimes she just did it for fun.

Although a few of the images could be considered artistic, many of them were much less ‘inhibited’. And it was these photos that often found their way to overseas magazines euphemistically known as ‘naturist publications’.

The trouble was magazines get imported. Sometimes back into the same city the original photos came from. Like Perth.

In Australia the law demanded local publications ‘retouch’ the images so certain lady bits were not so prominent. However, no such law applied to many European countries or to America.

So more than one Perth young lady found her suggestive poses purchased by her acquaintances, without any blurring from 1950s Photoshop.

But, like we say. It’s only the modern generation that would be so stupid.

Getting into hot water

013150dThe office at Dodgy Perth HQ is a fairly relaxed place. Not much makes us angry.

But today, we read of how Dalkeith residents were forced to listen to people having fun on the foreshore.

You can imagine how that made our blood boil.

Pictured above is the notorious Hot Pool at Dalkeith, which for decades was a popular place to relax.

One of the best things to do was get to the pool around midnight, strip off and hold a nude swimming party. However, the installation of floodlights and regular patrols by the police made this a more difficult activity to get away with.

So most people just turned up with a picnic and a few beers to have a good time. Right up to the 1950s.

Enter the Dalkeith residents. They had not spent all that money on housing to have to listen to people having a good time. No sir.

They pressurised the Nedlands Road Board who passed a by law forbidding barbecues on the foreshore. And for good measure they outlawed alcohol too.

Police started nightly visits looking for evil doers who wanted to barbeque a steak.

Unbelievable as it might seem, the police once found a group of young people who had some beer and who thought it would be acceptable to get together within earshot of Dalkeith. That was quickly put to an end.

So now Dalkeith is exactly as it should be. Big houses and no nudity. And certainly no fun on the foreshore.

A cycling Lady Godiva


This lady has many more clothes than the star of our story

The scene is Thomas Street, at the Subiaco end. It is midnight on a Wednesday in August 1938. Two young fellows were walking home. We don’t know exactly where they’d been, but is easy to image they’d probably had a pint or two.

This particular Wednesday night was to prove an experience these two lads were never going to forget. They were walking on the right hand side of the road when a bicycle came towards them. So far, not very out of the ordinary.

Although the bike didn’t have any lights, it was, in fact, simply a young lady in a large overcoat pedalling her way home.

Pulling level with our heroes, she suddenly whipped open the fawn-coloured coat and revealed. Well. Everything. Or nothing, take your pick.

She was stark naked underneath and the two fellows could do nothing but stand there, jaws open. Or, in the words of one of them:

You can guess the shock I got when I saw she had nothing under it. We just gaped at her. Well, we couldn’t do anything else. And next minute she was gone. One thing I’m sure of is that she didn’t have anything at all on the front of her body.

She didn’t say a word, or laugh, or even look at the astounded observers. In any case, they don’t think she did. They weren’t paying too much attention to her face, it must be admitted.

After all, if a chap suddenly sees a girl’s nude body in front of him, he can’t remember for sure whether she’s laughing or not.

As she rode off into the distance, they did note her bare legs, but were unable to say for certain if she had shoes on.

By the time our brave Subiaco boys recovered, she was round the corner and lost to sight. Could they describe her? She was a brunette. That’s all they could remember. Definitely a brunette.

The media wondered if this cycling Godiva would encourage more Subiaco men to take midnight strolls. But not our gentlemen informers. No way, sir. They had no intention of spending any nights wandering round the suburb hoping that she would turn up again.

At least, that’s what they told the newspapers.