By MICK ROBERTS ©
MAYBE it’s our weather – the hot summers.
The past time of skinny dipping, getting the clobber off, and bathing naked in the surf has persisted in the Illawarra since colonial times.
During early settlement, British soldiers found the Australian weather and the white sandy beaches all too tempting, and often stripped bare to swim naked in the surf.
In 1833, to “preserve decency”, the NSW Colonial Governor of the day banned sea bathing completely during daylight hours. Swimming in the surf, with or without your togs, remained criminal for over 70 years. Despite this, newspaper reports of people swimming naked along Illawarra’s coastline began to appear from the late 1880s. The Illawarra Mercury reported on December 29 1888:
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