Sydney Stories: Beach puritans, gas-guzzlers, speed wardens and an end to Lovely Lleyton

On a hot midsummer's day the golden crescent of Bondi Beach is packed with people swimming and sunbathing. And, er, swimming and sunbathing. For that is all one is permitted to do on Australia's most famous sweep of sand, where the list of proscribed activities grows ever more lengthy.

Dogs have long been banned, together with frisbees, kites, drinking glasses and litter. Ball games are not allowed - a restriction that remained in force even when Bondi was the venue for beach volleyball competitions during the 2000 Olympics. Smoking, too, was recently outlawed.

Now the local Waverley Council has outraged residents with a plan to ban all cameras from sections of the beach. The decision was a knee-jerk reaction to an incident involving a man who secretly photographed women sunbathing topless on nearby Coogee Beach, using a mobile phone camera. Peter Mackenzie, a 25-year-old labourer, was fined £208 after another woman spotted him and called the police. He apologised profusely, telling the magistrate: "I've always taken pride in myself as being a gentleman." But the council, which is responsible for some of Sydney's most popular beaches, was unimpressed.

The deputy mayor, George Newhouse, declared war on "sexual predators" and proposed banning cameras from public spaces including beaches and parks.

A watered-down version of the plan, aimed mainly at protecting children, was approved this month. Council rangers and beach life-savers now have the power to issue on-the-spot fines. But residents remain sceptical, and some have suggested that if women are worried about being photographed topless, they should leave their tops on.

Across the Harbour Bridge, in North Sydney, another council has infuriated ratepayers by introducing higher parking fees for the gas-guzzling 4WDs so beloved of local "urban cowboys". While owners of ordinary cars pay £18 for a residential permit, drivers of Jeeps and Landcruisers will have to fork out £37 a year.

Now it has emerged that the mayor, Genia McCaffery, herself owns a 4WD - a Volvo XC70, which is a large station-wagon. Under the council's new rules, however, her vehicle is classed as fuel-efficient and does not attract the higher charge. Her chief political opponent, Jilly Gibson, whom she defeated in the mayoral election, challenged her to sell her car. "She should be setting the example," said Ms Gibson, who is currently carless, but last owned a Mazda 121.

Residents have accused the council of discriminating against families. Parking rangers, meanwhile, are to be given electronic gadgets enabling them to issue a ticket every 20 to 30 seconds, instead of every five to 10 minutes as when writing them out by hand.

Australian tennis ace, Lleyton Hewitt, was spotted in the Sydney Opera House last weekwith new fiancée, Bec Cartwright, a soap star.

The bad-tempered Hewitt appears to have mellowed since announcing his engagement. The couple met while he was on the rebound from Kim Clijsters, the Belgian tennis player who jilted him shortly before their wedding, and have posed for various women's magazines, one of which reportedly paid £83,000.

Last week, however, according to gossip columns, he reverted to the Lleyton that Australians love to loathe. He reportedly called one photographer a "fucking smartarse" and told him: "If you want your camera in one piece, you'd better leave now." One tabloid wondered what had become of the reborn "Lovely Lleyton".

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little