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Nudism is simply about being nude. If you look up the word ‘nudism’ in a dictionary you will find all sorts of definitions, e.g. ‘the practice of not wearing any clothes on beaches and other areas specially set aside for this purpose’, or ‘the practice of going nude as a means of healthful living’. The International Naturist Federation defines nudism as ‘a way of life in harmony with nature, characterised by the practice of communal nudity, with the intention of encouraging respect for oneself, respect for others and respect for the environment’.
An excellent introduction to nudism (or ‘naturism’ as it otherwise known) can be found on Wikipedia.
Of course people have been going naked forever, some living like that all the time. Swimming and bathing were nearly always a naked activity. Unfortunately this changed. Nudism as we now know it began in Germany early in the twentieth century. It soon spread throughout Europe and eventually to the UK and America. It first came to Australia in the late 1920s, introduced by European migrants. Initially it was confined to secluded clubs or remote beaches. As time passed community attitudes changed and nudist clubs have become more open about their activities.
The Australian Naturist Federation was founded in 1968 to promote the nudist recreational lifestyle and to encourage inter-club activities.
The International Naturist Federation promotes and coordinates naturism around the world.

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