‘Worst ever’: Outrage as iconic beach trashed

Chaos of Christmas Day in Bronte
Chaotic Christmas Day beach party at Bronte

Residents have slammed a raucous Christmas party at one of Sydney’s most sought-after beaches as the “worst ever”, as locals pitch in to clean up broken glass and vomit.

Tens of thousands of mostly tourists are believed to flocked to Bronte Beach on Monday in the city’s eastern suburbs, donning red bathers for the annual beach party event.

Long-time resident Robert Kokolich, who lives nearby to the beach, said the crowds defied prohibitions on alcohol and became aggressive when he attempted to film them.

“It was the worst ever. It was out of control. There was nothing happening in Bondi, but everyone must have come to Bronte … right in front of my house,” Mr Kokolich said.

As soon as the sun came out, many people packed the beaches
Thousands flocked to Bronte Beach on Christmas Day. Picture: Supplied
A massive crowd gathered at the beach
The massive crowd drew the ire of locals. Picture: Supplied

“You felt in danger to be there … It was very bad. This morning, there was glass broken everywhere. Our friends have a little baby, so we were thinking ‘this is so unfair’”.

Mr Kokolich and his wife, Vesna, were one of a number of locals who returned to the beach on Boxing Day morning to assist council staff in clearing away strewn trash.

While the beach was “starting to look better” after a few hours of work, Mr Kokolich said locals had found themselves cleaning up everything from vomit to tampons.

“This is how bad it is, once I saw it I said: ‘I’m moving’. I don’t want to be part of this … It looks so bad. It’s worse than a third world country,” Mr Kokolich said.

A local in seen clearing the park on Tuesday morning. Photo by: NCA Newswire/ Gaye Gerard
Locals were appalled by the prevalence of rubbish. Photo by: NCA Newswire/ Gaye Gerard
A mountain of rubbish is seen in the park. Photo by: NCA Newswire/ Gaye Gerard

The event has long been a mecca for thousands of tourists and backpackers travelling to Australia for the summer Christmas experience, but often draws the ire of locals.

Video of the crowds, which Mr Koklich said kept him up until 2am, was shared widely online on Tuesday by locals upset at the “disgusting” rubbish left behind.

Among them, TV personality and Bachelor host Osher Gunserberg, who wrote on Tik Tok: “Ah man, bit of a bloody mess that crew left behind too”.

“Should have seen the rubbish left behind. Disgusting,” one person said. Another added: “(They) treat out beaches like they mean nothing”.

Pictured is the masses of garbage left by thousands of revellers who decended on Bronte Beach for Christmas Day celebrations. Picture: NCA NewsWire
The condition of the park drew criticism from many online. Picture: NCA NewsWire

The Bronte Surf Life Saving Club, who helped patrol the beach, said it was a “challenging” day and hoped “everyone takes their rubbish with them if the bins are full.”

One local even suggested the beach should be closed, adding: “This actually looks like a nightmare and the mess you all left is disgraceful … disgusting behaviour.”

For Mayor Paula Masselos, closing the popular beach is off the table after council staff deemed it too difficult given the size of the park and its multiple entries.

“We’ve looked at things like doing a ticket, and that’s just not logistically possible. It’s a big park, there are lots of entry points. People are going to come in anyway,” she said.

“So, it’s really how we manage the crowds and how quickly we can clean up afterwards. And, that’s what we have done. We’ve discussed this (issue) for a number of years”.

Ms Masselos said a large police presence was at the park to catch and destroy alcohol being illegal consumed, and that attendees were informing each other of the crackdown.

Thousands of revellers decended upon the iconic Bronte Beach for Christmas Day celebrations in the sun. Picture: Instagram
The event is popular among tourists, including from Europe, the UK, and South America. Picture: Instagram

Importantly, Ms Masselos – who described the event as “Orphan’s Christmas” – said council staff had even monitored social media prior to the Christmas Day party.

“Everyone’s entitled to be able to come here, but with that we ask people to do the right thing. Given the numbers, it’s always going to be difficult,” she said.

“The crowds were so so high that we had trouble getting into some of these spaces … But, there wasn’t bad behaviour, which is important so people can enjoy the day”.

In a statement, a Waverly Council spokesperson said while they were happy overall with the behaviour on Monday, the amount of rubbish was “disappointing”.

“Our rangers were on site yesterday, alongside the Police, ensuring the beach remained a safe environment for everybody,” the spokesperson said.

“Our hardworking Open Spaces and Cleansing teams worked last night and today to clean up the significant and disappointing amount of rubbish that was left by beachgoers.

“Public places like Bronte Beach are there for everyone to enjoy, so we do ask that people respect our beautiful open spaces and our local community.

“We ask that visitors take all rubbish and belongings when they leave so that everyone can enjoy our beaches.”

The wild scenes follow multiple similar events at the same spot. Last year, shocking photos of the trashed grass were uploaded to social media sparking outrage.

At a similar event in the middle of the pandemic, the federal immigration minister threatened to cancel visas of any visitors caught breaking Covid rules.

Thousands of revellers decended upon the iconic Bronte Beach for Christmas Day celebrations in the sun. Picture: Instagram
In past years, trash strewn over the beach has anger locals. Picture: Instagram
Thousands of revellers decended upon the iconic Bronte Beach for Christmas Day celebrations in the sun. Picture: Instagram
Thousands of revellers descended upon the iconic Bronte Beach for Christmas Day celebrations in the sun. Picture: Instagram

In December 2020, Sydney’s Northern Beaches region tightened rules over the holiday period, and only 100 people were allowed at an outdoor even on Christmas Day.

However, at the time, witnesses to a Christmas beach party at Bronte spoke of the mass crowds who were drinking, most of which without a face mask.

Nonetheless, the event hasn’t been without its proponents. Video of Monday’s crowd was quickly uploaded to Tik Tok, from local and international accounts.

“I want to know who co-ordinated this, because the memo came through,” user Fifihay said.

Another video of the event by Canadian content creator Rory Court was viewed more than 11,000 times.

Waverly Council and NSW Police have been contacted for comment.