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Scotland Island - Western Shores - Mackerel Beach

March 17, 2022

Newsletter for the Offshore Residents of Pittwater, Australia - Volume 23, Issue 1173

We acknowledge and pay our respects to the Traditional Custodians of Pittwater, as well as our indigenous readers


The Tennis Court Case Goes to Appeal

Above: The 1961 aerial shot of Tennis Wharf and Catherine Park that sparked the great tennis court debate.

In the last edition of the PON I asked whether there was ever a tennis court at Tennis Court Wharf. I included a 1961 aerial shot of Catherine Park, which adjoins the wharf, and I suggested that it doesn’t seem to show a tennis court. Based partly on that, and knowing I was flying in the face of eye-witness accounts, I reached a verdict: there never was a tennis court.

How can I have been so rash? A few days later I received the following email from long-term islander Philip Thomson:

Dear Editor,

I read with interest your assessment that there was never a tennis court at Tennis Wharf.

Why would there be wooden posts with chain wire fencing attached, the wire used around tennis courts, at 10 feet high, the standard height for fencing around a tennis court, placed in a rectangular arrangement, if no tennis court existed?

In the 1960s my friends and I, (Bobby Blackwood’s children among them), would ride our billy carts down a track through a patch of lantana, from Kevin Avenue, and we would have to avoid one of the tennis court fence poles with chain wire fencing attached, at the bottom, in Catherine Park.

You described the area close to where the barbecue stands today as ‘looking marshy’. In fact that area of Catherine Park, in the 1960s, appeared much as it does today, (with a smaller retaining wall of rocks rather than the current timber pole retaining wall). The fire truck could drive on a dirt road, near the water, from the fire shed up to Robertson Road.

We had community picnics in Catherine Park in the 1960s, about where the tennis court is outlined in the subdivision plan, which included athletic events such as running races, sack races and even three-legged races, mainly for the children. How could you do that in a marsh?

The grassed area of the park was a little smaller than it is today because of the invasive plants, but was still grassed and had a road near the water, where the walking track is now.

The grassed area became bigger, after 1977, when the tree planting was combined with eradicating some of the invasive plants and became even more grassed when the community hall and preschool were built.

Philip Thomson reckons he knows a tennis court when he sees one.

OK, fair enough. Never argue with eyewitnesses, and Philip is not the only person to have described fencing consistent with a tennis court.

To be fair to that side of the debate, there’s another hint that they might be right. In 1959, SI News reported on a visit to the island of the Manly-Warringah and Pittwater Historical Society. Apparently their ferry tied up to Tennis Wharf. From there, ‘[t]he visitors were shown the site of Andrew Thompson’s shipbuilding yards and the old tennis court’.

I still don't see this as conclusive evidence that there was an extant court in the 1950s: it can be read to mean that the visitors were shown the site of the old tennis court. Even so, the writer seemed to think there had been a tennis court at some stage, and they would probably have known more about a defunct court in 1959 than we do now.

Still, it was good to provoke a reader’s letter, so I know that at least one person is reading. In the next edition I shall be arguing that there never was a dog called Diesel, and that the Pasadena doesn't contribute to parking problems at Church Point.

Roy Baker


Table Tennis

Scotland Island Recreation Centre

Most Saturdays throughout the year

2 - 3 pm: Introduction to Table Tennis

3 - 5 pm: Table Tennis practice

With COVID restrictions lifting, table tennis sessions have recommenced. Groups meet most Saturdays and anyone over 12 is welcome. Sessions are supported by the Scotland Island Recreation Club.

Play from 2 - 3 pm is intended primarily for those new to table tennis. The session from 3 - 5 pm is open to everyone, regardless of your standard of play.

Sessions do not run every Saturday. If you are interested in taking part then it's best to join the table tennis WhatsApp group to receive up-to-date information on who is playing. If you would like to join the group, please email editor@scotlandisland.org.au. Alternatively, you can just turn up and take your chances.


Feast for Freedom

Scotland Island Community Hall

Saturday 19 March

5 - 6 pm (take-away), 6 - 9 pm (sit-down dinner)

Any money you donate goes to supporting asylum seekers in many ways: housing, healthcare, employment and food relief.

Donate here: https://feastforfreedom.org.au/page/Scotland-IslandCommunitysFeast.

With sincere thanks from the Scotland Island Feast for Freedom team.


Markus Plattner Concert

Scotland Island Community Hall

Sunday 20 March, 2 - 4 pm

To book,click here.

Tall Tales: Storytelling Night

Scotland Island Community Hall

Friday 25 March, 7.30 pm onwards


International Folk Dancing

Scotland Island Community Hall

Saturday 26 March, 7 - 9 pm


Sophie Scamps Island Visit

Scotland Island Recreation Centre

Sunday 27 March, 11.30 am

Dr Sophie Scamps is Mackellar's independent candidate at the next federal election. On 27 March she will be visiting the Two Catherines Café in Catherine Park, Scotland Island. Then at 11.30 am Sophie will give a more formal presentation in the Recreation Centre, discussing her vision for Australia's future.

The event is being organised by islander Jenny Cullen. ‘This will be a great opportunity for Sophie to listen to island residents’, says Jenny. ‘You’ll then be able to hear more about Sophie’s climate, integrity and health policies, and this unique opportunity to re-set politics in Australia’.

According to Jenny, ‘Sophie is one of a rising number of independent candidates who share a commitment to urgent, constructive action on climate change, along with other key policies'.

Sophie was a doctor at Mona Vale hospital before working for many years as a local GP. According to her website, improving our health system is another of her priorities, together with greater integrity in government.

Although coinciding with the Two Catherines Café, this event is being run independently: it has not been organised by SIRA or the Recreation Club. Islanders are of course welcome to invite other candidates to visit the café.


Clean Up Australia Day, 2022

Scotland Island

Sunday 27 March, 9 - 12 noon


Scotland Island is registered to participate once again!

Clean Up Australia Day inspires and empowers communities to clean up, fix up and conserve our environment.

This event encourages and inspires thousands of Australians to take to their local park, beach, bushland and streets, making a real difference to their local environment.

If you would like to help out, either by grabbing a bag and filling it, or helping to supervise activities, please email cassgye@spin.net.au to put your name on the list.

Come down to your nearest wharf to collect a bag between the hours of 9.00am and 12.00pm. 
Bring gloves, sunscreen, hat, sensible clothes and footwear – and don’t forget to bring some water too!   

Toby and his crew will be out on the Laurel Mae to collect material.
About the event - Clean Up Australia Day: https://www.cleanup.org.au/about-us.

SPECIAL OFFER: Come to the Two Catherines Café between 11.15 and 11.45 and the Recreation Club will give anyone helping with the clean up a free coffee.


Scotland Island Café

Catherine Park, Scotland Island

Sunday 27 March, 10 - 12 noon (cakes)

Sunday 10 April, 10 - 12 noon (BBQ)

Sunday 24 April, 10 - 12 noon (cakes)

The café of 10 April will combine with two special island events:

  • the Graeme Crayford Memorial Island Run / Walk (9.20 - 10.45 am);
  • a newcomers' welcome (11 am onwards)
    • See below for details of these events.


Books, Essays, Articles Reading (BEAR) Group

Scotland Island Recreation Centre

Tuesday 29 March, 11 am - 12.30 pm

The Recreation Club has a new literature discussion group, meeting on the last Tuesday of each month, from 11 am to 12.30 pm in the Recreation Centre.

This is not your regular book club. Members will take it in turn to design a session and decide on the items for discussion. Anyone can come along and join in the discussion, even if you have not read the material. The idea is to cover a wide range of areas and to be open to suggestions for topics.

Jane Rich will kick off the first session, leading a discussion on Water Access Only: More Tales & Adventures from Pittwater. This is an anthology of writings compiled by islanders Juliette Robertson and Carol Beth Floyd. The book also contains numerous photos and other artworks by offshore residents.

To learn more about the book or to order a copy, click here. The book is also available at Church Point and in local bookshops.

Contact Jane Rich Jane (janebalmain@hotmail.com) for more information or to express your interest in participating.


Fire Brigade: Information and Social Evening

Scotland Island Fire Station

Friday 1 April, 6 - 8 pm


Carols Corner Café: Charity Brunch

The house directly above Carols Wharf, Scotland Island

Sunday 3 April, 9 - 12 noon

Carols Corner Café is back! All proceeds go to MSF to provide medical supplies in Europe to help the people of Ukraine: https://www.msf.org/ukraine.

“People are hungry, traumatised and completely exhausted but walk fast, determined and silently in cold temperatures of between minus five and 10 degrees Celsius.” 
Marta Wnorowska, MSF Project coordinator at the Slovakian - Ukrainian border

The café offers gluten-free and vegetarian options including the famous Eggs Benny, bacon and egg rolls and gluten-free pancakes with ice cream. Donated cakes are warmly welcomed, plus Simon's GF New York Cheesecake and GF Caramel Slice. Cappuccino, herbal tea, chia and happy smiling faces of our volunteer staff.

We look forward to seeing you!
Harriet & Simon at Carols Corner


Graeme Crayford Memorial Run / Walk

Catherine Park, Scotland Island

Sunday 10 April, 9.20 am

Join us for the second annual island run/walk, this time held in memory of Graeme Crayford, who died recently.

Graeme was president of the island fire brigade. But many will also remember him as a regular island jogger. What better way to honour Graeme’s memory, keep fit and raise money for the fire brigade than to join us on a Graemesque jaunt around the island.

This year’s event will have a special walkers' category, so you can participate at your own pace. A number of participants have already registered, ranging in age from 8 to 80 (yes, seriously!) Like last year, the event will incorporate a fun obstacle course. But if you are fit enough to walk around the island then the obstacle course won’t be anything you can’t handle.
There will be separate prizes according to your age and gender. For those who participated last year, there will also be prizes for best personal improvement.

Entry: $20. This includes a hot drink and breakfast at the island café, which will be operating in the park alongside the event. Profits go to Scotland Island Rural Fire Brigade.

Registration is essential. For full details, including information on how to register, please download the race information sheet, available here. The link to register is here.

Andy Derijk, personal trainer and Elvina Bay resident, is donating his time to help organise and facilitate this event. Andy offers one-on-one personal training, as well as fitness classes in Elvina Bay. To contact Andy about this race or his fitness training, phone 0418 613 890.


Scotland Island Newcomers' Welcome

Community Hall, Catherine Park

Sunday 10 April, 11.00 am

Residents who have just moved to the island are invited to a special information session, to be held in the Community Hall during the 10 April island café. We’d love to meet you and give you the opportunity to get to know more residents.

If you are new to the island, we’re shouting you coffee! Please register and get a coffee voucher at the hall and put your coffee order in early (around 10.30 am) as there is often a queue.

There will be ‘need to know’ information available with key speakers on SIRA, fire, water, wharves and roads.

Some island businesses and service providers will be on hand to tell you what they have on offer. And we’ll give you a heads up about various social and cultural groups.

RSVP: Rosemary 0410 500704 or Gail 0412 767687.


Fire Shed Dinner

Scotland Island Fire Station

Saturday 30 April, 7 pm onwards

Details will be announced shortly.


Love Letters

Scotland Island Community Hall

Saturday 7 May, 5.30 pm


Needed: a cleaner, Morning Bay

I am looking for a house cleaner for my 101-year-old mother Elisabeth Kirkby who lives independently in Morning Bay.

The cleaner she has had for the past eight years is not able to continue and she would need someone once a week if possible or once a fortnight for general house cleaning duties.

She has a jetty and so someone with a boat would be ideal, otherwise they can access the house via the ferry to Halls Wharf and then westwards down Bona Crescent.

Contact: Deborah Eastwood
Mobile : 041 888 7472


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  • The views expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily the views of the Scotland Island Residents Association (SIRA), or the Western Pittwater Community Association (WPCA)
    Original Newsletter Design:Paul Purvis & Julian Muir