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Scotland Island - Western Shores - Mackerel Beach

May 1, 2022

Newsletter for the Offshore Residents of Pittwater, Australia - Volume 23, Issue 1176

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


Heartbreak Hill

... and how we almost had two more like it

Roy Baker

Above: the 1906 subdivision plan, with Lots 48-51 encircled in yellow, Lot 7 in red and Lots 74-75 in blue.
Below: the 1924 subdivision plan with the same lots similarly marked.

Scotland Island isn’t really the place for those who don’t like hills. But walk around the island via Florence Terrace, Richard Rd and Robertson Rd, and most of the route is relatively flat. Most, that is, except for one infamous island ordeal: Heartbreak Hill.

For the uninitiated, Heartbreak Hill is the nickname for that stretch of road running directly up from Carols Wharf. It’s a steep, unrelenting incline with three false summits. I run up it regularly and, believe me, it’s cruel. But most infuriating is that when you reach the top you immediately start to go down again. Why be sent uphill only to immediately descend? Richard Rd and Florence Terrace are on about the same level. Wouldn’t it be easier if the two simply met? 

They don’t because Bangalla sits in the way. To understand this and other island oddities, you need to appreciate that there were two major attempts at subdivision, one in 1906 and the other in 1924. The 1906 plan, shown above, would have divided the island into 121 residential blocks. But buyers didn’t come flocking and only about eight sold.

Detail from the 1924 plan showing Heartbreak Hill (Harold Ave) and how old Lots 48-51 prevent Richard Rd (left) from connecting with Florence Terrace.
Eighteen years later another attempt was made to sell off the island. The 1924 subdivision took the 113 or so unsold blocks and cut them into much smaller lots, thus permitting for 364 houses on the island. This is more or less what we have today.

Look at the 1906 plan and you’ll see a single road running around the island. This was to be known as Hughenden Terrace in the north and Athole Crescent in the south. Now look at the 1924 plan and you’ll see exactly the same circular route, although its name has changed to Elvina Crescent. This is what we know today as Thompson St. Most of it is walkable, but only its eastern and southern sections can be driven along.

Downhill from Elvina Crescent we see a second circular route made up of Robertson Rd, Florence Terrace and Richard Rd. These cut through almost all of the large waterfront blocks envisaged in the 1906 plan. But there are a few exceptions, which I’ve marked with coloured circles. Note, in particular, Lots 48 to 51, in the south-eastern corner of the island (encircled in yellow). This is where we find Bangalla and Heartbreak Hill (Harold Ave). 

It’s now obvious why we have to climb uphill only to then go down again. Richard Rd (left) and Florence Terrace (right) can’t connect because Lots 48 to 51 are in the way. These were among the few blocks to sell after the 1906 subdivision. Presumably their owners weren’t going along with the 1924 subdivision.

Detail from the 1924 plan showing Lot 7 (Yamba) and how Aoma St links Robertson Rd with Elvina Cresc (now Thompson St)
That explains Heartbreak Hill. And if you aren’t a fan of steep climbs then consider yourself lucky, because we almost had two more Heartbreak Hills, this time on the western side of the island. That’s because the Bangalla blocks weren’t the only ones to create difficulties for the 1924 subdivision.

Look again at the 1924 plan. To the northwest we have Lot 7, ringed in red. This is Yamba. And close to Bells we have Lots 74 and 75, encircled in blue. Lot 75 contains a house called ‘Edinburgh’. Imagine if the owners of these blocks had not cooperated with the 1924 subdivision. Yamba would have blocked Robertson Rd and Edinburgh would have done the same to Richard Rd.

In 1923 Herbert Fitzpatrick, the developer behind the 1924 subdivision, surveyed the island with a view to its subdivision. At the time he must have been fairly confident that he could avoid these road blocks by securing the cooperation of the owners of Yamba and Edinburgh. We know that because the deposited plan of subdivision shows his proposed Robertson Road cutting across Yamba. And he envisaged Richard Rd as cutting through Edinburgh’s grounds. 

Detail of the 1924 plan showing an unnamed road running alongside Lot 75 (Edinburgh) and linking Richard Rd with what is now Thompson St.
But there must have been some doubt in the matter because later the subdivisions of these blocks was deleted. Note too how Fitzpatrick allowed space for Aoma St, running alongside Lot 7. This linked Robertson Rd to Elvina Crescent (Thompson St), thus allowing Yamba to be circumvented, just as Harold Ave was built to skirt around Bangalla.

We find exactly the same arrangement above ‘Edinburgh’. See how an unnamed road runs up alongside Lot 75, connecting Richard Road with Elvina Crescent? That would have allowed traffic on Richard Rd to drive up to Elvina Crescent, before descending again via Hilda Ave.

Aoma St still exists, at least on paper. And there remains a curious road reserve just north of Hilda Ave. But you’ll have a hard time walking up either of them, let alone driving. Fortunately we need do neither, because in the end Yamba was cut into two by Robertson Road, and Lots 74 to 75 were dissected by Richard Rd, thus permitting a relatively level perambulation of the island.
So, if you’ve ever wondered about the oddities of the island’s road layout, perhaps there is a logic behind some of them. And maybe we should be grateful that the island’s piecemeal development didn’t lead to more Heartbreak Hills.

Thanks to Bruce Kesby for providing me with the 1924 deposited plan.


The Island Community Hall Mural: Now Finished!

Photo: Nettie Lodge

If you’ve been anywhere near Scotland Island community hall recently you will have noticed that Nettie Lodge's gorgeously painted mural now extends around the three walls of the basketball area.

The original hall mural, entitled 'The Art of the Island', was funded by a government grant obtained by Emmie Collins. But Nettie went way beyond expectations, donating her talent as well as many hours of her time to incorporate the basketball court. The entire mural beautifully complements the one Nettie painted on the Recreation Centre (the old Kindy).

Thank you Nettie for once again transforming our communal spaces with your amazing artworks and for going the extra mile. 


Anzac Day Ceremony

Photos: June Lahm

This Anzac Day the offshore and onshore communities gathered as usual at Church Point to pay their respects to the fallen.

This year's address was delivered by Andrew Cutler, captain of West Pittwater Rural Fire Brigade. A resident of Elvina Bay, Andrew is also nephew to Sir Arthur Roden Cutler, longest-serving Governor of New South Wales.

Andrew described how his uncle was awarded the Victoria Cross for his part in the Battle of Merdjayoun, fought in June 1941 against Vichy France as part of the Syria-Lebanon Campaign. During the fighting Sir Roden lost his leg.

Following the war he entered into a long career in the diplomatic service before being appointed state governor in 1966. Besides his many accomplishments, Andrew spoke of his uncle as a kindly man who would bounce his nephew on his one good knee. Sir Roden died in 2002.

As always, thanks go to Ian White for organising the ceremony.


Newcomers' Welcome

Once again we had a very successful Newcomers' Welcome to Scotland Island on 10 April. Juliet Wills showed Gail Hambly's most informative PowerPoint presentation, followed by speakers Colin Haskell on the Scotland Island Residents Association, CB Floyd on island communications, Emmie Collins on bush care, Peter Lalor on the Rural Fire Brigade and Nikki Gibson on the island's emergency water system.

There was a lot to take in and if you have any further questions do not hesitate to contact me. If as a newcomer you weren't able to make the meeting then we look forward to hearing from you so that we can contact you for the next welcome later this year.

Rosemary Haskell 0410 500 704


Marty's Fundraiser

Hi - I’m Marty Campbell. I’ve been selected to represent NSW again at the Special Olympics National Games. The games will be held in Launceston, TAS, from 17-21 October 2022. I’ve been to two National Games in tennis before - in Melbourne and Adelaide - and I won a gold medal in doubles in 2014.

I have been training hard with my coach and my support worker, Sarah, and every Saturday morning I play social tennis with my buddies at Bayview Tennis Club.

I will be competing against athletes from other states in singles and doubles, and if I win a gold medal in singles I will be selected to go to the World Games representing Australia.

I need to raise $2,500 to be able to compete once more, and I would love your support. Your generous donations will help cover the cost of my flights, travel and accommodation to help get me to the Games.

Please help me reach my fundraising goal to achieve my dream of a third Special Olympics in tennis.

To donate, please click here.

Thank you, Marty.


Chess Tournament?

Having recently rediscovered the joys of chess after a hiatus of more than 40 years, I'm wondering whether there is sufficient interest within the offshore community for a chess tournament.

Everyone would be welcome to participate, regardless or age and ability. Players would be asked to self-identify at the outset as beginner, intermediary or advanced, and could be appropriately seeded. Preliminary games could be played at participants' convenience, online or face-to-face, with the finals perhaps played at the island café.

If interested in taking part, please email me at editor@scotlandisland.org.au.

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

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.


Fire Brigade: Information and Social Evening

Scotland Island Fire Station

Friday 6 May, 6 - 8 pm


Love Letters

Scotland Island Community Hall

Saturday 7 May, 5.30 pm

To book click here.


Scotland Island BBQ Café

Catherine Park, Scotland Island

Sunday 8 May, 10 - 12 noon



Floriana: Photographic Exhibition

Upper Level, 164 Longueville Road, Lane Cove

18 May - 11 June


For tickets for the opening night,click here.


Scotland Island Café

Catherine Park, Scotland Island

Sunday 22 May, 10 - 12 noon


International Folk Dancing

Scotland Island Community Hall

Saturday 28 May, 7 - 9 pm


The Tuesday Discussion Group

Scotland Island Recreation Centre

Tuesday 31 May, 11 am - 12.30 pm

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

Members take it in turn to design a session, choosing material for discussion. This can consist of essays, articles or podcasts, or a combination of all three. The idea is that group members shouldn't be committed to more than a few hours' preparation in terms of listening or reading. The idea is to be open to a wide range of topics and material.

In April Roy Baker led a discussion on social class, based on an edition of ABC Radio National's The Minefield. The island group consisted of around 12 people and the conversation considered contemporary attitudes to social class and whether class divisions remain relevant in today's Australia.

Dr Tim Dean, Sydney University
In the May meeting, Bill Gye will lead a discussion on the evolution of morality. Drawing on the works of moral philosopher Tim Dean, Bill will consider the nature of morality, how it relates to our hard-wired instincts, and the extent to which it serves us in today's technological and pluralistic world.

●  Listen to 'Reconsidering Morality', Conversations, ABC Radio National, available here
●  Listen to Tim Dean on Dumbo Feather, available here;
●  Read Tim Dean in The Conversation, available here;
●  And if you are really keen, read Tim's book: How we Became Human and Why we Need to Change: details available here.

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


House available over winter

We are renting out our house for 10 weeks between mid-June and the end of August.

3 bedrooms + office, 2 bath, south-facing, big flat backyard with heaps of kids' toys, and 5 mins from Carols Wharf. One of the rooms is a self-contained studio with private entrance and deck.
Rent is negotiable - ring Tina (0413 547376) or Greg (0423 476056) to chat.


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Updated June 2021
  • Festival of Making, April 2021

  • 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