Doing our bit for the
environment, ourselves & each other
The latest ‘State of the Beaches’ report makes
for mixed reading in terms of water quality in Pittwater.
Each year the government measures microbial activity in
coastal waters, identifying safe and unsafe places to
swim. The tests assess levels of enterococci, bacteria
secreted in faeces. Swimming sites are then graded using a
five-point scale: ‘Very Good’ through to ‘Very Poor’.
In the case of Pittwater there is definitely room for
improvement. Only three out of ten local swimming
locations are graded as ‘Very Good’. The water around
Scotland Island came out as merely ‘Good’. More
worryingly, the water at Bayview Baths, only a short
distance away, was downgraded to ‘Poor’.
report specifically identifies boats as a source of faecal
contamination. Pittwater has the second highest number of
recreational vessels in New South Wales, yet authorities
have identified a critical lack of pump-out facilities.
It is illegal to discharge untreated sewage from any
vessel into NSW navigable waters, but there is anecdotal
evidence that the practice continues.
Fortunately, modern science can help catch the
culprits. The human body is home to a thriving ecosystem
of microorganisms called the microbiome. Every person’s
microbiome is different, to the extent that scientists are
able to match stool samples to their owners with 86%
More excitingly, the tests are becoming so sensitive that
soon the tiniest trace of faecal matter in sea water will
suffice for a positive identification.
The opportunity to identify irresponsible boaties will
surely be welcomed. But we have a problem. The report also
identifies stormwater runoff and untreated sewage
discharges as major issues. Recent years have been
relatively wet and there has been an overall decline in
water quality at estuarine sites such as Pittwater.
The report particularly mentions onsite septic systems as
problematic. Given the lack of adequate sewerage on
Scotland Island and the western foreshores, many living
offshore may feel powerless to help. What's more, if an
offshore resident owns a boat then they stand to be
wrongly accused of illegally discharging from their
vessel, when in fact all they are doing is using a
group of islanders has a solution: a comprehensive
offshore microbiome register that will help the
authorities to identify boat owners who live offshore and
use septic systems. Unfortunately it can take months or
even years for runoff to reach Pittwater. None of us know
when we might decide to buy a boat in the future, so the
only answer is to test us all.
Setting up the register will require extensive sampling
and it would be understandable if many found the process
intrusive. But it need not be. A small soil sample, taken
from a septic trench, will suffice. Here our offshore
firefighters will surely oblige. But we should all lend a
hand. So, if you see a fellow resident rummaging around
your block with a trowel, don’t get upset. It’s just a
thoughtful neighbour trying to protect you, themselves and
Obviously it’s vital that we separate out microbiomes.
During the testing period there will need to be a
moratorium on sharing toilets. Regardless of whether you
own a boat, don’t permit another boatie, or even potential
boatie, to use your facilities. In fact it’s probably best
not to invite home anyone remotely interested in boats. If
you are unsure of your guest’s intentions, ask before they
head for the bathroom. This needn’t be a source of
embarrassment: simply disguise the question as pleasant
small talk. But if they express any interest in sailing,
it may be time to ask them to leave.
this process can be handled sensitively. But for the more
brazen we could simply set up faecal collection points.
That’s where SIRA comes in. It's hoped that the
association will support widespread testing and will pass
a motion accordingly.
But if you decide to deliver a sample to, say, the island
café, please use a secure and airtight container.
We all need to do what we can to clean up Pittwater. But
we also owe it to ourselves and each other to ensure that
only the guilty are punished. It isn’t our fault that we
don’t have proper sewerage. So let’s all do our bit, and
together we’ll make this scheme work.
Blackband (right) achieved the best time,
followed by Henry Orr and Daniel Anderson
Records were once again broken at the yearly island race,
now in its third iteration. The event is held in memory of
Graeme Crayford, who made many contributions to offshore
life before dying last year. Graeme was also a keen
jogger, hence the idea of an annual run and walk around
For the second year in a row the run was won by Will
Blackband. Now aged 12, Will completed a lap of the island
in 11 mins 37 secs, beating his previous time by 48
Seres completes the obstacle course
Second came nine-year-old Henry Orr, who shaved an
impressive 2 mins 10 secs off his own time from last year.
In third place was Daniel Anderson, who came in just 10
seconds behind Henry. The fastest woman in the run was Eva
The fastest walker proved to be Georgina Orr, Henry's
mother. She completed the island circuit in 21 mins 22
secs, another island record.
Congratulations to everyone who entered: young and old,
fast and slow. You helped raise important funds for the
Scotland Island Rural Fire Brigade. Thanks also to the
café staff and race timers who supported the event, and
especially Andy Derijk, who once again donated his time
and expertise. Andy, who lives in Elvina Bay, offers
fitness training to offshore residents and can be reached
on 0418 613890.
Introducing the talent
behind the play
this winter: a play written especially for the
Pittwater offshore community.
There will be
performances of the play as follows:
Fridays 7.30 pm, 16
& 23 June
pm: 17 & 24 June
relating to ticket sales will be announced in due
course. But first we meet some of the talent behind
initiator: Robyn Iredale
Every project begins with inspiration, and in this
instance it belonged to Robyn Iredale. A retired academic,
Robyn's association with Scotland Island stretches back
over 30 years and she is the current SIRA president.
In 2019 Robyn hit on the idea of the Two Catherines Café,
which still meets in Catherine Park on the fourth Sunday
of every month. The café celebrates the memory of two
women of significance to island history: first Catherine
Benns, Darug woman, midwife and 'Queen of Scotland
Island', and secondly Catherine Bouvier, after whom
Catherine Park is named.
In 2021 Robyn devised a series of talks exploring the
island's past. And now Robyn is producing a play, based
very loosely on the lives of the two Catherines. It's a
rollicking adventure and a classic island farce, so expect
wine, merriment, a little sex and lots of history, even
though almost none of it is true.
The playwright: Jasper
Robyn's first job was to commission a script, and the job
went to Jasper Marlow, a playwright, screenwriter and
director from Sydney. He is also the son of island
resident Chris Hampshire.
Jasper's debut full-length play Zetland was
nominated for best new work at the Sydney Fringe Festival
and performed at Sidetrack Theatre. Jasper was the head
writer for the 2021 Screen Australia-funded animated
series Sunset Paradise (GLITCH PRODUCTIONS) and
has previously written for Home and Away, Fair
City (IRE) and the German/English comedy series Just
Jasper has also written and script-produced 18 episodes of
the popular web series SMG4, alongside his
satirical commercial 790 On George.
Jasper is currently employed as a Storyliner for Channel 7
and has co-created the upcoming web series #VANLIFE(EMOTIONAL).
The director and lead actor:
Sophie is a multi-talented artist with a passion for all
aspects of theatre and film. Demonstrating the point,
Sophie is directing the play and is also playing the key
role of Catherine Bouvier.
Originally from Belgium, Sophie moved to Avalon Beach a
decade ago, and recently to Elvina Bay.
Sophie has a number of film and theatre credits to her
name, as actor, writer, director and producer. She is also
an experienced trainer in various stage and film
Sophie is always looking for opportunities to connect with
like-minded people and get involved in exciting projects.
She is committed to pushing creative boundaries and
contributing to the development of the art scene in her
... and the co-producer: Kay
Many more offshore residents are taking part in the
production, both on and off stage. Special mention goes to
islander Kay Reaney. Kay is working hand-in-hand with
Robyn and Sophie as a consultant, helping to ensure that
the play will appeal to audiences on the island and
Kay enjoys a successful career as a freelance executive
producer for events and broadcasts. Kay's vast and varied
career ranges from working for global brands, government,
entertainment and sporting bodies, through to
not-for-profit agencies, both locally and abroad.
In the next edition we meet some of the other actors, and
also hear from Robyn as to what the play means to her.
Catherine Park, Scotland
Sunday 9 April, 10 - 11 am
Island Rural Fire Brigade
presents the great
annual Easter egg hunt. Families with children are
invited to Catherine Park to search for cunningly hidden
There will be separate hunts for younger and older
children. Test your powers of observation.
Following the hunt, buttered hot cross buns will be
served, courtesy of your friendly firefighters. All
Scotland Island Community
Saturday 15 April, 7 - 9
The Recreation Club
asks for $5 per person per attendance to defray
Scotland Island Community
Tuesday 18 April, 11 am -
The Recreation Club runs a discussion group, meeting on
the third 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. At the
March session, Jane Rich asked whether letter writing is
a lost art. The ensuing discussion considered the
relative merits of handwritten and electronic
communication, as well as our feelings about personal
letters that we and our family members have sent and
received in the past.
Bill Gye will introduce the topic for the April
meeting. He asks what factors shape human well-being?
We all have some sense of what it means to live a good
life. So what are the essential ingredients? What should
we prioritise? What should we avoid? And how do we go
about maximising our enjoyment of the limited time we
have? For preparation:
1. Read the Wikipedia article 'Well-being contributing
factors', available here.
2. Read 'The Nature of Human Well-being', from the
Encylopedia of Puget Sound, available here.
The group is administered via a WhatsApp group, which
will be used to distribute further information about
this and future discussions. If you would like to be
added to the group, send your mobile phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, contact Jane Rich (email@example.com) for more
information or to express your interest in
The Recreation Club asks for $5 per person per
attendance to defray expenses.
Scotland Island Fire
Saturday 22 April, 7 pm
To buy tickets, click
Scotland Island Community
Sunday 23 April, 10 - 12
information on the Gemma Rasdall workshop click here.
Scotland Island Community
Sunday 23 April, 11 - 12
Residents who have just
moved to the island are invited to a special
information session, to be held in the Community Hall
during the 23 April island café. We’d love to meet you
and give you the opportunity to get to know more
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
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
Anyone new to the island will find this very useful
and we look forward to meeting you
Any provider who would like to be included in this
please contact me.
Rosemary (0410 500704)
Thomas Stephens Reserve,
Tuesday, 25 April, 10.45
Our traditional ANZAC
Day service will be held at Thomas Stephens Reserve,
Church Point on Tuesday, 25 April, commencing 10.45
The guest speaker will be announced shortly.
Scotland Island Community
Saturday 29 April, 6 - 9
To pay by donating
directly to ASRC, click here
Saturday 20 May, 6.30
- 10 pm
Saturday 10 - Monday
a waterside, Scotland Island home.
information and to book, click here.
Sunday 25 June, 10 - 1
Calling all makers,
artists and entrepreneurs!
Do you have something
you’d like to sell at a market stall at the June
island café? It could be artwork, pottery,
clothes, candles, books or... well, pretty much
North aspect, 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom.
Large living area with floor to ceiling glass. Expansive
180 degree views. AC and slow combustion heater.
Access to jetty and marina berth for commuter boat.
One house from Tennis Court Wharf on Scotland Island.
$800 per week.
For further information,
contact Karen Warburton: firstname.lastname@example.org
Missed out on a
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expressed in this newsletter are not
necessarily the views of the Scotland Island
Residents Association (SIRA),
or the Western Pittwater Community