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Scotland Island - Western Shores - Mackerel Beach

January 1, 2023

Newsletter for the Offshore Residents of Pittwater, Australia - Volume 24, Issue 1189

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


Catherine Park Landscape Improvements Plan

Have your say

Part of NBC's plan for Catherine Park, showing the foreshore close to Tennis Wharf

The Northern Beaches Council has plans for Scotland Island’s Catherine Park. NBC say they aim to:
  • improve and enhance existing facilities;
  • manage vehicles and water craft within the park;
  • address drainage issues.
To view the Council’s draft Landscape Improvements Plan, click here.

The NBC is inviting feedback. You can comment by:
  • completing the comment form, which is available at the bottom of the council’s web page: click here
  • email the council at council@northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au
  • write to them marked 'Catherine Park, Scotland Island - Draft Landscape Improvements Plan', Northern Beaches Council, PO Box 82, Manly NSW 1655.
Deadline for comments: Sunday 29 January.

In the opinion piece below, some islanders present their views on the council’s plans, as well as some alternative suggestions. The same islanders invite residents to meet in the park for an informal chat about what is proposed. They will gather near the beach on:
  • Saturday 7 January, 10 am
  • Saturday 21 January, 10 am.  

What is Council Planning for Catherine Park?

Opinion piece

Jenny Cullen, Steve Crosby, Brad Jones & Lizzie Hazelwood

A possible option is to have buggy parking along the western side of Pitt View St, just above the phone box

For those who live nearby, Catherine Park is the landscape of our daily lives. We revel in the beauty which surrounds us. For all of us, it’s the place where the community comes together. 

We are locals who love the park, have studied the council’s draft Landscape Improvements Plan in detail and are concerned about its overall impact. The plan contains proposed works which are welcome and needed, such as improvements to drainage, the grassed area, paths, steps and playground. However, there are many other proposals which need careful consideration as to whether we really want them.

Our concerns fall into two groups:

1. Too much stuff: concrete, hard surfaces, extra infrastructure
Wide paths of 2.0m and 2.5m surfaced with crushed gravel and concrete, sandstone block wall on beach, three kayak racks, kayak ramp, extra paving and concrete, exercise equipment, altered playground area.

2. Formalised foreshore access for small vehicles along path and onto beach
Access for any small vehicles (buggies, mobility scooters, motor or quad bikes) leads to a more formal, constructed foreshore with larger concrete landing at wharf junction, 2.5m path and 7.5m turning circle extending over the beach. Pedestrians, playing children and vehicles will all be using the same small prime area.

What makes the park so charming is its stunning location, sandy beaches and informal, tucked away, natural character. Together, these works would significantly change the look and feel of Catherine Park, especially along the foreshore. It would be a more standard suburban park. But unlike other local beaches or paths, small private vehicles would be allowed to drive along part of this recreational and pedestrian space.

We instead suggest that an extended parking area above the phone box in Pitt View St would be a much better option for all of us, including buggy drivers. The foreshore could then be a beautiful and safe place to walk, chat and relax.

Interested? Our views and suggestions are explained more fully in our submission paper, available here.

We encourage you to look at the council's plans and submit your own comments to council (see above for how to do this). We also welcome you to join us in the park to chat about the plans: we will be there 10 am, Saturday 7 & 21 January. You are also welcome to email us at jennifercullen57@gmail.com.


Scotland Island Recreation Club

A look back at 2022

Robyn Iredale

The Two Catherines Café staff, sporting their new aprons made by an island seamstress.
Photos courtesy of Oneill Photographics

This year has seen a surge in social and cultural activities on Scotland Island. Our most successful ongoing initiative has been the Two Catherines Café, initially managed by Melinda Ham and still flourishing under CB Floyd. We are very proud of the 8-10 young people who have been trained and employed at the café. This important community gathering wouldn’t happen without our committed baristas, Maddy Banfield, Oscar Golovachenko and Cam Eilbeck, and the wonderful island bakers. At each café we have an amazing array of home-cooked sweet and savoury items, all pulled together by the enigmatic Amber Ellis. At the last café of the year there were Christmas market stalls where local makers and artists sold their works.

May Blackband, Ziggy Gregg & Rosie Dobbs help with
weeding as part of the Spring Garden Festival
Though the café is now monthly, we have made a small profit ($1,243) so far this financial year. Last year the café experienced a loss of $2,146, due to several below-break-even winter cafés. Ticket sales also figure in Recreation Club income. This year the Recreation Club income has been used for a number of things, including.
  • to hire a playwright to write a script for our upcoming plays: The Two Catherines: A Twisted Scotland Island Tale;
  • to purchase aprons for staff from an island seamstress;
  • to pay café staff and bakers;
  • to buy supplies and equipment for the café.
A full accounting of yearly Recreation Club income and expenses since inception is available to view here. The next proposed purchase will be sound equipment, so that we no longer need to borrow equipment for events.

Cultural and musical events
The Club has hosted four outstanding concerts:
  • Jazz by Markus Plattner and Friends;
  • Love Letters by Katya Marden and Barry Quin;
  • a music trivia night;
  • ‘An Evening of Jazz’ with Jeremy Sala’s Catch Club Trio.

Markus Plattner was among the musicians who performed on the island, thanks to the Recreation Club
All of these events have paid for themselves out of ticket sales.

The Recreation Centre has just become the proud owner of a Yamaha Clavinova electronic keyboard, donated by Therese Bakker. We extend our sincere thanks to Therese for her generous gift to the island community, and to Lucy Gregg and David Richards for transporting it. The Recreation Centre will now be available for piano lessons and musical functions.

The play The Two Catherines: A Twisted Scotland Island Tale will be staged in the last two weekends in June 2023. We have filled most of the acting roles but there is still room for more people to join the chorus, so please come forward. We also need a costume manager. It is anticipated that the cost of developing and mounting the play will be fully covered by ticket sales for six performances and sponsorships.

Other Recreation Club activities and events
For those who enjoy being active, we have provided table tennis every Saturday afternoon, including an hour for novices. The latter hasn’t been well supported - we welcome feedback on other time preferences. Roy Baker also conducted the second Scotland Island race/walk around the island – much fun was had by all.

International folk dancing continues to attract a small bunch of dedicated dancers on the last Saturday evening of each month. Many thanks go to Branko and Annabelle Kristevic, who have introduced us to an exotic range of dances from all over the world. We welcome new participants!

Tim Turpin and Tyler Ratcliff helping to repaint the Recreation Centre
Our Newcomers’ Welcomes, hosted by Rosemary Haskell and Gail Mackenzie, have been very successful as a means of providing much-needed information to people new to the island. The slides have been uploaded to the SIRA website and are always available for people to refer to.

We introduced several new initiatives this year to try to cater to different interests and needs. These include:
  • two boat maintenance workshops provided by Simon Tucker on outboard basics;
  • the monthly Tuesday Discussion Group, initiated by Roy Baker and Jane Rich, with participants taking turns to select a topic for discussion and providing a list of relevant reading materials. So far topics have covered refugee and asylum issues, the nature of cartoons, the story behind Gone with the Wind, and more. It is a diverse group that meets at 11.00 am on the third Tuesday of each month.
Renovation of the Recreation Centre
Funded by a Community Building Partnerships Grant from the NSW Government and over $16,000 in-kind contributions from the NBC, the Recreation Centre is getting a new lease of life with a new kitchen and bathroom.

Many thanks go to the volunteers who have helped in this process:
  • Tim Turpin, Gerard Le Sueur (a recent arrival to the island), Vinni Wray, Boyd Attewell, Tyler Ratcliff and Antonia Swift painted the rooms.
  • Shane May, Tim Turpin and Cass Gye helped to transport new appliances into the Centre.
Council will now complete the new bathroom and island volunteers will install the kitchen.

And finally, special thanks go to CB Floyd and Roy Baker for their input into the Recreation Club. If you would like to join the sub-committee, please contact Robyn Iredale via rriredale@gmail.com. If you have an idea for a new activity/initiative please put it forward to anyone on the Recreation sub-committee. You can see who is on the sub-committee by clicking here.

Weeds, Weeds, Weeds

What can be done?

Nicole Thompson

Scotland Island's Elizabeth Park contains remnants of Spotted Gum forest, an endangered ecological community.

As a result of Scotland Island's very successful Spring Garden Festival last October, many of us have become more aware of the natural heritage surrounding us – and of the weeds that can impact it. But things have been happening – and you can help! 

You may not realise it, but Scotland Island’s Catherine Park bushcare group recently wrapped up an environmental grant of $3,000 received from Northern Beaches Council. The aim of the grant project was to build upon the existing efforts of bushcare volunteers to protect and restore the remnant Pittwater and Wagstaffe Spotted Gum Forest, an Endangered Ecological Community (EEC). Scotland Island is home to part of this EEC.

This grant funded bush-regeneration contractors to conduct weed removal works at Catherine Park and Fitzpatrick Reserve, on the western side of the island. Both sites are important green corridors that connect remnant bushland to Elizabeth Park reserve and Pittwater and Wagstaffe Spotted Gum Forest. Contractors worked over three months, first targeting Asparagus aethiopicus and Lantana camara. This was followed up by maintenance works where, during each visit, contractors focused on targeting seedlings and other woody, vine, herbaceous, annual, and exotic grass species.

Why is the Pittwater and Wagstaffe Spotted Gum Forest special? It is listed as an Endangered Ecological Community (EEC), occurring within the Pittwater local government area, including on Scotland Island, the Barrenjoey peninsula and the western Pittwater foreshores. Remnants of the forest are typically small and there are a few remnants in council reserves, including Elizabeth Park, and one within Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

Why are EECs important? They are a unique combination of native plants, animals and other organisms important for their native biodiversity, distinctive landscape values and vital habitat. They provide us with ecosystem services such as clean air and water, nutrients for the soil, protection against erosion and salinity, carbon storage and a healthy environment for threatened species.

Volunteer bushcare groups meet regularly on Scotland Island and on the western foreshore.

Get involved in Scotland Island or Bays bush regeneration!
There are a number of active bushcare groups on Scotland Island and in the bays, run by volunteers who meet regularly for bush regeneration and planting. It’s a great way to get outdoors, meet some locals, learn about our native plants and problem weeds and contribute to restoring our beautiful bushland. Our island is significantly impacted by highly invasive ‘Weeds of National Significance’, and you can help combat them by getting involved.

You can find information on local groups on the bush regeneration page on the Scotland Island community website.


Scotland Island Community Website

The Scotland Island community website is a valuable source of information to residents looking for services, supplies, organisations or classes. Here are three important announcements.

Artists' and Makers' web page

Are you involved in the arts and crafts? Would you like to be included on a special page on the Scotland Island community website? 

Scotland Island and its nearby offshore communities are home to many talented artists, those who enjoy making craft items, or others involved in various types of creative endeavour. We are putting together an artists' and makers' page on the Scotland Island website; a directory where artists, potters, embroiderers, photographers, knitters, graphic designers etc can promote their business or hobby by providing links and/or contact details to sell or display their wares and services. The page will be the perfect place for community members to find one-off hand-made gifts while supporting local talent.

To get yourself listed, fill out the directory request form, available here.

If you list yourself in the directory, please select all applicable categories. For example, select ‘artists' and makers' page’ and then hold down the control key and also select ‘art and craft’. Also, feel free to include a link to your website/ Instagram/Facebook page, as well as an image.

Tradies: update your details!

Those who offer trades and other services on Scotland Island: make sure that you are listed and that your details are up to date!

To list your services, your class, or whatever, fill out the directory request form, available here.

Scotland Island community calendar

Besides the PON, information about island events can also be found on the Scotland Island community calendar. As from today you will find a link to the community calendar towards the bottom of the PON.


The Tuesday Discussion Group

Scotland Island Recreation Centre

Tuesday 17 January, 11 am - 12.30 pm

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. We closed last year with Kathy James, who asked 'should Australia re-examine its policies on asylum seekers?

For the first meeting of 2023, Roy Baker asks: 'should we be "world citizens"? The label might sound appealing if you shun parochialism and care for humanity as a whole. But what does 'world citizenship' actually entail?  

Read David Miller, in which he critiques cosmopolitanism, the doctrine behind the concept of world citizenship (4 pages);

Read Thomas Pogge, in which he responds to Miller, and asserts that the idea of world citizenship warrants serious consideration (6 pages);

Read Thom Brooks, in which he attempts a synthesis of Miller's and Pogge's positions, offering an intermediary view (6 pages).

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 editor@scotlandisland.org.au.

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


Western Foreshores Ball

Elvina Bay fire shed and park

Saturday 21 January, 6:30 pm onwards

We're going to have a ball!

Join us for cocktails and antipasto platters, and support your favourite charity by purchasing an outlandish frock (or whatever takes your fancy) for this quirky event — “The Second Hand Ball”.

Dress is strictly black tie. At least one item of your attire must be second hand — so start looking in your favourite charity shop to find that prize winning stunner, be it a glamorous frock or a small accessory. (Remember the premise of this event is to raise funds for charity as well as the WPCA.)

There will be games and prizes. Live entertainment by some of our local musical heroes will be sure to have everyone dancing the night away. This event promises to be a fun night.

Book now as tables are limited.

To help with catering, we ask that you RSVP and prepay via EFT, then email the organisers with a list of who is attending (see instructions below).

BYO: Bring your favourite tipple - cocktails and antipasto platters will be served on arrival.
RSVP: by Sunday 15 January. 

COST:  Adults       $40 per person.
             Families   $80 (2 adults + children under 16)
GROUP BOOKINGS: 8 or 10 people per table
INDIVIDUAL BOOKINGS: You will be allocated a table.

EFT details: West Pittwater Community Association
BSB: 062205
Account: 10184991
Ref: Add your group name or surname as reference.
Then email: treasurer@westpittwater.com.au with a list of the adults and children attending and indicating if there is a 'family' group in the booking.

If you are booking a table of 8 or 10 people, please make ONE payment for your group and then seek reimbursement from the individuals in your group.
We would like to stress that this is a NO DOG event.
Please leave pets at home for the evening.


Scotland Island Café

Catherine Park, Scotland Island

Sunday 22 January, 10 am - 12 noon

Sunday 26 February, 10 am - 12 noon


The Two Catherines Play: Read-through

Scotland Island Community Hall

Sunday 29 January, 10 am - 12 noon

Catherine Benns (1838 - 1920)
an Indigenous midwife and 'Queen of Scotland Island'

Catherine Bouffier (1857 - 1940)
after whom Scotland Island's Catherine Park is named

There will be a read-through of the play with all actors in the Community Hall. Others, such as those involved with costumes, stage, set, etc, are welcome to attend.

Mark your diaries!

There will be performances of the play as follows:
  • Friday evenings, 16 & 23 June
  • Saturday matinees: 17 & 24 June
  • Saturday evenings: 17 & 24 June
Times and full details relating to ticket sales will be announced in due course.


Shakespeare in the Park: Othello

Catherine Park, Scotland Island

Saturday 11 February, 7.30 - 10.30 pm

For tickets click here.

Othello is a tragedy of shadows – those seduced by the dark become darkness itself. Even the once streetwise Othello succumbs to Iago’s shadow-play. The proud warrior falls. Twisting his love for Desdemona into hatred. And when love is not, chaos comes again. Finally, the green-eyed monster of Othello’s jealousy mocks the man it feeds on.

Such Stuff Productions presents Shakespeare’s timeless tragedy, Othello. Performing one Scotland Island show, February 11 2023. Wet weather contingency venue will be in the Scotland Island Community Hall.

Tickets: adults $40, concessions $20, children under 10 yrs free.
Refund policy: refunds are available up to one day prior to the event.


The Dark Side of the Moon

Ted Blackwood Hall, Warriewood

Friday 24 & Saturday 25 February, 7:30 pm

Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon was released in 1973 and became one of the greatest albums of all time, spending more than 18 years in the charts. The legendary Pittwater offshore community's Flaming Doghouse Showband will perform the full album, from heartbeat to heartbeat, plus plenty of Floyd favourites - over two hours of mind-blowing live music.

Under the musical direction of David Richards, Flaming Doghouse have performed tribute shows including The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Commitments, The Rocky Horror Show, The Blues Brothers & Lady Sings the Blues to huge acclaim. This show reprises and adapts their classic Pink Floyd show to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the release of The Dark Side of the Moon, one of the most critically acclaimed records in history. Do not miss this unique, local event.

To buy tickets, click here.


International Folk Dancing

Scotland Island Community Hall

Saturday 25 February, 7 - 9 pm

The Recreation Club asks for $5 per person per attendance to defray expenses.


Graeme Crayford Memorial Run / Walk

Catherine Park, Scotland Island

Sunday 26 March, 9:20 am

Join us for the third annual island run/walk, once again held in memory of Graeme Crayford, who died last year.

Graeme made many contributions to the island community, including in his role as 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 another Graemesque jaunt around the island.

Once again we include a special walkers' category, so you can participate at your own pace. A number of participants have already expressed interest, ranging in age from 9 to 80. 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 in previous years, 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.

Once again, Andy Derijk, personal trainer and Elvina Bay resident, is donating his time to help organise and facilitate the 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.


Do you know Martin A. Thorndycraft?

As an old UK friend and namesake of Martin A Thorndycraft I am anxious to reconnect with him, having lost touch with Martin many years ago. If you know Martin, would you ask him to get in touch? Alternatively, if you have information as to his whereabouts, could you let me know?

Thanks, Ron Thorndycraft thorndycraft-r@hotmail.com.

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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