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Scotland Island - Western Shores - Mackerel Beach

July 1, 2021

Newsletter for the Offshore Residents of Pittwater, Australia - Volume 22, Issue 1158

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

Of all the boats that have sailed on Pittwater, it’s hard to imagine one with more varied a history than the ‘Krait’. Familiar to offshore residents up until 1985, this vessel was involved in fishing, international espionage, evacuating refugees, a daring commando raid, the lumber industry, training, search and rescue, charities, as well as film and television, before finally becoming a museum piece. 

The Krait spent its declining years tied up at Church Point. ‘It never seemed to go anywhere’, says John Travers, who moved to Pittwater in 1982. Another long-term island resident, Dick Hughes, also remembers the Krait barely moving from its mooring next to the general store. But the indolence of the vessel’s dotage belied an adventurous past.

Krait during wartime
The Krait in Broken Bay during World War II. The Krait takes its name from a small but highly venomous Asian snake.

The Krait, a 21.33 metre teak boat, was built in Japan around 1934. Based in Singapore, it ostensibly formed part of Japan’s massive interwar fishing fleet. But from the outset its story is mired in intrigue: it's believed that the Japanese employed the boat as a subterfuge for espionage.

In 1941 Bill Reynolds, an Australian tin miner, used the Krait to escape from Singapore in the face of advancing Japanese  forces. Picking up other evacuees, and narrowly avoiding capture, the boat ended up in British India. Already the Krait was a war hero, having rescued over 1,500 refugees.

But a lot more was to come. Reynolds became convinced that the Krait had evaded attack only because the Japanese had mistaken it for one of their own. Spotting the boat’s potential to slip behind enemy lines, a plot was hatched to use the Krait in a daring commando raid, returning it to Singapore to deliver a blow to Japanese shipping.

Operation Jaywick, as it came to be known, began in 1942 with the formation of a commando unit designated Z Special Unit. For many months this group of men, handpicked from Australian and British forces, trained at Refuge Bay on the southern side of Broken Bay. Early in 1943 they were joined by the Krait, which conveyed the men north. After further preparations the Krait then set sail for occupied Singapore.

Krait 1982
  The Krait moored at Church Point in 1982

The boat sailed to within 11 km of the city, whereupon six men disembarked into three folding canoes. Under the cover of darkness they paddled into Singapore harbour. Then, gliding silently among Japanese tankers and freighters, they attached limpet mines to seven ships. The mines detonated and some 40,000 tons of Japanese shipping was destroyed or damaged. Miraculously all six men escaped interception and rendezvoused with the Krait six days later.

Following Operation Jaywick the Krait was involved in various espionage missions around Timor. Then, after the war, the vessel was sold to a logging company in Borneo. But in 1964 Australian veterans raised enough money for its return to Sydney.

For the next 20 years The Krait became a familiar sight on Pittwater. It was used to instruct boy scouts and sea cadets in seamanship, to participate in rescues and to assist in charity fundraising. It was during this period that the Krait found a home at Church Point, right next to the mini-mart.

The vessel was also hired out to the media, landing parts in the ABC TV series Patrol Boat (1979-83) and the 1981 film Gallipoli. But by then the hull had deteriorated and the boat was in danger of sinking.

Krait 2018
The Krait, restored and on display in Darling Harbour

In 1982, after intense lobbying, the Australian War Museum agreed to find a home for the boat, provided it was restored to its wartime appearance. Originally the Krait was to be transported to Canberra, but instead it was put on display at the Australian National Maritime Museum, where it has sat in Darling Harbour for the last 30 years.

Operation Jaywick, the raid in which the Krait was so instrumental, is generally considered a military success. But our tale has a tragic ending. First, the assault on Japanese shipping, although a morale booster for Allied forces, led to reprisals against Singaporean civilians, whom the Japanese wrongly blamed for the attack.

And secondly, six of the 14 men involved in Operation Jaywick attempted a second raid on Singapore in 1944. Known as Operation Rimau, they were this time intercepted by Japanese forces and condemned to death. They were beheaded in the very last month of the war. 

More about the Krait can be read here. An episode of ABC TV’s Australian Story, first broadcast in 2015 and dedicated to the Krait, can be viewed here.


The Great Lockdown Quiz

This is a photo of some money, which is what you will not win by entering this quiz.

Feeling bored while trapped at home during the current lockdown? Why not while away the time by testing your knowledge of Pittwater and the local community.

Access the quiz by clicking here. Answer the 10 questions and then click 'done'. Your score and the correct answers will be provided immediately. Your personal answers and score will remain confidential to you: even I can't see them.

Good luck!
The Editor

Living Shakespeare

Online, starting Tues 6 July, 7:00 - 7:50 pm


Introducing Living Shakespeare (a course to enliven lockdown).

How is it that Shakespeare still speaks to us today, and how may we listen? How to apply Shakespeare’s wisdom in our day-to-day experience?

Island resident, and director of Shakespeare-on-Scotland Island (The Tempest and Hamlet), Paul Kininmonth is again hosting his 8-week online series Living Shakespeare.

The next series starts: Tues 6 July - 7pm to 7:50pm – until Tues 24 August.
This is the fourth series of the course on Zoom – with participants attending from Sydney and Indonesia, to country Victoria – an open and inquisitive mind being the only requirement (no prior Shakespeare experience needed).

Paul KininmonthWeek-by-week, through sharing in Shakespeare’s work and his insights, we aim to discover how to freely enjoy our parts on the world's stage.

For further information, please email me: kininmon@hotmail.com.

Look forward to Living Shakespeare with you.



Two Catherines Café

Sunday 11 July, 10:00 am - 12:00 noon

Sunday 25 July, 10:00 am - 12:00 noon

The Catherines Cafe

Sunday, 11 July: newcomers' welcome and information session

Moved to the island recently, or have some questions about offshore life? Here's a chance to get some answers and meet other residents. An information session will run from 10.30-11.30 am and newcomers to the island will be shouted a coffee.
Please let anyone know who might benefit from the session. Register your interest by calling Gail 0412 767687 or Rosemary 0410 500704, or emailing haskellrosemary@gmail.com. Hope to see you there.


International Folk Dancing

Saturday, 31 July, 7:00 - 9:00 pm

Folk dancing


Creative Open Weekend

21 - 22 August, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Creative Open Weekend 
Link for additional information:click here.


Love Letters

Saturday 18 September, 7:30 pm

Love Letters


Wanted: boat and bed

I am looking for a
  • smallish boat hull to buy- 8-10 ft ( 2400- 3100mm)
Also looking to purchase a
  • double bed base and mattress.
If anyone has one they would like to sell please text or call Nicole 0426 162 843.

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Past newsletters, beginning May 2000, can be found and read at https://ymlp.com/archive_gesgjgm.php.

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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