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Scotland Island - Western Shores - Mackerel Beach

April 1, 2024

Newsletter for the Offshore Residents of Pittwater, Australia - Volume 25, Issue 1205

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


Island Transport Services In Doubt

Subsidies may end, but a solution is in the air

The Volocity drone, capable of automated passenger transportation

With the lease for the current Scotland Island community vehicle up for renewal, SIRA’s transport subcommittee has been meeting with Easylink, who manage the vehicle, with a view to ensuring continuation of the service. But negotiations could hit a roadblock.

Our community vehicle service is heavily subsidised by Transport for NSW. Without that subsidy each trip would cost passengers $57, as opposed to the $15 (or $10 concession) currently charged. The subsidy is based on the government’s assessment of Scotland Island as a ‘remote community’.

Bell's extended wharf brings the island closer to Church Point
A ‘remoteness’ classification is determined by the Australian Statistical Geography Standard-Remoteness Area (ASGS-RA).  This is a geographical classification which defines locations by relative remoteness. It’s based on a complex mathematical formula that takes into account a number of factors. Among the key determinants is the community’s physical proximity to existing services, including state transit.

For a number of years Scotland Island has met the criteria of remoteness, therefore facilitating subsidised community transport. But when the government calculates distance it should consider all transport infrastructure, which logically includes floating pontoons.

Problems arose once Bell and Carols wharves were extended in 2021. Although Transport for NSW is yet to wake up to the fact, these extensions effectively reduce the distance between Scotland Island and the Church Point bus stop from 453 to 404 metres. There is now real concern that this is sufficient to reclassify the island’s location as merely ‘problematic’, which is insufficient to warrant state government support.

If the subsidy is withdrawn then SIRA is confident that the existing community vehicle drivers will want to provide their time free of charge. While that would help bring down fares, there remain the vehicle’s running costs, currently funded by Easylink. What’s more, the removal of transport subsidies could jeopardise the ferries that serve our offshore community.

Volocopter's Voloport drone transportation hub in Singapore
Fortunately help is at hand, with the SIRA transport subcommittee actively investigating travel alternatives. They need to be innovative in their thinking, and perhaps aerial drones provide at least a partial solution.

Alphabet, owner of Google, started drone parcel delivery in Australia as far back as 2019. The same year, Volocopter, a German aircraft manufacturer, demonstrated its ‘Voloport’ in Singapore. Billed as a ‘world-first air taxi airport’, test flights using the company’s Volocity drone were well-received, and in 2022 the company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Singaporean government with a view to launching a fully automated taxi service.

There are, of course, many differences between a drone parcel service and automated passenger air transportation. For a start, Scotland Island's tree canopy precludes the landing of large drones designed for carrying people. Sizable cargo drones exist, but even the biggest has a payload capacity of 20 kg. For that reason, it’s likely that, at least initially, island drone lifts will be limited to unaccompanied small children.

A child being prepared for a drone drop at school

Even so, with some blue sky thinking, this could be worked to our advantage. The island kindy closed several years ago, and many blamed its demise on its location on the northern side of the island, away from Church Point. This, they claim, made it inconvenient for parents wanting to drop off their children on the way to work.

Surely drones could breathe new life into the kindy. With an automated drop-off service, working parents would no longer need to go out of their way to deposit their children. Tests suggest that a child, properly prepared, can easily survive a drone drop of up to two metres, often without injury.

Just imagine Catherine Park and the Rec Centre once again alive with the happy cries of small children. And noise from the odd drone, admittedly.


Bakers Wanted For Island Café


Book launch: The Scotland Island Survival Guide

Scotland Island Community Hall

Monday 1 April, 7 pm


Don't miss the launch of this handy local publication, written by islander Elizabeth Ard.

Subtitled 'What To Do When The Cost Of Living Becomes Extreme', this book is full of handy survival hints and will make your island dollar go further.

1.    Preparation for non-preppers 
2.    Bush turkey tucker (the long marinating/slow cooking method)
3.    Midnight water siphoning (how to suck)
4.    Free trips on the community vehicle (how to scam)
5.    Buggy hot wiring (fun for kids)
6.    Which plants NOT to use as toilet paper
7.    Edible indoor plants (which NOT to eat)
8.    Making a machine gun from kitchen utensils
9.    Why you shouldn’t show off your veggie garden
10.  Weaving fishing nets with dental floss
11.  Hacking neighbours' streaming services
12.  Twelve uses for your septic waste
A Live Off Land (LOL) publication - LOL Publications aim to produce localised survival guides for every small community in Australia. 


To confirm your attendance, click here

Woody Point Yacht Club AGM

Lovett Bay Boatshed

Saturday 6 April, 5 pm onwards

To RSVP and pre-book tickets, email woodypyc.treasurer@gmail.com.


Moon Dance

Scotland Island Community Hall & Recreation Centre

Saturday 6 April, 7.30 pm & 9.30 pm

The Flaming Doghouse & SIRA Recreation Club present the ULTIMATE Beatles show.

Experience a magical journey through the soundtrack of a generation with this spectacular Beatles tribute. This performance brings to life the timeless hits of the world's most iconic band, The Beatles, in an electrifying show that's more than just music. It's a history lesson in modern sound.

While here, come and partake of some typical Liverpudlian delights - sausage rolls, hot dogs and pasties. Veg and GF options will be available. $8 each. BYO drinks. Water will be available.

Two show times:

7:30 pm - The Evening Show (6:30 pm complimentary ferry from Church Point)
The Flaming Doghouse perform an unforgettable ninety non-stop minutes of Beatles classics. Up close and personal live electric music. Join the band in The Green Room before (and after) the show for something tasty to eat. Make a night of it. Prime-time entertainment. Ferry to Church Point (via the Bays) after the show.

9:30 pm - The Late Show (no ferry available)
The Flaming Doghouse, in full electric mode, perform the ULTIMATE Beatles show. Over two hours of incredible music featuring hit after hit after hit. Expect to be on your feet for this one - it's Moon Dance time. Have a bite to eat in The Green Room before the show.

The Green Room backstage-themed snackery open from 6:30 pm.

For tickets, click here.

The next Moon Dance will be on Saturday 27 April: look out for notices.


The Tuesday Discussion Group

Scotland Island Recreation Centre

Tuesday 16 April, 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. For the March session we were invited to consider shame: its definition, role in society, and the problems it can cause.

For the April meeting, CB Floyd asks us is there such a thing as free will?

This fascinating question has preoccupied philosophers, theologians, ethicists, lawyers, psychologists and neurologists alike. In this discussion, we'll explore what free will means, whether we have it in any meaningful way, and, depending on your answer, the implications for morality and behaviour.This topic is carried over from February.


1. The Clockwork Universe: is free will an Illusion? This excellent article explores both the question of free will and the implications of the answer.

2. Free Will This Wikipedia entry provides an exhaustive overview of the various philosophical debates concerning free will. It isn’t necessary to read it all! If you read enough to know the basic arguments and are familiar with the broad ideas of compatabilism and incompatabilism that’s enough.

'A Stanford Professor Says Scince Shows Free Will Doesn’t Exist: Here’s why he’s mistaken
' by Adam Piovarchy, from The Conversation. In this article the argument is made that we do indeed have free will.

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.

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


Island Café

Catherine Park, Scotland Island

Sunday 28 April, 10 - 12 noon


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