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Scotland Island - Western Shores - Mackerel Beach

May 1, 2021

Newsletter for Offshore Residents of Pittwater, Australia - Volume 22, Issue 1153


Quarantine on the Island?

A look at what Scotland Island could have been

Roy Baker

Anyone fruitlessly pursuing a parking spot at Church Point or overwhelmed by their block’s weeds might question the wisdom of allowing 355 homes on Scotland Island. Those drawn to counterfactual thinking could wonder why urban planners didn’t take better advantage of the island’s relative isolation. Why not declare it a nature reserve?

If utilitarian imperatives must prevail, consider how a defensible moat surrounds our island. Doesn’t that lend it to military purposes? Or, in the days of COVID, we might imagine the island as a quarantine station.

Charles Mackellar
Charles Mackellar (1844 - 1926),
chief medical adviser
Any of these fates might have befallen the island if the nineteenth century had taken a different turn. It is well known that Andrew Thompson, Scotland Island’s first European owner, used Catherine Park for boat building and salt production. Following his death in 1810, the government had several opportunities to reacquire the island from private hands. So why didn’t it?

At that stage the greatest hindrance to Pittwater’s exploitation was its distance from Sydney Cove. But remoteness can be a blessing. In 1881 Sydney was struck by smallpox. Quarantine facilities at North Head on Sydney's harbour proved inadequate and so it was mooted that the sick be moved to Pittwater.

NSW’s chief medical adviser at the time was Charles Mackellar, father of poet (and Lovett Bay resident) Dorothea Mackellar. He advised against the move, considering Pittwater too remote for a quarantine station to be properly administered here. He did, however, suggest Dangar Island as a future location, given the proposed Sydney to Newcastle rail line, which was to pass close by. 
By 1887 the smallpox epidemic had passed. By then the prospect of holidaymakers on Pittwater was exciting developers, particularly in light of a proposed tramway linking Pittwater to the Spit. Scotland Island was acquired by a Melbourne company and there was speculation that they intended it as a ‘marine public resort’.

R H Levien
Robert Levien, MLA (1880 - 1913),
questioned NSW's refusal to reacquire Scotland Island
But the tramline failed to materialise, and by 1896 the island was again for sale. For decades there had been demands that Scotland Island be returned to public ownership. The issue was even raised in Parliament. Pittwater had long naval associations and there was talk of a training college on the island, as opposed to the eventual naval establishment on Taylors Point. But still the government declined to acquire the island.

In 1918 Sydney was struck by the last great pandemic: Spanish flu. A crowded meeting in Sydney Town Hall vigorously demanded the removal of the quarantine station from North Head, Sydney’s ‘front door’. Again Pittwater was mooted as an alternative.

But Scotland Island Quarantine Station wasn’t to be. In 1913 trams finally connected Manly to Narrabeen, and by the 1920s the island’s division into residential blocks was well advanced. Indeed, a 1924 plan for the island represents more or less what we have today, the most striking difference being that Thompson St was called Elvina Crescent. The change of name didn’t occur until 1953.

But even after it was decided to build houses on the island, things could have been different. An alternative sub-division, devised in 1906, would have seen just 121 blocks, around a third of what we have currently. In fact an advert dating from 1911 speaks of just 80 ‘magnificent 2-acre water-frontage allotments’. Two acres represents around 8,000 square metres: today’s waterfront blocks are typically less than 1,000.

Even so, the 1924 plan prevailed and thus the island’s suburban fate was sealed. But there are positives to this outcome. Although Scotland Island was never a quarantine station, it has come into its own as a tranquil place to ride out COVID. What’s more, the 1906 plan seemed to envisage no Catherine Park and only one public wharf: we now have five. And don’t forget: a small block means less ground to weed.

Scotland Island plan 1906
1906 plan for housing on Scotland Island

Scotland Island plan 1924
1924 plan for housing on Scotland Island

Principal source: Pittwater Online News


Comments Sought on Church Point Upgrade 

Thomas Stephens Reserve

Northern Beaches Council are progressing with their Church Point upgrade, with planned improvements to the landscaping in Thomas Stephens Reserve, the paved area between the general store and the Pasadena. The proposal also includes some changes to the road.

The proposed landscape improvements include new:
Proposed bench type
Proposed bench seating
Proposed pavement
Proposed paving
  •    timber boardwalk and pavement
  •    wharf style seating
  •    tables and benches
  •    sandstone stairs to beach
  •    repointing and backfilling of the existing seawall
  •    bins, bike racks and water station
  •    plantings and trees.
All existing trees will be retained.

The road realignment and associated works include:
  •    smoothing of the road curve
  •    new speed hump
  •    new raised pedestrian crossing
  •    reconfiguration of car spaces and loading zones
  •    safety improvements to bus stop
  •    realignment of access road to
       numbers 1-19 McCarrs Creek Road
  •    new retaining wall on access road,
  •    clad to match new car park
  •    stair and footpath upgrade on south side of road
  •    some kerb and guttering.
To view the concept design, click here.

Comments close Sunday, 23 May. To comment, click here.


The Four Editors

Leicester Warburton
Paul Purvis
Julian Muir
Roy Baker
Leicester Warburton
(1972 - 2000)
Paul Purvis
(2000 - 2008)
Julian Muir
(2008 - 2021)
Roy Baker
(2021 - )

It is a daunting realisation that the Pittwater Offshore Newsletter (and its predecessor, Scotland Island News) had just three editors over the course of the last half century, meaning that the average tenure exceeded 16 years.

Indeed, Leicester Warburton ran S.I.News for a staggering 28 years. In those days S.I.News was distributed door-to-door in hard copy, often running to eight pages.

In 2000 Paul Purvis reinvented S.I.News as an online publication. He also renamed it Pittwater Offshore Newsletter so as to embrace the western foreshores. Under Paul’s stewardship the PON grew in both frequency and readership.

Eight years later Paul handed over to Julian Muir, who nurtured your PON over the last 13 years. Then, earlier this month, Julian stepped back and with due diffidence I take over.

I thank all three of my illustrious predecessors for sustaining this essential element of offshore life. Communication is everything in a healthy community, and I can only hope to emulate their achievements. In particular, I acknowledge the time and effort Julian invested over the last few weeks while training me in the peculiarities of html editing. Fortunately, Julian will continue to support the PON’s and SIRA’s IT needs.

My intention is that the PON will continue to appear on the first of every month. So, if you are planning offshore events, please let me know several weeks ahead. Supplementary editions will be released to cover less foreseeable events.

While acknowledging Leicester, Paul and Julian, I also thank SIRA, who fund this publication. But remember that the PON belongs to you, the entire offshore community. All contributions are welcome: please email them to editor@scotlandisland.org.au.

Roy Baker



The Festival of Making, held on Scotland Island on 23 and 24 April, was a chance for the island and offshore communities to come together to celebrate the restorative value of making art, craft, food, dance, music and writing.

Festival coordinator Robyn Iredale (centre) with Senator Kristina Keneally and Mayor Michael Regan

John Travers recited his ode to the Dog Race

The Opening Night saw a large crowd in the Community Hall. Owen Crick opened with the Acknowledgement of Country. Principal organiser of the event, Robyn Iredale, then welcomed everyone to the exhibition, which had been put together by offshore artists. She also thanked Northern Beaches Council for the grant that supported the festival.

The mayor, Michael Regan, spoke very favourably about the value of community and events such as the festival, and encouraged us to apply again for more funding next year. Maybe the festival can become an annual event.

Two exhibitors, long-time resident Nettie Lodge and recent arrival Christine Simpson, said a few words about the importance of 'making’ during COVID-19 and the valuable part this community plays in their lives. John Travers’ recital of his poem, ‘The K9 Melbourne Cup’, was a very entertaining interlude.

A highlight was The Hon. Kristina Keneally’s speech. When asked by her husband, Ben, what she was making for the FoM, she said that she ‘made speeches’. Kristina had just returned from Christmas Island and before opening the festival she talked briefly about some of the refugees detained there.

The following day, Saturday, was perfect, with Catherine Park packed with people, workshops, stalls, music, dancing and food.

COVID Meditation 1 Flowering Ocean Goddess
COVID Meditation 1: Radiata, by Christine Simpson
Winner of the People's Choice competition
This raffle prize, donated by Ian Swift,
raised $340 for One Eighty Avalon,
which works to prevent youth suicide
Thanks to everyone who worked to make this such a lovely experience, but especially to:
  •  Jasmine Hall and Melinda Ham for managing the Two Catherines Café all day;
  •  Meredith Rasdall, Anne Willman and Melinda Ham for the amazing workshops;
  •  Jane Rich, Louise Roberts and Alison Uren for the knitting circle;
  •  Mike Hall for admin and logistics;
  •  Gemma Rasdall for advertising and managing the workshop/events program;
  •  John Marshall for providing and organising the sound equipment for the buskers;
  •  Mandy Alderson for yoga, Ana Fellay for salsa;
  •  Juliette Robertson and Paul Kininmonth for the writers and poetry events;
  •  Amber Ellis and Jane Matthews for posters;
  •  Shane O’Neill and Natalie Page for promotion and photography;
  •  Carol Floyd for managing the stalls;
  •  Antonia Swift, Rosemary Haskell and Sharon Kinnison for ongoing help in many ways;
  •  the exhibition curators (June Lahm & Christine Simpson), and
  •  the installers (Owen Crick, Peter Mace, Rouge Hoffman & others).
Special thanks go to Robyn Iredale, who made the whole thing possible. But, as Robyn said afterwards, 'these are truly team events and my job as coordinator was made much easier and more enjoyable as a result of all the help that I received'.
Photos with compliments of Shane O'Neill and Natalie Page, Oneill Photographics
More will be available shortly at the Offshore Photo Gallery.


Feast for Freedom

Feast for Freedom crowd 1 Feast for Freedom Feast for Freedom crowd 2

The offshore Feast for Freedom, held on 17 April, was a huge success. Thanks to the 55 offshore residents who attended, as well as those who generously donated, our feast raised $2,405. This will go to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne. Nationwide, Feasts for Freedom have so far this year raised more than $622,000 to help support people seeking asylum, and we are proud to be a small part of that massive fundraising drive.

The offshore team included Petra Godfrey, Lizzie Hazelwood, Roy Baker, Georgina Orr, Harriet Witchell, Simon Tucker, Lisa MacDonald and Melinda Ham. Thanks are also due to all those who helped on the night: Juliet Holmes à Court, Reuben, Susanne Franki, Annette Richie, Juliet Wills, Henry Orr and Helen Webster. And, of course, the band - Jeremy Sala and his quartet, who made the evening extra special.

But special thanks go to CB Floyd, who organised the event with great energy and enthusiasm. Feast for Freedom logoCB initiated the idea of an offshore Feast last year and, after two successful dinners, it is hoped that this will now have a recurring place in the offshore calendar.

We hope you will join us at Feast for Freedom 2022.  In the meantime, it's not too late to donate to the 2021 offshore Feast: click here.


Voices of Mackellar

Voice of Mackellar

Voices of Mackellar is a group of volunteer locals seeking to put participatory democracy into action. They organise small group discussions, known as 'Kitchen Table Conversations' (KTCs). These happen all around the electoral division of Mackellar, which includes Pittwater.

Each KTC consists of around eight set questions put to participants: what makes a successful community? What do you value about where you live? And what could government do better? Answers are collated and presented to our elected representatives.

Hundreds of locals have already taken part. On 26 April it was Scotland Island's turn. Jenny Cullen generously offered her home to seven islanders who shared their thoughts on local and national affairs. These included the climate emergency, inequality and, of course, car parking.

Voices of Mackellar logo
To find out more about Voices of Mackellar, including how to organise your own discussion group, click here.


Notice of proposed road works


International Folk Dancing

Saturday, 1 May, 7 - 9 pm

Saturday, 29 May, 7 - 9 pm

Saturday, 26 June, 7 - 9 pm

Folk dancing


Table Tennis

Table tennisMost Saturdays several residents meet in Scotland Island's Community Hall to play table tennis. The standard of play is variable, but sessions are always light-heared. 

Play usually runs from 3 to 5 pm. If you would like to join a WhatsApp group for confirmation of session times then email your mobile phone number to editor@scotlandisland.org.au. The cost is free.

This activity is supported by SIRA and the Scotland Island Recreation Club.


Woody Point Yacht Club AGM

Saturday, 8 May, 5 pm - late

RSVP and pre-book tickets: woodypyc.treasurer@gmail.com


The Two Catherines Café

Sunday, 9 May, 10 am - 12 noon

Sunday, 23 May, 10 am - 12 noon

Two Catherines Cafe  


The Island Race

Two Catherines Café, Catherine Park, Scotland Island

Sunday, 23 May, 9:45 - 12 noon

Island race map

The race is on, and places are selling out fast!

Led by a qualified physical trainer, the Island Race will test your fitness and agility. It will involve running one lap of Scotland Island (2.3 km) and the completion of a specially designed obstacle course in Catherine Park.

Running familyPrizes include a free personal training session and massages. What's more, every runner gets a drink and a cake or savoury product at the Two Catherines Café, which will be operating alongside the race in Catherine Park.

A number of participants have already registered. They range in age from 8 to late 60s, and in ability from gentle island joggers to seasoned marathon runners. But don't let the latter put you off: there will be separate prizes according to runners' ages and gender.

Andy DerijkEntry: $20, which includes a hot drink and a cake or savoury product at the Two Catherines Café. (Profits go to Scotland Island RFS.)

The race is limited to 20 participants, so be sure to register now. For full details, including information on how to register, please download the race information sheet, available here.

Andy Derijk, personal trainer and Elvina Bay resident, is donating his time to help organise and facilitate this event. Andy offers one-on-one personal training, as well as fitness classes in Elvina Bay. The classes run Mondays and Thursdays from 6.30 - 7.15 am. To contact Andy about this race or his fitness training, click here.


Scotland Island Fire Shed Dinner

Saturday, 29 May, 6:30 pm

Fire shed dinner


For sale: oval table with six dining chairs

Dining table 1   Dining table 2

For sale: solid oval dining table which comfortably seats six, plus six dining chairs.
$200 ono
Richard Road - near Bell wharf
Call Nathalie: 0419 432 460.


For sale: boat trailer

Crosby trailer 1     Crosby trailer 2

For sale: my dual-axle Belco boat trailer. It suits a 7-metre boat. The trailer weighs 480 kg, registered until July. I don't need it any more as my new boat will sit on my mooring off Scotland Is.

Asking price: $900 drive away, but I'm open to offers.

Contact Steve Crosby: 0409 047 513.


The Local Guide

Community Information

Scotland Island Web Site - www.scotlandisland.org.au
What's On Event Calendar - click to go to the Calendar
Scotland Island Residents Facebook Page - click to go to Page
Scotland Island Rural Fire Brigade - 9999 4404 - http://www.sirfb.org.au
West Pittwater Rural Fire Brigade - 9997 3795
Offshore Photo Gallery - offshore gallery
Scotland Island Residents Association (SIRA) Membership details - click here for details
West Pittwater Community Association (WPCA) - www.westpittwater.com.au
Scotland Island Emergency Non-potable Water
  • Agreement for Sale of Non-potable Water
  • SIRA Membership Application
  • Emergency Non-potable Water Guidelines
  • General Information, Map & Contacts
Scotland Island Community Hall Bookings: hall@sira.org.au
Pittwater Online Newshttp://www.pittwateronlinenews.com
Tick Fact Sheet
TUG Waitlist   (Tennis User Group) - Application Form



Scotland Island Community Vehicle - 0404 103 700 - Number, Usage & Charges
Palm Beach Cruises  - 02 9997 4815
Church Point Ferries - 0408 296 997  Ferry Timetable click here
Pink Water Taxi - 0428 238 190
Pittwater Enterprises - Contact Tim Byrne on 0416 003 205
Broken Bay Lighterage & Mooring Services - Barges - Scotland Island  - Toby/Dave - 0418 649 158
Manly Warringah Cabs   - 02 9972 5600

Real Estate

PMC Hill  - 9999 4902   http://www.pmchill.com.au/
John Gavagna at Residential Real Estate Agents – 9999 4499 www.residentialagents.com.au
Waterford Partners Pty Ltd - Therese O'Neill  0424  22 44 12
LJ Hooker Mona Vale - 9979 8000 - http://www.ljhooker.com.au/monavale
Murray Bakker – Stone – murraybakker@stonerealestate.com.au – 0449 901 669
Mark Allan -  www.waterfrontpropertysles.com.au - 0419 777 500
Sam Thompson - McGrath Estate Agents - SamThompson@mcgrath.com.au

Services, Clubs & Accommodation

Justice of the Peace - Bob Mitchell (Mackerel Beach) - 0419 745 628
Justice of the Peace - Tony Hendel - 0419 242 723
Justice of the Peace - Andy Derijk (Elvina Bay) - 0418 613 890
Justice of the Peace - Lexie Le Blang 0418 399 674 or 9999 2574
Justice of the Peace - Graham Stenner - 0407 216 405
Justice of the Peace - Carolyn Milani - 0409 914 699
Pittwater Community Arts Inc. - enquiries Lorrie Morgan 9997 8079 - lorriemay@bigpond.com
Peninsula Music Club - enquiries Janice Tuynman - 9999 1937 - jt@swift dsl.com.au
Woody Point Yacht Club -  http://www.wpyc.com.au; commodore@wpyc.com.au
Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club - 02 9997 1022  http://www.rpayc.com.au/  
Royal Motor Yacht Club - http://www.royalmotor.com.au/ 02 9997 5511
Scotland Island Lodge - Bed & Breakfast - 02 9979 3301 or  http://www.scotlandislandlodge.com.au 
Pittwater Youth Hostel  - (02) 9999 5748 (8-11 am and 5-8 pm)
Handy Service - "No job too small" - call Alan 0447 775 541
Electrician Wayne on Scotland Island 0418 229 277 - offshore community sparky - www.sparky.com.au
David Walsh - Graphic Design - Custom Made Sculpture - 0404 239 212 - ital2@optusnet.com.au
Dog Wash & Grooming - Call Jenni: 0450 444 100 or email: jena50@hotmail.com
Free Pump Outs for Boats - Council with RMS installed a pump out at Careel Bay wharf
Top water purification system installed for offshore homes:  Call Juliette 0418 349 448
Solicitor - Rachel Carter - Carter O'Neill Legal - 0406 239 946
Island Based Domestic Cleaner - Kath - 0405 097 424 - kathando@yahoo.com
Building Design and Drafting Services  - Samuela Madej – Murphy ph. 0450331573
email: samuelamadej@gmail.com
Qualified Deep Tissue & Swedish Massage - Mona 0490701213
Island Based Cleaner - Uses predominantly Organic & Natural Products - Mona 0490701213
Broken Bay Barges & Sydney Commercial Diving Services - Brent Taylor - 0409 269 404 - taylordmarine@gmail.com
J&M Property Care - Jamie - 0488665 685, Michelle - 0402 942 063 - Brochure - michellesala00@gmail.com
Nikki Gibson - Qualified Bookkeeper and Registered BAS Agent - 0425 227 792 - nikkigibson22@gmail.com
Aaron Tree Carpentry & Building - 0406773691 - aarontree.a1@gmail.com
Professional Chainsaw Sharpening - Peter - 0410 633 351 - plfishfingers@bigpond.com
Plumber - Steve Blackwood - Sewpro Pty Ltd - 0424 224 681


Island Classes (Fitness, Dance, Art etc)

Art Classes - drawing and painting in oils, acrylics and mixed media - Marion 0431 457 431
Dru Yoga - Tuesdays 9.00 to 10.30 am - phone Katya on 0414 187 916
Outdoor Circuit Training Classes on Scotland Island - Lowri Dwyer - 0450 201 650 - lowri_89@icloud.com - https://www.facebook.com/lowri.dwyer/
Yoga in the Community Hall  - Saturdays 8.30am & Wednesdays 6pm
One Hour Classes | All Levels Welcome | Limited places | BYO mat and props
Register: https://www.momoyoga.com/the-balance-collective/
More Info: mandy@thebalancecollective.com or 0424 199 766
Instagram: @thebalancecollective


Green Group For Catherine Park -  Emmie Collins on 0405 330 781
Catherine Park Bush Care Group, 1st Sunday @ 9.30am, Sharon Kinnison @ 9997 6017
Island Thinking Group - Roy Baker: roybaker99@yahoo.com

Government Organisations

Northern Beaches Council - 9970 1111 - email pittwater@northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au For the web site click here
Northern Beaches eNewsletter - Sign up for the Northern Beaches Council monthly e-newsletter
Northern Beaches 'Have your Say' - https://www.northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au/council/have-your-say
Member for Mackellar Jason George Falinski, email by clicking here or at jason.falinski.mp@aph.gov.au
Member for Pittwater  Rob Stokes, email pittwater@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Airlines, Buses and Railways

Sydney Airport:
Arrivals and Departures
Virgin Blue:

Sydney Buses: Information.

Sydney Ferries:
City Rail:
Timetables & Information.
Country Link Rail:


Pittwater Weather
Scotland Island Tides, Moon phases, Sunrise & Sunset
Local Weather Forecast
Radar weather for Sydney (128k circle)

Emergency Contact Numbers   

ALL EMERGENCIES (Police - Fire - Ambulance) 000
Police Assistance Line & Information 13 1444 or 9281 0000
Broken Bay Water Police 9910 7899 or 0412 162 093
Marine Rescue Broken Bay - Weekend (02) 9999 3554 - (02) 8411 1121
Marine Rescue Broken Bay - VHF Radio channel VHF Radio Channel: VHF 16
27MHz Radio Channel: 86 or 88
Scotland Island Rural Fire Service  9999 4404
Elvina Bay Rural Fire Service 9997 3795
Lovett Bay Rural Fire Service 9979 1612
Mackerel Beach Rural Fire Service 9974 1162
Rural Fire Service Headquarters Terrey Hills 9450 3000
NSW Fire Service General Information 9265 2999 9265 2999
Rural Fire Service General information 9450 3000
State Emergency Service, Warringah/Pittwater SES 13 25 00 9486 3399
National Parks & Wildlife Service: 000, general information 9457 9322
Dept of Community Services: general information 9977 6011
Sydney Water 132 090
Energy Australia 131 388, (ah) 131 909

The Scotland Island community website is at www.scotlandisland.org.au


You can now join the Scotland Island Residents’ Association through the online self-service portal at sira.org.au

Alternatively, there are offline methods of joining. Read more here or contact secretary@sira.org.au

Join West Pittwater Community Association


To join the Western Pittwater Community Association http://www.westpittwater.com.au/Contact/join-the-wpca

Archived Newsletters

A complete set of past electronic newsletters since May 2000 can be found and read at https://ymlp.com/archive_gesgjgm.php  or by clicking here or by visiting the Mona Vale Library.

Pittwater Offshore Photo Gallery


A Photographic Record of Offshore Community Events

Updated 1st Jan 2020
  • Christmas Eve Dog Race
  • Christmas Lunch

To Contribute

If you would like to contribute to this newsletter it's easy! Send an e-mail to the editor (editor@scotlandisland.org.au) or click here. Type your contribution (100 words or so would be fine) and assuming it is of general interest to the community, does not include matter of a political nature and is not offensive, it will appear next month.

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The Editor and the publisher disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, articles or products referred to in this publication. Further, 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