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Scotland Island - Western Shores - Mackerel Beach

August 1, 2022

Newsletter for the Offshore Residents of Pittwater, Australia - Volume 23, Issue 1183

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


Island Road Erosion

How you can help

SIRA Roads and Drainage Sub-Committee

A recent landslip on Richard Road, Scotland Island

Many island residents are quite despairing about the state of our roads and drainage. Recent heavy rains have brought the deplorable state of the roads into sharp focus.

There are, according to the 2021 census, 358 dwellings on the island (280 permanently occupied) housing 711 persons. All residents need and use our roads for walking, riding or driving. Personal and service vehicles require accessible carriageways to access homes. Inadequate drainage, heavy rains and increased vehicular traffic have meant that in many places roads are unsafe for both vehicles and pedestrians.

It is deeply concerning that the Northern Beaches Council has not offered, through their ‘2022-2026 Delivery Program’, any increase in allocated funds for ‘capital works’. The annual spend for this category remains at $150,000 per year. This level of expenditure has barely changed over the past decade. Little can be achieved toward a safe and sustainable road and drainage system with such a small investment.

Pino Nero, site supervisor for the NBC, working on Thompson St
Council’s roads and drainage expenditure is allocated through maintenance, storm funding (when available), and capital works. The objective of the first is to ‘maintain the existing infrastructure’. This includes activities such as clearing drains, filling potholes, repairing existing drainage pits or land slips and aligning water bars etc.

The capital works allocation is intended to fund new work to bring the most degraded sections to an acceptable level of safety and operative drainage. The recent work on Richard Road near Cecil Street is an example of the last investment on capital works. New work on Robertson Road near the community halls is scheduled to start shortly. But there is so much more that requires urgent attention.

SIRA has worked with Council over many years towards development of a roads and drainage masterplan. With the adoption of a masterplan in 2011 the island community moved from an annual grading of the dirt surface to a yearly budgeted program of capital works in line with the rest of the local government area. Recent works highlight the benefits of planning both in terms of function and longevity that incorporate good design, stormwater management and solid sealed surfaces.

Unfortunately, there is no timeframe or financial commitment identified for achieving the masterplan objectives. The miniscule annual allocation of funds for capital works means that it could be decades before our roads and drainage, overall, are at a state comparable with the quality elsewhere in the Northern Beaches LGA. Apart from the health and safety issues faced by residents, the more limited the capital works budget, the greater expenditure is required for maintenance. The increased maintenance required recently by council workers has been supported with additional storm damage funding.

Richard Road following 'capital works' improvements, May 2021
A greater investment in capital works is the only way to bring our roads and drainage to a safe, healthy and sustainable state. SIRA met recently with senior NBC staff who acknowledged that the delivery allocation for 2022/26 was inadequate. It was noted that the commitment was a ‘minimal’ allocation and that some additional funds ‘may become available’ through the course of this period. However, there was no firm commitment for any increase.
SIRA will continue to press NBC for a greater financial commitment over the coming months. Similar support from residents will help Council understand how important this issue is for residents. So, if you note unsafe, unstable or heavily eroded areas of concern on our roads you can advise Council directly.

Council’s Customer Service portal has a link where you can lodge a complaint that will be registered and directed to their roads and drainage team: https://help.northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au/s/article/Road-maintenance.

The SIRA website has also has a link to ‘Snap, Send, Solve’ where you can register your concern and lodge a picture of the problem: https://www.scotlandisland.org.au/report-an-issue/.

SIRA Roads and Drainage Sub-Committee


New: SIRA Photo Archive

For many years Julian Muir, former editor of the PON, maintained the Pittwater Offshore Photo Gallery. This was an online collection of photos dating back to 2006, recording many key offshore community events: festivals, dog races, fire shed dinners and much more. Julian covered the cost of running the gallery and we are grateful to Julian for his generosity in time, effort and dollars in maintaining this valuable community resource.

Julian has decided to retire the gallery. Fortunately SIRA has agreed to support a new online photo collection, to be known as the SIRA Photo Archive. The PON will now link to this new archive: you will find the link at the foot of this edition. As editor of the PON I shall set up and curate the collection.

I'm pleased to say that the new archive will contain all of the almost 4,000 photos previously stored in the old collection. Many of the photos were taken by Julian himself and we thank Julian, as well as many other offshore photographers, for sharing their images. The idea is that the new archive will gradually expand to incorporate new community events. If you would like to contribute photos that would be of interest to the general offshore community then please email editor@scotlandisland.org.au. I can then organise your access to uploading photos.

One difference with the new SIRA collection is that it will incorporate photos of Scotland Island, the western foreshores and Church Point dating back to the earliest years of the 20th century, and sometimes beyond. Many of these historical photos have been made available to SIRA by offshore residents. We thank them for their generosity in opening up their family albums and letting us share in their memories.

The new archive will contain many thousands of images, so you will appreciate that it is going to take time to build. At present the archive only contains a few albums. But the collection will grow in size and improve in organisation.

Thanks again to Julian, SIRA, as well as our many offshore photographers, both professional and amateur. They have all contributed to make this possible. I hope you will enjoy seeing the archive develop over the coming months.
Roy Baker


Announcing the Dirty Secret Film Club

Do you have a film that you just love, even though you know you shouldn't? 

Are you a rock star musician but you just adore Spice World? Are you an intellectual but you have to watch Titanic every year? Are you a feminist but frequently watch Pretty Woman when you're drunk? Are you an artistic genius but you can't get enough of The Bourne Identity

The Dirty Secret Film club is a safe place for repeat viewers to watch their favourite film with other secret aficionados.

Here's how it works:
1. Send an email with up to three dirty-secret-films you totally love to dirtysecretfilmclub@gmail.com. No explanation is needed, just one, two or three film titles.
2. We will anonymously compile a list of films and email addresses, and keep the list secure and safe.
3. If there is a film which four or more people secretly love, we will organise a viewing somewhere with a decent screen.

Your secret is safe with us, and we will find you some friends.


Table Tennis

Scotland Island Recreation Centre

Most Saturdays throughout the year

2 - 3 pm: Introduction to Table Tennis

3 - 5 pm: Table Tennis practice

Groups meet most Saturdays and anyone over 12 is welcome. Sessions are supported by the Scotland Island Recreation Club.

Play from 2 - 3 pm is intended primarily for those new to table tennis. The session from 3 - 5 pm is open to everyone, regardless of your standard of play.

Sessions do not run every Saturday. If you are interested in taking part then it's best to join the table tennis WhatsApp group to receive up-to-date information on who is playing. If you would like to join the group, please email editor@scotlandisland.org.au. Alternatively, you can just turn up and take your chances.

Adult players are asked to contribute $5 per player per attendance to defray expenses.


Puberty Workshop for Girls

Scotland Island

Sunday 14 August, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm


The Tuesday Discussion Group

Scotland Island Recreation Centre

Tuesday 23 August, 11 am - 12.30 pm

The Recreation Club runs a discussion group, meeting 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, choosing material for discussion. This can consist of essays, articles or podcasts, or a combination of all three. The idea is that group members shouldn't be committed to more than a few hours' preparation in terms of listening or reading. The idea is to be open to a wide range of topics and material.

In July Michael Doherty led a discussion on the recently introduced prohibition on climbing Uluru, asking whether it is justified and whether it should be extended to other landmarks.

For the August meeting, Tim Turpin will lead a discussion on our collective sense of nostalgia, and the extent to which it shapes our national identity, as well as social and political action.

Sarah Churchwell has suggested that Gone with the Wind remains a rallying point for white supremacism. How have the 19th century ballads of AB Paterson and Henry Lawson shaped contemporary Australia?


Listen to the podcast with Sarah Churchwell, available here.

Read some of the poems of Paterson and Lawson, available here.

For the really keen, see Sarah Churchwell's book:The Wrath to Come: Gone with the Wind and the Lies America Tells.

The group operates 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, please provide 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. 


International Folk Dancing

Scotland Island Community Hall

Saturday 27 August, 7 - 9 pm

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


Hall Anniversary & Photo Exhibition

Scotland Island Community Hall

Sunday 28 August, 10 am - 1 pm

The above event will run concurrently with the island café (see below).


Scotland Island Café

Catherine Park, Scotland Island

Sunday 28 August, 10 - 12 noon


An experienced piano / pianola tuner will be visiting Scotland Island on Friday 9 September. If anyone else would like their piano tuned on this day, please let me know and we can book you in.

Peter 0407 379 666


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SIRA Photo Archive

Pittwater Offshore Photo Gallery

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