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Scotland Island - Western Shores - Mackerel Beach

May 24, 2021

Newsletter for the Offshore Residents of Pittwater, Australia - Volume 22, Issue 1155


Can't Register Your Buggy?

Take a look at some alternative means of offshore travel

Roy Baker

WaterCar Panther
The WaterCar Panther: all your commuting problems resolved for only $180.000

When I took over the PON, my predecessor Julian Muir gave me some sage advice: steer well clear of contentious matters. So instead, let’s talk about buggy registration on Scotland Island.

Grosvenor Amphi, 1967  
Above, the Grosvenor’s Amphicar being driven from their home in Towlers Bay, 1967.
Below: the same car, this time in 1971.

The Grosvenor Amphi, 1971
In recent years golf buggies, as well as a plethora of all-terrain vehicles, have become a common sight on the island. These are classed as non-standard vehicles by Transport for NSW (TfNSW), the body responsible for deciding what can and cannot be driven on NSW roads, including those on Scotland Island.

Under certain circumstances, non-standard vehicles can be granted conditional registration, meaning that they may be driven on public roads, although only for very limited purposes.

In the last few months, controversy has erupted as to what vehicles TfNSW should permit on the island. Curiously, no one seems to have sought registration of an amphibious vehicle. That’s strange, since surely these would do away with the need for a tinny, save on wharf fees, and circumvent the problem of parking at Church Point.

There are precedents. A hovercraft used to operate between the island and Church Point. What’s more, anyone game enough to buy an amphibious car would be following in the wake of the Grosvenor family, who lived in Towlers Bay in the 1960s.

Alan Grosvenor owned an Amphicar, a vehicle produced in Germany. Apparently he used his ‘amphi’ three or four times a week to commute to business meetings in the city, while his wife, Morea, drove it mainly for shopping, as well as taking her daughter Robyn to school in Bayview.

Morea’s boast was ‘you never get wet in an ‘amphi’’. So confident was she that she would drive it across Pittwater in long formal party dresses.

A handful of ‘amphis’ survive in Australia. One is owned by a Canberran, although he found it necessary to register it twice: once for the road and once for the ACT’s waterways.

The Argo weed sprayer, available for conditional registration by Transport for NSW.

Submarine car

The Rinspeed sQuba. Once available, the manufacturers claim they will cost less than a Rolls-Royce.
TfNSW might take a more lenient approach. In fact their website offers conditional registration for an amphibious vehicle: the Argo. With eight wheels this might be well suited to island roads.

There may be a few snags with registration. For a start, the Argo is intended for spraying weeds in aquatic areas, and it’s unclear how the authorities would respond to one being driven into the CBD.

But there are alternatives to the Argo. While the Amphicar ceased production in 1968, other boat cars are still made. What distinguishes these from their antecedents is speed. The Grosvenor’s ‘amphi’ could only manage around 10 km/h on Pittwater, but today you can buy cars capable of planing at over 70 km/h.

I have been unable to ascertain TfNSW’s attitude to these amphibious cars. But we can be certain that they will have to comply with maritime safety requirements, such as carrying a whistle and the all-important bucket attached to a lanyard.

For that reason, a more practical solution might be a submarine car. If your primary concern is evading police safety checks then such a car would allow you to stay out of sight on the bottom of Pittwater. And by then the seabed will have been thoroughly weeded by all the Argos passing overhead.

The Rinspeed sQquba claims to be the world’s only diving car. It was inspired by the 1977 Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, in which 007’s Lotus Esprit dives off a wharf, only to turn into a submarine, complete with torpedos.

The movie also inspired Elon Musk to develop an electric underwater car, although Tesla is being cagey about its release date. Only time will tell as to whether they will become a common sight on the streets of Scotland Island.

Wet Nellie
Is this the future of offshore commuting?


The Island Race

Group photo
The 13 race particpants, along with co-organiser Andy Derijk (foreground) and cheerleaders Ziggy Gregg & May Blackband

On Sunday, 13 valiant offshore residents, ranging in age from 8 to 80, participated in the inaugural Scotland Island Race. Thanks to their energy, $160 was raised for the Scotland Island Rural Fire Brigade.

Jack and Will

Jack Wilson & 10-yr-old Will Blackband took an early lead.
Supported by SIRA and the Scotland Island Recreation Club, as well as the Two Catherines Café, the race involved a 2.3 km lap of the island, followed by a gruelling obstacle course that included such joys as exercise ropes and crawling under a tarpaulin.

The race kicked off in Catherine Park just after 10 am. Almost immediately Jack Wilson and Will Blackband gained a commanding lead, which they maintained for the rest of the competition.

Cheered on by islanders throughout the course, participants ran (or walked) anti-clockwise round the island, tackling Heartbreak Hill (Harold Ave), but not Florence Terrace.

The fastest time was 12 mins 13 secs. In fact it would have been under 12 minutes if the winner hadn't taken a wrong turn, as a result of which he ran a couple of hundred metres further than anyone else.

The slowest time among the runners was 19 mins 01 sec and the average time was 17 mins 03 secs.

While youth undoubtedly favoured some participants, the time for the oldest runner was only 10 seconds slower than that of the youngest.

Meanwhile, the walking race had two joint winners, each completing their lap of the island in fractionally over 30 mins.

Peter Lalor running   
Peter Lalor emerges from the tarpaulin in the obstacle race.
No doubt times were enhanced by the recent improvements to the southern section of the race track, which were completed just in time for the event: thanks, Northern Beaches Council.

Immediately after completing their lap of the island, runners and walkers alike endured a gruelling obstacle course designed by Elvina Bay resident Andy Derijk. But this made very little difference to the overall order of competitor.

Thanks go to the staff of the Two Catherines Café, who kept runners, walkers and spectators supplied with drinks and cakes. In fact this was barista Jasmine Hall's last day, and she received deserved acknowledgement for her contribution to the café.

Thanks also go to everyone else who helped out on the day, especially the timekeepers. Robyn Iredale regally handed out the prizes and Shane O'Neill of O'Neill Photographics kindly donated the photographs you see here. Thanks go to both.

Finally, special thanks go to Andy Derijk, who also donated his time and who made the whole thing possible. Andy offers personal training and fitness classes in Elvina Bay. To contact Andy, click here.

The Island Race: Results

Jack Wilson

Island newcomer Jack Wilson (centre) with race co-organiser Andy Derijk & café founder Robyn Iredale.
Jack won the race, as well as a personal training session donated by Andy.

Will Blackband Peter Cumming Christine Cumming
Will Blackband took 2nd place, just 9 secs behind Jack
Elvina Bay resident Peter Cumming came in third.
Christine Cumming finished 22 secs behind Peter.

Orr Lalor
Peter Lalor with George and Henry Orr. As the youngest runner, Henry performed brilliantly.

Phil Thomson
Jeb and Leon Fisher
Phil Thomson, long-term island resident,
won the over-60s race.
Jed and Leon Fisher both finished
with very respectable times.

Winners of the walking race: Penny Wise and Rosemary Haskell


Wood-burning fireplaces

Tips for their safe operation and installation

Wood-burning stove

Living among trees, off-shore residents often feel as though they have a limitless supply of firewood. That being so, many are tempted by a wood-burning stove. But with winter coming on, do you know how to operate one safely?

Vital Flow Plumbing Services, based on the Northern Beaches, are not only plumbers. They also offer services relating to wood and gas fireplaces. Their founder, Tristan Melville, advises that wood fireplaces be thoroughly cleaned annually, keeping the flue system clear and the smoke shelf/baffle plate in working order. It is also important to ensure that the fan and air circulation passages are clear and no vents are obstructed.

Tristan also suggests a chimney sweep every other winter. In addition, check your home's smoke alarms at least once a year.

Vital FlowIf you do not yet have a fireplace, or need to replace an existing one, Vital Flow can offer assistance with their selection and installation. But whoever you use, Tristan says it is important that installers be fully qualified and licensed, so that they comply with Australian standards. If you choose a gas-fired stove then your installer should also provide you with a gas certificate for extra peace of mind.

Vital Flow can be contacted on 0478 142 669 or at service@vitalflowplumbing.com.au. Website: www.vitalflowplumbing.com.au.

IronbarkNeed more firewood?

Brent and Bianca Taylor of Broken Bay Barges are putting in another order for bags of IRONBARK firewood. If you would like to place an order then please email bbbarges@gmail.com. Please provide the following information:
  • Name | Address | Email | Mobile | Qty Required
Firewood + delivery to your property is $350 inc GST.


Scotland Island Fire Shed Dinner: a request for help

Saturday, 29 May, 6:30 pm

Fire shed dinner

This Saturday's fire shed dinner looks like being a roaring success. In fact so many people have said they are coming that the Brigade has suspended bookings.

Fun though these nights are, please remember that they take a lot of work to set up and run, and it tends to be the same people who do most of the work. If you can help with any of the tasks listed below, even for an hour or so, please let the brigade know. Don't worry if you haven't booked yet: if you are helping then the brigade will still squeeze you in.

Here are the tasks the Brigade needs help with:
  • Saturday:
    • Meat cooking: an hour or two's help between 10am and 5pm
    • Shed setup (trucks, tables, chairs, lights etc): sometime between 12 noon and 5pm
    • Salad / potatoes prep: sometime between 12 noon and 5pm
    • Bar: RSA-qualified helpers needed
    • Door (issue tickets, take payments etc): 6pm to 8pm
    • Serving: 6pm to 8pm
    • Washing up and cleaning up: 6pm to 8.30pm
  • Sunday
    • Packing up: 9am onwards.
If you can help out or if you have any questions please give Pete Lalor a call on 0401 716194.


Jammin' the Bays v2

Saturday, 29 May, 1.30 - 5.30 pm

Jammin' the Bays

A four-band jam that sways and stomps across rock, blues, folk, swamp and country. It's a musical degustation, Bays style.

After postponing due to the 'whopping wet weekend', the artists have rallied and are back with a new date and renewed energy. The venue remains the grassy Lovett Bay Amphitheatre, only 80m from the Lovett Bay Wharf.

The four-band bill features: Sky Juice; The Gentlys; Louise & the Gs and Don't Tell Mama, with some jam on the side.

For full details and ticket registration go to the Jammin’ Eventbrite site:

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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