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Scotland Island - Western Shores - Mackerel Beach

February 1, 2024

Newsletter for the Offshore Residents of Pittwater, Australia - Volume 25, Issue 1203

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


A celebration of Offshore Theatre

A new online compilation of 40+ years of plays, reviews and more

Roy Baker

John Travers, Tracy Smith, Nettie Lodge and Mark Morgan performing in Caravan (2004)

These coming weeks see two theatrical offerings offshore. First, on 11 February, we have Shakespeare’s As You Like It (see the listings below for details and tickets). The cast includes islander Tyler Johnson, who plays music live, and takes on the roles of Corin (the shepherd), and old Adam, the trusty servant. Shane O'Neill, from the top of the island, is co-producer, and the production is directed by Paul Kininmonth, a long-term island resident.

Shakespeare's The Tempest, performed in Catherine Park in 2020. Photo courtesy ONeill Photographics
Paul’s appreciation of the Bard will be familiar to many, as are his previous offshore productions: The Tempest (2020), Hamlet (2021), Much Ado About Nothing (2022) and Othello (2023). All were performed in Catherine Park, and this year’s venue will be the same.

Even if you aren't immediately attracted to Shakespeare, do come along for the park ambience alone. There is something consolatory about seeing a community gather in the summer dusk to appreciate, or at least work towards appreciating, this cultural colossus. People have done this for over 400 years, first on the banks of the Thames and now on those of Pittwater. Long may the tradition continue.

On a different brow, 1 March sees the opening night of Secret Island, a play written especially for offshore Pittwater by an island resident. What’s more, the cast and crew (and director) are drawn entirely from the island and the bays. You are warmly invited to attend, if only to find out how the play slanders you and your neighbours. See the listings below for details and to buy tickets.

Anyone for Tennis? (2005): one of many revues held in Scotland Island Community Hall.
Secret Island follows a fine tradition of island farce, one stretching back many decades. That history is now celebrated on the PON’s YouTube channel, where you will find:
  • footage from island productions from the 1980s: Sinbad (1983), Out of This World (1984), Club Gothic (1984), Flight of Fancy (1984), The Wizard of Oz (1985), Halley's Review (1986), Theatre Restaurant (1986), Magician's Curse (1986), Variety Show (1987), Café Vereaux (1987), Camelot (1987), Magic Pudding (1987) and Murder Mysteries (1988);
  • more irreversible damage suffered in the 90s, including material from the Silverfest Review, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Out of Asia Review, Off the Planet Review, Dimboola, Canterville Ghost, Club Gothic Review and Cadwells Comedy Capers. There's also The Infamous Supercol, a short film featuring Col Bailey.
  • full-length recordings of more recent productions:
    • SI Unco-operative, performed on the island in April and May 1999;
    • Caravan (2004);
    • Open For Inspection (2006);
    • The Rocky Horror Show (2007).
If you have recordings of any other shows that you would like to share with the community, please contact me at editor@scotlandisland.org.au and I can upload them to the PON YouTube channel.

It would be impossible to list everyone who has contributed to offshore theatre over the decades. But perhaps a few names stand out: Bob Blackwood, Rod Blaine, Tracy Smith, Martin Erdman, John Travers, Annette Freeland, Kerry Borthwick and Bob Bolton, among many more. Kerry and Bob’s involvement in island theatre ended several years ago, but, thanks largely to Robyn Iredale, the offshore thespian tradition was revived last year with Jasper Marlow’s Two Catherines play.

The PON YouTube channel isn't limited to island theatre. It also includes:

A scene from the 2004 Scotland Island fare closing ceremony
  • coverage of the 2004 Scotland Island ’28 Days on an Island’ celebration of community, including a fire ceremony devised principally by Emmie Collins and Claire Atkins;
  • footage of the 2004 Woody Point Yacht Club Christmas party;
  • material celebrating Trudi Engler, who taught ballet on the island for many years;
  • a 2005 film commemorating Karmel Patterson’s last week on the school ferry;
  • submissions to the 2006 island H20 360 short films festival;
  • a video I made, relating to the Fitzpatrick family, who subdivided Scotland Island and Elvina Bay in the 1920s;
  • interviews with the 2015 SIRA committee;
  • a talk on the island’s Indigenous history, given in 2021.
Again, if you have any material appropriate for uploading to the channel, please let me know.

To view the PON YouTube channel, click here. Much of the material appearing on the channel was produced and collated by Boyd. We thank him for these and his many other contributions to offshore theatrics.

Open for Inspection (2006), featuring (l to r) Justine Kimi, Tracy Smith, Jon Hazelwood, Bob Bolton, Barbara Labram, Gordon Floyd and Larry Woods

Secret Island

What you didn't know about your neighbour

In rehearsals, reading the hilarious script was enjoyed by cast and crew alike.

As has been (endlessly) observed, the latest offshore play, Secret Island, opens in Scotland Island Community Hall on 1 March (see listings below for details and tickets).

It’s standard practice, I believe, to shore up flagging interest in an island play by repeatedly referring to the playwright’s local credentials, besides cynically exploiting decades of community creativity and goodwill by launching an online collection of previous productions just prior to opening night.

With that in mind, I recently met islander and long-term offshore resident Bogue Anthill, author of the play, and asked him what he thought of the newly expanded PON YouTube channel.

‘I’m sure I’ll find it very profitable’, he replied, handing me his claim for copyright infringement. ‘But it’s good you left out that unfortunate incident when a llama was brought in for one of the shows. No footage exists. You can breathe easy, Col.’

‘So you’ve already watched the whole collection?’ I asked.

‘Not just watched it. Analysed it too. Here are the ingredients in the order that I wrote them down: comedy, music, drama, Karmel, plot twists, jokes, semi-nudity, Brian, bright sets, period costumes, Larry, helmets, oars, underwear, Toby, men in drag, the inebriated, the mayor, hecklers, Nettie, line fluffing, line improvising, line dancing. The list goes on.’

‘Many longtime residents lament the plays and revues of the past’, I observed. ‘You know, the really funny ones that were performed slightly before most of us moved here. Obviously they were better than anything we’re ever likely to see on the island again’.

Bogue nodded sadly. ‘Yes, but for the latest production, Secret Island, I’ve tried to honour that great offshore stage tradition’.

‘And now you’ve got a whole cohort of new residents to lampoon’, I said. ‘Mind you, I hope a few of the old hands get a mention too. I suppose we can look forward to at least one Cass joke?’

‘Yes’, said Bogue. Then, after a brief phone call, he modified his answer.

‘No’, said Bogue. ‘Cass has been a stalwart of the island for decades. She’s the only reason I have water to drink. I won’t have her mocked’.

Bogue Anthill, Scotland Island's best-known playwright
‘Nor anyone else on SIRA? Not Robyn? Not Colin?’

‘Of course not’, said Bogue. 'It’s to those and other selfless souls that we dedicate this play. And now we’ve pissed in their pockets, let’s hope that that makes any defamation action less likely. Mind you, it didn’t do Ben Roberts-Smith much good. Just saying’.

‘Don’t you have anything nice to say about the present cast?’ I said, feeling it was about time I got some praise. ‘Aren’t they just as ribald, daring, shocking and funny as anyone from the past?’

‘Lets see’, said Bogue, followed by an uncomfortably long pause. ‘We've got Larry (that takes care of the ribald element), daring (that’s Roy and Emma), shocking (thank you Betsi), funny (Nettie and Whitey). As for being as good as anyone in the past, I think that’s all of them. And that’s down to our cracking director. Thanks Sophie!’

Roy Baker


Island Bushcare Group Wins $5,000 Grant

Mike Kneipp, Ellie Shore and Hazel Malloy, three members of the group which has received a significant bushcare grant.
Photos courtesy of ONeill Photographics

Hazel Malloy is known to many as the author of Sydney Local Native: 150+ native plant profiles for gardeners. But she's also the Top of the Island Bushcare Group coordinator. Hazel recently entered a Northern Beaches Council competition for an environmental grant and below she tells us what the winning grant is for, and how you can help.

The Top of the Island Bushcare Group has been dormant for several years but we are back - and we are the winners of this year’s Northern Beaches Council competition for environmental grants! The grant is for the rehabilitation of the intersection of Thompson Street and Fitzpatrick trail at the top of the island, an important wildlife corridor between Elizabeth Park and the Fitzpatrick Avenue reserve. It’s also adjacent to my house, which makes it easy to serve tea and cake to the group.

Hazel Malloy
The grant is employing professional certified bush regenerator Brad Jones for the year-long program. Brad is tackling the weed infestations at the site with chemicals that target specific weeds, such as asparagus fern and ehrharta - and you can already see the results. Brad is patient and generous in sharing his knowledge gained from decades of experience. His enthusiasm is infectious and working with him feels like a masterclass in native gardening. Mike Kneipp, another island expert in plants and site regeneration, is supervising on Saturdays, and we are very lucky to have him.

Would you like to help?
This is a great opportunity to support a worthwhile project, while adding to your knowledge of weeds and native plants, and meeting other islanders. The bushcare group meets twice a month, on the second Wednesday and third Saturday. All are welcome, even if you can only work an hour, or only semi-regularly. Sessions begin at 8 am and finish at 11 am during the summer, to beat the heat. Our friendly and knowledgeable supervisors will direct the work and tea and cake will be served on my deck near the working site at 9 am.

We had our first sessions in January and each time we had four eager volunteers show up.

To volunteer for weeding (or cake baking to feed the volunteers), phone Hazel at 0428 062 398.


Community Buildings Manager and Cleaner Wanted

The Scotland Island Residents' Association manages, on behalf of Northern Beaches Council, two community buildings on Scotland Island. These are the Community Hall in Catherine Park, and the adjacent Recreation Centre (formerly the kindy).

SIRA is looking for someone to manage the two buildings, commencing early April 2024. The Community Buildings Manager is responsible for:
  • working with the SIRA Halls / Recreation Club Sub-Committee to ensure the smooth running of the buildings;
  • handling bookings of the buildings, whether for community use or for private functions;
  • checking community and Catherine Park assets, reporting issues to SIRA and/or Northern Beaches Council;
  • supervising regular cleaning of the two buildings.
Subject to SIRA's agreement, there's also scope for the manager to double as community buildings cleaner, either solely or in a job-share arrangement.

The manager is paid a quarterly stipend of $250. The cleaner is paid $51.75 per hour (index linked to the CPI) and is usually expected to clean for two hours per week. Cleaning materials are supplied.

For further information, please contact Robyn Iredale (SIRA President) at president@sira.org.au, or phone Robyn on 0425 216350.


Community Vehicle Out of Service

Tuesday 6 - Friday 9 February

The Scotland Island community vehicle will be off the island for service and repairs between Tuesday and Friday next week (6 - 9 February).

Normal service is scheduled to resume sometime Friday 9 February. Please ring in advance to confirm that the vehicle has returned.

Apologies for this inconvenience. For emergency medical evacuation, call 000.


Fire shed fundraising dinner

Elvina Bay fire shed

Saturday 3 February, 6 pm

Embrace your inner señor or señorita with a little Mexican dress up madness  – sombreros, ponchos, and mustachios are highly encouraged! (men can also sport facial hair!!!).

Our hosts for the evening are Andy's Boot Camp Caballeros, who are buffed up hotter than jalapeño underwear.

For those who are sans-carnivore, there will be delish sin carne (no meat) Mexican food–a–plenty and tub loads of ice cream as a yummy sweet treat.

To help with catering, we ask that you RSVP and prepay via EFT. Walk-ins cannot be guaranteed a meal.

COST: $20 per person. Children under 16 free
BYO:   Bring your favourite tipple
RSVP and payment: ASAP, via EFT:
EFT Details: West Pittwater Fire Brigade
BSB: 032 196
Account: 960017
Ref: Please put your name and 'Mexican' as reference on payment.

All proceeds go to support the work done by the volunteer members of the West Pittwater Rural Fire Brigade by improving safety, equipment and facilities. All donations are of course gratefully accepted.
Fire Shed dinners are a volunteer community event. If you would like to help in any way it would be greatly appreciated. Please contact Louise Longhurst on 0418 415 914‬.

The West Pittwater RFS would like to stress that all fire brigade dinners are NO DOG events – so please leave pets at home for the evening.


SIRA Committee Meeting

Scotland Island Community Hall

Sunday 4 February, 10 - 11.00 am

The SIRA Committee is the main governing body of SIRA. All are welcome to attend.

If you’d like to ask a question or raise an issue, it would be helpful if you could email the secretary a week before at secretary@sira.org.au.


As You Like It

Saturday 10 February, 5 - 7.30 pm: Avalon Sailing Club

Sunday 11 February, 4 - 6.30 pm: Catherine Park, Scotland Island

For tickets to the Avalon performance, click here
For tickets to the Scotland Island performance, click here


Island Swim

Cargo Wharf, Scotland Island

Sunday 11 February, 9 am

To join, click here

Moon Dance

Scotland Island Community Hall & Recreation Centre

Saturday 17 February, 5 pm, 7.30 pm, 9.30 pm

The acclaimed Flaming Doghouse Pink Floyd tribute show featuring The Dark Side of the Moon from heartbeat to heartbeat. FREE ferry there and back!!

Three exclusive show times:

5:00pm - The Early Show (4:30 ferry from Church Point)
Ninety minutes of fabulous live music at a gentler volume. The Flaming Doghouse will perform the Dark Side of the Moon album and other Floyd favourites UNPLUGGED. Ideal for young families, kids, grandparents, and their entourages. Special ticket price. Ferry back to Church Point just after the show.

7:30pm - The Evening Show (6:30pm ferry from Church Point)
The Flaming Doghouse perform the Dark Side of the Moon album and other Floyd favourites. Ninety minutes of fabulous up close and personal live music. Join the band in The Green Room before (and after) the show for something tasty to eat or drink. Make a night of it. Prime-time entertainment. Ferry back to Church Point just after the show.

9:30pm - The Late Show
The Flaming Doghouse, in full electric mode, perform The Dark Side of the Moon from heartbeat to heartbeat PLUS heaps of Pink Floyd faves. Full light show and audio visual effects compliment this amazing production of more than two hours of incredible music. Have a drink and bite to eat in The Green Room before the show.

The Green Room pop-up bar and snackery open from 6:30pm.

FINAL tickets selling fast. To buy yours, click here.

The Tuesday Discussion Group

Scotland Island Recreation Centre

Tuesday 20 February, 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 January session Hazel Malloy invited the group to consider the concept of cultural appropriation: when does it arise, and why is it problematic?

For the February 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.


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.


Dumpling cooking class

Scotland Island Recreation Centre

Saturday 24 February, 10 am - 3 pm

Cost $65 per person. For more information, contact Anthea on 0480 470695.


International Folk Dancing

Scotland Island Community Hall

Saturday 24 February, 7 - 9 pm

To help defray expenses, the Recreation Club ask for $5 per person per attendance.


Island Café

Catherine Park, Scotland Island

Sunday 25 February, 10 - 12 noon


Pirates' Treasure Hunt

Elvina Bay Park

Sunday 25 February, 10 am - 2 pm

Set yer sights on a grand adventure – where ye find no trash, only the finest treasures in all the seven seas!

It be a day full of fun with:
  • Loot Galore, Pearls-a-Plenty & Bountiful Bootie!
  • Roaming musikers serenadin’ ye with sea shanties that’ll make yer timbers shiver!
  • Sizzlin’ sausage feast to satisfy yer hearty cravings!
  • Best dressed Pirate Parade for young and old — prize bottle o rum for adult winner and something more appropriate for kiddies!
  • Artists’ work on offer
  • Activities for our little maties.... colouring in fun, pirate hat making workshop, pirate parade with a prize on offer…between 11:30am - 1:00pm!.
Everyone welcome! Get dressed up in your best pirate gear and join in the fun!

Don’t dilly-dally — registration closes Friday, 16 February.

Proceeds from table bookings go to support the West Pittwater Rural Fire Brigade (RFS). Proceeds from your sales are entirely yours unless you’re feeling generous and want to donate to the RFS (or any other deserving entity).

To find out more, and to register as a seller, click here.


Secret Island

Scotland Island Community Hall

Friday 1 March, 7.30 pm      Saturday 2 March, 7.30 pm

Friday 8 March, 7.30 pm     Saturday 9 March, 7.30 pm


To buy tickets, click here


Feast for Freedom

Scotland Island Community Hall & Rec Centre

Saturday 16 March, 6 - 9 pm


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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