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Scotland Island - Western Shores - Mackerel Beach

May 8, 2021

Newsletter for the Offshore Residents of Pittwater, Australia - Volume 22, Issue 1154


Elvina Bay Bootcamp meets Mondays and Thursdays, 6.30 - 7.15 am

As COVID restrictions lift, it's time to wake up to the many recreational opportunities open to offshore residents. This edition of PON looks at some of the sporting and leisure activities available on the island and in the bays.

But we also look to the future. There are exciting developments afoot, involving SIRA's Recreation Club and its plans for the old kindy, soon to become the island's Recreation Hall.


Scotland Island Recreation Club

SIRA discovers fun!

Although usually thought of in terms of water, roads, drains and sewage, SIRA is branching into new ways to make offshore life more enjoyable.

Robyn and Mayor
Robyn Iredale with Michael Regan,
Mayor of Northern Beaches Council

The Scotland Island Recreation Club began in mid-2019, when Robyn Iredale, on behalf of SIRA, applied for funds from Northern Beaches Council. The purpose of the grant was to promote social Inclusion on the island. Robyn suggested the Club as a way to help fill what she saw as a gap in island life. The idea was to support activities that would engage and entertain residents of all ages.

Seeing table tennis as a way to bring the generations together, Robyn used some of the initial grant of almost $10,000 to buy two table tennis tables. Part of the money was also used to employ two local teenagers to coordinate table tennis sessions. Starting in August 2019, these sessions proved successful and still run most Saturdays (see below for details).

With the funds left over, Robyn established the Two Catherines Café. The grant covered a coffee machine, coffee grinder, coffee trolley, chairs, a coffee bar and other café necessities. Despite interruptions from COVID, the cafë still operates on the second and fourth Sundays of each month from 10 am to 12 noon. It always attracts a good crowd, and there's a café coming up this Sunday: see below.
  Table tennis

Table tennis is played in the Community Hall
most Saturday afternoons

By October 2020 Robyn's grant had run out. But by then the café was a firmly established fixture in island life. Profits from the café, as well as other Club events, fund further Club activities. Since October 2020 the Recreation Club has been entirely self-funding: recreational activities are not subsidised by SIRA membership fees or income from the emergency water system.

The club has two arms: arts and culture, and physical activities. In terms of the latter, the Club:
  • provides table tennis in the Community Hall, Saturdays from 3pm to 5pm, at no cost to participants;
  • hosts free International Folk Dancing nights once a month (usually the last Saturday evening);
  • is supporting the upcoming Island Race on Sunday, 23 May.
SIRA logo
As for arts and culture, the Club:
  • organises the Young and Young-at-heart Musicians Concerts – the next one is in June 2021;
  • covered the cost of the Jeremy Sala band, which played at the Feast for Freedom on 17 April;
  • initiated and managed the highly successful 2021 Festival of Making, which ran from 23 to 24 April.
The Recreation Club also conducts Newcomers’ Welcome twice a year, in order to help people moving to the island feel at home.

But remember that the Recreation Club is run by a small group of hard-working volunteers who have only limited time and resources. They need your energy, enthusiasm and help. If you have an activity or workshop you would like to offer, or would otherwise like to get involved with the Recreation Club, please contact SIRA. You can do so by clicking here.


The Island Race

Two Catherines Café, Catherine Park, Scotland Island

Sunday, 23 May, 9:45 - 12 noon

Island race map

The link for registration is here.

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.
The link for registration is 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 (see below for details), To contact Andy about this race or his fitness training, click here.


Scotland Island Recreation Hall

A new life for the old kindy

The Kindy

Scotland Island's kindy is no more. For many years, committed individuals worked hard to keep it going. But in the end demographic shifts led to a fall in demand. Although forced to close as a kindergarten, the building will forever hold precious memories for the generations of island children who played there, as well as the dedicated staff who cared for them.

But soon the kindy building will have a new lease of life, this time as a recreation hall. SIRA already runs the neighbouring Community Hall and now Northern Beaches Council, which owns both buildings, has asked SIRA to manage the old kindy along similar lines.

  Kindy before

Recreation Club volunteers have been busy preparing the building. Here we see the playground before, and after.

Kindy after
It is anticipated that the recreation hall will be available for hire shortly. Bookings will be managed via the Scotland Island website, as with the Community Hall. Islanders will receive special rates. Initially, bookings will be for the hall as is, but Northern Beaches Council is planning improvements to the building.

Both halls will be managed by a Recreation Club sub-committee, which has already amalgamated with the existing Hall subcommittee.They will work alongside NBC to provide facilities that are adaptable to a wide range of offshore activities. 

In July 2020, a community meeting was conducted by SIOCS, which previously ran the building as a kindy. The purpose of the meeting was to canvas the views of the community as to possible future uses for the hall. The meeting led to an online poll last August.

The survey, completed by 177 residents, revealed a wide range of visions for the building's future. The strongest interests related to culture and the arts. 48% of respondents felt they were very likely to use a cultural hub incorporating workshops, training, weekend art gallery, exhibitions, art sales, etc.

Next came an interest in a centre dedicated to the sharing of knowledge, as well as a tool library. 25% felt they were very likely to attend DIY classes on typical island tasks, and to use facilities designed to help them recycle and repair.

Meanwhile, 24% of respondents felt very likely to use a community garden, with workshops, plant exchange and growing space. There was also interest in a members’ club with social events, and a co-op for buying bulk dry goods.

As noted by island resident Gail MacKenzie, who helped run the survey, none of these ideas for the hall are mutually exclusive. The hall can and will be multi-purpose, offering varying activities on different days and times of day.

The kindy will always be special to the children who went there, as well as the staff who ran it. Now it is hoped that the building will once again be embraced by the offshore community, this time to be enjoyed by all residents, both adult and child.


The Two Catherines Café

Sunday, 9 May, 10 - 12 noon

Sunday, 23 May, 10 - 12 noon

Two Catherines Cafe

Key among Recreation Club activities is the Two Catherines Café, held on the second and fourth Sundays of the month in Catherine Park (or inside the Community Hall, in the event of rain).

The café is managed by hardworking volunteers under the capable Melinda Ham, and has employed and trained eight island teenagers, conducting barista training for three of them. Melinda tries to run the café sustainably: customers are encouraged to take their own mugs.
Cafe helpers
Cakes and savoury products are made by islanders. Some bakers take a share of the proceeds of sale, while others simply donate what they make.

In all instances, profits from the sale of foodstuffs and coffees are used to pay staff, or are reinvested into the café or other Recreation Club activities. For instance, the Club recently bought a barbecue so that hot food can be provided alongside cakes and other savoury products.

The café offers a venue for artisans and craftspeople to sell their wares. It has also invited guest speakers. For example, in March the café was visited by descendants of the two Catherines commemorated in its name: Catherine Bouffier (a relative of the Fitzpatrick family, which subdivided the island for housing) and Catherine Bens, so-called 'Queen of Scotland Island', who died in 1920.

But most of all, the café is simply a welcome space for island and offshore residents to gather and socialise. It all helps to create a harmonious and supportive community.

Now well-established, the future looks bright for the café. There are plans to move it to a permanent home inside the new recreation centre. SIRA intends to ask Northern Beaches Council to make appropriate changes to the building, including enlargement of the kitchen.

Coffee drinkersIf you are interested in helping at the café then please contact Melinda Ham on 0404 028259. If you would like the café to sell your foodstuffs then please don't just turn up with something to sell. Instead, contact Melinda, giving her plenty of notice: call her by the previous Monday at the very latest.

Note re COVID

In light of recent community transmissions of COVID in the Sydney region the NSW government has imposed new, temporary restrictions which will be in effect this Sunday, 9 May. These include compulsory mask-wearing in all public indoor spaces. In the event of fine weather the café will be held out of doors and should not be affected by these rules. If it rains then it may be necessary to move the café wholly or partly inside the Community Hall, in which case masks will be required. Please come prepared.


International Folk Dancing

Saturday, 5 June, 7 - 9 pm (NB the date change)

Saturday, 26 June, 7 - 9 pm

The Recreation Club's International Folk Dancing evenings are held in the Community Hall, usually on the last Saturday of the month.

Sessions are run by island residents Branko and Annabelle Kristevic. Both have years of experience in leading dance groups. Dances are drawn from all over Europe, with a particular focus on the Balkans, reflecting Branko's Croatian heritage.

Most dances involve the group in holding hands in a circle, although occasionally participants dance in couples. That said, many dancers attend sessions alone and the emphasis is on inclusivity and sociability. 

Folk DancingThe evenings commence with something nice and easy, then build up to dances that are a little more demanding. But the dances are never particularly difficult: they are clearly explained and anyone who can put one foot in front of another should manage.There is no competition and Branko and Annabelle are excellent at imbuing self-confidence. 

Sessions are free and there is a mid-session break during which participants often share drinks and snacks.

If you would like to get involved then simply come along to the next session. The dances are supported by the Recreation Club and there is no charge for participation.


Table Tennis

Most Saturdays, 3 - 5 pm

The Scotland Island Recreation Club began with the purchase of two table tennis tables almost two years ago. And despite a hiatus caused by COVID restrictions, the Club's table tennis sessions are still going strong.

Table tennisGames are played most Saturdays in the Community Hall. Typically around eight residents (mostly adult) turn up. The standard of play is variable, but sessions are always light-hearted. 

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.

Sessions are supported by the Recreation Club and the cost to players is free.


Other Offshore Recreational Activities

Besides events organised by the Scotland Island Recreation Club, a number of groups meet offshore for regular activities promoting health and well-being. Some of them are listed below.

Outdoor exercise classes

Elvina Bay Boot Camp
Elvina Bay BootcampExcellently run by Andy Derijk, this group meets in Elvina Bay park, Mondays and Thursdays, 6.30 - 7.00 am. Activities include circuit training, often involving light weights, exercise rings and the like. Participants include men and women, ranging in age from young to retired. Cost: $20 per session. For further information, contact Andy Derijk of Fitter Forever Personal Training: 0418 613 890. 

Scotland Island Outdoor Circuit Training
Run by volunteers, these sessions meet in Catherine Park most Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7 - 8 am. There is no charge and everyone is welcome to join in. Participants take it in turns to devise and lead the exercise sessions, so groups are not necessarily led by a trained physical instructor. For further information, contact Melinda Ham: 0404 028 259.


YogaYoga in the Community Hall
Islander Mandy Alderson offers twice-weekly yoga classes on Scotland Island. The Wednesday class, held between 6 and 7 pm, begins with a gentle flow, followed by longer held poses. The Saturday classes involve rather more vigorous Vinyasa-style practice. Both classes are suitable for all levels and modifications can be made to suit your experience. A single class costs $18, or a 10-class pass costs $150. Places are limited: book ahead. BYO mat and props. For further information, contact Mandy: mandy@thebalancecollective.com or 0424 199 766. Register: https://www.momoyoga.com/the-balance-collective/.     

Dru Yoga
Run by Katya, these are gentle sessions that might especially suit more mature residents or those with injuries. That said, all are welcome, regardless of age or experience. The focus is on meditation and breath work. Held in the Community Hall, Scotland Island, Tuesdays 9.00 - 10.30 am. Cost: $20 per class or $75 for four classes. For details contact Katya on 0414 187 916.


Other classes

Laughter Wellness
Elvina Bay resident Bianca Spears combines laughter with yogic breathing to create joy and energy. Her sessions focus on celebrating ourselves and what we achieve in life. Now Bianca plans to bring her sessions to Scotland Island Community Hall, commencing Saturday 10 July, 10 - 11 am. Cost: $22 per class or $120 for six classes. For details contact Bianca: 0431 290 211.


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