An Instance of Early
Fitzpatrick bathing in Pittwater with her four
children, 30 November 1930. Florence gave her
name to Florence Terrace.
The Pittwater offshore community is replete with
volunteerism. Our fire brigades, bush regeneration groups
and residents’ associations are just three examples of
selfless devotion. And this year we celebrate the 40th
anniversary of perhaps the most spectacular occasion of
collective generosity: the building of Scotland Island
community hall, completed in 1982 by volunteer labour.
The above are all examples of post-war munificence. It’s
easy to imagine that earlier settlers, at a time when
Pittwater was isolated and scarcely populated, were more
individualistic. But perhaps that perception is a symptom
of the enormous condescension of posterity, because there
are older instances of volunteerism that seem forgotten.
Readers of the PON should be acquainted with the name of
Vivianne Byrnes, granddaughter of Herbert and Florence
Fitzpatrick. Herbert was the man who subdivided Scotland
Island and Elvina Bay in the 1920s, while Florence, his
wife, is remembered in the name of Florence Terrace.
swimming enclosure next to Tennis Wharf,
it appears today
Some months ago Vivianne provided me with a photo taken 30
November 1930. It shows her grandmother, Florence, sitting
in Pittwater with her four children. It’s not certain
precisely where the photo was taken. But having spent
hours examining the stonework of Pittwater’s stone
jetties, and having bored my friends with the question
‘where do you think this was taken?’, I’m fairly sure that
the family is sitting on the beach right next to Tennis
Court Wharf. And that would make sense, since there used
to be an enclosed swimming area at that spot.
If my conjecture is correct then the wooden structure
behind Florence is of considerable interest. Consult
Warringah Shire council records for 1936 and you’ll find
reference to a small bathing shed. This was ‘erected by
volunteer workers on the reserve at the northern end of
Scotland Island’. It would seem logical for the bathing
shed to be built next to the enclosed swimming area. And
the structure in the photo certainly looks like a bathing
If my theory holds, that simple structure in the photo
tells two stories. One is of early offshore volunteerism.
But the other is a sadder tale of destitution.
Those council records of 1936 lament that a ‘swagman or
fisherman’ had taken possession of the bathing shed and
had closed it to residents. He had stolen water from local
residences and was living in the shed with no sanitary
arrangements. The 1930s was, of course, a period of
economic depression in Australia. By 1936 the rate of
unemployment had dropped from its 1932 peak of 32%, but it
still stood at 11% at the start of the second world war.
Byrnes, granddaughter of Florence
One wonders whether the islanders of 1936 extended any
kindness to this unfortunate man. It seems that the
council did not, and he was told to immediately vacate the
shed. Indeed the authority seemed more concerned about the
dilapidated condition of the anti-shark netting around the
swimming area which, in the eyes of the council, rendered
it unsafe for bathers.
Possibly the council extended some other support to the
swagman: the records are silent on the matter. The man has
sunk into the oblivion of time. But it is known that £5
was voted to repair the swimming area, so that islanders
could bathe more safely.
Thanks to Alison Guesdon of Pittwater Online News for
tipping me off about the council records and, of course,
Vivianne Byrnes for providing the photo.
Sunday 30 January, 11 am
reported in earlier editions of the PON, Greg Roberts,
former president of SIRA and well-loved island
personality, died on 24 December.
On Sunday, 30 January, two events will be held to mark his
At 11 am, a flotilla of boats will collect off
Tennis Court Wharf. Led by the Reliance (an old ferry
boat), the flotilla will then motor around Scotland
Island. Greg's family hopes that anyone with a boat will
feel welcome to join in. If you have one or more spare
seats in your boat and could make them available to
members of Greg's family then please email Megan Sadler,
Greg's daughter-in-law, at email@example.com.
At 2 pm a celebration of Greg’s life will be held
at the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, Newport. It will
take place on The Terrace: outside but in the shade. If it
rains then the event will be relocated to upstairs in the
Tributes will begin at 2.30 pm. The family will start the
tributes, followed by anyone who would like to talk about
their memories of Greg (open mike).
Parking is available at two places:
Club sign in requirements
- In the top car park. As you enter the gate, the ramp
is to the right;
- In the Crystal Bay car park: if approaching the club
along Irrubel Rd from the direction of Newport, turn
left into Crystal St, the street before the turning to
the club (Mitala St). For pedestrian access to the
club, turn right after leaving the car park, then to
the left towards the club. Enter the gate and follow
the directions. Note: elderly or disabled guests can
be dropped off at reception: buzz reception to open
Guests must sign in at reception. Please ensure you have
your membership card or evidence of identification
(driver's licence). Guests who live within 5 km of the
club are able to enter without a member signing them in.
Current COVID regulations
All members and guests must check in with the Service
NSW app and provide proof of double vaccination (or
cloud surprised me today
Snuck up as I walked in thought…
Looking up, it was there,
Majestic and grand.
An OMG moment
As it fanned out across the sky
Erupting from a hill on the horizon
A thousand puffs upon puffs
Rolling and bulging
Pegasus in a thousand shades
Of royal blue, green and grey,
Edged with pinks and reds.
I like such pleasant surprises
Small shocks of awe and wonder
The world becomes optimistic
And filled with future possibility.
I don’t like unpleasant surprises
Like a friend’s unexpected death
Like cold bitter tea
Heavy and sad
With a sour reminder of mortality
And the illusion of permanency
| I did not know
The last time we met
Would be the last
I would have sat for ages
And talked about
All those important things
We could and should have discussed.
I would have relished your company and character
And mentally stored every second to keep forever…
Now that can never be.
Though I know I will fail
I will now try to avoid similar unpleasant
And assume every encounter may be the last
And take no fault in long good byes
In memory of Greg Roberts.
Sunday 23 January, 10 - 12
Catherine Park, Scotland
Saturday 12 February, 4 -
Saturday 13 February, 2 -
combines with Leonard Cohen in 'Much Ado
About Nothing', coming soon to Scotland
Anyone acquainted with
islander Paul Kininmonth should know his admiration for
Shakespeare. Not only does Paul run online courses on
the Bard, he has twice produced his plays on Scotland
Island: The Tempest
in 2020 and Hamlet
Kininmonth, once again bringing
Shakespeare to Scotland Island
Now Paul brings us Much Ado About Nothing
, to be
performed in Catherine Park on 12 & 13 February.
Fifteen performers from across Sydney will join Paul in
Paul studied Drama at
university, then taught the subject as a primary school
teacher. He has been involved in community productions
of Shakespeare for over 30 years. ‘I just love his
eternal relevance’, he says.
Just the title of
Kininmonth’s third production suggests its pertinence to
our offshore community in times of COVID. For
Shakespeare's England, ‘nothing’ was a near-homophone
for ‘noting’. In today's online culture, ‘noting’ could
be understood in terms of posting on social media. As
offshore social life remains muted by the pandemic,
community engagements have largely shifted to Facebook
and its ilk. Certainly much ado is made of our offshore
Hanly will perform Cohen as part of the
On one level Shakespeare's play is a cautionary tale
about gossip. But Paul sees its ultimate message as an
exhortion for us to be true to ourselves, to drop our
masks and to realise that others are not always who they
seem, particularly online.
Ensuring that audiences find Shakespeare relevant and
accessible is not always easy. There are many modern
interpretations of Much Ado About Nothing
of which can aid our appreciation of the work. These
include Kenneth Branagh’s film (available here
for free). Perhaps the most
bizarre retelling of the story is this one
, set in a teenager’s
bedroom and stealthily disguised as a video blog.
For his take on the play, Paul has coupled Shakespeare
with Leonard Cohen. Thus the island production will
include several Cohen songs, performed live by Robert
Hanly. Cohen is an interesting choice, given that his
supplicatory and cloistral’, has been likened less to
Shakespeare's and more to that of the Bard's
contemporary, John Donne. Indeed Cohen confessed to not
understanding Shakespeare, at least as a young man.
Whether Paul has successfully married together the works
of Cohen and Shakespeare will soon be revealed. Tickets
to the island’s performances ($45 for adults, $25
concession) are already on sale. To book, click here
The link to the ticket
office is here
Outside Scotland Island
Sunday 27 February, 1 - 3
Sunday 13 March, 1 - 3 pm
Black poly under-deck water tank for sale: $400.
The tank was put under the deck but never installed, so it
is in great condition.
Capacity: approx 2000 litres.
Collect from Elvina Bay. For further details contact Andy
Derijk: 0418 613 890.
Missed out on a previous
would like to contribute to this newsletter, please send
an e-mail to the editor (firstname.lastname@example.org).
To subscribe or unsubscribe, go to: http://www.scotlandisland.org.au/signup.
Follow the PON
The Online Local Contacts Guide
Click HERE to load
Festival of Making,
expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily the
views of the Scotland Island Residents Association
(SIRA), or the Western Pittwater Community