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Scotland Island - Western Shores - Mackerel Beach

April 1, 2022

Newsletter for the Offshore Residents of Pittwater, Australia - Volume 23, Issue 1174

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


The Electrification of Offshore Pittwater

Underwater turbines harnessing tidal power. Submerged beneath Pittwater, could these meet our offshore energy needs?

December 2022 will mark the 60th anniversary of the arrival of mains electricity on Scotland Island. With oil prices high and concerns about climate change growing, a group of residents is arguing that the time has come for the complete electrification of our offshore communities, with the goal of self-sufficiency in renewable energy achievable within a decade. 

As an easy first step, the group is calling for the prohibition of wood-burning stoves, identifying them as a hazard to respiratory health. Many members also want to see a ban on petrol-driven vehicles on the island. Indeed there are already a number of battery-powered buggies.

A passenger-carrying inclinator of the kind that could soon be serving the top of Scotland Island
Island residents have presented these ideas to Northern Beaches Council, as well as Transport for NSW. The group claims that both have been receptive, with TfNSW particularly enthusiastic about the switch to all-electric island transport.

‘This could be the key to progressing buggy registration’, said one spokesperson. ‘Sell an idea as environmental and you are far more likely to get traction with state and federal government’.

The group accepts that small electric buggies won't cope with the large amounts of goods that need transporting to the top of the island. A solution, suggested by some, is the installation of inclinators to carry shopping and passengers. Indeed they could be made large enough to handle building material, even the fire truck, or the truck used for recycling collection. An additional benefit would be reduced road erosion.

The group proposes that one large inclinator should run from each of the island’s five public wharves. Unfortunately inclinators do not cope well with bends, and the road lines from the wharves to the top of the island do not travel in straight lines. But this could be overcome with the creation of easements across a few privately-owned blocks. Inconvenience to those residents is likely to be minimal, and they could be compensated with free use of the inclinators.

Built large enough, inclinators can handle the heaviest of loads, even islanders' weekly shopping.
While these modest proposals will probably enjoy general community support, some in the group want to go further, replacing all petrol-driven tinnies with electric watercraft within the next few years. Unfortunately the switch to electric boats lags behind even that to electric cars, meaning that an immediate ban on petrol motors will almost certainly lead to an overall reduction in commuter boats, at least for the foreseeable future. It is anticipated that most electric boats would need to be connected to the mains overnight.

A challenge facing the group is the supply of electricity to power all these additional electric heaters, vehicles, tinnies and inclinators. Ausgrid has indicated that with the inclusion of heavylifting inclinators into the project, residents might notice a certain dimming of their lights during peak evening usage, not to mention when electric boats and vehicles are plugged in for recharging each night.

This could be minimised through minor inconveniences such as turning off freezers and limiting internet use during the evenings. In any event, the replacement of the island’s existing fibre-optic communications network with superior, electricity-bearing copper technology would be needed to ease the burden on the current power infrastructure.
But the ultimate goal for the group is offshore self-sufficiency in sustainable energy. Our trees constrain the use of solar panels and construction of a wind-powered generator atop Scotland Island comes with obvious aesthetic issues. But that problem does not apply to underwater turbines to harness tidal energy. By submerging tide-powered generators there need be little visual impact on Pittwater. That said, there will need to be sufficient signage to minimise inconvenience caused by underwater spinning turbines to boating, swimmers and marine life.

A typical tide-powered turbine, designed to minimise saltwater erosion
Unfortunately, tide-powered technology is prone to water level oscillation, meaning that, in shallow waters, generators tend not to remain submerged for long. The good news is that Pittwater is sufficiently deep to the north of the island for the views from its more valuable waterfront blocks to remain unspoiled by unsightly machinery.

But it remains an issue for the south of the island, where shallower waters are found. Being realistic, most of the tidal-powered turbines on Pittwater would need to be kept well above the surface, not least because they are vulnerable to salt-water erosion.

But here the group has another ready solution. The inevitable decline in tinnie ownership, once petrol-driven motors are outlawed, would render redundant much of the expansion in tie-up facilities currently under construction at Carols and Bells Wharves. Fortunately the tall piles, already installed, could be used to support the turbines high and dry above the water, keeping them well away from troublesome salt water.

Those supporting tidal power acknowledge that some water-front residents on the south side of the island might object to unsightly tidal generators blocking their view of the car park. But Northern Beaches Council, noting residents’ acquiescence to the wharf extensions, anticipate few complaints.


Scotland Island Rural Fire Brigade Notice

Dotted around Scotland Island are five cabinets, installed by the island fire brigade, and containing essential firefighting equipment.

It is important that the brigade have unimpeded access to these cabinets in the event of an emergency. For that reason, it would be appreciated if residents would not park buggies or other vehicles in front of them.



Fire Brigade: Information and Social Evening

Scotland Island Fire Station

Friday 1 April, 6 - 8 pm


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.


Carols Corner Café: Charity Brunch

The house directly above Carols Wharf, Scotland Island

Sunday 3 April, 9 - 12 noon

Carols Corner Café is back! All proceeds go to MSF to provide medical supplies in Europe to help the people of Ukraine: https://www.msf.org/ukraine.

“People are hungry, traumatised and completely exhausted but walk fast, determined and silently in cold temperatures of between minus five and 10 degrees Celsius.” 
Marta Wnorowska, MSF Project coordinator at the Slovakian - Ukrainian border

The café offers gluten-free and vegetarian options including the famous Eggs Benny, bacon and egg rolls and gluten-free pancakes with ice cream. Donated cakes are warmly welcomed, plus Simon's GF New York Cheesecake and GF Caramel Slice. Cappuccino, herbal tea, chia and happy smiling faces of our volunteer staff.

We look forward to seeing you!
Harriet & Simon at Carols Corner


Scotland Island BBQ Café

Catherine Park, Scotland Island

Sunday 10 April, 10 - 12 noon


Graeme Crayford Memorial Run / Walk

Catherine Park, Scotland Island

Sunday 10 April, 9.20 - 10.45 am

Join us for the second annual island run/walk, this time held in memory of Graeme Crayford, who died recently.

Graeme was president of the island fire brigade. But many will also remember him as a regular island jogger. What better way to honour Graeme’s memory, keep fit and raise money for the fire brigade than to join us on a Graemesque jaunt around the island.

This year’s event will have a special walkers' category, so you can participate at your own pace. A number of participants have already registered, ranging in age from 8 to 80 (yes, seriously!) Like last year, the event will incorporate a fun obstacle course. But if you are fit enough to walk around the island then the obstacle course won’t be anything you can’t handle.
There will be separate prizes according to your age and gender. For those who participated last year, there will also be prizes for best personal improvement.

Entry: $20. This includes a hot drink and breakfast at the island café, which will be operating in the park alongside the event. Profits go to Scotland Island Rural Fire Brigade.

Registration is essential. For full details, including information on how to register, please download the race information sheet, available here. The link to register 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. To contact Andy about this race or his fitness training, phone 0418 613 890.


Scotland Island Newcomers' Welcome

Community Hall, Catherine Park

Sunday 10 April, 11.00 am

Residents who have just moved to the island are invited to a special information session, to be held in the Community Hall during the 10 April island café. We’d love to meet you and give you the opportunity to get to know more residents.

If you are new to the island, we’re shouting you coffee! Please register and get a coffee voucher at the hall and put your coffee order in early (around 10.30 am) as there is often a queue.

There will be ‘need to know’ information available with key speakers on SIRA, fire, water, wharves and roads.

Some island businesses and service providers will be on hand to tell you what they have on offer. And we’ll give you a heads up about various social and cultural groups.

RSVP: Rosemary 0410 500704 or Gail 0412 767687.


Kids' Art Class

Scotland Island Recreation Centre

Wednesday 13 April, 10 am - 12 noon


Adults' Art Session

Scotland Island Recreation Centre

Wednesday 13 April, 6 - 9 pm


Easter Egg Hunt

Catherine Park, Scotland Island

Sunday 17 April, 10 - 11 am

Scotland Island Rural Fire Brigade presents the great annual Easter egg hunt. Families with children are invited to Catherine Park to search for cunningly hidden eggs.

There will be separate hunts for younger and older children.

Following the hunt, toasted hot cross buns will be served, courtesy of your friendly firefighters. All welcome.


International Folk Dancing

Scotland Island Community Hall

Saturday 23 April, 7 - 9 pm


Scotland Island Café

Catherine Park, Scotland Island

Sunday 24 April, 10 - 12 noon


Anzac Day Memorial Service

Thomas Stephens Reserve, Church Point

Monday, 25 April, 10.45 am

Our traditional ANZAC Day service will be held at Thomas Stephens Reserve, Church Point on Monday, 25 April, commencing 10.45 am.

The guest speaker will be announced shortly.


Read Essays and Discuss (READ) Group

Scotland Island Recreation Centre

Tuesday 26 April, 11 am - 12.30 pm

The Recreation Club has a new discussion group, meeting on the last 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, 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. 

The inaugural meeting consisted of Jane Rich leading a discussion on Water Access Only: More Tales & Adventures from Pittwater. The ensuing debate covered issues such as the meaning of 'community', the effect that talk of an inclusive offshore community might have on people who don't feel included, connection with place, construction of individual identity, memories of family relations, what makes for a happy and interesting life, and more.

In the next meeting, Roy Baker leads a discussion on social class. For most of the last couple of centuries, debate around social injustice in western nations centred largely on social class. More recently there has been a marked shift, with the focus moving to race, gender, sexuality and disability. While attention to disparities involving these characteristics is obviously a good thing, have we lost something by overlooking class?

●  Listen to 'Why don't we talk more about class?' The Minefield, ABC Radio National, available here. (54 mins, 7 secs);
●  Read some or all of the Wikipedia entry on Social Class, available here (and as many of the connected entries or readings as strike your fancy);
●  Optional extra: 'How America Fractured Into Four Parts' by George Packer, The Atlantic, available here.
●  And if you are really keen: 'The Collapse of American Identity' by Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, available here.

Contact Jane Rich (janebalmain@hotmail.com) for more information or to express your interest in participating.


Fire Shed Dinner

Scotland Island Fire Station

Saturday 30 April, 7:00 - 11:00 pm

To book, click here.


Love Letters

Scotland Island Community Hall

Saturday 7 May, 5.30 pm


Wanted: Accommodation

I have been a resident on Scotland Island for over 20 years. I need to get out of my house for all of August, from 1st - 31st. I’m looking for a house, dog or plant-sit during that time.

I have two sons who, if possible, may be with me for 50% of that time.

I imagine I will patchwork something together, so even part of that time could work.

I’m a teacher at a local high school.


0401 798869


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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