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.
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.
Iredale with Michael Regan,
Mayor of Northern Beaches Council
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
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:
As for arts and culture, 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
The Recreation Club also conducts Newcomers’ Welcome twice
a year, in order to help people moving to the island feel
- 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.
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
Two Catherines Café,
Catherine Park, Scotland Island
Sunday, 23 May, 9:45 - 12
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.
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.
$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
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
A new life for the old
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.
Club volunteers have been busy preparing
the building. Here we see the playground
before, and 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
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
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.
Sunday, 9 May, 10 -
Sunday, 23 May, 10 -
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.
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
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
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
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
Saturday, 5 June, 7 -
9 pm (NB the date change)
Saturday, 26 June, 7 -
The Recreation Club's
International Folk Dancing evenings are held in the
Community Hall, usually on the last Saturday of the
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.
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.
Most Saturdays, 3 -
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
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
supported by the Recreation Club and the cost to
players is free.
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
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.
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.
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:
or 0424 199 766. Register: https://www.momoyoga.com/the-balance-collective/
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.
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.
Saturday, 29 May, 1.30
- 5.30 pm
A four-band jam that
sways and stomps across rock, blues, folk, swamp
and country. It's a musical degustation, Bays
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.
Missed out on a previous
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expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily
the views of the Scotland Island Residents
Association (SIRA), or the Western Pittwater
Community Association (WPCA)