The Taylor family, owners
of Scotland Island, 1900 - 1906
Taylor family at their property near Moree. P
T Taylor is holding a polo mallet, while his
youngest son, P G ‘Bill’ Taylor, is the small
boy sitting on the fence. Photo from the
family’s collection, provided here courtesy of
The PON recently catalogued three nineteenth-century
rogues who at one time or another laid claim to Scotland
Island: bigamist Robert Murray, fugitive John Dickson, and quack William Elmslie. The last defaulted
on his mortgage in 1900. With the island once again for
sale, could the next owner be any worse?
The next owner was a politician. If that sounds like a
cheap gag then it’s unintended. Britain’s postwar Labour
governments were good to me and my family, so collective
denigration of politicians doesn’t come readily. What’s
more, this particular politician doesn’t seem to give us
any specific grounds for deprecation. Indeed his business
probity ‘was an example to others’, according to one
former NSW premier. I suppose you could say that he wasn’t
the island’s most colourful owner. Still, as we shall soon
discover, unexciting isn’t something that could be said of
his most famous son.
plan of Scotland Island as it appears on
P T Taylor's certificate of title, 1900
First, though, to the father, the erstwhile owner of our
island. Patrick Thomson Taylor was born in
Glasgow in 1862. He was a sickly youth when he arrived in
Australia, although a short spell on a cattle station
seemed to cure him. He became an accountant and later a
merchant. In 1883 he began his political career, becoming
mayor of Mosman, where the family lived. He built up his
own business and from around 1897 he took on a series of
high-profile directorships, including with Sydney Ferries,
the North Shore Gas Company, and many more. By the time of
his death in 1922, Taylor was one of Sydney’s leading
The son of a grain merchant, Taylor had an interest in
agriculture. Around 1900 he bought land in Bayview, where
he developed a hobby farm, keeping a cow and a kitchen
garden. He also built a weekend retreat for himself and
his family, which by now included three sons. The
weekender he called Glen Sannox, after a valley
overlooking the Firth of Clyde, close to his native
Glasgow. Apparently the topographical similarity with Glen
Sannox is striking.
Besides farming, Taylor’s other hobby was polo, which he
played close to Mona Vale Beach. Taylor owned a number of
ponies, and he ran horses on Scotland Island. Taylor and
his sons also became keen sailors on Pittwater.
P G 'Bill' Taylor, by Norman Carter, 1940
In 1917 Taylor was nominated for the NSW Legislative
Council. He represented the Nationalist Party, not to be
confused with today's National Party of Australia. The
Nationalist Party formed in 1917 as a result of a merger
between the Liberals and the National Labor Party, the
latter formed by PM Billy Hughes after the 1916 Labor
split over conscription. The Nationalist Party ceased to
exist in 1931, but is considered a direct ancestor of the
current Liberal Party. A backroom politician, Taylor
rarely attended Parliament and never spoke there.
It is now to the youngest of Taylor’s three sons that we
turn. Born in 1896, Patrick Gordon Taylor disliked his
first names so much that for the rest of his life he went
by the name of Bill. As a child Bill would undoubtedly
have played on his father’s island, and might well have
met Catherine Benns, who still lived on Scotland Island
when Bill was in his infancy.
Bill’s particular childhood love was sailing on Pittwater,
where he owned a dinghy. He was an intrepid young sailor,
frequently exploring around Lion Island. The same spirit
of adventure is reflected in his decision, at the age of
20, to join the Royal Flying Corps. The year was 1916, and
Bill served as a pilot in France during the horrors of
World War I.
In 1919 Bill returned to Australia and embarked on a
career in civil aviation. He bought a de Havilland Moth
seaplane, which he kept in a boatshed in Bayview. By the
early 1930s Bill was flying as a captain with what was
later to become Ansett Airlines.
Taylor's de Havilland Moth outside his
boatshed at Bayview, 1927. Folding wings
enabled storage in the shed. Photo
from the family’s collection, provided here
courtesy of Pittwater Online News.
Bill is best known through his association with Charles Kingsford Smith, Australia’s
most renowned aviator. By 1933 ‘Smithy’ was already
famous, having piloted the first transpacific flight in
1928. But he needed money, and so was attracted by the
prize money being offered in a London to Melbourne air
Smithy invited Bill to be his co-pilot in the race, but
modifications to Smithy’s plane could not be completed in
time. Instead, Smithy and Taylor flew from Brisbane to San
Francisco, and this west-east trans-Pacific flight was
another first in aviation history.
In 1935 Smithy and Taylor were authorised to offer a new
Australia-New Zealand airmail service. During the
inaugural flight disaster struck. Having left Sydney, the
three-engined plane was almost half way across the Tasman
when part of the central engine’s exhaust manifold broke
off and severely damaged the starboard propeller. Closing
down the vibrating starboard engine, Smithy applied full
power to the other two, jettisoned the cargo and turned
back for Australia. But then the oil pressure on the port
engine began to fall alarmingly. The flight appeared
Taylor reacted heroically. Mid-air, he climbed out of the
plane and, in his socks, edged his way along the engine
connecting strut to the now useless starboard engine. From
there he drained oil into a flask. He then climbed out
under the port wing, transferring the oil into the
opposite engine. Unbelievably he repeated this procedure
six times. The trick worked and the plane touched down at
Mascot some nine hours later. Taylor’s courage was
recognised with the George Cross.
Taylor reenacting his mid-air collection of
oil from the Southern
stricken starboard engine. The scene is taken
from the 1946 film Smithy,
the story of Charles Kingsford Smith.
In 1946 a film was made about Kingsford Smith’s life.
Called Smithy, the film includes a reenactment of
Taylor’s spectacular feat, performed by no other than Bill
Taylor himself. If you’d like to see this son of Pittwater
in action, click here. The relevant scene begins at
around 1 hr 27 mins.
After serving in World War II, Bill returned to Bayview,
where in 1947 he established Loquat Valley School for his
daughters. Today the school has become the Pittwater
campus for St Luke’s Grammar School. Bill also returned to
sailing on Pittwater, where he owned an 11 m sloop. He
died in 1966 and his ashes were scattered over Lion
Island, place of his youthful adventures.
This article is based on a number of primary and secondary
sources. To find out more about the Taylors and their
connections with Bayview, click here. To discover more about Hopton
Lodge, a Bayview home associated with the family, click here.
Christmas tree from the
Scouts is just the start via the car a Holden Commodore,
to the dock in the tinnie it goes at 3 metres tall it’s
as big as the vessel.
Salt spray added as waves hit the boat and the seagulls
hover over us must be thinking what for?
Thrown on the wharf at Tennis, and loaded on the golf
buggy piled high like Santa’s sleigh, we charge on down
the terrace rattling with dust in our wake.
Last leg now, heave it up the stairs and we can begin the
yelling and the confusion about how to get the damn thing
straight. In the bucket, bricks on toes, swearing and
sweating, mum to the rescue, she’ll calm the farm and
untangle the tub of lights.
Tis the season to be jolly or wicked if you prefer, can’t
blame dad he’s gone out back for a tinnie and breaths a
sign of relief when mum comes out bragging, it’s straight
and has lights hurray, let the kids at it now to add the
Wouldn’t change a thing
I love this
time of year, a time to make lists and think about each
person and gifts to match. Something to wear, something to
eat, a puzzle or two and of course a surprise project for
an unsuspecting victim.
Mum’s hiding presents again, wonder if she’ll remember
where they are before the big day, no doubt some will slip
through til next year or become a random birthday gift.
Never to be outdone a pavlova I will make, and a few
shortbread with that secret ingredient. Mum would be
making the pudding by now on the farm. No way I say I’d
rather have chocolate mousse any day.
We’ve started our tradition of gingerbread house making,
our 1st was last year, and it was a challenge, although
the walls and roof were rather chunky, it tasted great and
with decorations added looked rather stunning.
Wouldn’t change a thing
Mesmerised by the sight of the tall ships passing on their
night of nights, all light up like sparkling sprinkles in
the evening sky. As they drift and sway past the bay I
catch a glimpse of the merry men on the bow, joking and
hollering ‘Tack, tack, tack or we’ll crash into
The dog’s got no clue as to what’s on its way, for a few
more boxes we haul up each day. Post office overflowing,
wish they would deliver to the front door of my island
home. What’s the go, can’t we get services like Dangar
dear council dear council.
Now to get the liquor across, ‘clink, clink, clink’ as we
head down the gang ramp, that will make the situation much
better, Baileys for mum and something stronger for dad.
The reindeer and sleigh are twinkling on the grass, our
Christmas starts to feel merry with a tune or two from old
Bing Crosby singing ‘White Christmas’. For we all know
nothing will be white about our jolly Christmas as it will
probably be 40 by noon and thundering by evening.
Wouldn’t change a thing
bush is out and so are the blasted cicadas, what a life
they lead, underground for so long to emerge to chant then
die. The King parrot has arrived with his mate seeking
sunflower seeds and shelter from the winds. For this time
of year, it’s a blessing and a curse.
King tides and Bull Sharks in the bays, ferry wharf jumps
and Jelly Fish stings. Lazy summer days will follow,
shifting through the wrapping paper and saving every last
skerrick. Rather relentless in the heat it’s the best time
to relax and eat all the left-overs.
Santa hat and tongs in hand, the barbies on the go, smoke
and some flame grill tucker to go with handfuls of
cherries and prawns, this is our island Christmas
The mozzies now are biting, out with the citronella we
must, for even through our tights these buggers bit.
Welting, itchy kids are no fun not to mention the
screaming from bindies underfoot.
Wouldn’t change a thing
The gums have shed their skin as the dry brittle bark
litters the ground, fire hazard we all call, still
traumatised from bushfire seasons past.
Carolers sing from barges and bays and Santa hangs off the
fire truck scattering lollies amongst the youngsters
wishing him fair tides on his voyage around this vast
The community is gathering round for the dog race, for
Christmas eve is upon us at last. No dog left
behind no losers tonight, all winners for this is the
spirit of a community more willing than most. To battle
the commute, day in day out and jostle for parking with a
quick ‘are you leaving mate?’
The cockatoos are screeching it’s the end of the day, the
skies are dark as the leaves are still. Wonder what Santa
For at the end of the day we all are merry and grateful
for the company and cheer as the water laps the shore,
it’s a peaceful place except the hum of that tinnie going
Wouldn’t change a thing.
2023 AGM Report
new 2023 committee (l to r): Marie Minslow,
Maddy Bandfield, CB Floyd, Julie Cooper
(Treasurer), Julie Paterson, Robyn Iredale
(President), Julie Torney, Deb Woods
(Secretary), Ian White, Colin Haskell (Vice
President), Emma Harvey, Boyd Attewell. Absent
are Sharon Kinnison and Basil Daher.
Around 40 islanders attended the 2023 AGM of the Scotland
Island Residents' Association, held in the island's
community hall on 19 November. Also present were Pittwater
MP Rory Amon, Northern Beaches mayor Sue Heins and
Councillor Miranda Korzy.
The meeting opened with President Robyn Iredale thanking
the outgoing committee. 'We've been extremely lucky to
have a very committed and competent group this year', she
commented. 'It's demanding work, but we all try our best'.
The meeting heard reports from various committee members.
Treasurer Julie Cooper reported a small budget surplus,
achievable only because of the first increase in water
charges in seven years. In relation to water supply,
Robert Fox told the meeting that generally the system
works well, although he identified problems caused by
fluctuations in mains pressure from Sydney Water that can
cause the pump to shut down.
those at the AGM were (l to r): Councillor
Miranda Korzy, SIRA president Robyn Iredale,
NBC mayor Sue Heins and Pittwater MP Rory Amon.
Photos courtesy Oneal Photographics.
Ian White spoke in relation to the community vehicle,
reporting that usage remains down from pre-COVID levels.
In relation to transport, Bill Gye handed the attending
councillors a 'to do' list, which includes installation of
additional commuter boat tie-ups. CB Floyd reported on the
activities of the Communications sub-committee, and George
Orr did likewise in terms of Governance.
Unsurprisingly, the meeting was dominated by the decision
by NSW Transport not to register buggies. Numerous
complaints were made about the condition of island roads
and the lack of facilities for disabled residents. Rory
Amon commented on the state government's concerns about
safety, both in terms of the roads and many of the
unregistered vehicles used on them.
There seemed to be consensus that no one wants an island
dominated by cars, and Robyn Iredale reported that SIRA
has applied for funding for a communal buggy.
On a lighter
note, the meeting was told about numerous successes in
terms of community events. The island café, which meets
monthly, continues to attract a healthy crowd. Renovations
to the Recreation Centre are now complete and sound
equipment has been purchased. Robyn Iredale made special
mention of The Two Catherines play, which earned enough
money to cover its costs. All in all the Rec Club returned
a modest profit, which will continue to be reinvested in a
range of activities.
Committee reports having been delivered, it was time for
election of the new committee. Robyn Iredale was returned
as president for her second year. Deb Wood and Julie
Cooper were also reelected to their respective roles of
secretary and treasurer. Sharon Kinnison and CB Floyd
stepped down as vice presidents, but will remain on the
committee, as will Boyd Attewell and Ian White. Colin
Haskell stepped up as SIRA's new vice president.
In addition to the above, SIRAC has five new members:
Basil Daher, Julie Torney, Julie Paterson, Emma Harvey,
Marie Minslow and Maddy Bandfield.
SIRA's 2023 annual report can be accessed here.
Driver Positions Available
We are looking for volunteer drivers to join the
Scotland Island community vehicle team. It’s a
great opportunity to give back to your community and
contribute to the lives of others.
If you feel that you can commit a day or half day, we
would love to hear from you!
For more information, please contact:
John Morgan 0416 733
Sharon Dwyer 0452 361
Piesse (drums), Sandy Evans (saxophone) and
Markus Plattner (guitar) performing in
Scotland Island Community Hall
What a treat! Markus Plattner, Sandy Evans, Craig Scott
and Jim Piesse delighted us with their amazing jazz on 5
November. They were joined by Jessica McGowan for four
songs. You would have thought they played together often,
but no, this was the first time. But as one of the
musicians said, ‘if you get asked to play with Markus, you
never turn it down!’ You can see it - the simple signals,
the nods, the smiles and the pure joy of creating
We have been so lucky to have Markus and Susan on the
island, especially during COVID when they could not escape
to Switzerland. Markus has given us two concerts, composed
the music for the Two Catherines play this year, and
entertained us at the ‘Jazz and Gin-Tasting’ evening on 18
We are sorry to see them leave and wish them well in their
future travels. They have given us many lovely memories,
as well as a lovely sofa in the Recreation Centre.
For a link to the
directory form, click here.
(Broad-leaf Grass Tree)
Grass tree with trunk up to 2 m tall, but usually much
Soil: Well-drained sandy or sandstone-based soil;
drought-tolerant but prefers moist soil; tolerates clay if
on a slope.
Light: Prefers light shade; leaves can be burned by
sudden increase in sun or temperature.
Propagation: Easy from seed, but slow.
Notes: Hard to find in nurseries. Some native plant
nurseries carry a smaller species that is a local native
from elsewhere in Sydney, X. resinosa, found in
heath or low woodland in NSW and Vic, which would likely
be a better choice in very sunny locations, but not good
in heavily shaded sites. X. arborea, with its wide
leaves, is well adapted to dappled shade.
When planted as mature specimens, grass trees generally
die within two to three years, when the reserves they have
built up are gone. While larger pot-grown plants are
available at some nurseries, seedlings are still a better
choice as survival is better for grass trees grown from
You can ask someone who has them on their property to let
you collect a few of the very plentiful seeds, and grow
them yourself. I’m in the process of collecting seeds from
several waterfront properties on Scotland Island and when
they grow into plants, will sell them at island events.
I’m also sharing seeds with local native nurseries so that
even more people can grow this wonderful species.
Germination and growth in the first few years is slow; you
will need to put a ring of rocks or stakes around the
seedlings after you plant them out. Otherwise, they can
get smothered by vegetation, or stepped on.
This is an edited excerpt from Sydney Local
Native: 150 In-depth Native Plant Profiles for Gardeners
by islander Hazel Malloy. You can get your copy
from Hazel at Scotland Island’s monthly café, or from
these local native plant nurseries:
- Harvest Seeds & Native Plants, 281 Mona Vale
Road, Terrey Hills, phone 9450 2699
- Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden Nursery, 420 Mona
Vale Road, St Ives, phone 9424 0353.
Tuesdays, 9 - 11 am
(starting 5 December)
Table tennis is back on the island, and at a new time.
Groups will now meet most Tuesdays and anyone is
welcome. Sessions are supported by the Scotland Island
Sessions may not run every Tuesday. 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 email@example.com
Alternatively, you can just turn up and take your
Adult players are asked to contribute $5 per player
per attendance to defray expenses.
Thursday, 14 December
5.30 pm (Scotland
7.30 pm (Church Point)
Tuesday 19 December, 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
Members take it in turn to design a session. At the
November session, Roy Baker led a discussion on the
meaning of intelligence, which encompassed human,
animal, plant and artificial intelligence, as well as
that of some toilets.
For the December meeting, Hazel Malloy asks us to
consider the ethics of giving.
Forced into choosing, which would you rescue from a
burning building: a child in danger, or a Picasso that
could be sold to help thousands of other children?
Advocates of effective altruism use evidence
and reason to benefit others as much as they can. Or
do they? Are your altruistic activities as rational
and effective as possible?
The following readings are presented in order of
brevity, shortest first:
1. 'Effective Altruism is logical, but
too unnatural to catch on'
, from Psyche
version also available)
4. 'The do-gooder movement that shielded
Sam Bankman-Fried from scrutiny'
, from The
. This is behind a pay wall, but
you should be able to read it for free as an
introductory offer. Alternatively, click here
for a pdf version.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, contact Jane Rich (email@example.com) for
more information or to express your interest in
The Recreation Club asks for $5 per person per
attendance to defray expenses.
Lovett Bay Boatshed
Thursday 21 December,
There will be carols in
Lovett Bay again: a sing-along on the shore by Lovett
Bay Boatshed where Salvation Creek meets the bay. Come
by boat and raft up. Come by ferry or kayak or simply
swim. Sing your hearts out: join the Bay Bays, sing
alone, or just enjoy the ambiance.
Friday 24 December, 3 pm
Scotland Island Rural Fire Brigade has done it
again, and secured an exclusive visit by Santa. Our
boreal friend will depart his hiemal home for his
regular perambulation around the island, meeting
friends and fans, young and old, good and (in the case
of parents, at least), the downright naughty.
So listen out for the merry wail of the siren, and
prepare to meet the real
brighter and better than you've ever seen him before.
Catherine Park, Scotland
Saturday 10 February
Sunday 11 February 2024
Look out for further
information, including on how to buy tickets.
Community Hall & Recreation Centre
Saturday 17 February
Saturday 6 April 2024
Saturday 27 April 2024
To buy tickets,
click here (available from 7
BATHTUB. Free-standing, lightweight acrylic. No
scratches or marks. Cost around $800. Sell for $300 or
make an offer.
Dimensions: 1.5 m length,
870 width, 520 height.
Ring Jon, Elvina Bay 0412
Model: Brumby 4.8m
Hull year: 2009
Description: Cobalt blue colour with canopy,
swivel seats on storage boxes, rear lounge, 70L
underfloor fuel tank and carpet floor.
Outboard: 2016 Suzuki 4-stroke, 70HP, electric
start, trim & tilt, fuel line and fittings, owner
manual, alloy propeller and filled with motor guard.
Good Condition, fully
serviced annually and well maintained.
Offers under $15,000.
Available from early December.
Please contact Terry on 0418 849 801.
Missed out on a previous
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Scotland Island Community Calendar
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expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily the
views of the Scotland Island Residents Association
or the Western Pittwater Community Association