Scotland Island is a water-borne community situated in an estuary called Pittwater, part of Broken Bay in northern Sydney, New South Wales. Along with our neighbours on the Western Foreshores of Pittwater we are known as the ‘Offshore Communities’.
Living in such a community is like going on a picnic. It’s different and takes a little bit of effort to get there and back; however, the reward makes all the effort worthwhile. You have to take your food and basic comforts with you and be practical about water and toilets and who carries what. You have to make sure to take your rubbish with you and keep an eye on the kids and the weather, while being prepared to share your picnic with ants or other ambassadors from nature. But at the end of the day, most people treasure their time on the island and wouldn’t exchange it for anything.
In 1624 the poet John Donne famously said ‘No man is an island…’. Curiously, living in a city centre, or endless suburbia, often turns people or families into isolated anonymous islands, whilst living on an actual island fosters a sense of being a ‘part of the main’, a sense of community. This is the delightful benefit that those who move here discover and those that leave say they miss most.
It is also the case that ‘no island is an island, each is a part of the main …’ Our sense of connection to broader contexts, from Pittwater to Planet, has engaged the offshore communities in several Pittwater-wide issues and has stimulated a thousand conversations which are leading to several sustainability pilot initiatives.
One of the many Offshore Community activities over the past decade was the creation of a “Dedication” which runs…
“We value living within this beautiful place where ever shimmering water, wide skies, fresh air, tall trees and plants predominate over the built environment. In this somewhat isolated special place, accessible only by water, living has unique challenges and a sense of adventure. We value living within a varied, friendly and flourishing community, united by our common context. Our daily lives are often made up of many small friendly encounters, shared events, celebrations and cooperative activities which weave together an inclusive, innovative and nurturing social environment. We are of course late comers and acknowledge the many tens of thousands of years the original human communities lived in this place.”
No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; .... any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
John Donne — Meditation 17, Devotions upon Emergent Occasions