A Piece of Scotland Island History – Catherine Park

Pittwater timeline

1788 Europeans arrived in New South Wales and began to displace Aboriginal communities, including the Guringai people who had had lived in Pittwater for thousands of years.

1788 Pittwater explored by Governor Phillip who named it and the island (then Pitt Island) at its southern end after the British Prime Minister, William Pitt. Palm Beach was named for the profusion of cabbage tree palms growing there.

1789 – 90 Aboriginal population decimated by European diseases to which they had no immunity. Many moved away to Sackville.

1790-1880s Access to Pittwater by ship to Barrenjoey.

1790+ Pittwater is a lawless haven for escaped convicts and rum smugglers.

1792 Nineteen-year-old Scotsman Andrew Thompson arrived in Sydney as a convict. He was sentenced to 14 years transportation for the theft of cloth, valued at about 10 pounds.

1797 Andrew Thompson received an absolute pardon. He built the first toll bridge at Windsor, established a brewery, managed Governor Bligh’s Hawkesbury farms, owned ships, a tannery and salt works.

1803 Coasters’ Retreat used for forming convoys of ships and trimming cargoes on the James, the Edwin, the Union and the Argument.

1804 Survey of Pittwater by Governor Hunter.

1806 Andrew Thompson, established salt works on Pitt Island, extracting 90kg of salt per week from sea water

1810 First land grant in Pittwater. Pitt Island granted to Thompson, as a reward for his rescue work during the Hawkesbury flood. Probably re-named Scotland Island after his homeland. He established a ship yard and built the Geordy, launched in November 1810 shortly after his death, which was wrecked at Port Davey in 1816.

1810 -1900 Scotland Island sold several times during the nineteenth century.

1814 The land that now comprises Mona Vale was granted to Robert Thompson.

1819 Constable appointed to bring the rule of law to Pittwater.

1820s First land grant at Mackerel Beach to John Clarke who had a dairy farm.

1821 One of the first settlers at Bayview, Patrick Bryan, built a house on the current site of Bayview Golf Links.

1823 First Land Grant at Mackerel Beach to John Clarke who had a diary farm, later sold to Martin Burke, known as ”The Father of Pittwater”.

1829 James Jenkins established Cabbage Tree Hill Farm on 350 acres at Warriewood.

1830 Catholic priest, Father John Joseph Thierry received a large land grant including the present area of Clareville.

1836 Lovett Bay named after John Lovett who settled there.

1842 William Oliver established a farm at Rocky point between Elvina Bay and Lovett Bay.

1837 Most remaining Aboriginal people had been re-located from Pittwater to the mission at Sackville.

1843 Customs House established in Pittwater at base of Barrenjoey to limit rum smuggling. It had a wharf and became a communication Centre with the establishment of a telegraph link in 1869.

1852 Thomas Langford, the first settler of the area now known as Church Point, acquired 40 acres of land.

1855 First reported light on Barrenjoey with a fire raised in a basket during stormy weather. Broken Bay and Pittwater were a safe haven for vessels carrying coal from Newcastle.

1855 – 1890 Road and rail construction through the region saw the decline in Pittwater’s importance as a transport hub.

1864 William Oliver granted 66 acres of land on Church Point headland. He donated an acre of this for a cemetery, a school and a church.

1867 Prince Alfred Yacht Club formed, named to commemorate the forthcoming visit of HRH Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh.

1869 Western Bays surveyed.

c. 1870 Church and School built at Church Point on land given by William Oliver, using timber provided by his brother in law Peter Duffy of Duffy’s Forest.

1872 Net installed at the Basin.

1880 Narrabeen Bridge built allowing travel by coach from Manly to Pittwater.

1881 Barrenjoey lighthouse built using sandstone quarried on site.

1885 Original wharf at Church Point replaced with wider one along which carts could be driven.

1886 The Rock Lily Hotel in Mona Vale opened, providing a rest stop for passengers from Manly.

1888 Chapel Point renamed Church Point.

1890s Pittwater became a playground for the wealthy. New transport brought picnickers and campers to the area and steamers offered excursions on the waterways.

1894 Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park established.

1895 Men employed by the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park Trust built a stone causeway, a wharf and several miles of pathways in Lovett Bay.

1899 Dymock’s Guide to Sydney and N.S.W. contained a map of the Ku-ring-gai Chase, showing the wharf, causeway and walking tracks built along the headland.

1900 An explosion followed by a fire destroyed the ornamental roof of the Barrenjoey lighthouse oil house. It was subdued before it reached the tower

1901 Roadway built from North Turramurra to Bobbin Head Road. Another was built from Mt Colah Station to Bobbin Head in 1903 providing a circular drive through the park.

1906 First subdivision on Scotland Island. Lots advertised for sale and a few holiday houses built.

1906 Local government established. Warringah Shire Council formed as a ‘rural outpost of Sydney,’ for the entire Northern Beaches area.

1909 Post Office and store opened at Church Point Church Point.

1911 Census counted 2,823 people living in 700 households across the Northern Beaches.

1914 Scheduled shipping services in Pittwater ceased.

1914 Boony Doon Wharf built at Coasters Retreat.

1916 – 1919 First bungalows built at Palm Beach.

1919 W J Goddard and Sons established a general store, marine and ferry services at Palm Beach.

c.1920 First public wharf, Cargo Wharf, built on Scotland Island Subdivision at Mackerel Beach.

1924 Second subdivision and first major land sale on Scotland Island, with streets named after the developer’s family members.

1928 Goddards built ferry Elvina, surveyed to carry 27 passengers and now believed to be the longest serving ferry in N.S.W.

1932 Church at Church Point demolished. Only the cemetery remains. Original settlers, William Oliver and his wife Mary, are buried there.

1934 West Head resumed by the Australia Military Forces for defence purposes.

1938 Current premises of RPAYC opened. Twenty-two Jubilees raced that day.

1939 A wildfire in Ku-ring-gai National Park caused a fire that burned Scotland Island. Cleared firebreaks around the few houses and heavily cleared grazing land prevented heavy property loss.

1940-45 Fortifications and gun emplacements built along the headland West Head for defence use. The Elvina transported troops to the gun emplacements.

1942 Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Company purchased Palm Beach business from W.J.Goddard & Sons. Over the next few years they acquired additional ferries to service Pittwater, the Hawkesbury and the Narrabean Ice works.

1946 Ferry services from Church Point established.

1949 Labour Council of NSW bought the Currawong estate.

1950 Increase in permanent residents around Pittwater which became predominantly residential and suburban.

1951 Church Point ferries bought by E.H. Caldwell who began trading under the current name.

1951 West Head resumed by NSW Government and added to Kuringai National Park.

1955 Formation of Scotland Island Progress Association, instrumental in securing electricity supply and forming Volunteer Fire Brigade. SI News introduced.

1955 First fire station, near Tennis Wharf, constructed by volunteer labour, was also used for meetings and functions, Sunday school, pre-school and ballet.

1960s Beginning of increase in permanent residents on Scotland Island.

1961 Warringah Council infilled land at Church Point for creation of car park.

1962 Electricity supply to Island and western bays officially switched on. This advancement enticed new residents to the area. Existing residents encouraged to have their houses wired.

1967 Scotland Island residents vote against a levied town water and sewage system.

1966 Proposal to split Pittwater from Warringah Shire.

1972 Net at Coasters Retreat.

Early 1970s The Pittwater Ferry Wars, starring the Curlew became big news, reported in national newspapers and featured on ABC l’s Today Tonight. For a short time Church Point and the ferries were the talk of Sydney.

1974 Inaugural Christmas Eve Dog Race from Bell Wharf to Church Point, won by Mandy, Chris Cooper’s dog.

c.1980 Woody point Yacht Club formed.

1981 New Scotland Island Fire Station completed.

1982 Opening of Scotland Island Community Hall at Catherine Park, built over four years of weekend work by volunteers with materials provided by Council.

1984 Pre-school group started.

1988 Warringah Shire Council set charges for emergency water on Scotland Island.

1989 Scotland Island Kindy built.

1991 Pittwater Council established.

1992 First election for Pittwater Councillors.

1992 Council appointed water monitors for emergency water supply on Scotland Island.

1994 Ten houses at Lovett Bay and one at Elvina Bay lost in bushfire.

1994 Woody Point Yacht Club Picnic.

1995-6 Jack Kirkpatrick built the Church Point Ferry, Amelia K.

2000 First off-shore electronic newsletter.

2002 Pittwater Council decided to disconnect Scotland Island emergency water line due to safety concerns. SIRA accepted legal responsibility and upgraded the lines.

2005 In the face of continuing strong advocacy from off-shore associations, Department of Lands proposed cessation of long term car parking in the Church Point Reserve, effective from mid 2007.

2007 Currawong sold to Eco Villages Australia P/L for $15m after Unions NSW had rejected offers of $30m and $25m.

2009 Off-shore residents’ car parking facilities at Church Point secured, with payment of an annual fee, after many years of negotiation, with the adoption of the Church Point Master Plan by Pittwater Council.

2009 Application for residential development at Currawong by Eco Villages P/L rejected by State Government after 200 public submissions strong advocacy by Friends of Currawong and Pittwater Council.

2011 New Church Point Ferry, the L Duck, launched in June.

2013 Pittwater Council votes to add a new decked car park to be constructed adjacent to the commuter wharf.

2016 Northern Beaches Council formed.

2018 New car park at Church Point opened.

2019 SIRA Recreation Club formed

2019 Table tennis commenced on a regular basis

2020 Opening of Two Catherines Café

2021 first Festival of Making (April)

2021 Kindy Building handed over to SIRA to become Recreation Centre