Scotland Island

Home to artists and privacy-loving celebrities, Scotland Island is a great place to feel like you're getting away from the rat-race, yet it is not too far from Sydney's CBD. Located on Pittwater, with Church Point to the south-west and Newport to the south-east, it has just the right balance of being secluded enough so it feels like a piece of paradise, but also being close to Australia's biggest city. Scotland Island is an inhabited island off Church Point, 33 km north of Sydney. The island is approximately 1 km in diameter and its highest point is about 120 metres above sea level. To the east is the suburb of Newport, west is Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, and south are the suburbs of Church Point and Bayview.

Around 18,000 years ago Scotland Island was a hill in a river valley. Following the last ice age, sea levels rose, flooding the valley, forming Pittwater and creating the island. There are many small beaches, consisting mainly of mud, mangroves and rocks. There are no rivers or cliffs, but some small caves towards the top of the island. The top of the island is sandstone and the lower part consists of shale.

Scotland Island is one of two inhabited islands in the Sydney area and according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the island is home to 642 residents. The island is accessed by the Church Point Ferry and private vessels. Most of the island consists of bushland, with a residential zones of approximately 350 houses around the perimeter foreshore. There are no shops, cafes or industrial zones.

The non-residential buildings are a kindergarten, Community Hall and Fire Station. The Child Centre and Community Hall were built by the residents in the 1980s and 1990s and are used for various purposes. Community groups on the island include the Island Thinkers, which organises regular discussion groups. In 2006, an arts and film festival was organised on the island by the community. A number of artists living on Scotland Island and the offshore communities of Pittwater. There is no road access to the island, and all access to it is by boat. A ferry services the island.

History: European discovery and first exploration of the island was in 1788, shortly after the establishment of a penal colony in Sydney Cove. The island was originally named Pitt Island by Arthur Phillip, Governor of the colony, in honour of William Pitt, the British prime minister at the time. The first European settler to own land on Scotland Island was Andrew Thompson where he created a successful salt works. He renamed the island Scotland Island after his homeland. He built boats on the island until his death in 1810. The island was sold as a whole several times in the nineteenth century before being sub-divided and sold off in lots in 1906. Around 1900, salt was extracted from seawater near what is now known as Tennis Wharf. Using an oil burner, about 90 kg were extracted each week.

Permanent residents took up residence in the 1960s and power connected to the island in 1967. Sheep farms were located on the island at one time but now the majority of workers commute to the mainland.

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