Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Churchill Island Heritage Farm

Churchill Island is a working Heritage Farm that  can be accessed from Phillip Island.  The 57 heactare Island was originally inhabited by the Bunurong people with the first European inhabitants finding remains of canoes and fires.

European settlement started when Lieutenant James Grant sailed the Lady Nelson to the island in 1801. He planted seeds he'd been provided, felled trees and built a hut making this the first European agricultral pursuit in Victoria.

The Island  forms part of the Churchill Island Marine National Park and is maintained by Parks Victoria. From an Indigenous cultural perspective Aborigianl middens and the remains of stone foundations are also preserved  with  the area of Western Port surrounding the island listed under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (RAMSAR Convention).

One of the sculptures in the garden
The gardens are extensive and  well maintained. They include some interesting sculptures, Norfolk Pines, ancient Moonah trees, wetlands and a range of plants and herbs. You can wander around the gardens, house and farm buildings on a range of paths.  The grade is very easy.

A cottage

Kitchen garden

In the kitchen garden

There are also extensive walking tracks including through the wetlands. For more information on walking the Island see Walks Victoria

The main house

James Amess, a former mayor of Melbourne, purchased the island  in 1872 and built the substantial home that still stands today.  

Informal dining room

The main house has been restored and provides a fantastic glimpse into what life was like for the well to do early European settler.

Bedroom in the main house

Antique spinning wheel

One of the workshops

Black faced sheep

A range of activities including sheep shearing, cow milking, blacksmithing and working dog demonstrations run every day. To find out details  see the updated schedule.

Farm animals include this horse

There is a Visitor Centre on the Island which features an exhibition on the history of the island, a quality gift shop and a licensed café.  You can enjoy a snack or lunch including a glass of wine and take in the breathtaking views of Western Port. 

Ticket prices are around $10 for an adult or you can purchase a 3 Park Pass and visit the Island along with the Koala Conservation Centre and end the day with the Penguin Parade. Further information and to purchase tickets

If you're interested in helping preserve the history of Churchill Island you can join the Friends of Churchill Island Group

The Island is also the site of a regular farmers market, normally the 4th Saturday of the month. See Market dates

Peacock wandering around the animal corrals

1 day Phillip Island Private Tour

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