Churchill Island

Just off the coast of Phillip Island, Churchill Island holds an important place in the history of European settlement in Victoria. The site of the first European agricultural pursuits in Victoria, the island has been farmed since the 1850s.

Location: Churchill Island is connected by a small bridge to Phillip Island, which is 90 minutes’ drive from Melbourne.

“I scarcely know a place I would rather call mine than this little island,” Lt Grant wrote in his journal back in 1801 when he sailed the British Naval ship the Lady Nelson up Westernport Bay and spotted the pretty island that george Bass and Matthew Flinders had found and charted three years earlier.


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Believing it to be an excellent spot for agricultrure (he was right) Grant rushed back to his ship to collect some vegetable seeds, the stones of peaches and the pips of several sorts of apples – gifts from his old friend, the eponymous John Churchill, afrter whom he named the island. Thus was established the first farmed site in Victoria.

Things To See and Do

This once isolated 57 hectares, pest-free island still bears testimony to that first historic venture with a working farm, complete with heritage buildinmgs, an orchard and herb garden. Amess House, the restored grand homestead around which the complex is focused, was built by Samuel Amess, a former mayor of Melbourne when he bought the island in the 1870s.

Activities for visitors include cow milking, sheep shearing, whip cracking and working dog demonstrations. There is a cafe, a blacksmith and other interesting activities one expects to see on a farm. A farmers’ market selling a wide range of local produce including cheeses, organic fruit and vegetables and free-range chicken products is held on the fouth Saturday of each month.

Surrounding Area

Churchill Island Marine National Park

Churchill Island Marine National Park is located south of Rhyll, on the eastern shore of Phillip Island, in Western Port. The park extends from Long Point south of Rhyll township to the north point of Churchill Island and along the island’s western shore to the bridge, encompassing approximately 670 hectares. Habitat types represented within the Marine National Park include seagrass beds, mangroves, sheltered intertidal mudflats, sandy beaches, subtidal soft sediments and rocky intertidal shores, which provide habitat for a range of important marine fish and invertebrate specie

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