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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Churchill Island Heritage Farm

Churchill Island, located just off the coast from Newhaven, is one of Phillip Island’s major attractions. Covering an area of 57 Ha, the island features an historic Heritage Working Farm dating back to 1872. It was first discovered by George Bass and Matthew Flinders in 1798. In 1801, Lieutenant James Grant constructed a simple cottage and planted corn and wheat with seeds supplied by his friend John Churchill, after whom the island was named. Churchill Island was the first European settlement in Victoria.

The waters and mudflats surrounding Churchill Island are listed under the Convention on Wetlands of international importance - the Ramsar Convention. It forms part of the large Churchill Island Marine National Park.

Before European settlement, Phillip Island was visited by the Bunurong Aboriginal people - the mudflats provided great tucker such as flounder, shark and oysters.

A number of small cottages, as well as a traditional homestead, were later built. These are part of the Heritage Farm and are open for walk-through inspection and include the historical house and farm buildings, farming machinery, stables, shearing shed, blacksmith shop, cellar, horse-works, coaches, buggies, a milk vending cart, a wishing well, hoes, traditional gardens and the orchard. Ranger demonstrations of traditional farming techniques are given.

The large restored Homestead and old outbuildings offer a fascinating and colorful insight into farm life during the late 1800s. Some of the beautiful period furniture pieces are on loan from the Museum Victoria - others are part of the original property, which include many household items.

Many of the farm animals roam freely around the gardens - some are in pens. The kids will love them! There are cows, goats, ducks, geese, sheep, chickens, chooks, Clydesdale horses, highland cattle and "George" - a 50 year old cockatoo! Watch out for the beautiful colored Peacocks!

The unsealed access road from the bridge runs through extensive open paddocks, where there are geese and huge ferocious-looking long-horned highland cattle, which amble across the road!

A free printed Visitor Guide/Map is available at the Visitor Centre, where there is an excellent photographic display about the fascinating history of the Island. There is an adjacent cafe and shop, where heritage reproduction items, books, clothing, stickers and CDs may be purchased.

A small admission fee is charged for entry to the Heritage Area - pensioner/senior's concession is $7.20.

There are two main walking/cycling tracks on the Island, which start at the Centre - the Long Point Loop and the Island Loop. There is no charge for using these Tracks. Grant’s monument is next to the junction of these Tracks.

The Island is reached from the turn-off north of Phillip Island Road, 1km west of the Newhaven Bridge, near the Chocolate Factory!. A bridge allows unlimited access from 10 am - 4.30 pm. Distance from Melbourne is about 120 km.

I visited the Island on May 4, 2009 - see the full set of
Photos of the Heritage Area. I have another Album showing images of the scenery along the 4 km North Point Walking Track, at

Comprehensive information about the Island is at

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