European settlement, the Bunurong Aboriginal people used
Churchill Island. The mudflats provided them with a good
food source including flounder, shark and oysters.
Churchill Island is Phillip
Islands main historic attraction and was the site of Victoria's first European
settlement. Along with Phillip Island, Churchill Island was discovered by George
Bass and Matthew Flinders in 1798. It was three years later that Lieutenant
James Grant disembarked from the Lady Nelson in 1801, constructed a cottage on
Churchill Island and planted corn and wheat crop with seeds supplied by his
friend John Churchill, after whom he named the Island. So began the first
European agricultural pursuit in Victoria.
Since the 1850s, the 57 hectare island has been
continuously farmed and in 1872 when Samuel Amess, former
Mayor of Melbourne, purchased the island for both holiday
and farming use. He built a substantial house and
Access to the island prior to the first
bridge, was often by barge at high tide, with the cattle
being driven across the mudflats at low tide. Then in 1959,
the owner at the time, Dr Harry Jenkins had the first bridge
built. The current bridge was completed in 2000.
Of the many buildings that still stand and
have been restored, include the Amess Homestead (c 1872),
Amess Half Cellar, Amess Barn. There is also Rogers Cottages
(c 1860) and the Wash House (c 1900).
Source: Churchill Island PO Box 97, COWES VIC 3922