First walked by Boonwurrung Aboriginal people, Churchill Island now has an important place in the history of European settlement in Victoria. Lt. James Grant disembarked from the Lady Nelson in 1801 and named the island after the man who had given him seeds that he planted, making Churchill Island the site of the first European agricultural pursuits in Victoria.
Since the 1850s this fertile 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 outbuildings. Other families on the island have included the Pickersgills and Rogers and buildings from these island inhabitants still stand today.
The historical buildings and remnants of historical gardens are now a drawcard for tens of thousands of visitors a year. An historical curator is presently documenting remaining artefacts.
Friends of Churchill Island Society
The Friends of Churchill Island Society (FOCIS) is a group of enthusiastic people passionate about the history and natural environment of Churchill Island.
FOCIS raises funds through membership subscriptions and other activities which are channelled back into various projects around Churchill Island. Over the years FOCIS has been responsible for purchasing items to recreate the historical ambience of the place. FOCIS volunteers assist with guiding, animal and pest control, maintenance and researching and archiving. FOCIS welcomes new members.
Detailed information about the history and historical artefacts on the island can be found on the FOCIS website.