National Reconciliation Week 2017

               National Reconciliation Week (#NRW2017) celebrates achievements in our journey towards reconciliation.

Held annually from 27 May to 3 June, NRW is bookended by two important milestones, and 2017 marks two significant anniversaries:

• 50 years since the 1967 referendum
• 25 years since the Mabo decision

The week reminds us that big changes take persistence and courage, so let’s celebrate together and take the next steps.

Come and make Reconciliation part of your story at one of the upcoming special activities across the Nature Parks to acknowledge significant events in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander calendar.

As part of the Nature Parks’ ongoing commitment to Reconciliation, our Reconciliation Advisory Committee members would like to invite you to join us for one or all of the below events:

1. National Sorry Day/National Day of Healing

- Friday 26 May 10am-12.30pm - Nobbies Centre
Join us for a Welcome to Country with Arweet Carolyn Briggs and a smoking ceremony with Steve Parker before heading inside to hear stories of personal journeys of reconciliation. All are welcome to share their own story of reconciliation, so please let us know if you’d like to relate your experience to the group. Morning tea is provided, and please remember to dress warmly for the Welcome and smoking ceremonies outside.

2. National Reconciliation Week

- Tuesday 30 May 11.30am - 1.30pm - Koala Conservation Centre
Join us for a Welcome to Country with Arweet Carolyn Briggs, a flag raising and a smoking ceremony with Steve Parker. Taste some BBQ bush tucker and learn of its origins, add your handprint on our reconciliation mural, share some yarns around the fire and then take the next steps with us as we walk through the woodland for reconciliation.

- Wednesday 31 May 12pm - 1.30pm - Penguin Parade
Enjoy a special lunchtime outing as you experience our Aboriginal Heritage Tour at the Penguin Parade. Be sure to bring your walking shoes as this tour will take you into the outdoors.

- Monday 29 May - Friday 2 June - Penguin Parade theatre
Bring your lunch or a snack and enjoy some short films around the theme of reconciliation. Drop in any time between 12pm-1pm.

Please register your interest to speak at the National Sorry day morning tea or direct any enquiries about these events to Sally O’Neill at

We look forward to seeing you there!

resizedimage600848 1446 NRW 2017 A3 Poster V2 page 2 

                                       National Surfing Reserve 4th Annual Surfing Teams Challenge

Archysurf Takes Out Surf Team Challenge 

The Archysurf team, captained by Luke Archibald, has won the Phillip Island National Surfing Reserve’s 2017 Surf Team Challenge and Dave Fincher Memorial Trophy. 

Competition was fierce yet friendly at Saturday's community surfing event and Archysurf is delighted to have finally taken out the prize after coming runner up every year since the competition began in 2014. 

This year Mother Nature created the most challenging conditions yet with showers, onshore winds, extreme tides and little swell. Event Organiser Geoff Owens was up before dawn to scan the beaches and make the final decision on the contest venue. At 7.30am, the 99 competitors took it in their stride when the decision was made to relocate the comp from Flynns to Smiths Beach. 

Proceedings started with a moving Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony from Boonwurrung Community member Steve Parker. Then it was down to business with briefings from Geoff Owens and Contest Director Max Wells before the teams took to the waves to battle it out. 

The gutsy grommets (surfers aged 14 and under) were first to paddle out in each round and showed how it is done with displays of courage and skill. Each category of surfers presented an impressively unique spectacle with support and encouragement from the crowd eagerly watching on from the beach. Sandy Ryan attracted lots of laughs with his comical yet highly skillful antics on his Malibu. 

The tide and excitement in the crowd was high as the surfing progressed to the final round. After a solid eight hours of surfing action, the group met back at Woolamai Beach Surf Clubhouse to let their hair down. As they waited for the all-important presentation, many commented that it was “very rare” to see such a wide range of surfers of all ages getting together, many having known each other for years. 

In the end it all came down to guts, determination, teamwork and skill with Archysurf finally taking home the prize money along with the Dave Fincher Memorial Trophy proudly presented by Dave’s daughter Michelle. Captain Luke Archibald also achieved the highest scoring wave of the day. 

Second place was well deserved by the Island Surfboards team with captain Sandy Ryan achieving best Malibu rider. The Smiths Beach team came in third with team members Steve Demos and Gavin Lewis winning the Best Comedy Act award for the duo’s on and off beach antics. 

Woolamai Hards, captained by Geoff Owens won fourth place, Team TMT came in fifth and new team, The Mainlanders, came in sixth. 

                                                                                       Community Flocks to Nature Parks Open Day 2017 

Over 2,000 Bass Coast Shire community members enjoyed discovering more about Phillip Island Nature Parks’ at the seventh annual Community Open Day held on Sunday 5 March.

The day offered free entry to all Nature Parks attractions as well as a program of activities with rangers and volunteers to allow the community to experience and learn more about the Nature Parks’ environmental programs and community involvement.

First off was an early morning dog walk on the beach at the ‘Dogs’ Breakfast’ activity. Held at the Colonnades at Cape Woolamai, residents walked with their dogs and Nature Parks’ rangers to view the resident Hooded Plover parents and chicks. Visitors learned about the tiny threatened shorebirds and how responsible dog owners and wildlife can live together successfully. The group then shared breakfast – there was even a treat and showbag for the canine participants.

Churchill Island then opened its doors with a special program of sheep shearing, working dog demonstrations and wagon rides. Curator Christine Grayden and Friends of Churchill Island Society volunteers delighted visitors with a display of delicate nineteenth century historic lace from Churchill Island’s most famous owner Samuel Amess. Children were invited to try their hand at old time chores such as butter churning. Volunteer guides in costume enthralled visitors with stories and there was a popular stall of historic plants for sale by Island volunteers.

Although Churchill Island’s Eastern Barred Bandicoots were all fast asleep, locals enjoyed meeting and speaking to Nature Parks’ Dr Duncan Sutherland and Zoos Victoria’s Dr Amy Coetsee about their introduction onto Churchill Island in an ambitious trial designed to save the species from extinction in Victoria.

The ‘Antarctic Journey’ at the Nobbies Centre was busy from the moment it opened with locals experiencing the exciting exhibition that took them on a virtual tour to Antarctica. Dr Rebecca McIntosh was also on hand to talk to visitors, especially about the problems of plastic in our oceans and how everyone can help to reduce this danger to wildlife.

The Koala Conservation Centre was the centre of activity throughout the day with the ‘Koala Experience’ walk and talk featuring Friends of the Koalas and BirdLife Bass Coast volunteers. The nearby Barbara Martin Bushbank community plant nursery was popular with every visitor getting a free indigenous plant for their garden. Visitors also enjoyed the ‘expo’ of community groups including the CFA, Landcare, Phillip Island National Surfing Reserve and Westernport Water who all delighted visitors with demonstrations and giveaways. The Nature Parks provided stalls with information about living with wildlife and their Reconciliation Action Plan 2015-18 which demonstrates a strong commitment to reconciliation, relationships, respect and opportunities for the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.

At 3pm, a crowd gathered for a moving Welcome to Country ceremony led by Boon Wurrung Elder Carolyn Briggs followed by a performance by local Millowl Dance Troupe led by Steve Parker.

Fox rangers Stu and Craig then gave an interactive demonstration of the incredible sense of smell that fox dogs Sam and Jazz use to assist the Nature Parks in trying find any last remaining foxes on Phillip Island. The pair runs over 1,700km each year in their search. Possum and bird box painting were popular with all ages, and children loved completing their ‘Open Day’ quest at each site to win a badge and beautiful hand painted environmental book.

In the early evening little penguin expert Dr Andre Chiaradia from the Nature Parks’ research department led ‘The Private Lives of Penguins’ tour. Locals learned about the lives of little penguins and the important world-leading research programs run by the Nature Parks which are supported by the work of the Phillip Island Penguin Foundation. On the day, Westernport Water donated the funds they raised at their stall to the work of this important charity.

As the sun faded in the sky, locals then settled in to enjoy the evening Penguin Parade where they marvelled at the little penguins coming ashore after a day’s fishing and returning to their burrows.

“We would like to thank everyone involved in the Community Open Day 2017 and invite the community to consider joining one of the many wonderful volunteer groups who work with the Nature Parks to care for Phillip Island’s environment, culture and wildlife,” said organiser Sally O’Neill.

“We would like everyone to mark the annual event in their diary for the first Sunday in March next year. Look out for advertisements and information in local papers and on our website.”


COD1 Cropped COD3

                                                        Phillip Island’s National Surfing Reserve Takes Marram Grass to Task

Members of the Phillip Island National Surfing Reserve Working Group recently spent a morning learning about and assisting with dune restoration at Cape Woolamai.

Over twenty volunteers gave up their Sunday sleep-in to learn more about the difference between marram and other native grasses with Nature Parks rangers before rolling up their sleeves and manually removing an area of the grass.

“In just over an hour the volunteers made a significant impact in reducing marram grass in an area near the Surf Life Saving Clubhouse,“ said event organiser Mark Merryful, Phillip Island Nature Parks Senior Ranger, Coasts and Wetlands.

“This will hopefully be the first step in an integrated approach to restoring this fragile dune system.”

Volunteers included members of the Surfing Reserve, Phillip Island Board Riders Club and Woolamai Beach Surf Life Saving Club and the general public. This will be an ongoing partnership and another working bee will be held in early 2017.

Call for new community members
Phillip Island National Surfing Reserve Working Group is currently seeking new community members. The Group meets between 6-10 times per year, organises and runs an annual surfing team challenge and assists in other community events such as Clean Up Australia Day. If you are interested or involved in the local surfing community, we’d love your input on ways we can encourage everyone to share, preserve and respect our amazing surf beaches. Positions are voluntary and applicants must be available to meet between 4pm and 6pm on weekdays with some events on weekends.

Anyone interested in being part of this enthusiastic and proactive group can find out more and get an application form from our Facebook page: Phillipislandnsr. Forms are also available to download below or by contacting Hayley Smith Executive Assistant, Phillip Island Nature Parks on 5951 2804 or

Applications close: Friday 25 November 2016.

Download the NSR's Call for Members here

Download the NSR's Registration Form here

NSR Marram Grass

                                                                                                             Community Information Sessions

Phillip Island Nature Parks invites all community members and interested parties to join us for the below information sessions.

Developed with extensive community and stakeholder consultation, Phillip Island Nature Parks has completed, in partnership with Bass Coast Shire Council, a Master Plan for the Cape Woolamai coastal reserve area from the Cape to Veterans Drive.

Cape Woolamai Coastal Reserves Master Plan
Date: Thursday 24 November
Time: 6.00pm – 7.00pm
Location: Koala Conservation Centre (Chisholm Room)

The Woodlands and Wetlands Key Area Plan looks at the long-term management for the woodland and wetland areas of the Nature Parks, including the Koala Conservation Centre and the former Rhyll Landfill and Transfer Station.

Woodlands and Wetlands Key Area Plan
Date: Thursday 24 November
Time: 7.00pm – 8.00pm
Location: Koala Conservation Centre (Chisholm Room)

Download Session Times here

                                                                                                                     Protecting our Hooded Plovers 

The Hooded Plover (Thinornis rubricollis) is a small shore bird, about 20 cm in length, found on beaches throughout southern Australia and parts of Western Australia, including the Bass Coast. They are largely confined to high energy ocean beaches, and spend a great deal of time on the beach.   Their nests are usually simple scrapes in dune areas. 

The Hooded Plover is listed as Threatened under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988, and Vulnerable in Victoria.

Go Wild for Life!

To celebrate World Environment Day we aim to inspire more people than ever before to take action to prevent the growing strain on planet Earth’s natural systems from reaching breaking point.   

What are Council, Phillip Island Nature Parks and the community doing to save this threatened bird species? 

Phillip Island Nature Parks: 

Phillip Island Nature Parks, along with local conservation groups and volunteers has been monitoring the Hooded Plover population since the 1980’s. Recent plans have focused on increasing breeding success and adult survival. 

Some of their strategies include:

• Fencing off breeding beaches from wandering sheep and cattle.

• Controlling pest plants and animals especially foxes, dogs and cats.

• Enforcing regulations prohibiting dogs and horses on breeding beaches.

• Pick up rubbish such as fishing lines and other plastic from the beach and place rubbish in the bin or recycle. 

Bass Coast Friends of the Hooded Plover: 

Two long established volunteer community groups have been working in Bass Coast Shire to protect the Hooded Plover and increase breeding and fledgling survival rates; Friends of the Hooded Plover and Hooded Plover Watch. Parks Victoria has also undertaken significant work over the past 30 years to increase the habitat of the threatened shore nesting bird.

A group of devoted Volunteers works closely with Birds Australia, Parks Victoria and Bass Coast Shire to;

  • Conserve a threatened species of Beach-Nesting bird struggling to sustain itself on our local beaches.
  • Promote coexistence between the bird and recreationists
  • Monitor and Manage breeding sites
  • Participate in the biennial Victorian population count 

With low numbers of Hooded Plover left in Victoria, the need to help this bird is real and present now. The opportunity for you to help exists with this Hoodie Friends Group.  We monitor breeding along 30 kilometres of coastline between Anderson’s Inlet and Kilcunda.  

Bass Coast Shire Council:

Council are developing a strategy for the increased breeding and fledging success of the Hooded Plover, for the Bass Coast Shire foreshore and Phillip Island foreshore. 

The aim of the strategy is to:

  • Work with those interested community members and stakeholders to develop two strategies, including action plans to: 
  • Increase breeding and fledging success of the Hooded Plover
  • Increase community awareness through education about the Hooded Plover
  • Improve collaboration between land managers and community groups
  • Increase protection of Hooded Plover habitat
  • Balanced and sustainable public access to beaches during Hooded Plover breeding season
  • Determine the resource required to undertake actions within the strategies
  • Develop an ongoing evaluation and monitoring program.

You can get involved by contacting, or by phone on 1300 BCOAST(226 278)

Download the info sheet here

ISLAND ARK FOR EXTINCT BANDICOOTS                                                                                                                                                                   

Last night, sixteen Eastern Barred Bandicoots settled into their new home on Churchill Island in Phillip Island Nature Parks, as part of a trial release designed to save the species from extinction.

Considered extinct in the wild on the mainland since 1991, this small marsupial has been surviving behind predator-proof fences designed to keep them safe from foxes and feral cats.

Thanks to Phillip Island Nature Parks’ efforts over the past 10 years to ensure Churchill Island is fox and feral-cat free, the 57-hectare island in Victoria’s east is considered to be ideal habitat for Eastern Barred Bandicoots.

The trial release of eight male and eight female Eastern Barred Bandicoots onto Churchill Island will be run by Phillip Island Nature Parks and supported by Zoos Victoria and the Eastern Barred Bandicoot Recovery Team. The suitability of the island will be assessed over two years with the findings informing potential future releases of Eastern Barred Bandicoots onto larger fox-free islands, such as Phillip Island and French Island.

The trial release is part of a wider program aimed at saving the Eastern Barred Bandicoot from extinction, including a $146,800 gene pool widening project that will mix captive-bred Eastern Barred Bandicoots from Victoria with individuals from the Tasmanian sub-species to increase genetic diversity amongst the Victorian population, which has suffered due to their critically low population size.

The project has been supported by the Andrews Labor Government together with the Australian Government, Tasmanian Government and Zoos Victoria.

The Australian Government contributed $55,000 to this project as part of the action plan under its new Threatened Species Strategy.

Quotes attributable to Minister Neville

“These amazing marsupials have survived as only captive animals for over 20 years, but thanks to recovery efforts of many partner organisations and communities we have the very real possibility of returning this species back to the wild.” 

“This is an exciting step towards having large, self-sustaining populations of Eastern Barred Bandicoots on islands where they can be secure and flourish.”


Churchill Island’s rich legacy                                                                                                                                                                 

Churchill Island’s rich history has been documented in the release of the ‘Churchill Island Conservation Management Plan’ which was showcased at a series of community information sessions in late July.

Over 25 community members attended the sessions where Anita Brady from ‘Lovell Chen’ gave participants an overview of the plan’s findings and recommendations. Ms Brady explained that the plan was developed following an accepted methodology, as practised across Australia, and endorsed by the heritage agencies and authorities.

The plan scope included buildings and structures, gardens and the broader landscape, archaeology (not Indigenous) and the collection of machinery and objects. It involved input from several disciplines including historians, architects, historic landscape specialists, archaeologists, interpretation consultants and historic farm machinery specialists.

The team undertook thorough research of historical records including survey maps dating from 1801 and a recently completed PhD study.  Aerial photos were also used to illustrate how the landscape has changed over time: “and these photos do not lie”, said Ms Brady.

The findings revealed that the Island has both ‘State’ and ‘Local’ significance. At a state level, it represents evidence of the early European exploration of Victoria and has the first documented planting of European crops and structure or building in the state of Victoria. At a local level, the island demonstrates ‘retreat’ history, with important owners including Melbourne identity Samuel Amess (1870s to 1920s) and Gerald Buckley (of the Buckley and Nunn Melbourne department stores from the 1920s).

It also is an example of the era of the early conservation movement including Victoria Conservation Trust (1970s to 1980s) and demonstrates the survival of the remnant Moonah trees and their integration into the modified landscape.

The plan clearly identifies original elements and recommends that ‘items of significance be retained and conserved’. It endorses emphasising what is authentic about the island, to enhance awareness and understanding of the history.  It also states that ‘change can be considered where it supports the ongoing viability and operation of the island’.

“In summary, the Conservation Management Plan will provide a guiding document to assist in the future planning of Churchill Island,” said Matthew Jackson, Phillip Island Nature Parks CEO.

“Now that this study has been completed, we are able to make informed decisions about Churchill Island to ensure that its important history and landscape are protected and appropriately showcased. It demonstrates that change can occur as long as it is managed in a way that has regard for heritage values.”

The plan will now be endorsed by the Phillip Island Nature Parks Board. 

Please click here to view a summary of the draft plan.

Churchill Island – a brief history

The Churchill Island Conservation Management Plan details the fascinating eras of history on this tiny island in Western Port:

Pre 1798: Boon Wurrung people visit the area. (Note: Indigenous history was not included in the plan scope, this will be undertaken in a further study.)

1798 Surgeon George Bass enters and names Western Port. The bay was at that time Sydney’s furthest-known harbour to its west.

1801 Lieutenant James Grant, Captain of the HMS Lady Nelson, explores Western Port in greater detail. Grant and his men row over to Churchill Island and, under his orders, a blockhouse is erected and a garden planted. Grant names the island ‘Churchill’ after one of his benefactors (John Churchill of Dawlish, Devon) who supplied him with seed, including wheat, corn and other vegetables, to plant in the new colony.

His first mate, John Murray, assists Ensign Francis Barrallier in drawing a chart of the bay, which includes a dashed outline marking the area where ground was cleared for the blockhouse and garden on Churchill Island. The exact location of this has never been found, yet it is thought to be in the south-west corner of the island near the Moonah forest.

1801-2 Acting Lieutenant John Murray returns to Western Port the following summer to finish the survey for Bass Strait’s northern coastline and islands visited by Grant. Murray records his return visit to Churchill Island, where he noted that the corn and wheat planted earlier that year under Grant’s orders had matured and ripened and the garden and the blockhouse were as they left it.

1802-1842 Churchill Island is variously depicted as an island in its own right, as an isthmus or just left off maps produced by both British and French explorers during this time.

1842 Lewis Roper Fitzmaurice, assistant surveyor to John Lort Stokes surveys Western Port. The map Stokes produced from Fitzmaurice’s survey shows Churchill Island as wooded, with the exception of two small portions in its centre, most likely due to the fact the island was not explored on foot, but only from a small boat. No sign of Grant’s garden appears on the map.

1854 John Rogers acquires the pastoral lease for the Sandstone Island Run and becomes a squatter (The accepted term at the time, and since for a lessee of a pastoral run is a squatter). The run originally comprised of Sandstone, Elizabeth and Churchill Islands – all in Western Port. Evidence suggests that Elizabeth Island became a run in its own right in 1855, and Churchill Island was added in 1860. Until 1863 Rogers paid £10 per annum for the privilege of de-pasturing each separate Run.

1860 The Pickersgill family begin living on Churchill Island, occupying it in their own right and later sharing it with the Rogers.

1861 A Coastal Plan indicates a ‘White House’ on Churchill Island – exact location not recorded, but it was nominated as a navigational aid so would have been obvious, most likely on the top of the hill and could be where Rogers Cottages is today.

1865 Rogers purchases Churchill Island as a special lot at auction at the upset price of one pound ten shillings per acre, for 140 acres.

1866 Rogers receives title and his family continue farming Churchill Island. Sheep are de-pastured in large numbers and agriculture appears to continue. Records show that potatoes were a major crop grown.

1867 Rogers takes out a mortgage to JD Mc Haffie – likely to fund further buildings and improvements.

1869 First series of advertisements for the sale of Churchill Island - it fails to sell.

1869-72 John Rogers selects land on the mainland. It is said that the island is leased back to McHaffie.

1872 - 1929 Samuel Amess, (building contractor and Mayor of Melbourne 1869-70) purchases Churchill Island. Writings from the 1880s and 1890s strongly support the contention that Samuel Amess used the island as his private rural seaside retreat. He built the homestead and planted orchard and gardens. Farming continued and the Island remained in the family, being passed from father to son until 1929.

1929 Gerald Neville Buckley (of the Buckley and Nunn department stores in Melbourne) purchased Churchill Island. Under Buckley the island is run as a dairy farm. Buckley leaves the management of the island to local brothers Bob and Ted Jeffrey.

1932 Jeffrey brothers win the better farming award for their work on Churchill Island.

1935 Gerald Buckley dies.

1936 Churchill Island purchased by Edward Harry Jenkins for his son, Ted, who had been incapacitated due to a diving accident. Prior to the war the Jenkins family used the island as weekender, leaving its care to Eve and Ern Garratt. During the war years it seems that Ted Jenkins and Margaret Campbell, his nurse, ran the island themselves as a dairy farm. Sister Campbell cared for Ted Jenkins until his death in 1960.

1959 The first bridge from Phillip Island to Churchill Island is built, although its construction was marred by the death of one of the contractors hired to build it.

1963 Harry Jenkins dies and leaves the island to Margaret Campbell. Eve and Ern Garratt return to the island under her employ to help manage it. During this time the island was used as a primary home by its owner for the first time since the 1860s.

1973 Margaret Campbell sells Churchill Island after illness reduces her capacity to manage it. Although the newly formed Victorian Conservation Trust are interested in the property, and enlist State Government aid to purchase it, they are outbid at the auction by Alex Classou.

1976 After some years of negotiation with Alex Classou, the Victorian Conservation Trust, with the aid of the Hamer State Government purchases Churchill Island as a heritage and natural conservation site. Carroll Schulz begins work as the site’s first manager in 1978. Restoration works are carried out on the cottages, house and outbuildings.

1983 Victoria Conservation trust hands over the management of the island to Victorian National Parks.

1985 Churchill Island management changes to the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment.

1996 Phillip Island Nature Parks is given management of Churchill Island.

2000 Restoration work is completed on the homestead, this time in accordance with ICAMOS and the Burra Charter heritage guidelines. The National Trust loans period furniture to furnish the homestead and cottages. New bridge completed.

2014 Churchill Island Key Area Plan completed.

2015 Churchill Island Conservation Management Plan completed.

CMP Sessions


Horse Team

Community Information Sessions - Churchill Island Conservation Management Plan

Interested community members are invited to attend one of two sessions that will present a summary of the draft Churchill Island Conservation Management Plan.

The Churchill Island Key Area Plan was completed in March 2014. The Plan provides a 15-year strategic overview for Churchill Island detailing a ‘big picture’ vision that maximises the Island’s potential, caters for varying user groups and ensures Churchill Island’s existing values are upheld. 

A key action of this Plan was to develop a ‘Conservation Management Plan’. This document establishes principles such as site design and management, for managing existing assets, new development and the restructuring of existing site features.  The final draft is now completed and a summary will be presented at this session where you will be able to ask questions and learn more about this important planning document.

When: Monday 27 July
Session 1  - 3.30pm - 5pm
Session 2 - 6pm - 7.30pm

Where: Koala Conservation Centre - Chisholm Education Centre
            1810 Phillip Island Rd

Bookings are not required, but If you require further information, contact Hayley Smith at or by calling 5951 2804.


Community Sessions for Phillip Island South and North Coast Beaches Key Area Plan A Success

pdf1South and North Coast Key Area Plan presentation 8.10.14

pdf1South and North Coast Key Area Plan

pdf1Coastal Process Study presentation 8.10.14

pdf1Coastal Process Study 2014

Phillip Island Nature Parks presented the final draft of their South and North Coast Beaches Key Area Plan to stakeholders and community members in a series of information sessions held this week. The plan was well received and will now be presented to Phillip Island Nature Parks’ Board for approval.

Over 60 people attended the sessions held at the Newhaven Hall representing Bass Coast Shire Councillors, representatives of key community groups along with interested community members.

The session began with a summary of findings of the ‘Coastal Processes Study’ recently commissioned by the Nature Parks. The extensive study, undertaken by leading experts in the field, provides a comprehensive understanding of Phillip Island’s geology and geomorphology and the coastal processes affecting the coastline. It was well received by participants with one community member  describing it as: “very important work for Phillip Island”.

“This comprehensive study provides the evidence we need to make informed decisions about managing our coastline,” said Matthew Jackson, Phillip Island Nature Parks’ Chief Executive Officer. 

Participants were then provided with a summary of the final draft ‘South and North Coast Key Area Plan’.

“It is important to note that nature conservation is the key guiding principle for this plan,” said Mr Jackson. “Along with the premise that people should be able to enjoy reasonable and safe access to the coast.”

The plan identifies key guiding principles and a high level strategic framework for managing the beaches along the south coast of Phillip Island from Woolamai to Summerland Peninsula, and in the north from Ventnor to Summerland Peninsula. 

It includes a site-by-site analysis of issues and opportunities for each location such as Cape Woolamai, Forrest Caves, Smiths Beach, YCW and Summerland Beach. It also focuses on more strategic actions including the need for reviewing management jurisdiction and focussing on improved connections between areas for visitors and locals.

The community engaged in lively discussion about the presentations asking many questions and offering their ideas and input. Topics of discussion included meeting the demands of increased visitors to the island, changing coastal weather patterns and walking paths.

The Key Area Plan will now be presented to the Phillip Island Nature Parks Board at the October meeting where it is expected that it will be endorsed.

Once the plan is approved, the Nature Parks will commence implementation of the strategies including more detailed assessments of each site in line with the overall guiding principles.

“The community will remain informed throughout the implementation process and have the opportunity to be involved as we work through the actions outlined in the plan. We thank everyone for attending and their support for this important planning work for Phillip Island Nature Parks,” said Mr Jackson.

Copies of the presentations given at the sessions, along with ongoing updates can now be found at with a final summary of the South and North Coast Beaches Key Area Plan estimated by the end of October.

If you require further information, contact Hayley Smith at or by calling 5951 2804.


Media Enquiries:
Sally O’Neill - Community and Communications, Phillip Island Nature Parks
Call 0408 101 976

Churchill Island Key Area Plan

pdf1Churchill Island Key Area Plan (5MB)

Phillip Island Nature Parks recently held a Community Information Session about the exciting future plans for Churchill Island.

“The session completed over seven months of work including extensive development with a wide range of key stakeholders,” said Matthew Jackson, Phillip Island Nature Parks’ Chief Executive Officer.

“This Plan details a positive future for Churchill Island which maximises Churchill Island’s potential and where each user group is catered for and the Island’s values are not compromised.”

The Plan was received positively by the small gathering of community members. It was explained that it is not a Master Plan, but a 15-year strategic overview that outlines the exciting ‘big picture’ for Churchill Island.

As well as identifying Churchill Island’s key attributes and their value to the community, the Plan offers the concept of unique ‘precincts’ to showcase these special attributes including heritage, environment, events and functions.

This will be achieved through working with partners such as Bass Coast Shire Council to create a ‘hub’ for the Bass Coast community and a place for people to discover the region’s history, beauty, produce and talents. The Plan outlines a modest, sensible investment strategy using high quality infrastructure.

“It is important to note that, once the Plan is finalised, we are committed to developing a detailed Conservation Management Plan” said Mr Jackson.

As per existing conditions, no permanent accommodation will be created on the Island.

The group agreed that one of the main challenges is the entry to Churchill Island from Phillip Island Tourist Road. The Nature Parks intends to work with community, Bass Coast Shire Council and Vic Roads towards a future solution.

If you require further information, contact Hayley Smith at or by calling 5951 2804.

Your Free Community Information Guide

The Phillip Island Nature Parks team is proud to release their first Community Information Guide and your free copy is now available.

The booklet aims to provide the community with as much information as possible about the Nature Parks’ role, departments and the areas it manages. The booklet details the history and current activities of the Nature Parks and contains important handy information including the yearly cycle of the little penguins and contact numbers such as who to call if you find injured wildlife or see a fox on the island.

Pick up a copy of the free guide from a Phillip Island Visitor Information Centre or any Nature Parks outlet: Penguin Parade, Nobbies Centre, Koala Conservation Centre and Churchill Island, or download a copy. 

pdf1Community Information Guide (2.16MB)

Local Pass                                                                                                                                                             

Do you live in the Bass Coast Shire?  Phillip Island Nature Parks is launching a new and exclusive Bass Coast Shire residents 'Local Pass' on 01 April 2016. 

For one low price, the new Local Pass will offer unlimited entry for 12 months into 4 of the Nature Parks’ major attractions. Come and visit our iconic little penguins at the Penguin Parade, relax and unwind at Churchill Island Heritage Farm, check out the residents at the Koala Conservation Centre, and immerse yourself in the exciting new Antarctic Journey at the Nobbies. 

Local Passes are only available for purchase at any of the Nature Parks venues. 

$58.00 per adult
$28.90 per child (4 to 15 years)

To ensure the pass is exclusive to Bass Coast Shire residents, you must show identification of your residency within the Bass Coast Shire – driver’s licence, rates notice etc. The pass is available for purchase from the Penguin Parade, Koala Conservation Centre, Churchill Island Heritage Farm and the Antarctic Journey at the Nobbies. Photo ID needs to be presented with the pass to gain entry at all locations.

Contact us for more information:
Ph: 5951 2830