Call for Reconciliation Advisory Committee members

We are currently calling for interested local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and local community members to get involved and nominate to join our Reconciliation Advisory Committee. The Committee provides a great opportunity for two-way communication between the Nature Parks and the local community to assist in delivering reconciliation objectives.

Please contact 
Kate Adams, Manager, Visitor Experience for any queries and to submit your expression of interest
Members are appointed according to the Committee’s Terms of Reference.

Nominations close Friday 25 January 2019

RAC ad  

                          Surfing Reserve Call for members

Calling Community members 


Phillip Island National Surfing Reserve Working Group is seeking community members with an interest in surfing and preserving our coastal environment.
The Surfing Reserve was declared in March 2013 and is Victoria’s first and only National Surfing Reserve. The working group celebrates, promotes and preserves the reserve, the sport of surfng, and the history and cultural significance of surfing on Phillip Island.
The group meets between 6-10 times per year and holds an annual surfing competition, fundraising events and assists in other community events.
Positions are voluntary and applicants must work within the group’s 
Terms of Reference and be available to meet between 4pm – 7pm on week days, with some events on weekends.Interested applicants are invited to complete the application form which can also be downloaded from the Reserve's Facebook page.

Please submit your application or direct enquiries to:

Jacqui Moloney |  email: 
Phillip Island Nature Parks
Ph: 5951 2820
Applications close: 7 February 2019

Further information:



             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.


$58.80 per adult
$29.30 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



        National Surfing Reserve Annual Surfing Teams Challenge 2018

Island Brings It Home

Island Surfboards won the fifth Phillip Island National Surfing Reserve Teams Challenge and Dave Fincher Memorial Trophy on Sunday 15 April at Summerland Beach.

In what can only be called challenging conditions, Island won the event for the second time with Sandy Ryan captaining the team for both the 2015 and 2018 victories.

The competition was changed from Saturday due to predicted wild weather and organisers were up at dawn on Sunday to determine if conditions would allow the event to proceed.

Event Organiser Geoff Owens made the call at 7am and surfers braved the wild, wet weather to gather on the beach for a briefing, followed by a Welcome To Country and Smoking Ceremony from Boon wurrung Community member Steve Parker.

The gutsy grommets (surfers aged 14 and under) and Malibu riders were first to paddle through the large swell rolling off the point before the teams took to the waters based on the judges’ draw.

The less than perfect waves did not deter the highly skilled surfers with each giving it their all and making the most of every ride. The loyal crowd was rewarded with an impressive display of skill, determination and a little bit of comedy including Simon Mc Shane paddling in on a broken board.

After the first two rounds, it was decided to cut the competition short. “Every team got to surf in the heats, then the judges decided to move the first three teams of each heat straight through to the final due to the weather,” explained Geoff.

The teams battled it out, with some brilliant surfing and fierce competition. Island took the lead in the early stages, but at the final progress tally, Team EP had just edged ahead and the result hung in the balance as the final surfers took to the water.

The last moments of the competition were a hilarious race to the finish line as team members did almost anything to get the points needed to qualify for a place in the messy shore break.

In the end it all came down to guts, determination, teamwork and skill. Team ‘EP’, captained by Nick Fostin took out second prize and third prize was won by ‘United Smiths’, captained by Matt Crooks. Last year’s winners ‘Archysurf’ came in fourth with ‘Newhaven Spoonbills’ in fifth and ‘Woolamai Hards’ in sixth place.

At the end of the competition, everyone gathered on the beach for a minute’s silence and then a ‘flouro wave’ in support of the event’s chosen cause ‘One Wave’ - the non-profit surf community tackling mental health issues.

A wide range of prizes and awards was given out at the presentation ceremony at the Woolamai Beach Surf Life Saving Club. The competitors and their families also helped celebrate the fifth anniversary of the National Surfing Reserve, tucking into slices of a fabulous ocean blue birthday cake.

Highlights of the award presentation ceremony included Chad Garrett winning a custom surfboard from Island Surfboards - the award for Best Performance by an Unsponsored Surfer. The Phillip Island RSL Team Spirit Award was presented to Sam Guzzardi and his Barrel of Fun team, making their first appearance at the competition. In a terrific gesture of sportsmanship, Carl Wright, gifted his Rip Curl Islantis Highest Scoring Wave Award – a GPS Watch – to delighted team member, grommet Noah Goldsbury.

The fifth Surfing Teams Challenge was a fun, inclusive community event, which represents the core values of the Surfing Reserve – to share, respect and preserve our wonderful beaches. Each year, the event is supported by a range of local business, with Westernport Water joining Bass Coast Shire Council and Phillip Island Nature Parks as major sponsors this year. Generous sponsorship from Island Surfboards, Phillip Island RSL, Newhaven College, Karoon Gas, Cape Kitchen, Ramada Resort and Rip Curl/Islantis, Reece Plumbing, Pro Surf Coaching and San Remo IGA, also helped lift this year’s event to a new level.

“Without this support, we wouldn’t be able to hold this event and continue raising awareness of the National Surfing Reserve,” said Event Organiser Geoff Owens.

“Once again, it was a great day and I want to thank everyone for coming and continuing to support this community surfing event held in our wonderful National Surfing Reserve.”

See you all next year!

Winning team Island with trophy NSRSTC18Eli CurryNSRSTC18 GB
NSRSTC18Flouro Wave Geoff Owens and TBC


Final Awards List

1. BEST CONTRIBUTOR (as nominated by team captain)
TEAM 1 –: United Smiths - Eli Curry
TEAM 2 –: Island Surfboards - Simon McShane
TEAM 3 –: EP – Ravi Fostin
TEAM 4 –: Newhaven College Spoonbills – Tom Barrett
TEAM 5 –: Little Blues (PINP) – Patch Kallstrom
TEAM 6 -: Woolamai Hards – Ian Garrett
TEAM 9-: Barrel of Fun – Niamh Moore

NAME: Ravi Fostin TEAM: EP

NAME: Chad Garrett TEAM: Woolamai Hards

NAME: Carl Wright TEAM: United Smiths

NAME: Lannia Fostin TEAM: EP

NAME: Dean Bould TEAM: Island Surfboards

NAME: Jake Eisen TEAM: EP

NAME: Simon McShane TEAM: Island Surfboards

NAME: Steve Demos TEAM: United Smiths

10. BEST TWIN FIN (PRE-1985)
NAME: Sandy Ryan TEAM: Island Surfboards


NAME: Ravi Witt TEAM: Archysurf

NAME: Jarvis Cininas TEAM: United Smith

NAME: Dugga Warren TEAM: Island Surfboards

NAMES: Gavin Lewis, Dugga Warren, Amber Goldsbury and Sean Fuller


(Prize: Custom surfboard valued at $800)
NAME: Chat Garrett TEAM: Woolamai Hards

(Prize: Meal voucher valued at $350)
NAME: Sam Guzzardi & the Barrel of Fun team

(Prize: 4 x 2-hour surf lessons valued at $480)
NAME: Blake Green TEAM: Archysurf

(Prize: Accommodation voucher – 2 nights, valued at $500)
NAME: Steve Noble TEAM: Archysurf

(Prize: Accommodation voucher – 2 nights, valued at $500)
NAME: Sage Goldsbury TEAM: Woolamai Hards

(Prize: GPS Watch, valued at $500)
NAME: Carl Wright (10 pts) TEAM: United Smiths

SIXTH: Woolamai Hards POINTS: 41.4
FIFTH: Newhaven Spoonbills POINTS: 44.8
FOURTH: Archysurf POINTS: 53.9

United Smiths POINTS: 61.4
Captained by: Matt Crooks

Captained by: Nick Fostin
Island Surfboards POINTS: 68.2
Captained by: Sandy Ryan

Phillip Island National Surfing Reserve Team Challenge 2018 Sponsors List

The 2018 Surfing Teams Challenge was proudly sponsored by:
• Phillip Island Nature Parks, Bass Coast Shire Council, Westernport Water
• Island Surfboards, Phillip Island RSL, Newhaven College, Karoon Gas, Cape Kitchen, Ramada Resort, Rip Curl/Islantis
• Reece Plumbing, Pro Surf Coaching, San Remo IGA, Phillip Island Boardriders Club, Woolamai Beach Surf Life Saving Club
• Silverwater Resort, Girls on Board, Musclescope Massage 

Surfing Teams Challenge Honour Board:

The following teams have their names on the Dave Fincher Memorial Trophy:

2014 – Pirates Blue Captained by John Mason 

2015 – Island Surfboards Captained by Sandy Ryan 

2016 – Wave Pinchers Captained by Walter Hiatt 

2017 – Archysurf Captained by Luke Archibald 

2018 - To be determined on Saturday 14 April 


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

Help us take Marram grass to task!

Join our rangers and National Surfing Reserve volunteers for a fun morning of learning and action at Cape Woolamai this Sunday 3 December for a dune restoration working bee.

Become part of the project that aims to reduce Marram Grass from the foredune systems.

All welcome!

Marram Grass Flyer                                                                                                      


                                                                                                                                                                   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


Draft 5 year Conservation Roadmap 2018-23