First walked by Boonwurrung/Bunurong 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 garden in Victoria, including the first site where wheat was grown.
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 cares for the historical collection, with support and assistance from FOCIS, the Friends of Churchill Island Society. The collection can be found catalogued on victoriancollections.net.au
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 tax deductible donations, and its primary purpose is to promote the movable cultural heritage of Churchill Island. FOCIS is on the Register of Cultural Organisations with the Australian Taxation Office and offers tax deductible receipts for all donations over $2.
FOCIS provides funding for a range of projects on Churchill Island in conjunction with the Nature Parks, and also holds working bees in the historic precinct. Detailed research on the history and historical artefacts on the island is carried out by FOCIS and can be found at focis.org.au
FOCIS welcomes new members, so please contact the secretary to express your interest, or if you have any queries.