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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 draft copy of the Churchill Island Conservation Management Plan
Media Enquiries: Sally O’Neill 0408 101 976