Catalogue of Churchill Island Heritage Items
An online catalogue of Churchill Island heritage items is available here: Catalogue of Churchill Island Heritage Items
FOCIS Newsletters Archive
Churchill Island Archives
A walk along Churchill Island’s shores, if you know what to look for, can reveal the earliest archives of Aboriginal life in relation to this small island. Middens reveal favourite eating places and we know that certain ochres were gathered here for ceremonial purposes and that a favourite food, yam daisies, were also gathered. Like all archives these are not available to the tourist but are accessible to the serious researcher.
Churchill Island was seminal in the earliest settlement of Victoria, long before that State was separated from New South Wales, so we have a great responsibility to preserve and index all our documents.
Churchill Island’s more recent archives are extensive including documentation from its earliest history. The fact that Samuel Amess, who built the homestead in 1872, was Mayor of Melbourne in 1867-9 has made gathering information and photos of him and his family a lot easier to obtain. We have a photo of Samuel in his mayoral splendour as well as some of his family enjoying their ‘retreat’.
Research by June Cutter ‘Churchill Island – a Special Place’ revealed much regarding the transactions which took place over decades and between many owners and also records direct recollections from many who lived on and visited the island. Her book is invaluable, although out of print now.
Since Churchill Island was purchased by the Victorian Government for the people of Victoria in 1975 multiple layers of documents have been variously collected and discarded. At present our archiving sub committee is working its way through these documents and in time we will have a thoroughly accessible resource.
In 2007 Churchill Island History and Her Story was published with the help of Phillip Island Nature Parks and is an illustrated history including stories of what life might have been like for the many wonderful women who have lived on Churchill Island.