Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tranquil and seeped in history: Churchill Island

Originally part of Phillip Island (before the sea level rose 10 to 15,000 years ago), Churchill Island is a small island of 57 ha that sits on a 50 million year old basalt foundation.

The first white person to see Churchill Island was George Bass in 1798. Between that date and the present time, the island has had many owners; however, it's now owned by the people of Victoria, is classified by the National Trust, and is managed by the Phillip Island Nature Park.

With serene pastures and heritage buildings, Churchill Island was the first place to be farmed in Victoria -- is a living picture of the past. Post-and rail fences, and a Comet windmill pumping underground water mark the landscape as a working farm in balance with the natural environment.

Churchill Island Heritage Farm has wide views over Western Port Bay, and over extensive wetlands, mangroves and mud flats where royal spoonbills, black swans, pelicans, herons, cormorants, pied oyster catchers and gulls congregate and feed.

The natural vegetation includes banksias, Moonahs, she-oaks, acacias and boobiallas.

The present bridge -- connecting Phillip Island to Churchill Island -- was built in 2000. Once over the bridge you enter another world, a world I'll share with you over the next few weeks.

Churchill Island is a tranquil place, steeped in history.

Our day on Churchill Island was a late 45th Wedding Anniversary treat. What with the Mitchell floods and my operation we needed time out. And it was perfect!

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