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History & heritage

Phillip Island

  • Churchill Island, Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia

The social history of Phillip Island dates back over 40,000 years to the Bunurong people, the original inhabitants of the Western Port region. This island paradise of abundant wildlife and picturesque bays attracted European settlement and a thriving fur seal trade in the early 1800s.

Man in a whaleboat
George Bass is a name you'll hear plenty of on the island. The explorer was the first European to visit Western Port on 5 January 1798 as he made his way down the coast in a whaleboat, followed closely by the island's original sealers.

Victoria's first European settlement
Explore historic Churchill Island, discovered in 1798 and the site of Victoria's first European settlement. See the original homestead, walk through a traditional herb and flower garden and see ranger demonstrations of nineteenth century farming techniques.

From past to present
Visit the Heritage Centre and Museum in Cowes to see exhibitions and video of the rich history and wildlife of the island. The National Vietnam Veterans Museum in Newhaven is a place of great historical and cultural significance that combines state of the art exhibits and essential archives.