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History & heritage

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 Phillip Island Heritage Centre 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.

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History & heritage

History & heritage

Churchill Island Heritage Farm

Discover important Victorian history at Churchill Island and take home local delicacies from the thriving farmers' market.


National Vietnam Veterans Museum

Remember, interpret and understand the experience of the Vietnam War through fascinating interactive exhibits, memorabilia and a light and sound show.


Phillip Island Museum

The Phillip Island Museum is operated by the Phillip Island and District Historical Society Inc and occupies a space within the Phillip Island...


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