Phillip Island

Phillip Island is an Australian island about 140 km (87 mi) south-southeast of Melbourne, Victoria. The island was named after Governor Arthur Phillip, the first Governor of New South Wales, by explorer and seaman George Bass, who sailed in an open whale boat, arriving from Sydney on 5 January 1798.

Phillip Island forms a natural breakwater for the shallow waters of the Western Port. It is 26 km (16 mi) long and 9 km (5.6 mi) wide, with an area of about 100 km2 (40 sq mi).[1] It has 97 km (60 mi) of coastline and is part of the Bass Coast Shire.

A 640 m (2,100 ft) concrete bridge (originally a wooden bridge) connects the mainland town San Remo with the island town Newhaven.[1] In the 2011 census the island's permanent population was 9,406,[2] compared to 7,071 in 2001.[3] During the summer, the population swells to 40,000. 60% of the island is farmland devoted to grazing of sheep and cattle.

Map of Phillip Island, Victoria


The earliest inhabitants of the area were the Yalloc Bulluk clan of the Bunurong people, indigenous Australians of the Kulin nation.[4] In the Bunwurrung language the island was known as 'Corriong' or 'Millowl'.[5] Their coastal territory with its sheltered bays meant that the Yalloc Bulluk, along with other Bunurong clans, were among the first Aboriginal people in Victoria to have contact with European mariners.[4][6]

Following reports of the 1798 exploration by George Bass and Matthew Flinders, the area was frequented by sealers from Van Diemen's Land, whose interaction with the Bunurong people was not without conflict.[6] In 1801, navigator James Grant visited the adjoining Churchill Island (which he named) and planted a crop of corn and wheat.[7][8] In 1826, the scientific voyage of Dumont d'Urville, in command of the corvette Astrolabe, led to British concerns of an attempt by the French to establish a colony in Western Port.[9] This saw the dispatch from Sydney of HMS Fly, under the command of Captain Wetherall, and the brigs Dragon and Amity, by Governor Darling.[10]

Nobbies zz
'The Nobbies': site of Captain Wetherall's 1826 flagstaff
The beach at Cape Woolamai

While the French colonisation did not eventuate, Wetherall reported on finding a sealer's camp and also two acres of wheat and corn.[11] A fort was constructed near Rhyll, and named Dumaresq after the Governor's private secretary. The 'abundance' of wood, quality soil and the discovery of coal at Cape Woolamai, were mentioned in newspaper accounts.[11][12][13] Wetherall also erected a flag staff on 'the flat-top'd rock off Point Grant' (commonly known today as The Nobbies) on the Island's Western extremity as a marker for the harbour entrance.[12]

Of his encounters with the Bunurong people, Wetherall told Darling:

"The Natives appear numerous, but we have not been able to obtain an interview, as they desert their camp, and run into the woods on our approach, watching our movements until we depart. As I am aware it is Your Excellency's wish to conciliate them as much as possible, I have not allowed them to be pursued, or molested in any way."

The only reservation Wetherall had was on the Island's supply of water; he dug a 'tide-well' near the fort but assessed the source as 'not in sufficient quantities for the supply of shipping' and this problem would lead to the eventual move to Settlement Point on the mainland coast.[11][12]

During the third voyage of HMS Beagle, in 1839, water was 'found by digging in the centre of a clump of bushes on the outer part of the point at the N.E. extremity of the island, which at high water became an island, [and] occasionally made the water brackish' although it was noted 'better might have been found a short distance in shore, as there were abundance of shrubs and other indications of water in the neighbourhood'.[14] The water question was again addressed, by Captain Moore, who accompanied Surveyor Robert Hoddle in 1840, that 'water can be obtained on Phillip Island, near the best anchorage, off Sandy Point.'[15]

In 1835 Samuel Anderson established the third permanent settlement in what would be Victoria at the mainland site of Bass across the bay from Phillip Island.

In 1841, brothers John David and William McHaffie, were granted Phillip Island as a squatting run and took possession in 1842.[16] The McHaffies, and later settlers, assisted the Victorian Acclimatisation society (forerunner of the committee which established the Melbourne Zoo) by introducing animals such as pheasants, deer and wallabies to Phillip Island.[17]

Plans for the first bridge to the Island, from San Remo to Newhaven commenced in 1938,[18] at a cost of £50,000, with the official opening by Premier Albert Dunstan taking place in November 1940.[19] A full public holiday was declared on the Island to celebrate.[19]



The coast of Philip Island
The coast of Phillip Island

The southern and western coasts of the island lie within the Phillip Island Important Bird Area, so identified by BirdLife International because of its importance in supporting significant populations of fairy penguins, short-tailed shearwaters and Pacific gulls.[20] In addition, there is a wildlife park where wallabies and kangaroos roam freely amongst the visitors and can be fed by hand. Seal Rocks, at the western end of the island, hosts the largest colony of fur seals in Australia (up to 16,000).[21] In recent years, other than local population of critically endangered endemic Burrunan dolphins or migratory killer whales, southern right whales and humpback whales are starting to show recoveries in the area[22] long after commercial and illegal hunts by the Soviet Union with the help of Japan in 1970s, and the numbers using the area as nursery are growing rapidly, allowing a rise in hopes to establish commercial whale watching activities in the vicinity of the island.[23]


Phillip Island experiences milder weather than Melbourne and is tempered by ocean breezes. In terms of temperature averages it has more in common with the climate of northern areas of New Zealand than with most of Australia. The mean daily maximum temperature for February is 23.8 °C (74.8 °F), while for July it is 13.7 °C (56.7 °F). The mean annual rainfall is 782.3 millimetres (30.8 in), with June being the wettest month (88.1 mm/3.5 in). The prevailing wind for most of the year is a south-westerly which blows in off Bass Strait. In terms of climate classification it is oceanic with cool-summer-mediterranean characteristics such as a relatively dry summer. Under the Trewartha system Phillip Island has a humid subtropical climate, given that all months are milder than 10 °C (50 °F) with eight being required.

On 10 August 2005, snow was observed on the island.[24] This was a very unusual event.


Phillip Island is a tourist destination visited by 3.5 million people annually.[1] The Penguin Parade at Phillip Island Nature Park, in which little penguins come ashore in groups, attracts visitors from all over the world. They come to see one of the few areas where this species of penguin can be seen.

The island is recognised as having some of the most consistently reliable and varied surf conditions in the country. The island has hosted various surf events in the past, such as the Rip Curl Pro and the Roxy Pro Women's Surfing Festival.

Other events include the Churchill Island Working Horse and Pioneer Festival.


Phillip Island is steeped in the history of Australian motor racing. A temporary circuit utilizing the island's interior public roads was used for the inaugural Australian Grand Prix in 1928 and continued to be used for the race up until 1935. Racing on public road circuits continued through to 1940. In 1952 the Phillip Island Auto Racing Club was formed and commenced construction on the permanent Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit which opened in 1956. In 1960 the inaugural Armstrong 500 was held, although, with the bridge to the mainland unable to support heavy hotmix bitumen equipment, the track broke up during the third running of the race in 1962. The damage rendered the circuit unusable for racing and for 1963 the Armstrong 500 was relocated to the Mount Panorama Circuit and over time evolved into what is known today as the Bathurst 1000.

The circuit was refurbished and was reopened in October 1967. It was closed in 1978, but was redeveloped and re-opened in 1988 and the following year hosted the first international version of the Australian motorcycle Grand Prix. It continues to host the race today and is also a venue for rounds of the Superbike World Championship, the Moto GP Championship, the V8 Supercars Championship and the Australian Drivers' Championship.


Towns on the island include:

Notable residents

See also


  1. ^ a b c Phillip Island The Age, Travel Section
  2. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Phillip Island (Statistical Area Level)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 17 October 2012. Edit this at Wikidata
  3. ^ 2001 Population Statistics Bass Coast Shire Council Website
  4. ^ a b "Clan estates of the Bunurong". Cardinia Shire Council. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  5. ^ "Indigenous History". Phillip Island Tourist Bureau Association. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  6. ^ a b Gaughwin, Denise and Sullivan, Hilary. Aboriginal Boundaries and Movements in Western Port, Victoria [online]. Aboriginal History, Vol. 8, 1984: 80-98. Availability: <;dn=055016885148495;res=IELIND> ISSN 0314-8769. [cited 19 Sep 13].
  7. ^ History and Heritage on Phillip Island
  8. ^ Ida Lee (Mrs. Charles Bruce Marriott) (1915), The logbooks of the 'Lady Nelson,' with the journal of her first commander Lieutenant James Grant., London: Grafton, p. 48, OL 6580132M
  9. ^ The Exploration of Westernport, Western Port Seagrass Partnership 2008,
  10. ^ "ATTEMPTED COLONISATION AT WESTERN PORT". Mornington Standard. Vic.: National Library of Australia. 12 August 1905. p. 5 Edition: MORNING. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  11. ^ a b c "ADVANCE AUSTRALIA SYDNEY GAZETTE, AND New South Wales Advertiser". The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser. NSW: National Library of Australia. 10 January 1827. p. 2. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  12. ^ a b c "Classified Advertising". The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser. National Library of Australia. 13 January 1827. p. 1. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  13. ^ "PROPOSED STEAMER BETWEEN VAN DIEMEN'S LAND AND PORT PHILLIP". The Hobart Town Courier. Tas.: National Library of Australia. 4 May 1838. p. 3. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  14. ^ "Ship News". The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser. National Library of Australia. 16 March 1839. p. 3. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  15. ^ "PORT PHILLIP". The Sydney Herald. National Library of Australia. 27 January 1840. p. 2 Supplement: Supplement to the Sydney Herald. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  16. ^ "Obituary MR. DAVID MCHAFFIE". The Argus. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 14 March 1940. p. 3. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  17. ^ "ANNUAL REPORT OF THE GOVERNMENT BOTANIST AND DIRECTOR OF THE BOTANICAL AND ZOOLOGICAL GARDEN". The Argus. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 10 February 1860. p. 7. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  18. ^ "PHILLIP ISLAND BRIDGE". The Argus. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 16 November 1938. p. 3. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  19. ^ a b "NEW BRIDGE TO BE OPENED". The Argus. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 29 November 1940. p. 4. Retrieved 19 September 2013The new bridge was built in 1969 just east of the old suspension bridge which was later demolished.
  20. ^ "IBA: Phillip Island". Birdata. Birds Australia. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  21. ^ Inter Island Ferries About Phillip Island
  22. ^ Phillip Island Winery. 2010. WHALES BREACHING AROUND PHILLIP ISLAND. Retrieved on 31 October. 2014
  23. ^ Wildlife Coast Cruises. Winter Whale Cruise. Retrieved on 31 October. 2014
  24. ^ Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology Snow in Victoria
  25. ^ "Climate Statistics for Phillip Island". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 8 February 2015.

External links

Coordinates: 38°29′S 145°14′E / 38.483°S 145.233°E

2005 Australian motorcycle Grand Prix

The 2005 Australian motorcycle Grand Prix was the fifteenth round of the 2005 MotoGP Championship. It took place on the weekend of 13–15 October 2005 at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. It was also the final victory for Valentino Rossi at Phillip Island until the 2014 event.

2007 Australian motorcycle Grand Prix

The 2007 Australian motorcycle Grand Prix was the sixteenth round of the 2007 MotoGP championship. It was held over the weekend of 12–14 October 2007 at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, Philip Island, Victoria.

2010 Australian motorcycle Grand Prix

The 2010 Australian motorcycle Grand Prix was the sixteenth round of the 2010 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season. It took place on the weekend of 15–17 October 2010 at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. Australian Casey Stoner won his fourth consecutive home race, which was also his last win for Ducati and Ducati's last win until the 2016 Austrian motorcycle Grand Prix.

2011 Australian motorcycle Grand Prix

The 2011 Australian motorcycle Grand Prix was the sixteenth round of the 2011 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season. It took place on the weekend of 14–16 October 2011 at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.

Australian rider Casey Stoner clinched the 2011 MotoGP World Championship with his fifth consecutive victory at his home Grand Prix on his 26th birthday. Italian rider Marco Simoncelli recorded his final podium finish at this event before being fatally injured at the following race in Malaysia.

2013 Australian motorcycle Grand Prix

The 2013 Australian motorcycle Grand Prix was the sixteenth round of the 2013 MotoGP season. It was held at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in Phillip Island on 20 October 2013.

The MotoGP race was originally scheduled to run over 27 laps, but was shortened to 19 laps after Bridgestone announced that the safety of its tyres on the newly resurfaced track could not be guaranteed after 10 laps. Riders were required to make a pitstop to swap bikes or change tyres at least once during the race, and no rider was permitted to use the same set of tyres for more than 10 laps. Marc Márquez and Bryan Staring were both disqualified for riding an 11-lap stint without pitting. Jorge Lorenzo won the race and closed up the gap to Márquez in the championship to 18 points. The Moto2 race distance was also shortened, from 25 to 13 laps.

2013 International V8 Supercars Championship

The 2013 International V8 Supercars Championship (often simplified to the 2013 V8 Supercars Championship) was a Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile-sanctioned international motor racing series for V8 Supercars that was based in Australia. It was the fifteenth running of the V8 Supercar Championship Series and the seventeenth series in which V8 Supercars contested the premier Australian touring car title. The championship was contested over thirty-six races, starting with the Clipsal 500 Adelaide on 2 March 2013, and finishing with the Sydney 500 on 8 December. The series' calendar also expanded, travelling to the United States for the first time for a race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.The 2013 season saw the introduction of the "New Generation V8 Supercar", a revision to the regulations which were designed to cut costs and to make the series more attractive to new manufacturers. Nissan and Mercedes-Benz entered the series, with four Nissan Altimas being prepared by Kelly Racing and three Mercedes-Benz E63 AMGs being run by Erebus Motorsport — who purchased Stone Brothers Racing during the off-season — respectively. Holden teams competed with the new VF Commodore, which replaces the VE model, whilst Ford continued to use the FG Falcon, which had been raced since 2009, but built to New Generation V8 Supercar specifications for the 2013 season.

Jamie Whincup started the season as the defending drivers' champion. The team for which he drives, Triple Eight Race Engineering, are the defending teams' champions. Whincup successfully defended his title, winning eleven of the season's thirty-six races and scoring a record-breaking thirteen pole positions. His team-mate Craig Lowndes finished second in the championship for the third consecutive season, giving Triple Eight Race Engineering its fourth consecutive Teams Championship win. Lowndes, with Warren Luff, won the inaugural Enduro Cup for the best performing drivers across the three endurance races. Ford Performance Racing driver Will Davison finished the season in third place. Rick Kelly finished the highest of the Nissan drivers, in fourteenth place, while Lee Holdsworth ended the season in twentieth to be the highest placed Erebus Motorsport driver.

Alberton Football Netball League

The Alberton Football Netball League is an Australian rules football league covering the South Gippsland region of Victoria, Australia.

Australian motorcycle Grand Prix

The Australian motorcycle Grand Prix is a motorcycling event that is part of the Grand Prix motorcycle racing season. From 1997 to the present day, it is run at the scenic Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit south of Melbourne, Victoria. Prior to 1997 the event was held at a number of different venues, most notably Eastern Creek west of Sydney New South Wales and Bathurst in central western New South Wales. The only rider to win the 'premier class' race at multiple venues is five-time World Champion Mick Doohan, with wins at Bathurst (1988), Eastern Creek (1992, 1995) and Phillip Island (1998).

Bass Coast Shire

The Bass Coast Shire is a local government area in Victoria, Australia, located in the southeastern part of the state. It covers an area of 864 square kilometres (334 sq mi) and at the 2016 Census had a population of 32,804. It includes the towns of Bass, Cape Paterson, Cape Woolamai, Corinella, Coronet Bay, Cowes, Inverloch, Kilcunda, Lang Lang, Newhaven, Rhyll, San Remo, Summerlands and Wonthaggi as well as the historic locality of Krowera. It also includes the popular tourist destination Phillip Island. It was formed in 1994 from the amalgamation of the Shire of Bass, Shire of Phillip Island, Borough of Wonthaggi, parts of the Shire of Woorayl, Shire of Korumburra and City of Cranbourne.The Shire is governed and administered by the Bass Coast Shire Council; its seat of local government and administrative centre is the council headquarters in Wonthaggi, with other service centres located in Cowes, Grantville and Inverloch. The Shire is named after its most precious asset, the coasts of Bass Strait and Western Port.

Bass Highway (Victoria)

The Bass Highway is an 87 kilometre highway in Victoria, Australia and branches off the South Gippsland Highway at the township of Lang Lang. It runs south, along the eastern shore of Western Port to Anderson where a road turns west toward Phillip Island. The Bass Highway continues easterly to Kilcunda, Wonthaggi and Inverloch, then turns north-easterly to rejoin the South Gippsland Highway at Leongatha. Previously assigned State Route 181, it was later designated M420 for the dual carriageway sections and A420 for the single carriageway sections between the South Gippsland Highway near Lang Lang and the Phillip Island turn-off, then designated B460 onwards. The road was named due to its proximity to the Bass Strait.

Churchill Island

Churchill Island is a 50.7-hectare (125.3-acre) island in Western Port, Victoria, Australia. It is connected by a bridge to Phillip Island. It is the site of the first European garden in Victoria. It contains a working farm, cottages dating from the 1860s and a homestead dating from 1872, all fully restored and open to the public. The island adjoins the 670-hectare (1,656-acre) Churchill Island Marine National Park. The island is maintained by Phillip Island Nature Parks.

Cowes, Victoria

Cowes is the main township on Phillip Island in the Gippsland region of Victoria, Australia. It is about two hours' drive from Melbourne and can also be reached by coach, or passenger ferry from Stony Point on the Mornington Peninsula. Cowes is located on the northern side of Phillip Island and faces towards French Island and the Mornington Peninsula. At the 2016 census, Cowes had a population of 4,839.

Phillip Island 500

The Phillip Island 500 was an annual motor racing event, last held for Supercars at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in Phillip Island, Victoria. The race had three distinct eras; from 1971 to 1977 as an endurance production and later Australian Touring Car Championship race, from 2008 to 2011 as an endurance race as part of V8 Supercars and from 2017 to 2018 as a Supercars Championship event consisting of two 250 km races.

Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit

The Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit is a motor racing circuit located near Ventnor, on Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia. The current circuit was first used in 1956.

Phillip Island Heliport

Phillip Island Airport (ICAO: YPID) is a small private airport on Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia.

Phillip Island Nature Park

Phillip Island Nature Park (PINP) is a conservation park located on Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia. Created in 1996, the park is owned by the Victorian State Government, however it is a self-funding commercial attraction for the purpose of animal conservation and research.

An oil spill off the island in January, 2000 led to a worldwide appeal for hand knit penguin sweaters.Located 1.5 hours drive south of Melbourne, PINP covers several separate areas over 1805 hectares. The parks include Pyramid Rock, Rhyll Inlet, Seal Rocks, and Cape Woolamai, with specific viewing and attraction areas that include the Nobbies Centre (seals, dolphins, and shark viewing), the Penguin Parade (little penguins coming ashore at dusk), Koala Conservation Centre, and the Churchill Island Heritage Farm. Phillip Island’s Penguin Parade is the only commercial venue in the world where you can see penguins in their own environment and attracts tourists from different parts of the world. The Koala Conservation Centre is dedicated to koala research and conservation and allows the opportunity to view koalas in their natural habitat on treetop boardwalks.

Much of the park lies within the Phillip Island Important Bird Area, so identified by BirdLife International because of its importance in supporting significant populations of little penguins, short-tailed shearwaters and Pacific gulls.

Phillip Island SuperSprint

The Phillip Island SuperSprint (formally known as the WD-40 Phillip Island SuperSprint) is an annual motor racing event for Supercars, held at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in Phillip Island, Victoria. The event has been a semi-regular part of the Supercars Championship, and its previous incarnations, the Australian Touring Car Championship, Shell Championship Series and V8 Supercars Championship, since 1990.

The circuit has also previously hosted championship rounds as the Phillip Island 500, in 1976 and 1977, from 2008 to 2011 and from 2017 to 2018.

Shire of Phillip Island

The Shire of Phillip Island was a local government area in Western Port about 120 kilometres (75 mi) south of Melbourne, the state capital of Victoria, Australia. The shire covered an area of 101.05 square kilometres (39.0 sq mi), and existed from 1928 until 1994.

Western Port

Western Port, commonly but unofficially known as Western Port Bay, is a large tidal bay in southern Victoria, Australia, opening into Bass Strait. It is the second largest bay in the state. Geographically, it is dominated by the two large islands; French Island and Phillip Island. Contrary to its name, it lies to the east of the larger Port Phillip, and is separated from it by the Mornington Peninsula. It is visited by Australian fur seals, whales and dolphins, as well as many migratory waders and seabirds. It is listed under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international significance.The area around the bay and the two main islands were originally part of the Boonwurrung nation's territory prior to European settlement. Western Port was first seen by Europeans in 1798 when an exploration crew in a whaleboat led by George Bass, journeyed south from Sydney to explore Australia's south eastern coastline. Due in most part to a lack of food, the expedition was halted, spending two weeks in Western Port before returning to Sydney. As it was the most westerly charted point at the time, it was named Western Port; however, it actually lies in the eastern half of Victoria and to the east of the larger Port Phillip and Greater Melbourne.

The bay is home to the three Marine National Parks—French Island, Churchill Island and Yaringa, while the land adjacent to the north is largely used for farming purposes including cattle and wineries. Today the bay is mostly used for recreation; however, there is also a military base (HMAS Cerberus), shipping and oil production facilities adjoining the bay. Western Port is around one hour from Melbourne by car and a small number of holiday villages with sandy swimming beaches lie on its shores.

Climate data for Phillip Island
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 41.5
Average high °C (°F) 23.4
Average low °C (°F) 13.8
Record low °C (°F) 4.0
Average rainfall mm (inches) 33.6
Source: [25]
Localities in the Bass Coast Shire
Phillip Island
Coastal townships and localities of Western Port, Victoria
Islands of Victoria, Australia
Islands off East Gippsland
Islands within Corner Inlet
Islands off Wilsons Promontory
Islands within Western Port
Islands within Port Phillip
Islands within Bass Strait and
the Great Australian Bight
River islands


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