Phillip Island & District Historical Society

President's Annual Report

Last updated on 28-May-19


The society has had an exceptionally busy year. 

After expressing our concern at the state of the John Adam mural at the front of the building, Bass Coast Shire Council decided to fund John to restore the mural, and after negotiating with the society decided the safest place for it was out of the weather in the meeting room. Another Phillip Island mural was provided by Hec Goodall, and the society negotiated to have this mural placed above the noticeboard on the Civic Centre building where it greets lots of visitors going to the Information centre.


Our speakers for the year were, in October Jan Child, CEO of Bass Coast Health came to speak to us about the new Cowes Medical Hub, and in November Duncan Sutherland gave us an update about the Eastern Barred Bandicoots on Churchill Island. For our annual dinner our speaker was Phillip Island Nature Parks CEO Catherine Basterfield, who brought us up to date with developments in the Parks. 

We then went to quarterly lunch meetings, which saves the committee a lot of work and also saves us the monthly fee for the meeting room. Our first lunch speaker was Matthew Bowtell who told us about the free service he offers providing 3D printed prosthetic fingers and hands to people, especially children, in need. For our May lunch meeting, Phillip Island Nature Park’s Conservation Manager Jessica McKelson, spoke on “From Primates to Penguins”. 


Our big project for the year was having our Touchscreen presentations developed by Simon Eddy and a cabinet built by volunteers Frank Maiolo and John Eddy. The touchscreen is now operational in the museum and is very popular with visitors.

A sub-committee has been working hard on the re-enactment of the first land sale ballot in November 1868. The re-enactment will take place on Saturday 10th November, and will include half an hour of folk songs played by guitar and mandolin, followed by the performance of the re-enactment. A scrumptious afternoon tea will follow. All are welcome, and you are encouraged to wear period costume and join in the performance as land seekers. 


Our volunteer cataloguers continue to meet on Friday mornings and have made good progress on cataloguing our photos, etc. Gaye has been cataloguing the book bequest and other collections. We thank them for their tireless efforts to make our collection available to everyone via the Victorian Collections online cataloguing program. We have had many donations over the year which Judy has been handling. Judy has also done a power of work to the big old Phillip Island album, which used to be on the big table and was so popular with visitors. It was falling apart, so Judy has revitalised the old album, which is now two albums, and they will be back on display on the table very shortly. 

In November, Graeme and Christine attended the Victorian Collections Day at the Arts Centre in Melbourne. This day was full of information relevant to us and our collection.

Christine continues to receive many requests for information via email and with the help of committee – especially John Jansson – is usually able to help. Snippets of extra information or enquiries also come from our Victorian Collections entries.


The new Medical Hub was opened this year and features many enlarged and framed photographs from our collection. Christine worked with Bass Coast Health’s communications officer on this, and the photos were very well received at the opening day.


We held two Open Days – one for the Seniors Festival and one for International Museums Day. Both were popular.


The committee has been planning a revamp of the museum for some time, mainly to change the layout to move the front desk, which formed something of a barrier to our visitors, and also to move our bequest book collections away from the window and onto the east wall. After obtaining a $700 Bass Coast community grant we were able to employ Phillip Island Removalists to move the heavier stands for us. About 3/4s of the museum has been moved around and two display stands de-commissioned to make the museum fully accessible by wheelchairs, mobility scooters and prams. We have introduced a few new displays and upgraded others. This is a great outcome for the museum. 


We have been closed for several weeks while the re-organisation takes place, but will be open to the public again from this Saturday 11th August, and will be having an Open Day on Friday 17th August. So come along and enjoy the museum and refreshments in the meeting room.


Since we have less display space for our temporary special displays now, the committee decided to apply for grants to have a programmer develop a platform for our website to have online exhibitions, starting with John’s World War One Phillip Island soldiers, and his Maritime History of Rhyll displays. Once the platform is built into the website we will be able to put up as many online exhibitions as we like.


In January we were saddened by the death of Cherry McFee, a Life Member, previous office holder and still active in helping with enquiries until the last. She is certainly missed. Recently we lost Nancy McHaffie, a faithfull worker.


Finally I would like to thank the following: committee members for their hard work and help this year, members who attend our meetings and give input to the workings of the society. To Gaye, Bruce and John for attending SEHA meetings on our behalf, and a special thanks to those members who have given their time to keep the Museum open and look after our Visitors.                             Graeme Clauscen



Balance Sheet 30th June 2017

Income Statement 2016 - 2017

Statement by members of the Committee 2017



This year has been one of successes and disappointments; successes more than outweighing disappointments.

We were nominated and finalists for three awards - cataloguing; small museums award, and Christine as volunteer of the year - with Museums Australia Victoria and although we did not win an award the achievements of our group were impressive.


In October Libby Skidmore read an article about driving through Gippsland 1923.

In November we watched the new History of Phillip Island DVD, which is very popular.

In February Christine Grayden read an article on Picturesque Phillip Island from 1869.

In March John Eddy gave us the history of Scenic Estate Reserve.

In April Miranda Sage spoke about Beachside Cottage in San Remo.

In May David Severino spoke about beekeeping.

In June Julie Box spoke about local artist Ina Davies.

In July we watched the DVD 'Island Voices' put together for the National Trust festival

In August we had our annual Show and Tell session.


We have had a number of groups through such as primary and tertiary students and elderly citizens groups.


Whales; shearwaters; Hec Goodall cartoons; 50th anniversary; Sport & Leisure; Open Day for NAIDOC week which was very successful.


Hec Goodall donated a mural

Conservation works completed by John Adam, artist, on the history of Phillip Island mural.

Working with Shire to find a place to display them.


Numerous donations during the year


Phillip Island Community Benefit Fund for touchscreen for the museum. This is our current project, with six topics to go on the touchscreen to start with, featuring images, text and audio.


John, Anne and Christine attended training funded by BCSC on Conservation of Museum Objects and Exhibition development.

A group of our members did a four museums tour in Melbourne in March, which was very useful and enlightening.


Several of our members were invited to Govt House to meet the Governor to mark the occasion of PINP's 20th birthday.

The Governor General also visited recently and Graeme represented our society at that event at Cape Kitchen.


BCSC has committed the funds to have plans and specifications drawn up for the redevelopment

The Transit Hub on the east side of the building is to commence soon so we are in negotiations with the council on relocation of Rudy Coels's historic shed. Bill Overton has offered to store Bill Barrett's duck punt which is currently stored in the shed.


I wish to thank the cataloguing team for their continued work on uploading all of our photos and other objects, including our historic book collection, onto the online cataloguing program Victorian Collections.


I would like to thank the committee and all the members for all their support this year. Thank you to the committee for all of their hard work allowing us to make so much progress this year. Graeme Clauscen.