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The Big Cigar, erected in honour of Sir Winston Churchill
|LGA(s)||City of Latrobe|
Churchill is a town in the Latrobe Valley, located in central Gippsland in the east of Victoria, Australia. The town had a population of 4,588 at the 2006 census, and is part of the Latrobe City local government area. The town was named in honour of former British leader Sir Winston Churchill.
Churchill was formerly known as Hazelwood, Victoria and began as a service centre for the Hazelwood Power Station and future replacement for Yallourn and Morwell townships. The site was chosen for its pleasant location at the foot of the Strzelecki Ranges, overlooking Hazelwood pondage. It was relatively free from air pollution, is not above rich coalfields and is in close proximity to the larger towns and power stations in the Latrobe Valley.
Construction of Churchill began in 1965. In that year the first two houses in Churchill were completed and occupied by the Arch and Ayers families who received morning paper deliveries from Yinnar General Store, and milk delivery from John Koedijk. Within a week five more families arrived and so the town began to grow street by street. The town was sufficiently advanced for the Post Office to open on 11 April 1966. The shopping centre in Churchill was officially opened on July 1967, the first two shops (butcher and pharmacy) having opened 19 May 1967. In that year many new traders opened for business. All the shop keepers were offered a commission house in Churchill for their use. The Churchill Newsagency opened in 1967 and was run by Ian and Winifred Jones who had previously run the Yinnar General Store. A Tattersalls agency was established in 1975. The Churchill Newsagency business was later purchased in April 1978 by Jack and Olive Robson
The town was planned with a well-defined commercial centre, expansive parklands, a mix of government and privately owned quarter-acre (1,000 m²) town blocks and light industrial estates spaced from residential areas by a belt of parkland. The transport system was to be a network of restricted-access highways and a ring road fully encircling the town. Population was planned to reach 6,000 by 1971, and eventually 40,000 by 2000. However slow development of services and a slowdown of the state of Victoria's power station construction program meant that Churchill was to never realise its potential, and population reached a modest level of 5500 by the 1991 census, before stabilising at around 5,000. Signs of renewed growth are appearing, with a new housing estate development opening in 2005, the first for some years.
During 2009, the town's retail precinct was refurbished, with the Richies IGA supermarket expanded, and a new mall constructed, containing a new Woolworths supermarket, KFC outlet and other shops. After closing in 2006 the hotel was remodeled and reopened in January 2011.
In 2009 Churchill also suffered the shock of the Black Saturday bush fires. Lit deliberately on Glendonald Rd, these fires burnt the surrounding hills of Churchill through to Yarram and killed 11 people.
The area now known as Churchill was originally named Hazelwood, but was renamed after Sir Winston Churchill's death. The change of name has not been without its critics, and residents who pushed hard to restore the Hazelwood name were finally heard in 1989, when the town was asked to vote on whether the town would be renamed to Hazelwood or stay as Churchill. The name Churchill won by narrow vote.
Some of the names in Churchill have a distinctly local flavour. Estates in the town were named after various early settlers. These include Silcock, Medew, McMillan, Glendonald, and Northways. Roads have also been named after people (such as McDonald, Canterbury, Philip, and Manning), flora (Acacia, Hawthorn, Blackwood and Birch), and Aboriginal names (Amaroo, Gundaroo).
Churchill has one defining and unique landmark, that being a huge replica of Winston Churchill's cigar (known locally as "the big cigar"). Originally it was anticipated that five of these would be built around points of the town centre's edge, but only one was actually ever built. Near the base of the cigar is a commemorative brick wall built by the Rotary Club of Hazelwood. It gives the names of the first families to move into the town.
The Binishell located at the Federation University (formerly, Monash University) campus was once a prominent feature visible from much of the eastern side of town, this has since been pulled down.
Close to Churchill is Mathison Park, with walking tracks around Lake Hyland. Remote Control Model Power Boat Drivers Stand was built in 1996. A variety of trees and plants are being planted. This has now been enhanced with the walking path and fishing decks that were completed in 2005. The Lake continually has fish added to the eco-system for recreational fishing.
Churchill has several education facilities. There are several primary schools within the town, as well as the Churchill and Precinct campuses of Kurnai College.
Federation University's campus (formerly, Monash University Gippsland until 2013) is located in the town, and is a major employer.
Gippsland Education Precinct
Gippsland Education Precinct includes the colocation of Kurnai College's VCE/senior Campus, Central Gippsland Institute of TAFE (aka. GippsTAFE) and Gippsland Group Training (Apprenticeships Victoria). The precinct aims to increase youth engagement in the transition from secondary school to tertiary education, training and employment.
Kurnai - Churchill Campus
"Churchill Campus is set adjacent to a picturesque lake and wildlife corridor. The school has a variety of outdoor and sporting fields with easy access to Federation University and the Latrobe Leisure Centre which incorporates an indoor 25 metre pool and gymnasium facilities."
Australian Rules Football Club
The town has an Australian Rules football team competing in the North Gippsland Football League, known as the "Churchill Cougars". They have been the premiers of the North Gippsland Football League on three occasions. They have also won seven Mid Gippsland Premierships prior to joining the North Gippsland league. The town also has a junior team compeating in the Traralgon and District Junior Football League, under the same name, in the Under 10, Under 12, Under 14 and Under 16's divisions.
Soccer is also very popular with the Churchill Rams catering for both sexes of all ages.
Churchill is also home to a field hockey club. Churchill Hockey Club plays within the Latrobe Valley Hockey Association and fields Under 8's, Under 12's, Under 16's, senior Women's and Men's teams.
The town also has a golf club, known as the "Churchill and Monash Golf Club".
On the banks of Hazelwood Pondage can also be found the Jeeralang Pony Club grounds.
The Churchill Braves play throughout winter with their home ground bing located at Andrews Park west, a ground shared with the cricket club. The club is the reigning Latrobe Valley Baseball Association A grade champions two years running in 2011 and 2012 seasons.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Churchill (State Suburb)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
- Shawfactor. "Local history of Churchill".
- Place, Ruth. "Oh there’s Mrs. 96 Howard Avenue!" Churchill & District News, Issue 19, P.1,3, July 2004. Retrieved on 2010-09-17.
- Premier Postal History, Post Office List, retrieved 2008-04-11
- Beer is back in Churchill
- home | gippsland education precinct
- Golf Select, Churchill and Monash, retrieved 2009-05-11