Her latest project is a re-enactment of the first land ballot for closer settlement on Phillip Island in November 1868 to be held at the Cowes Cultural Centre at 2pm on Saturday November 10. This is one of the final events in commemorations of 150 years of European settlement on the island.
But it has often been far less exciting work, far from the public gaze, developing policies and procedures, cataloguing donations, conservation, research, stocktaking, community engagement, interpretation and display.
Phillip Island Nature parks CEO Catherine Basterfield said that, as the first curator of the Churchill Island collection for eight years, Christine was instrumental in the successful Museum Accreditation of Churchill Island Heritage Farm.
In her nomination for the lifetime award, Kate Adams, of Phillip Island Nature Parks, wrote:
“Christine Grayden has been a trailblazer and ambassador for the protection of heritage on Phillip Island for well over 30 years. Through both her work and tireless volunteer activities, she has been an integral part of supporting and raising awareness for many heritage organisations including Phillip Island Nature Parks, Phillip Island Conservation Society, Philip Island and District Historical Society (PIDHS) and Friends of Churchill Island Society (FOCIS).
“Christine is a direct descendent of the Pickersgill family, one of the original residents/founding families to both Churchill Island and Phillip Island, and it is due to her personal affiliation that she has dedicated a large part of her life to preserving the history and heritage of these significant and beautiful places.
“She is more than a museum worker – she is a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm for revitalising Phillip Island’s history and a resource for both the local and museum community. Christine has actively shared her knowledge and passion for history through a variety of programs including local radio broadcasts, on-line essays, and organising local events, e.g. Nature Parks’ Community Open Day and an annual Old Fashioned Picnic (FOCIS).
“Along with her committee roles, she has promoted heritage through the research and publication of books and essays across topics such as Phillip Island’s McHaffie family, Churchill Island and An Island Worth Conserving: A History of Phillip Island Conservation Society. Through her meticulous research, Christine collected and curated extensive information and stories through written references, links with heritage organisations, collection of objects and oral histories and establishing links with remaining relatives including:
Samuel Amess - owner of Churchill Island including exhibiting a collection of lace from the Amess family that she developed, managed and curated.
The Remarkable Dr Harry Jenkins - owner of Churchill Island.
PIHS Indigenous Exhibition
“Christine is revered for her extensive knowledge across numerous areas of cultural heritage and museum collections. She has been solely responsible for completing this process twice for Churchill Island, once for PIDHS, and most recently has been supporting the Vietnam Veterans Museum on Phillip Island through their first application.
“Her experience, passion and body of work have inspired and will continue to inspire many people, from the community to her peers, to celebrate heritage and to strive for best practice in museums both large and small.”