In 1962 the Duke of Edinburgh asked Sir Winston Churchill, then aged 88, what memorial he would like to be established in his name. Churchill suggested something like the Rhodes Scholarships, but available to all with a much wider base. As a result of this request, a fund-raising exercise was organised with and was prepared to swing into action the moment Churchill died.

Sir Winston Churchill died on the 24th January 1965 and the Churchill Memorial Appeal Day occurred on Sunday the 28th February 1965.

On the day across all states in Australia, collectors called on homes. All monies collected on that day were banked on that day. banks opened especially for the Appeal Day.

The Australian goal was £2.2 million and £4.5 million or the equivalent of $35.2 million in 2007 AUS dollars was raised. A total of 250,000 volunteers fanned out across Australia and knocked on about three million doors between 7pm and 9pm.

The Appeal was the biggest ever single-day fundraiser with 750,000 donation receipts issued on the day. Those funds collected in 1965 and wisely invested, have enabled Fellowships to be awarded in Australia.

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust

The Churchill Trust was established in April 1965. The principal object of the Trust is to perpetuate and honour the memory of Sir Winston Churchill by the award of travelling fellowships known as Churchill Fellowships.

The aim of the Churchill Trust is to give opportunity, by the provision of financial support, to Australians from all walks of life who, having exhausted opportunities within Australia, desire to further their search for excellence overseas. There are no prescribed qualifications, academic or otherwise, for the award of most Churchill Fellowships. Merit is the primary test, whether based on past achievements or demonstrated ability for future achievement in any walk of life. Benefit to Australia is a significant factor.

Churchill Fellowships have been awarded in just about every field imaginable. Some examples are:

  • Performing Arts Visual Arts Crafts
  • Quilting Restoration Conservation
  • Agriculture Industry Law
  • Medicine Education Pastoral
  • Science Policing Sport
  • Architecture Town Planning Boat Building
  • Sailing Wine Making Horticulture
  • Museums Radio Cultural Events
  • Education Taxidermy Parks and Gardens

A Churchill Fellowship benefits everyone and everyone is a winner! The individual because their determination, drive and dedication is recognised; their organisation because one of their number is recognised for excellence; and Australia because the Churchill Fellow will return with skills and knowledge not readily attainable here.

You too can become part of the story of the Churchill Fellows by applying for a Fellowship!!! Why not put in an application? Applications for the next round of Fellowships close at the end of February 2008.

More information, including a listing of previous recipients, is available on the Churchill Memorial Trust website.

Sir Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965) was best known as Britain’s Prime Minister during World War II. On May 10th 1940, in the midst of wartime disasters, Churchill was called to power. For the next five years, perhaps the most heroic period in Britain’s history, he held supreme command, as Prime Minister and Minister of Defence. He breathed a new spirit into the government and a new resolve into the nation. He told the House of Commons “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. You ask what is our policy? I will say: It is wage war, by land, sea and air, with all our might. You ask what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory.”

His dominant qualities were courage and imagination. Less obvious to the public, but no less important was his powerful, original, and fertile intellect. He had intense loyalty, marked magnanimity and generosity and an affectionate nature with a puckish humour. Oratory, in which he ultimately became a master, he learned the hard way, but he was a natural wit. The artistic side of his temperament was displayed in his writings and oratorical style, as well as his paintings.

He was a combination of soldier, writer, artist and statesman. Like Julius Caesar, he stands out not only as a great man of action but a writer of it.

When he died in London on January 24th 1965, at the age of 90, he was acclaimed as a citizen of the world and given the funeral of a hero.