History of the Churchill Fellowships

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 and on a much wider basis. As a result of this request, a fund-raising exercise was organised to swing into action the moment Churchill died.

Sir Winston Churchill died on 24th January 1965 and the Churchill Memorial Appeal Day occurred in Australia on Sunday 28th February 1965. On that day in New South Wales, 30,000 collectors called on 600,000 homes throughout the nation. All monies collected on that day were banked on the same day. Banks opened especially for the Appeal Day and given this was a Sunday, it stands out in history as the only time banks opened on a Sunday. The New South Wales goal was $180,000, while Australia wide the objective was $2 million.

In New South Wales alone $428,000 was collected and $4.5 million Australia wide. This is probably the most successful fund-raising effort ever in Australian history – as remarkable as the man it honoured!

Those funds collected in 1965 through wise investment, have enabled more than 3900 Fellowships to date to be awarded across Australia, of which over 700 are from New South Wales as at 2014.

The Churchill Trust was established in April 1965 and Fellows Associations were then formed in each State and Territory, each governed by a Constitution and consisting of volunteers for each role in the separate committees. 

A direct link to the past - Sydney Morning Herald article November 1965 (2.9 MB)