The Team

The Bendooley Team

Bendooley Estate is Paul Berkelouw’s childhood home. It’s the place where his father, Leo Berkelouw, built up the family book business that had started as a humble proposition in Holland in the early 1800s. Two hundred years and six generations of book dealers later, Berkelouw Books has become internationally renowned. But as technological advances swept through the industry and changed the face of the book world several years ago, the Berkelouw Family knew that their business must change with the times.

The Berkelouw’s long-treasured Book Barn, sitting in the middle of their magnificent 200-acre farm seemed like the perfect place to begin their dream-change — a unique wedding and event venue that would provide a beautiful place to celebrate with friends. Paul and his wife Katja harnessed their passion for viticulture and paddock-to-plate food, remodelled the Book Barn and reimagined their beautiful heritage homestead and gardens, planted a vineyard, built a stunning stone-hewn cellar door and luxurious rustic-chic cottages for guests, and put together an incredible team of professionals. Bendooley Estate as it stands today is the incarnation of one couple’s innovative dream to preserve tradition while embracing change.

Books are still the beating heart of Bendooley Estate — they are a part of the scenery and the form the very fabric of the place.  Leo can still be found surrounded by piles of antiquarian books in the Rare Book Department or sitting in the restaurant enjoying the vibrant evolution he has helped to bring about.

When not overseeing the running the Estate, Paul and Katja spend time managing the many facets of their book business and spending time with their four gorgeous children who are lucky enough to share the same bucolic childhood as their father— riding horses, climbing trees and reading books on Bendooley Estate.

It takes so many incredible professionals to bring you the Bendooley Estate experience.  The Berkelouw Family are just the beginning.  We’d love to introduce you to a few of our wonderful team:

Mark Sneddon

Mark is one of a kind and plays a key role in the success of Bendooley. From escorting brides and grooms around the venue for site visits to managing group bookings and greeting customers during lunch service, his playful personality and kindness make a lasting impression on everyone he meets.

Kelly MacNamara

Kelly’s passion and commitment to her brides is second to none. From the moment a wedding is booked Kelly will oversee every detail of the big day, from the menu to logistics and more. Her support and attention to detail ensure a flawless wedding for her lovely couples every time.

Benn Troy

Our head chef Benn, manages a large team of staff who have a passion for creating delicious food made from the best local & regional produce. All food-related decisions and creations — whether it be exquisite meals from our a la carte kitchen, the superior and ever-changing menus or catering for large or small events, happen under his watchful eye.

Sasha Haynes

Sasha is our first point-of-contact for wedding couples looking to find out more about the estate. Sasha’s kindness and attention to detail ensures every enquiry is dealt with in the best possible way.

Charles Cowell

Charles is our operations manager and has extensive experience in managing hotels, events, weddings and private dining experiences in the UK. His enthusiasm and passion for providing good service ensures the team always strive to deliver the best possible experience every time.

Petra Gruenewald

Petra brings a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry from her original home in Germany as well as the time spent working in both Cairns and the Blue Mountains once she had moved to Australia. As our restaurant manager, Petra is passionate about providing the best customer experience to every guest visiting the estate.

Leigh Clarke

A long-standing member of the Berkelouw team, Leigh manages the book store in our barn. With an incredible knowledge of good literature and rare books, she is on hand to provide help or wonderful suggestions for those on the hunt for a fabulous read.

There are so many other individuals who form a part of the 70-person-strong team at Bendooley Estate. Special mention must go to our meticulous cleaners, our kitchen and wait staff and our four gardeners who look after not only the heritage gardens, the manicured lawns and produce areas, but also the farm and its animals. Each member of the team works hard to make your visit special. We hope you enjoy the fruits of our labours.