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 oversees everything that happens here. Whether it’s site visits or bridal morale, Mark’s famous humour keeps everyone laughing. If we could clone him, we would!
Kelly MacNamara is our wedding coordinator extraordinaire! Kelly works closely with bridal couples, the executive chef and the venue manager, to ensure a flawless wedding day. Her passion is making everyone happy!
Benn Troy is our brilliant head chef. 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. Benn manages a large team of staff and has a passion for creating new dishes and for good wholesome food.
Leigh Clarke has been a friendly and bookish presence at the Berkelouw Book Barn for many years. In charge of the book store in our barn, Leigh thrives on good literature, rare books and a little bit of alternative living. Whether it’s Dr. Suess or Charles Dickens, she’ll happily find the title you seek!
Charles Cowell is our incredible restaurant manager. From his background in the UK running private dining experiences, large weddings and events and hotel management, Charles brings an enormous energy and vibrancy to our team. Your dining experiences and events will run smoothly under his meticulous eye.
Emma Fernandez grew up in the hospitality industry, has a background in floristry and loves creating beautiful things – just the sort of person we love at Bendooley Estate! Unlike most of us, Emma gets to indulge her passion for wine all day long, helping to look after our Cellar Door and managing wine sales.
if you’re looking for a dream team-member who can turn her hand to anything meet Sasha Haynes. Sasha is our first point-of-contact for wedding couples and she ensures you are being looked after and that all communications are in hand.
Stuart Jamieson-Pate is our perpetually cheerful event supervisor. He undertakes the important task of ensuring that your wedding or event runs smoothly. From managing the wait staff to liaising with the MC and bridal couple, to venue logistics — he is delightful, obliging and detail-focussed.
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.