ONE of the best known properties in rural Australia, Kameruka at Candelo, has been sold after 150 years of continuous ownership by the one family.
The 3,337 acre holding, situated in the heart of the rich Bega Valley in South East NSW, has been sold to English buyers Giles and Lou Pritchard-Gordon for an undisclosed price on a "walk in walk out" basis.
This remarkable property which includes its own village, cricket ground and golf course is the home of Australia's oldest continuing cattle stud - the Kameruka Jersey Stud.
Best-known for its Kameruka Cheese brand, the estate, which was set up in 1857 by the Tooth family (of Tooths Brewery and Swifts, Darling Point, fame) as an agrarian estate, with a series of dairy farmers supplying milk to the cheese factory, is owned by a descendent of Robert Tooth, Frank Foster, and his wife Odile.
An extremely scenic property with rolling countryside rising from gentle flats along the frontages to the Bemboka River and Tantawangalo Creek, Kameruka has been pasture improved and is irrigated.
It currently runs a commercial jersey dairy operation milking approx 265 performance bred jersey cows.
4,000 Merino sheep, including Merino ewes some of which are joined to white Suffolk rams, are also run on the property.
One of the largest holdings on the South Coast, Kameruka Estate has approximately 31 subdivision lots approved.
Chris Meares of marketing agents Meares and Associates said it was the history of Kameruka that was the heart and soul of the property.
He said the Fosters were delighted that the buyers were a family who had indicated their desire to carry on the traditions of Kameruka, including the continuation of the dairy operation and the re-employment of the Kameruka staff that have been part of the property for many years.
"It is the new owner's intention to also establish a thoroughbred horse operation as well as upgrading the important landmarks of the property, including the homestead, the golf course and the Lords View oval," he said
"The Fosters will leave Kameruka after 32 years stewardship of the property, handing over to the Pritchard-Gordons in October.
"Frank Foster has endeavoured over the years to preserve the Estate's private village scene which is today maintained in near original conditions."
In a recent letter Mr Foster wrote:
"Kameruka is without doubt one of the best known rural names on the eastern seaboard and the property itself a major historical landmark of Australia.
"The ground breaking plans and vision of the early settlers of Kameruka are preserved for all to see.
"This is a significant part of Australia's living heritage.
The estate's private village scene is complete with cricket oval, village hall, clock tower and resident's cottages, all preserved and maintained in near original condition.
"The front gate entrance leads you past the classic gatehouse, down the oak lined avenue to the 1845 homestead and gardens.
The famous clock tower has stood nearby chiming every quarter hour since 1911.
"Here is truly unsurpassed beauty. Even the village main street's commercial buildings survive; carpenter and blacksmith shops, village store, butcher's shop and the estate office all bear testament to the grand plan of one man, brewery magnate Robert Tooth.
"The surrounding landscaped farmland is home to the oldest and one of Australia's finest dairy studs.
"The very best genetics from 1880 to the present day ensure the Kameruka Jersey herd's ongoing excellent production as well as the stud achieving Royal Sydney Show Supreme Champion Dairy Cow, of all breeds, in 1981, 1983 and 1992.
"No other stud has ever or probably will ever achieve this record.
"Medium fine (19-21 micron) Merinos graze the outer paddocks of the estate producing sought after clean and bright premium quality wool.
"Kameruka Estate today stands testament to the tenacity and success of 150 years of unbroken ownership by the Tooth family and it is with great regret that the property is being offered for sale for the first time since 1857.
"The fact remains, however, that Kameruka will continue and will amply reward a new owner with its agricultural diversity, its intrinsic historic soul, ideal unspoilt position and the estate's stunning natural beauty.
"Unique is a loosely used word today but it probably is the one word that truly captures this very special place."
A shipping family with significant global rural interests, the Pritchard-Gordons have cattle and ranch interests in both West Sussex (United Kingdom) and Wyoming (USA) where they have a stud and commercial operation breeding Sussex cattle. They also have a thoroughbred breeding operation in West Sussex and a sugar cane plantation at Airlie Beach in Queensland.
Tooth descendant sells Kameruka