Bendooley Estate is the beautiful, tranquil, unique (and successful) brain-child of Paul Berkelouw and his family. Located in the magnificent Southern Highlands Bendooley has earned an outstanding reputation as a wedding venue, cellar door, restaurant and destination for accommodation.

Recently the Navwealth team visited Bendooley Estate and were fortunate enough to meet Paul Berkelouw, who explained why it was necessary to change the traditional business model his family had developed and how Bendooley became the successful business it is today.

The Berkelouw family first began trading books in Holland in 1812. Many will recognise the name Berkelouw from the well-known bookstores which were established in Sydney in approx. 1948 by Isidoor Berkelouw who immigrated to Australia following the collapse of their book trading business in Rotterdam in the Netherlands after World War II.

After several years of very successful book trading in Australia, the business required larger premises and relocated to ‘Bendooley’ in 1977 and created the Berkelouw Book Barn. In 1994 the family opened their flagship store in Paddington (NSW), followed by stores in Leichhardt (NSW), Eumundi (QLD) and several other Sydney locations. There are now 9 stores in operation.

Technological advances in more recent years have been the catalyst for further transformation. Paul and his family realised that their business must adapt to digital changes in their industry as traditional hard- cover book sales declined.

Their strategy was diversification. Using the beautiful Bendooley 200-acre property, and ensuring that the tradition of books remained a focus, Paul and his
wife Katja harnessed their passion for viticulture and paddock-to-plate food and implemented the following changes:
• Remodelled the book barn which is now the Estate’s restaurant and bar
• Planted a vineyard
• Built a stunning stone-hewn cellar door
• Built luxurious guest cottages
• Custom-built The Stables which provides an alternate setting for weddings and functions

Paul and his family realised that their business must adapt to digital changes in their industry as traditional hard-cover book sales declined.


This hard work and thoughtful planning resulted in a magnificent destination for tourists, weddings and locals which preserves the family’s tradition and embraces local resources, produce and people.

The now 70-person-strong team includes cleaners, kitchen and wait staff, gardeners and many more who work together to make every visit to Bendooley a special and memorable one.




‘If you have not been to Bendooley you must go! It is a beautiful place with a very special story. It was incredible to hear first-hand how a business can reinvent itself whilst keeping true to the owner’s passions and the strong traditions of the business’ Jacqueline Palmer, Navwealth