21 April 2023

Auction of 'trophy' homestead to end five generations of dairy farming in Bega Valley

| Katrina Condie
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Historic Daisy Bank Farm will go to auction on 21 April. Photo: Ray White Rural NSW.

Bega Valley’s historic Daisy Bank property will bring to an end five generations of dairy farming for the well-known D’Arcy family when it goes to auction on 21 April.

The 400-acre (161-hectare) property on the banks of the Bega River was originally purchased in 1854 by John D’Arcy, a young immigrant from Tipperary, Ireland, who established a dairy and pig farm.

A pioneer of the Far South Coast dairy industry, Mr D’Arcy was one of the founding members of the Bega Co-Operative Creamery Company in 1899, now famously known as Bega Cheese.

After 168 years of family ownership, the spectacular piece of land in the heart of the Bega Valley will go under the hammer in Sydney, offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to purchase a landmark property steeped in unique heritage and history.

Selling agent Chris Malone from Ray White Rural NSW says when you drive down the liquidambar tree-lined drive and up to the magnificent hand-built two-storey 1880s homestead, you get the sense you have arrived at “a very special place”.

“There is a wonderful sense of peace and serenity the moment you drive through the gate at ‘Daisy Bank’ and along the tree-lined drive,” Mr Malone said.

“With its proximity to the township of Bega and also the coast, it is a magical spot and at every turn there is another ‘wow’ vista.

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“There are many unique and intriguing features that hold great appeal – an 1880s homestead with meticulous craftsmanship on display, the beautiful Bega River frontage, granite outbuildings from a bygone era, and a picturesque piece of land with water as a feature.”

The granite farm buildings combined with modern-day farming practices have woven a rich tapestry over the past five generations of ownership.

Mr Malone described Daisy Bank as “a trophy farm and landbank holding that only comes to market very rarely” and said the time had come for “new stewards to take the ownership of this grand dame”.

The D’Arcy family decided to sell and retire after a lifetime of working the dairy farm.

“The property is going to have new owners in a little over a week’s time,” Mr Malone said.

“We don’t know yet whether this will be someone with dairy interests, a city-based investor that wants a trophy holding in the country close to the coast, or someone who loves the historic buildings and beauty with 400 acres of riverfront land on Bega’s doorstep.”

Surrounded by spectacular English gardens, the impressive two-storey, five-bedroom homestead is a replica of the family’s original home in Ireland and is built of handmade bricks that were shipped from Sydney to Tathra, then taken by a smaller boat up the Bega River to the property.

The house is brimming with period features including ceiling roses, cornices, skirting boards and working fireplaces in seven rooms.

Other original features in the stately interior include a stained-glass window on the staircase landing, etched glass in several of the internal doors and windows, and carved cedar surrounds.

The granite stone bacon factory and ham smokehouse, built in 1870, ceased operating in 1923, but both buildings still stand, in excellent condition, as a monument to the pioneering family.

The property also boasts a four-bedroom manager’s residence plus a third homesite, subject to council approval, and features a 540-megalitre Bega River irrigation licence, with about 222 acres (89 hectares) under irrigation.

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A herd of 230 dairy cows will be dispersed after the property is sold.

Mr Malone said there had been a “very good response from the marketing campaign and the owner’s presentation of the property is testament to them”.

“We have had interested parties from all over Australia,” he added.

While he is remaining tight-lipped about the expected sale price, Mr Malone said on the morning of the auction, a reserve price would be set in line with market feedback throughout the campaign, “with the sole intention of setting a reserve that will sell the property under the hammer”.

Daisy Bank will be auctioned at 10:30 am on 21 April by Ray White in King Street, Sydney.

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