With a rich, 160-year history, Chatsworth House in south-western Victoria is no dusty relic, but an exciting regenerative agriculture venture brimming with life.

Story Katrina Weatherly   Photos Georgie Mann

Sarah Whinney gathers sticks for the camp fire as smoke coils towards the cloudless blue sky. Her husband Tom, with a smile wider than his Akubra, keeps a watchful eye on the sizzling sausages. Jane, 11, Edward, 8, and George, 6, clamber among silver branches of gnarled old red gums, and probe the extensive root systems along the Hopkins River.  

Golden waterholes and undulating sandbanks line this
significant river, as it cuts through a verdant landscape north-west of Mortlake in Victoria’s Western District. 

With a mischievous grin, George gives the sand a playful kick, sending it flying into the nearest waterhole. Relaxed and enjoying the moment, Sarah reflects, “Paddock picnics are the best – connecting with both the landscape and the people I love”. 

There’s nothing surprising about this picture of idyllic rural bliss. Wellbeing is the core philosophy at Chatsworth House, the 2400ha property purchased by Sarah and Tom in March 2020. “It’s about living in harmony with the animals, environment and people,” Sarah says. 

This story excerpt is from Issue #142

Outback Magazine: April/May 2022