In 1795 a large herd of wild cattle was found grazing on the southern side of the Nepean River, thriving without human help. They were the progeny of two bulls and four cows that had wandered off from Sydney Cove in 1788. This is why the district became known as 'the Cowpastures', and it was here that John Macarthur was granted 5,000 acres of land in 1805.
Macarthur's grant, initially known as ‘Camden’ and later as ‘Camden Park’, remained with the family for nearly 170 years. As the estate grew, much of the land was tenanted but the family retained portions for their own use, including the 'Home Farm'. What we now call 'Belgenny Farm' was the centre of the Home Farm.
From the mid 1830s the family lived at Camden Park House about 2km away. In the English tradition of great country houses, the Home Farm supplied them with fresh produce and directly involved them in farming, independent of their many tenant farmers on the wider estate.
Camden Park and Belgenny Farm have been at the centre of one of Australia’s most enduring agricultural stories.
From humble beginnings in 1805 with the grant of 5,000 acres in an area previously beyond the settlement of Sydney, the estate grew to a group of farms totaling 27,693 acres over much of what is present day Camden and its southern surrounds.
At its peak, the Camden Park had nine dairies and provided milk and fruit for a growing population in Sydney and was maintaining the lead in best practice and innovative agricultural methods for wool production and viticulture.
Camden Park has played an important role for generations in the form of Camden Vale Milk Bar, School Milk and the Rotolactor as well as the development of the townships of Camden and Menangle. The Macarthur family involved with the estate and what is now Belgenny have many amazing stories. You can read their stories by following the links on this site.