The first owner of “Campanella” was Sir Matthew Henry Stephen (1828-1920) a third generation Australian who followed the family tradition of law. He was Acting Chief Justice of NSW from 1902 to 1904. Sir Stephen bought “Campanella” in 1875 and named it after Tommaso Campanella (1568-1639), the most original Dominican philosopher of this time (he spent a total of 27 years in prison for his teachings and was the author of some 80 works).
The original Campanella Homestead mysteriously burnt down in 1937. Tony and Valerie Mayne bought the property in 1950 and built a small weekender partly on the foundations of the original building. Their son, George, and his wife, Jane, started planting walnuts in the winter of 1979 including 10 “Franquette” walnuts and then started with “Freshford Gem” which is the first Australian variety. There are also “Esterhazy”, “Vina”, “Teres Mayette” and “Irvine” varieties. They built “Campanella Cottage” in 1983 and the chestnuts were planted in 1984. The chestnut trees have been regrafted many times as newer varieties became available. Most are from West Australia, such as “Manjinup Mahogony” and “WA Early” but we also have “Red Spanish”, “Sassafras Green” and “Purdons Pride”.