We are the Crooke family – fourth generation dairy farmers and food lovers who instill our passion into crafting our award-winning ice-cream.

stephen crooke

stephen
crooke

sarah crooke

sarah
crooke

james crooke

james
crooke

iris crooke

iris
crooke


1835

The historic Gundowring property, originally settled by the family of explorer Hamilton Hume in 1835, encompasses 1000 acres in the Kiewa Valley in northeast Victoria. Magnificent river red gums line the river flats and grey box eucalypts dot the hillsides of this pristine landscape watered by melted snows from Mount Feathertop.


1945

The Crooke family purchased the Gundowring property in 1945, with Oliver now the 4th generation Crooke to live there.


2003

Stephen and Sarah have dairy farmed at Gundowring for 36 years, and in 2003 were looking for a new challenge. They wanted to use their love of food and the premium quality milk the cows were producing and make something unique.
While waist deep in a New Zealand river, Stephen was having a conversation with some dairy industry friends about what shape the new challenge might take. The conversation turned from Gundowring milk to the ice cream they had tasted the day before. With a wink and a nod all agreed that this would be the Crooke’s new challenge.
The first commercial batch of Gundowring Finest Ice Cream was churned in late 2003 and sold at a local farmer’s market to great acclaim.


2009

Fast forward to 2009 and Gundowring Ice Cream is available in Melbourne, Sydney and a few regional centres in between. The small Gundowring Team is beginning to feel the strain and James and Iris are convinced to make the move back to Gundowring from Melbourne. They set about renovating the farm cottage, planting a vegetable garden, fruit trees and vines and installing four chooks, all the things they couldn’t do in North Fitzroy.


Today

The next phase in Gundowring Ice Cream’s history sees James and Iris take the reins from Stephen and Sarah. Stephen and Sarah will still be part of the all-important tasting panel, and will certainly lend a hand when grand parenting duties with Oliver allow. Gundowring Fine Foods is an integral part of the local community. It provides employment and skills training for its loyal team of locals, as well as a market for local produce such as fruit, nuts and honey. It works closely with the local wine and food tourism groups.

the farm

Gundowring Homestead encompasses a thousand acres of Kiewa Valley river flats and rising country, providing a lush pasture based diet for the herd of 500 Holstein cows.

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The cows calve once a year, usually in the Autumn. They are milked twice a day in a rotary dairy, where they are fed a mix of locally grown grain during milking.

The abundant Spring pasture surplus is harvested and conserved as silage and is fed during the heat of summer and depths of winter to supplement grazed pasture. There is a small amount of irrigation during summer to boost summer pastures and grow fodder crops.

Ian and Alice Holloway run the farm with a team of three. Morning milking starts at 6 am. Between milkings they are busy with feeding, tractor work and fencing as well as all the record keeping required on a modern dairy farm. Gundowring Ice Cream uses a small percentage of the farm’s milk, the rest is supplied to the Murray Goulburn co-op at Kiewa. Milk is collected fresh from the dairy for the ice creamery which is located right in the middle of the farm.

the environment

We are committed to respecting and preserving the integrity of our inheritance. Environmental biodiversity is as important as the cows.


Over 20% of the farm has been fenced off to facilitate an annual revegetation program and to create wildlife and riparian reserves.
Natural corridors connect rocky outcrops and gullies to the significant wetlands and stream banks where native birds and animals thrive.

Gundowring is home to many species of migratory birds, black wallabies, echidnas, kangaroos, wombats, possums and a colony of platypus.
Other endeavours to improve Gundowring’s environmental footprint include the installation of solar hot water and there are plans to use solar power to run the micro-factory.

Water conservation is equally important, so rainwater is collected in tanks and recycled within the factory. All waste water is treated and used for revegetation.

All cardboard cartons are made from recycled materials, reused where appropriate and then composted along with fruit stems and pips. Plastic ingredient containers are collected for recycling and retail cardboard tubsare recyclable. Even the wooden tasting spoons are recyclable!