Kersefontein Farmer, Aviator and Advocate
Julian Melck is the owner and farmer at Kersefontein on the Cape West Coast some 150 km north of Cape Town between Veldrift and Hopefield. An 8th generation custodian, the land was acquired by his family on 13 August 1770. Julian has lived there all of his life, and the farm has passed from father to son, father to son through all the generations up to now.
At Kersefontein Julian farms Hereford Cattle, sheep for wool, wheat and grain – and runs a small guest house for people who want to visit the area and spend time on a working farm. The farm is popular as a film location and hosts the occasional wedding, with many commercials and sections of feature films having been shot there, production teams drawn by the diverse and pristine landscape.
At Kersefontein Julian farms Hereford Cattle, sheep for wool, wheat and grain – and runs a small guest house for people who want to visit the area and spend time on a working farm.
The Berg River through runs through the land, the water source a lifeline and why it is such an amazing cattle and sheep farm. Of course, water also equals fun and the river is enjoyed for water sport, swimming and sees the annual Berg River Canoe marathon come past the front door.
A place where quite a lot happens, Julian enjoys the privilege of meeting many interesting people through the guests house and is constantly entertained by those that have come into his life as a result of their visits to Kersefontein.
By background, Julian spent 11 years of his schooling in Cape Town, going on to study law at Stellenbosch University after completing his military service. After doing his articles in Windhoek, Namibia at firm of attorneys, he returned to take over the farm from his father in the mid 80’s.
‘I love what I do, working as a farmer helps me, encourages me and gives me the facilities from which to enjoy my hobbies which are horse riding and as a small-time aviator’. There is runway on the farm so that he can fly out and others can fly in. With Kersefontein close to an air force base there is a strong social connection with other pilots. ‘I can read and enjoy the company of the people who visit me. I am fortunate to be living in an environment where I can exercise interests and share with others who have similar interests.’
‘As a farmer and agriculturist, I am very aware of my environment. We have migratory birds lured by the water estuaries and rivers, and annually thousands flock to the heronry and breed here. In the Springtime wildflowers blanket the fields drawing attention.’
Time spent in the Kersefontien Manor House brings a strong sense of the family that has lived there for eight generation. Growing up on the farm with his late brother and two sisters meant days spent with my parents in the drawing room reading, playing cards and talking. ‘I am lucky enough to live in the same house that I grew up in.’
The house is old and interesting from an architectural and vernacular perspective. His parents and grandparents were art and antique collectors and set a wonderful example of what it was as children to grow up with a rich heritage to be preserved for future generations. Today Julian is the custodian of these valuable articles for the family. The house as we see it is much layered, added onto over the generations and tells the story of change and progress.
A further interest for Julian’s is music. Taking the decision to learn to play the piano while at school, he studied music – including the pipe organ that was available to him. At University he continued to read music still plays as an artistic escape from his everyday world.
Julian remains closely involved with the surrounding community. For the guest house he sources as much as he can from the farm’s vegetable garden, including waterblommetjies, and beyond that visits the Saturday market in Hopefield which sells all sorts of home kitchen food that he can stock up on. The area is home to a well settled community, and they thrive on supporting each other.
For eight generations, the farm has been handed down to the sons, with Julian Melck the present owner. A hardworking farmer, advocate of the High Court of SA, aviator, musician and storyteller
When asked about personal interest and pastimes – ‘being a farmer you are a diverse person and when it comes to what you do on a daily basis you never know what the day will hold. I could be feeding chickens, riding horses, driving a tractor, working with cattle, or choosing the food and wine for my guests – it is all a day in the life of a farm that offers a broad range of attractions and activities such as Kersefontien.’
For eight generations, the farm has been handed down to the sons, with Julian Melck the present owner. A hardworking farmer, advocate of the High Court of SA, aviator, musician and storyteller, this multi-faceted character has been aptly described as a modern Renaissance Man. It is here on Kersefontein where Julian continues the centuries old tradition of quality farming practices to yield and raise the best possible product.
*** Drone footage by Dale Staples of Staples Productions.