Bob and Rivkah Mathews moved their family to Donvale in 1958, reflecting their love of the bush and desire to live in a beautiful rural environment.

Unmarred and beautiful, the land was an array of open paddocks, with a number of fully grown remnant eucalypts and sweeps of native bushland, especially along the Mullum Mullum Creek. Bob and Rivkah planted an apple orchard next to the house they built, and over time added adjoining parcels of land to their property.

Changes to planning regulations in 1972 saw the land rezoned from rural to residential. As Bob watched the increasing urban development encroach on the rural landscape and shrouding the natural environment, he embarked on a plan to coordinate the development of neighbouring properties, with a vision of clusters of homes surrounded by open bushland. Despite his best efforts, the task of coordinating the local landholders, all with individual and differing interests, proved unsuccessful.

With a number of landholders choosing instead to develop their own properties independently, the Mathews family took the opportunity to take stock and consider the best future use of their own land. They all shared an interest in conservation, landscape, good design and social responsibility, and so they looked into a number of options that unified their interests, including aged care, education, conservation, and residential uses.

As Bob and Rivkah advanced into old age, the three Mathews children, Steve, Danny and Sue, refined their objectives into a plan for a combined residential development and conservation plan for the property.

After much deliberation and the combined input from environmental, landscape and engineering consultants, a series of plans for the estate was produced, each one reflecting the love of their inherited land and a labor to preserve, as much as possible, it’s natural state.

The Mullum Creek development proposal gained Council approval and endorsement in 2011, with the subsequent planning permit for the development granted in 2012. Today, the Mathews are well into the thick of the development, engaging with purchasers and directing the civil works team as they transform their orchard into the foundation for the Mullum Creek community.