About Louise Ward

Louise was born in Hong Kong, returning to her family home in Holland at the aged of 8 where she completed her high school education. Like many teenagers, she had no idea what she wanted to do with the rest of her life but did know she wanted an adventure, so she went to Germany to get a certificate of hospitality. Working in Amsterdam for 5 years before travelling to Australia in 1988 where she met her husband; John; they married in 1989 and had a family.

Together, they purchased the property which is known as Yarra Valley Estate, which was previously set up as a deer farm with only a few working sheds. For the next 20 years they slowly built the venue and ultimately created Yarra Valley Estate. The venue has proudly been recognised as a leader in sustainability and its care of the environment has been recognised with many distinguished awards.


While building the venue over 20 years and raising 4 children, Louise still found time to support several charities she holds close to her heart. Working with Moira Kelly AO for over two decades in various humanitarian missions, she is the president of two of Moira’s foundations - ‘Global Gardens of Peace’ and ‘Moira Kelly; Creating Hope’. www.globalgardensofpeace.org www.creatinghopefoundation.org.au. Louise also supports her husband John’s own humanitarian work in the disadvantaged community of Papua New Guinea, where John had worked for many years. He formed the PNG Foundation and continues medivac flights to PNG each year. www.pngfoundation.org.au
If that wasn’t enough Louise also completed a diploma in counselling, volunteered at Lifeline for 3 years, studied Gestalt Therapy for 2 years, volunteered at the Healesville Sanctuary, graduated with a cert 4 in nursing in 2009 and completed her PDC in Permaculture in 2015.
Through her love of wildlife and interest in our natural environment, Louise encouraged the establishment of a wildlife shelter on 5 acres of the property in Dixons Creek. This has been run by Tony Wooley since 2009. The Shelter rehabilitates approximately 100 birds/animals annually and is another of the charities supported by YVE.
In 2015 Louise expressed the wish to build an Edible Forest on the property to encourage guests and the general public to enjoy a garden were all the plants were either edible or medicinal. A garden that would support the restaurant with wonderful unique produce enhancing the menus and led to the establishment of the Edible Forest YV project. As Louise states ‘It’s a dream come true’. www.edibleforest.co
Of course, none of this would have been possible without the love and support of John, the love of her life.