Henk and Sjaan Koelewyn migrated to Australia from The Netherlands in 1952 and chose Monbulk in the picturesque Dandenong Ranges to live as there was already a small group of Dutch people living in the area.
Henk found work at Woolrich Range View Nursery at Olinda. Ted Woolrich was a well known plantsman and had an enormous knowledge of exotic shrubs, trees, bulbs and more.
Henk soon began growing plants after work and Sjaan helped with cuttings and maintaining the plants as well as looking after a growing family. In the early years plants were grown in the rich mountain soil and dug and balled with hessian in the Autumn & Winter. In the 70's the introduction of plastic pots and soil-less potting mix soon saw Coolwyn Nurseries growing more plants in pots therefore having plants available 12 months of the year.
In those early years, conifers, azaleas, camellias, rhododendrons, mollis, magnolias, liquidambars, maples, birch and more were grown.
In 1966 Leo, the eldest son, began full time work at the age of 16. Other family members also worked at the nursery for many years.
Wherever possible all propagation of cuttings and grafts was done in-house. Seedlings were bought in for growing on or for use as understocks for grafting.
Today Coolwyn Nurseries specialize in conifers, magnolias both evergreen and deciduous, buxus, topiary buxus and Christmas trees.
Leo Koelewyn is Managing Director and has a strong focus on propagation and new plant development. His daughter Jennie Bakker, a co-director, is in charge of all facets of administration and sales. Steve Koelewyn, a co-director, is in charge of production and has moved into the office to assist in sales.
Coolwyn Nurseries has it's main container production site of 10.4 hectares at 29 Victoria Ave Monbulk. Here all water is recycled back into a large dam giving water security even in the driest years. A site of 1.2 hectares at Monbulk is dedicated to propagation and features modern facilities. A site of 8.8 hectares at Monbulk is dedicated to in-ground growing of topiary buxus, dedicuous magnolias and conifers.