Steve O’Ryan goes back a long way in the history of Bellevarde. He started as an apprentice in 1978 with John Fielding, who was then a Canberra bricklayer. In 1980 John started Bellevarde Constructions. Five years later Steve re-joined him and he’s been with Bellevarde ever since—that’s over three decades. He started as a leading hand and since 1993 he’s been Bellevarde’s Construction Manager, Country Division.

'John and I got along from day one because we share the same passion for building things as well as we possibly can. John has taught me a lot and I enjoy working with him, but I couldn’t spend my life working in the city. For a start, where would I keep my horses?

'John says that to have me working in the city would make as much sense as boarding a Kelpie in Kings Cross. I do not enjoy being away from home but I’ve come to recognise that my job satisfaction comes from building great, architecturally challenging homes. Luckily we’ve found the best collection of clients who want to build precisely that, and live in the country. So that is where I work.

'If you look through the Bellevarde Book: I worked on two Richard Johnson houses—Burrawang West, then the Spencer house (the first John built in Sydney); a bunch in the Snowies over the years; Riverside cabins; Alex Popov’s Omaru apartments; Crackenback Village; Thredbo Chapel; Sastrugi Lodge; The Chalets @ 1750 in Perisher. Then in Canberra there was John’s own house, the Yarralumla house, two houses on the Mugga Way; and in the Hunter Valley, Katie Paige’s Oakleigh Homestead, by Virginia Kerridge. I reckon I’ve worked on more than 30 great houses.

'We've always managed to attract the best tradespeople and top apprentices—people who want to learn to do things right. So there's a bunch of us out in the bush just building beautiful homes. That's why I like going to work.'

A few words about Steve O’Ryan from John Fielding

'One of Steve’s greatest skills is in explaining how to perform a building task. I’ve never met anyone better. No matter how complex the task, he makes it clear, simple, and easy to follow. It is a great gift he brings to us all.

'I think this photo shows Steve for exactly what he is—a great country builder. For the life of me I can’t remember the last time someone mistook him for a merchant banker. What do you think?'

Contact Steve on 0409 625 314 or