Noorilim Estate and the surrounding Goulburn River Valley Region have a rich history that includes Aboriginal habitation, squatters, land barons, agriculture, war, commerce and politics. ‘Noorilim' is named after the local Ngurai-illum Aboriginal tribe and supposedly translates to 'many lagoons', as the area was a natural flood plain of the lower Goulburn River prior to the construction of the Goulburn Weir completed in 1891.
The original Noorilim Run included over 44,000 acres of leasehold land controlled initially by Frederick Manton. By the time the mansion was commissioned by William Irving Winter in 1879 this was reduced to approximately 2400 acres of freehold and leasehold land adjoining both sides of the Goulburn river. The estate, including the mansion, has had 11 owners over its long history and has been used as a sheep and cattle station, thoroughbred horse stud, private residence and more recently as a vineyard.
The mansion is constructed in the Victorian Italianate style with attendant tower, a dominant external feature, similar to other impressive buildings of the period including the Victorian Houses of Parliament and Werribee Park. It is perhaps the finest work of architect, James Gall, who also designed Mintaro at Monegeeta and Frognall at Canterbury, both in Victoria.
Noorilim was one of many grand homesteads built by the Winter family who once controlled a quarter of a million acres of pastoral land at the peak of their operations. The others include Dhurringile, a 65-room mansion north of Murchison built in 1877 by William’s older brother James (now run as the Dhurringile Prison), Colbinabbin (privately owned), and Stanhope (now derelict).