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 was 44,000 acres. By the time the mansion was commissioned by William Irving Winter in 1879 this was reduced to just over 2000 acres 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 property was purchased by the Menzies family in 1998 and improved with a combined 65 acres of Merlot, Cabernet, Shiraz, Viognier and Chardonnay.
The Italianate mansion was 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 Cantebury.
Noorilim was one of many grand homesteads built by the Winter family who once held a quarter of a million acres of pastoral land at the peak of their operations. The others include Dhurringile, a 68-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).
The historic homestead, much loved and beautifully restored has matured gracefully, secreted from the main road by its winding tree-lined approach and nestled amidst its extensive botanical gardens. The long driveway leading to Noorilim is flanked by the vineyards and an avenue of tall eucalyptus. The merging of parkland and viticulture is enhanced by the peacocks and bird life who make themselves at home in the vineyards and gardens.
With its prominent tower, Noorilim is one of only a few substantial nineteenth century residences in rural Victoria. Located near Murchison in Central Victoria, in the heart of the Goulburn Valley, the region offers the natural beauty of the Goulburn River, inland lakes, expanses of scenic views and a profusion of wildlife, all steeped in a strong sense of Australian cultural history.
Situated within the Goulburn/ Murray river system, the region is home to a number of great Victorian vineyards, historic buildings and restaurants. A lively community has built the area into a must visit destination for wine-lovers and tourists seeking the best that Central Victoria has to offer. The region is a short trip north of Melbourne along the Hume and Goulburn Valley Highways.