Article from 1982 – Weekly Times
The mansion was built in 1867, one of the “jewels” in the crown of the Irving Winter empire which dominated the Goulburn Valley in the 1800s. Only a boundary fence, it is said, separated the large holdings of the brothers, William, John, James and Irving.
The four were the sons of Scottish blacksmiths son Jock Winter who fell in love with and married Janet Irving, daughter of the Lord of Bonshaw, on the English-Scottish border. They had six sons and settled with four of them in Victoria about 1840. Jock “struck it rich” with the discovery of gold on his Bonshaw Run near Ballarat and became known as the “richest man in Ballarat”. He gave each of his sons 10,000 pounds and bought them land in the Goulburn Valley on which each, in turn, built mansions.
James built Dhurringle and John, Colbinabbin. Irving had land at Merrigum but never built a homestead or lived there. Not to be outdone, William, who later put both his parents’ surnames together and won a seat in Parliament to become the Hon. William Winter-Irving, MLC, built Stanhope.
By 1888, he spent another small fortune on improvements to the already impressive property. But by then, he had entered politics and built the 90-room Mansion, Noorilim.
Following Winter -Irving’s death in 1902, the Stanhope Estate was divided among his family with the homestead section going to his son, William jun. In March 1913 the property was sold to the Closer Settlement Board which re-sold the homestead to the Baker brothers. The surviving brother, Mr Tom Baker has continued to work the property which has been classified by the National Trust.