Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from Australian Community Media, which has journalists in every state and territory. Today's is written by ACM national agriculture writer Chris McLennan.
Sometimes you can stumble over the most surprising stories on the rural property round.
I have always been fascinated by the incredible wealth of the squatters.
Most folk in these early days of Australian settlement were battling to survive.
Check the country cemeteries, the number of children who succumbed to disease and starvation is a scandal of those times.
Meanwhile, the wool barons built their bluestone mansions and their sheep flocks and were in a competition to outspend the other.
Scottish pastoralist Niel Black ran stock across a 17,612 hectare property in western Victoria from 1840 and founded a family dynasty.
He also built a fairly ordinary looking mansion from the outside at Glenormiston and in 1949 sold it to the Victorian government to become an agricultural school.
I say ordinary-looking, that is compared with some of the other incredible palaces sprinkled across the Western District.
But inside was a different matter, it has the most marvellous staircase comprising 35 elaborate wooden panels carved by the master Robert Prenzel.
Mr Prenzel was in demand, his carvings pop up in several other mansions in the district such as Purrumbete and Keayang.
Earlier this month, it was announced tourists would be offered a rare insight into another of these homes of the rich and famous.
People will be able to stay on the grounds of the 1870's Mooramong Homestead at Skipton after the Victorian government gave the National Trust money to provide for overnight stays.
In a state first, the National Trust is planning to open some of the historic cottages and erect tiny houses and glamping tents for visitors from this spring.
More than 100 people can take in a slice of the rich squatter's life each night.
People will not be able to stay in the old homestead itself, but it will be opened again for tours.
The homestead is just out of Skipton in the Western District, about 50km from Ballarat.
Mooramong was part of the 15,000 hectare squatting run originally occupied in 1838 by Scottish born Alexander Anderson (1813-1896) and his two partners.
It passed through several hands, as these stations tended to do, until it fell into the ownership of prominent Melbourne solicitor and racing identity L.K.S Mackinnon.
Fans of the Melbourne Cup would have probably heard of the Mackinnon Stakes, a Group One race run at the end of the carnival, named after the long-time chairman of the Victoria Racing Club.
Well he was also a dad, and bought Mooramong as a 21st birthday present for his son Donald.
Donald, or Scobie as he was better known, was educated at Melbourne and Geelong's best schools and was sent to Cambridge in the UK for the finishing touches.
Dad sent him a Rolls-Royce to cart him about from school, as one does.
Well, a few years later our Scobie, who was then described as Australia's most eligible bachelor, caught the eye of a wealthy American movie star called Claire Adams and they married.
He was 32 and she was 42 when the tied the knot and they retreated to the sheep station in the Australian wilds.
Ms Adams was a silent screen star who had featured in about 40 Hollywood films, many of them "action movies" which involved doing her own stunt work on horses and with some featuring the original Rin-Tin-Tin.
Legend has it the Hollywood star's first order of business was to transform the main residence on Scobie's property into an exquisite, hacienda-style haven.
They divided their time between the station and Melbourne.
She also arranged for the building of what was, at the time, the largest privately owned pool in the Southern hemisphere where they hosted many parties.
Much of their memorabilia still adorns the walls and halls of the homestead.
After their deaths (she died in 1978 and he died in 1974), they bequeathed Mooramong to the National Trust.
Ahh, have to love an unexpected romance story.
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