Ripponlea was built in 1868 for Frederick Sargood who made his money from selling soft goods on the goldfields. The name Ripponlea comes from his mother’s maiden name which is Rippon and the word Lea means meadow. They had 7 maids, a butler, 7 gardeners, a coachman and a groom which translate to: they had a lot of money! Fredrick’s wife Marion had 9 surviving children and she passed away in the house whilst giving birth to their 12th child together. After this time, Fredrick moved the family back to England for a while and Ripponlea was used as a place of entertainment.
Upon his return, a lot of extensions and renovations took place, and Fredrick had remarried and had another child. He died in 1903 from an illness. His new wife Lady Sargood who was now a widow, sold the property for 20,000 pounds (this was a lot of money in the early 1900’s). It was sold to a syndicate of buyers who was led by Thomas Bent. He didn’t live there, however used the property as more of a place to entertain people and host charity events. He started subdividing off the land which was originally around 45 acres, however he passed away in 1908 which pretty much saved Ripponlea from being subdivided further. It stands today on 7 acres. It was put on the market and sold to Benjamin Nathan in 1910 and this is the last time the property would go on the market. He moved his family into the mansion and turned it back into a family home and not an ‘entertainment venue’ which had been it’s use over the last few years. He did however continue to use the property to host charity events. When he died in 1935, he passed the property over to his daughter Louisa.
Louisa had her own family and spent her time modernising Ripponlea to keep with the times. She hosted many parties and installed a swimming pool which was a big centrepiece to her parties. In the 1960’s the government forcibly acquired some of the land. Wanting to protect Ripponlea and the gardens they had all worked so hard to establish and maintain, Louisa made arrangements so that when she died, Ripponlea and it’s garden would be given to the National Trust of Victoria.