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Werribee Park Mansion

Architect: unknown, 1877

Werribee Mansion is one of Australia’s largest, grandest, and most architecturally sophisticated mansions, and is included on the Victorian Heritage Register. Construction of the large basalt and sandstone mansion was completed in 1877 for the Chirnside family who were originally from Scotland, and made their fortune from wool in Victoria’s Western District.

The Chirnsides rejected the popular vernacular Scottish baronial style of the early-to-mid 19th century, and instead built their mansion in an Italianate Renaissance Revival style. They did, however, embrace the romanticism of Highlandism and cultivate a consciously theatrical Scottish identity in other ways.

The mansion is a symmetrical two storey central block, with dominant tower and a ground level arcade on three sides. With 60 rooms across several wings, the fine interior includes some original furniture set within a richly decorated entry hall containing a Minton encaustic tiled floor, niches, Corinthian pilasters, and free-standing columns leading to a grand staircase. The main reception rooms, library and dining room are all classically ornamented.

Converted into a seminary in the 1920s, the estate was purchased by the State Government in 1977, and is now managed by Parks Victoria. It has featured in Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Winchester, and The Great Australian Bake Off.

Photos: Parks Victoria

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