To walk through the doors of Werribee Mansion is to step back in time to the late 1800s and the beginning of European settlement in Australia. A huge Italianate-styled mansion built for wealthy pastoralists in 1877, Werribee Mansion’s grand architecture, formal gardens and carefully restored furniture and furnishings are a fine example of life as it was lived by wealthy settlers in the 19th century.
The Mansion has 60 rooms in several wings and includes displays of family clothing and other items. The Drawing Room is a particular highlight, containing furniture made especially for the mansion in 1876. Other rooms on show include the billiard room, the conservatory, the dining room and the main bedroom. Visitors can walk in the footsteps of Melbourne’s first elite by climbing the ornate Blackwood staircase to the second floor and enjoying the views across Werribee Park through the Mansion’s large arched windows.
While entrance to the Mansion attracts a small fee, the surrounding 10 hectares of formal gardens are free to visit and feature wide, open spaces perfect for walks and picnics. A large parterre (geometric garden design) is located in front of the Mansion and is best viewed from its balcony. There is also a pond, an original grotto and many mature and significant trees.
Within the Werribee Park area you will also find many other attractions including the gorgeous (and free to visit) Victoria State Rose Garden, which bursts into bloom between November and May; the Werribee Park Farm; a Heritage Orchard; a Sculpture Walk and the luxurious Mansion Hotel and Spa. The Werribee Open Range Zoo is also nearby.
Werribee Park and Werribee Mansion are a 30-minute drive west of Melbourne. The Mansion costs A$7.00 for adults and A$5.00 for children.