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At Werribee Park, visitors arrived at the Gatekeeper's Lodge, passed through imposing entrance gates and moved along a sweeping gravel drive to the Mansion. Planned along traditional European lines, the 10 hectares of historically significant gardens contain manicured lawns, a colourful parterre with fountain pond, an ornamental lake and meandering pathways. Like many notable early settlers the Chirnside's were members of the Acclimatisation Society, an organisation which introduced several European flora and fauna species to the Australian landscape. The designer of the Garden is unknown; however the design does reflect the style of W.R Guilfoyle, Curator of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens, 1873-1909. The garden contains 8 species of trees included on the National Trust Significant Tree Register. These trees are important because of their age, their excellent condition, their rarity and their perfect form. They include: Bunya Bunya Pine Canary Island Pine African Holly Swamp White Oak Bhutan Cypress. Variegated Smooth Leaved Elm Moreton Bay Fig Ombu Tree Victoria State Rose Garden One of Werribee Park's most treasured gardens, the Victoria State Rose Garden officially opened in November 1985 to commemorate Victoria's 150th anniversary celebrations. Under the management of Parks Victoria and with invaluable assistance from the Victoria State Rose Garden Supporters, the Victoria State Rose Garden has become a favourite with visitors travelling to see it in bloom from November through to May. Situated alongside the formal gardens of Werribee Park, the rose garden is free to anyone who wants to enjoy and bask in the glory of the amazing garden.
The Chirnside empire was built on the golden fleece and the shearing, washing, pressing and carting of wool to the sales were the primary activities on the estate. In the 1890's, at the height of the shearing season, the large woolshed was a flurry of activity, with a team of 36 men shearing around 2500 sheep a day. Today the farm holds the original bluestone buildings of the Men's Hut, Homestead, Ballengers Hut, Blacksmith's Shop, Stables, Implement Shed and Ration House. Werribee Park provides an experience of Australian history. Contemplate life from the worker's perspective in this original farmyard. Understand how the blacksmith works and the tools he has created for farm life. Learn about the history and cleverness behind the Ha Ha Wall and the township that was the Werribee Park Farm.
The most furnished of all rooms, the Drawing Room was the focal point of the Mansion. Essentially a feminine room, it was where Mary Chirnside received callers during the day. The furniture is part of a special consignment made especially for The Mansion in 1876. Prior to dinner, guests would assemble in the formal room and afterwards the ladies would withdraw here, leaving the gentlemen to their port and cigars. The Billiard Room was the male domain along with the gunroom and library. Featuring a magnificent billiard table and raised viewing seat, the room was heavily decorated with sporting trophies and spoils of the hunt. After a game of polo, a deer hunt or formal dinner, the men would retire here to smoke, drink and exchange tales. Alongside is the conservatory, a showpiece of the Mansion decorated with displays of plants from the greenhouses. The scene of many grand dinners attended by prominent identities, the dining room was furnished in the solid, monumental style favoured in the period. Around the walls hang ornately framed reminders of the old country with more paintings decorating the walls of the morning room, which was used as a family room for everyday dining and relaxing. The Grand Staircase was out of bounds to the servants, who reached their quarters by separate simpler stairs. As visitors climbed the ornate Blackwood staircase, they would have been impressed by the soaring arched windows etched with vignettes of deer and other game hunted at Werribee Park. The Mansion differed from the great houses of England in one respect; the main bedroom was downstairs. As with all the main bedroom suites, it was as much a sitting room as a bedroom. This is the only bedroom with an ensuite bathroom, which adjoins the dressing room.