Werribee Park Mansion is a 60 room Italianate mansion 30 minutes west of Melbourne. It was completed in 1877 after just 3 years of construction by the Chirnside family, members of Victoria's 'squattocracy' who had arrived in Australia nearly 40 years earlier to establish a vast pastoral empire. It's where I went with daughter Isobel for my birthday outing a couple of weeks ago. These days the house is run by Parks Victoria and showcases magnificent formal grounds, the State Rose Garden, a sculpture park, farmyard and the historical house itself.
The tower, Werribee Park Mansion, stairs down to the Werribee River & farmyard (lions and giraffe roam the fields on the opposite river bank in the Open Range Zoo), a Bunya Nut tree, indigenous to South East Queensland in the formal gardens with the mansion in the background.
Regular readers will guess this trip was a welcome respite from a fortnight or more of hospital visits. Not to say the trip was without its own misadventure, minor though it was in the end! It's just that we couldn't find the coffee shop once we arrived. Having marched directly towards what seemed to be the right place we found the doors firmly shut and not a soul to be seen.
Resigned to no morning tea, we decided to do the house tour instead. Along the portico and around to the front of the mansion we found a written invitation to let ourselves in. However, the door would not budge, so we banged. All to no avail. All the while a siren blaring but no-one running hither and thither; in fact the gardeners were happily raking and trimming nearby. Upon inquiring what was going on, and more importantly 'where was the coffee shop?' they replied they had no idea on both accounts. Strange.
The drive up to the front of the mansion. Failing to get in, we strolled the gardens and checked out the greenhouses which I matched pretty well. I've got on a Winter version of my Firecake hat, a vintage faux suede jacket, textural 'tie dye' silk scarf from India and memade quilted skirt.
Birthday disaster imminent. All dressed up but nowhere to go! And no coffee or cake either. Back round to the likely coffee shop on the side of the mansion. Door still firmly shut but a basket of cakes sitting by the door. We really should have stolen one.
I'm embarrassed to say I failed to get the names of the works or the artists of the pieces in the sculpture park, but maybe that'll inspire you to go and find out for yourself!
Well, to cut a long story short someone had left the urn on, it boiled dry, an alarm was set off, the fire brigade came, the house was closed, and the coffee shop too, the glamorous hotel that occupies part of the house delivered the day's supply of cakes and left them outside the coffee shop door, the fireman turned off the alarm, the house finally opened and in we went. Miracle of miracles! There was a secret entrance to the coffee shop via the servants quarter's of the house and finally my day was made!
Some of the costumes, hats and accessories on display. I loved this blue and cream ladies suit as well as the cream & green one on the left of the middle pic.
Upstairs, downstairs, all around, finally we found the coffee in the basement of the library. A servant's stair case led to into it.
My quilted skirt is made from a really fine cotton (inside & out) sandwiching wadding and free stitched using variegated thread. The finished skirt is warm and holds its shape beautifully.
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