The Italianate style, which echoes 16th century Italian Renaissance Architecture, was first developed in Britain in 1802 by John Nash and was further developed and popularised by Sir Charles Berry, Architect in the 1830s. Werribee Park Mansion in Werribee, Melbourne was built in this style between 1874 and 1877. It is an outstanding example of the effect of architectural decorative mouldings.
The Mansion is a replication of a grand English country house and The main building is predominantly bluestone with a simple yet awe inspiring sandstone facade on three sides, the largest example of Barabool Hills sandstone applied to a privately owned building in Victoria. A stone railed balcony surrounds the central block on three sides. A central tower sits high above the second storey. Below an arcade, beautifully panelled and painted, allows soft light through a series of arches to the large windows of the internal structure.
The two wings of the Mansion feature 60 rooms and adjoin at the rear of a central block. The interior is beautifully crafted with ornate cornices, display niches and superb wrought iron detailing on the grand staircase. Elaborately decorated arches and large, feature windows of stained glass featuring motifs and pastoral scenes add further decorative features. Corinthian pilasters or piers are featured in the main hall. A massive formal dining room and a British style drawing room are reminders of bygone times.
Many of the mansion’s associated buildings are still standing and remain unchanged. The original, authentic 19th century laundry is a rare example and is still totally intact whilst the sunken glasshouse and the 17th century style grotto are unique in Victorian Architecture.
Modern architectural decorative mouldings and features are not as ornate and are now available in lightweight materials from the Finishing Touch that are easily installed yet have longevity.