The stag in the window at Werribee Park: species, decoration and Britishness


  • Suzanne Fraser University of Melbourne


Species, Scottish art, British empire, indigeneity, interior design


The site and structure of Werribee Park mansion, south-west of Melbourne, stands as a monument to the cashed-in rewards of Empire. It was built by immigrant Scots in the 1870s. The spine of the entrance hall of this mansion is revealed through an imposing etched window series, at the centre of which is featured a heroic stag image (based on a painting by the English artist, Sir Edwin Landseer). This article will argue that the iconography of this window series – which also features an array of ‘huntable’ game animals from Britain and Australia – illustrates the centrality of indigenous species narratives in promoting cultural identity and, in this case, demarcating a carefully crafted imperial dominion in colonial Victoria.

Author Biography

Suzanne Fraser, University of Melbourne

Suzanne Fraser is a PhD candidate in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne. She is also a freelance arts writer and curator.