Thursday, February 26, 2009

May Gibbs - Visiting 'Nutcote' and Finding Banksia Men

'Nutcote' (1925) in Neutral Bay, Sydney

I did a post on 20 February 2007 - 'May Gibbs (1877-1969) - Darker and Lighter Visions'. Looking principally at her books for children.

May Gibbs at her desk at 'Nutcote' - Creating the cartoons and text for children's books

Today I visited 'Nutcote' - the home she and her husband had built in 1925 in somewhat of a collaboration with famed architect B. J. Waterhouse.

View from 'Nutcote' towards Sydney Harbour

Another View from 'Nutcote' towards Sydney Harbour

I'd expected to see and enjoy more of her artistic and literary work - and there were plenty of lovely things there in this direction.

But what really blew me away were the interiors of the house. All rooms on a small and perfect human scale, flowing one into another through double doors, with only a small space-wasting entrance hall. Solid dark wood everywhere - doors, built-in book shelves, mantle pieces - but freshened up with cream walls, and by light flooding in through ubiquitous big windows. Every room having extraordinary views of the harbour, views almost in scale with the rooms!

May Gibb's work area, with her original desk and drafting stand

The Dining Room, with Servery into the Kitchen

Wish I'd taken more sneak photos - especially of the two cosy and perfect little bedrooms. I just wanted to crawl into bed and snooze for a bit. Or forever. Cos I attempted to do a deal with one of the volunteer guides - I'd be allowed to take over the house (by force if necessary) on the understanding that it would then be divided in two - half for her half for me. She seemed to consider the idea for an unnaturally long time, given her age and seeming respectability.

After her final and crushing retreat from our takeover bid, I slinked off to the garden in search of the totally scary banksia men from May Gibbs' books ...

.. and there they were ...

... with my own ...

... just too tempting not to pillage in an act of tourist vandalism!


  1. You always make me smile when you tell tales like this.

    Alan down in Florida

  2. hey alan

    hope you smile didn't drop - even just a little - when i confessed my 'crime'

    the day was so good i couldn't prevent myself sharing/inflicting it on others!

    just had a friend over - so have got a bit behind in my correspondence with you - to be rectified tomorrow!



  3. One Who Lived To Regret It.February 27, 2009 at 9:32 AM

    Okay, I give up. What is that thing you stole from the grounds during your act of shameless tourist vandalism?

    And those creatures the artist drew... are those penises growing out of the tops of their heads?


  4. too many mystery objects - i need to stop - it's a banksia seed pod -

    look more like vaginas to me - but definitely sexual!