‘Nutcote’ at 5 Wallaringa Avenue Neutral Bay was the home of the renowned Australian children's author and illustrator May Gibbs.
Owned by Council and operated by a Trust, it comprises a tea room and shop (at street level) separate from the original house which is set down at a lower level with gardens overlooking the harbour. Designed by architect B.J. Waterhouse in 1924, the house was occupied by May Gibbs until just before her death in 1969, at the age of 93 - during which time she produced her iconic illustrated children's classics. The double garage with basement flatette (also designed by B.J. Waterhouse) was constructed at street level in 1928 and then ultimately converted into the tea room and shop it functions as today.
Recent restoration works
Council recently engaged heritage restoration specialist architects to carry out a detailed site audit. The audit was then split up into those minor works that can be competently handled by Council’s carpenters (for which the architects have produced a guideline manual), and the balance of works that require other skilled trades to execute them satisfactorily. The latter scope of works were put out to tender and are being carried out by specialist tradespeople (plasterers,painters,carpenters,roofers etc) over a 3 month period which commenced just after Easter 2016.
Recent works carried out have included cataloguing, wrapping and temporary relocation of all loose furniture & artefacts, protection of the house floor with cardboard sheeting, erection of scaffolding for roof inspection & repairs, removal of a tree that had caused ongoing damage to the sewer line, subsequent replacement of that sewer line, roof repairs, plaster repairs, replacement of cracked glass panes, investigation of the condition of floor bearers & joists & subsequent repairs to floorboards, repairs to stonework retaining walls, and repairs to the porch ceiling. Painting of the internal house walls & ceilings commenced in May with installation of new BCA-compliant handrailings to paths and steps due to follow. The works were completed in June 2016.
"The harbourside home of May Gibbs' Bib and Bub"
Designed in 1925 by the renowned Sydney architect B.J. Waterhouse for May Gibbs and her husband, J.O. Kelly, Nutcote has been preserved for the nation as a historic house museum.
This picturesque harbourside cottage has been designed to tell the story of the life and times of one of Australia's premier children's authors and illustrators.
May Gibbs lived at Nutcote for 44 years (1925-1969) and it was here that she created her famous characters in the studio overlooking her Australiana garden.
Visitors can tour the house and garden and examine the wonderful displays of Gibbs' personal artefacts, pictures, sketches, letters and other memorabilia.
Or take the audio tour below...
Hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 11am to 3pm
Location: 5 Wallaringa Avenue, Neutral Bay, NSW 2089
Phone: Australia +61 (0)2 9953 4453
Fax: Australia +61 (0)2 9953 0302
Take a tour of Nutcote through these evocative "Talkaround" tracks:
Introduction to Nutcote, Dr Ian Hoskins, North Sydney Council historian
Welcome, Rick Pool, former curator and manager of Nutcote
Talkaround the garden, Laurel Catchpool & Giselle Mesnage, volunteers
Talkaround the house, Dr Ian Hoskins & Judith Nancarrow, volunteer
Opening hours, admission, directions to Nutcote