May Gibb's Nutcote
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Nutcote is where May Gibbs wrote her books and long-running cartoon strip Bib and Bub. Reminisce about Gumnut babies and Banksia men in a trip to the museum
We’ve been growing up on May Gibbs books for over a century now, meaning there’s plenty of happy nostalgia for young and old alike on a visit to the beloved author-illustrator’s home overlooking Neutral Bay. Hark back to when you were a wee gumnut yourself by reliving the adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie featured on the watercolours, postcards and prints scattered throughout the mini-museum. What you may not expect is to learn is that Gibbs a phenomenally independent, ahead-of-her-time woman. We learn that being paid an eighth of what her male counterparts were earning when she worked as a newspaper cartoonist made Gibbs a shrewd businesswoman who supplemented her income by selling pictures to print on chocolate boxes, linens and bottles of ‘Snuggleport’. She also refused to cook or sew, often just eating apples and cheese during mealtimes, and that people frequently mistook her husband for her secretary, given she did the driving and he did the typing. The house itself is a carefully maintained example of Spanish mission architecture filled with mid-century furniture and lived-in knick-knacks that make the place transportative. After the tour you’re welcome to stick around and enjoy the gardens, perhaps with a cup of tea and a scone from the Nutcote’s small café. And don’t hesitate to pick up a bookmark on the way out – Gibbs bequeathed the copyright from her characters and stories to disability charities.