Cheap Thrills: Nutcote – The May Gibbs Museum

No doubt you were raised on the stories of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, the infamous nearly-nude gumnut babies created by May Gibbs. In fact, I’m sure your parents and possibly even your grandparents were raised on Gibbs’ stories, an Australian classic. I certainly was, and as a child I was in the Gumnut Babies’ ballet and wore a shiny olive-green unitard with a sequined leaf and a little felt gumnut hat. Yeah, it was pretty cute.

So considering the impact May Gibbs has had on my life, M and I decided to pop over to the north shore and visit the museum they’ve built inside the house she and her husband built in 1925. Initially, Gibbs’ tried to donate the property to Unicef in her will but for reasons out of their control, they were unable to hold onto it so it was sold at auction to a developer. However, public outcry was so intense when he went to bash it down, that North Sydney council thankfully purchased the property and opened it to the public in the early nineties.


It actually kinda looks like my apartment building…

The house is located about a 20 minute walk east from Milson’s Point station, or you can catch the ferry to Neutral Bay Wharf… but I honestly recommend the train and the walk, it’s FAR cheaper and really very pretty.


The multi-million dollar view from Nutcote

Entry to the museum and gardens is $9 ($5.50 with concession) and there is a quaint little tea room that we had planned to visit, but we didn’t time our visit as well as we’d have liked, and so missed out on scones. Oh well, we’ll just have to visit again!

There is a video with an interview with May Gibbs the year before she passed away and another about her art, as well as a guided tour of her house included in the entry fee. We also wandered around the gardens, where we spotted a few friends:


Mr Lizard trying to save a gumnut baby from the evil Banksia man!


Two very cute gumnut babies


A Mr Caterpillar hedge!!!

We also spotted this highly awkward Orchid:


We weren’t allowed to take photos in the museum, but after the video there were child-size gumnut costumes. Of course, the small size of the outfits didn’t stop either of us donning a gumnut hat and taking a few snaps…


The museum itself was full of original prints by Gibbs and if you’re a gumnut baby fan or just interested in local history, it’s absolutely worth a visit, especially if you have children or grandparents to entertain (actually, even if you don’t, it’s still a great museum). Checking out her original fridge and oven are worth the price of  admission alone. I am seriously SO glad I’m alive in this era.

Nutcote is located at 5 Wallaringa Ave in Neutral Bay and is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11am to 3pm.