History and Heritage Reports
Author: Sue Rosen
`Nutcote' of 5 Wallaringa Avenue Neutral Bay was designed by Sydney architect, B.J. Waterhouse in 1924.The final design, one of the smallest residences ever designed by Waterhouse, who later asked Gibbs to name the house `Nutcote', was accepted in June and the specification completed in September. The builder F.J. Gray won the tender and building commenced on 22 September 1924.
The design of `Nutcote' and its garden reflects the aesthetic and lifestyle values of May Gibbs whose contribution to the fields of Australian Children's Literature, Art and Conservation has been of outstanding and continuing influence.
May Gibbs was Australia's first woman cartoonist, a painter and naturalist as well as a children's author and illustrator whose work was the main spring and catalyst for the establishment of a literary genre: she was pivotal to the establishment of an Australian Children's Literature and has influenced subsequent children's authors, publishers and the reading public. Gibbs showed that the Australian environment had the elements for fantasy and her legacy can be seen in the work of subsequent Australian authors and illustrators including, amongst numerous others, international award winner Patricia Wrightson who has woven Aboriginal mythological themes into her work; an aspect of Wrightson's work which can be argued as having evolved from the work of Gibbs some seventy years earlier.