Nutcote | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage



Item details

Name of item: Nutcote
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Primary address: 5 Wallaringa Avenue, Kurraba Point, NSW 2089
Local govt. area: North Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
5 Wallaringa AvenueKurraba PointNorth Sydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

Nutcote, the home and studio of May Gibbs, MBE, was designed in the Mediterranean style by the well known Sydney architect B J Waterhouse in 1925. The house sited on the water front at Neutral Bay, is nestled into a fine and substantial garden of English flowers and Australian natives.

The significant interior is intact and is currently presented as a Museum.

May Gibbs is remembered as one of Australia's most gifted children's authors and artists.

Heritage Inventory sheets are often not comprehensive, and should be regarded as a general guide only. Inventory sheets are based on information available, and often do not include information on landscape significance, interiors or the social history of sites and buildings. Inventory sheets are updated by Council as further information becomes available. An inventory sheet with little information may simply indicate that there has been no building work done to the item recently: it does not mean that items are not significant. Further research is always recommended as part of preparation of development proposals for heritage items, and is necessary in preparation of Heritage Impact Assessments and Conversation Management Plans, so that the significance of heritage items can be fully assessed prior to submitting development applications.
Date significance updated: 17 May 12
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Designer/Maker: B J Waterhouse
Physical description: It is a rectangular, single storey dwelling, built on land in Neutral Bay which slopes steeply to the waters edge. The house is sited on a sandstone ridge about half way down the block. A double garage st street level fronts onto Wallaringa Avenue.

It is built of cavity brick, roughly rendered and painted with a terracotta coloured pantile roof and painted chimneys.

The interior room configuration is intact as is most of the original detailing. The rooms are used to display May Gibb's art work and have been furnished using her original home contents and period pieces.

The gardens have been restored and maintained.

This building is designed in the Inter-War Mediterranean style.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:


Historical notes: The house, Nutcote, was the home and studio of May Gibbs, who is remembered as one of Australia's most gifted children's author and artist. Cecilia May Gibbs was born in Kent, England in 1877. She emigrated with her family to Australia in 1881 and settled originally in Perth. She returned to study illustrating and drawing in London between 1901-04 and 1909-12. In 1918 her children's book, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie: Their Adventures in Wonderful, was published and brought her much recognition. She was given an MBE in 1955 as official acknowledgment of her contribution to children's literature. The house and garage were built for May Gibbs and her husband, Mr C Kelly. It was designed in 1925 by the well known Sydney architect, B J Waterhouse. Waterhouse in his design is said to have captured the gracious simplicity of the owner in this Mediterranean style house.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. (none)-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages (none)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. (none)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Local Significance
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Local Significance
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Local Significance
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The former residence of May Gibbs, now used as a museum.
SHR Criteria g)
This item is assessed as historically representative locally. This item is assessed as aesthetically representative regionally. This item is assessed as socially representative regionally.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental Plan I073002 Aug 13   
Within a conservation area on an LEP     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
North Sydney Heritage Study Review19931243Tony Brassil, Robert Irving, Chris Pratten, Conybeare MorrisonTB October 1992 Yes
North Sydney Heritage Review2002 John Oultram  No

References, internet links & images


Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2181243

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

All information and pictures on this page are the copyright of the Heritage Division or respective copyright owners.