Unlike many other Gumnut Gardens folk, I am a Sydney girl, though my mother grew up on a wheat farm in Western Australia and my father was from Glasgow. In Sydney my parents fell in love with each other and with Sydney’s harbour and surrounding bushland. Much of my childhood was spent on bushwalking, boating, camping and fishing trips.
My grandmother’s cousin May Gibbs wrote and illustrated the Australian children’s classic“The Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie” and, until her late eighties,drew a weekly cartoon “Bib and Bub” for the Sun Herald. As a small girl I visited May’s house in Neutral Bay where my sister and I were told to be quiet and not frighten her grumpy old Scotty dog. The name “Gumnut Gardens” was inspired by cousin May’s garden- a combination of European-style flower beds and native trees such as a “Big Bad Banksia Man” tree on the shores of the harbour.
As a student I funded my extra-curricular activities with babysitting and child-minding jobs while studying law and Japanese language. My main “day job” is as a financial services lawyer. My other jobs include behind-the-scenes management of Gumnut Gardens and managing the activities of two energetic young boys and a labradoodle puppy.
Chris and I were helped greatly with the challenges of balancing parenthood and careers when our sons started at Wee Wonders Child Care Centre in Kensington. We were amazed at how its director Siobhan achieved the delicate balance between a genuine love of children and their care and education; the need for procedures and routines at home and in child-care;and the provision of a nurturing home-like atmosphere within the highly regulated child-care environment. So when Chris and I were looking for a business opportunity, her example inspired us to start Gumnut Gardens. Our son Angus was one of the first children in Gumnut Gardens’ pre-school.
Our family has made a number of long-lasting friendships through our child-care connections. One of my hopes is that Gumnut Gardens provides wonderful memories and long-lasting benefits for its community of parents, children and educators.