Umbi Gumbi is a 100-acre property in a stunning beachside location nestled in the spotted gum forest. It is bordered by Cuttagee beach along the eastern side of the property and Cuttagee Lake to the north.
Since 1978, Umbi Gumbi has been owned and operated by the Umbi Gumbi cooperative. In 1978 it was classified Residential Conservation permitting four dwellings to be built. The property was designated a Nature Reserve in 1978 with a mandate to preserve this piece of coastal forest comprising spotted gums, coastal mahogany, banksia, stands of melaleuca, burrawangs and cabbage palms, and wildlife such as wallaby, possums, kangaroo, and native birdlife.
The original Ridge House was built in the 1960s by Mary and Frank Brett (related to the à Beckett / Boyd family) and the remaining three (including the Beach House) are testament to the principles of 1970’s self-sufficiency, hand built with mud brick, stained glass, local timbers and recycled materials. They have been featured in Earth Garden and Grass Roots magazines. All the houses were located and built out of sight of each other and designed to blend into the landscape.
Umbi Gumbi has inspired many of Australia’s writers and artists. John Blay, a founder of the cooperative, wrote his first novel, Part of the Scenery while camped out at the Umbi Gumbi dam. Salman Rushdie visited during the time he was in hiding from writing The Satanic Verses. Richard Neville and Martin Sharp - writers, artists and social commentators - stayed regularly. During his final years, Brett Whiteley spent time at Umbi Gumbi.
Michael Dransfield was a frequent visitor, and called Umbi Gumbi ‘the idea forest’. In Tim Thorne’s Umbi Gumbi ‘planes of lake, of surf / Are defined by the spotted gum forest / … / in this house full of music and words, / love is like big windows’. Dorothy Hewett always felt a special connection to the place, using the physical landscape and characters in her poetry and in her last novel The Neap Tide.
The forest, the sea, the mix of company and isolation have also been an inspiration for musicians. The Strides recorded songs for an album there and they named one of their songs Umbi Gumbi. Sydney group Iron Gate Sound recorded an EP at the property.
THE BEACH HOUSE
The Beach House at Umbi Gumbi is located two minutes’ walk to Cuttagee beach. Cuttagee Lake wraps around Umbi Gumbi and is an ideal swimming spot for kids.
There are two dwellings at the Beach House.
The main house is a large, two-level mud brick house with three large open plan rooms. Upstairs is the main bedroom with a queen size bed. The room has views of the spotted gum forest. Underneath are two large open plan rooms with a double bed and a set of bunk beds. There is one large, nicely presented bathroom in the main house. The kitchen is fully equipped. A Weber Q BBQ is available.
The potter’s studio is adjacent to the house and has two rooms: a bedroom with a queen bed and ensuite; and a working studio. The studio includes two large Mabef easels. We ask guests to bring their own art supplies.
The house has WiFi internet. As this is a bush property, internet is slow (but reliable).
Water: The house is not connected to town water and is solely reliant on rainwater. We ask guests to use water sparingly.
Linen and washing: We ask guests to bring their own linen, towels and tea towels.