May and Herbert Gibbs Collection

Recollections of 'The Harvey' were among May's happiest

The Harvey Station Homestead
May Gibbs, 1897

The Gibbs family moved to 'The Harvey' station in 1885, and Herbert became manager for the Harvey, Young and Gibbs Pastoral Company. After disappointments in South Australia, the settler society of Western Australia's southwest seemed a welcome relief. Herbert and his brother worked the property while the children explored the bush, fields, river and steep banks that surrounded the property. In May's sketches of this period, it is possible to trace the beginnings of her gumnut characters. After the family's move to Perth, May continued to visit 'The Harvey', where she stayed with her Uncle George and entertained young cousins with her imaginative storytelling and illustrations. As an adult, May escaped to 'The Harvey' when life in South Perth became too routine, or after time away from Western Australia. 'The Harvey' brought her back to the Australian countryside, and was a place of inspiration and rejuvenation.