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The Gang Gang Residencies program was established by Frederic Jeanjean and Jessie Connell at the Beach House, on the Umbi Gumbi cooperative, in 2018.
Since 2018, the residency program has hosted a number of emerging and established artists and conservationists, including (in order of appearance):
Omar Musa, Koji Makino, KurtSorensen, Dan Kyle, Annalisa Ferraris, Fiona Lowry, Rapaport, Aaron Fell-Fracasso, MattBromhead, Sophia Hewson, Mignon Steele, April Phillips, Marisa Purcell, Max Lyandvert, Camie Lyons, Horrorshow, Julian Meagher, Kirli Saunders, Sally Anderson, Guido Maestri, Bruce Pascoe, Gina Kalabishis, John and Kirstin Bokor, Luke Sciberras, Belle Bassin, Joelistics, Ev Lorden, Lola Paulova, Bronte Leighton-Dore, Holly Greenwood, Luke Player and Vari McKechnie.
Gang Gang Residencies is located at the Beach House on Umbi Gumbi, a 110-acre property in a beachside location nestled in spotted gum forest.
It is bordered by Cuttagee beach along the eastern side of the property and Cuttagee Lake to the north.
Umbi Gumbi has been owned and operated by the Umbi Gumbi cooperative since 1978, when it was classified Residential Conservation permitting four dwellings to be built.
The property was also gazetted as a Nature Reserve, 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 purchased by John and Wendy Blay in 1970.
Wendy Blay-Tucker is still an Umbi Gumbi cooperative shareholder, together with her children. The remaining three houses (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. The houses continue to be occupied by members of the cooperative, including some descendants of the original members.
Umbi Gumbi was second home to many artists, writers and poets in the 1970s and has inspired many of Australia's creatives. John Blay, who together with Wendy Blay-Tucker founded the cooperative, wrote his first novel, Part of the Scenery while camped out at the Umbi Gumbi dam. Regular visitors included Richard Neville, Martin Sharp, John Tranter, Robert Adamson, Dorothy Hewett, Michael Dransfield, Tim Thorne, Charlie Blackman and Brett Whiteley. Salman Rushdie visited during the time he was hiding following the release of The Satanic Verses.
The Beach House
The Beach House, now the home of Gang Gang Residencies was built by Candy and Ron Craine who were both professional potters in the 1960s and 1970s.
Ron was a master builder with rammed earth and mud brick. He learnt and perfected these skills as part of the team of artist and students who restored and extended the artist colony Montsalvat in the 1950s working with the sculptor and jeweller Marcham Skipper - who became a lifelong friend - and other artists. The Craines were close to many artists of the 1950s and 1960s
including Charles Blackman.
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 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).
The house is not connected to town water and is solely reliant on rainwater. We ask guests to use water sparingly.
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