Susanne fell madly in love with The Hughenden circa 1870s and The Residences Centennial Park, circa 1880s in historic Eastern Sydney. The Hughenden was a crumbling mansion in historic Queen Street Woollahra, looking over at Centennial Parklands.
Her children grew up at The Hughenden (The Hughie) and Centennial Park, with all the adventures of living in a creaky hotel with a dungeon, a watch tower and exploring the wildlife, bush and gardens of the parklands. ‘Louie at the Hughie’ is the adventures inspired by her children Jamie, Tory and her grandson Sebbie at The Hughenden and Centennial Parklands.
The Hughenden is associated with Barzillai Quaife, Australia’s first philosopher and anti-racist. Built by Dr Frederick Harrison Quaife who brought the first x-ray to the colony, it later became the Riviere College for girls, dance hall, lodgings, slowly falling into decay until the Gervay family re-discovered it.
Susanne took her father Zoltan, her Hungarian mother with her violin and dancing shoes, her children, with sister and brother in tow, assorted kids, a dog, a stray cat and budgie, and jumped onto the decades long crazy roller coaster ride of restoring and creating a quirky, artsy, historic boutique hotel in Sydney’s heritage Paddington-Woollahra. Later she would restore with her family The Residences within her loved Centennial Parklands.
Louie at the Hughie is a children’s book dedicated to Susanne’s parents, children and community, growing up at the Hughie and Centennial Parklands in Sydney’s historic Paddington-Woollahra.
Louie at The Hughie begins…
Louisa Anastasia Sofia is eleven and a half. Her brother is Albert, but everyone calls him Bert. He’s ten and a quarter. He is Louie’s greatest friend, even when he’s very annoying. Her little brother Teddy is five. Never call him Edward, as he doesn’t like it. He flies around being a super hero and has splashy red hair. They live now, with their Grandma and Pa, Verushka and Zoltan. Louie loves her Pa’s name, because Zoltan means Sultan, a King.
Everyone calls Louisa Anastasia Sofia, Louie from the Hughie. The Hughie is the most glorious hotel. Its real name is The Hughenden. It’s two and a bit storeys high spreading into nooks and crannies, with cosy rooms in the Coach House and magnificent rooms in the old grand mansion. You really can get lost. There are black marble fireplaces, a baby grand piano and a fountain with goldfish. Yes, there are creaky floorboards and the servant’s bell doesn’t work anymore, ever since Teddy put super-glue over it, but it’s still amazingly glorious. There are excellent places to explore from the darkest dungeon, all the way up the windy servants’ stairs, around the narrow watch tower steps, through the trap door to the rooftop.
Louie at the Hughie
Inside The Hughie discover, the cryptic portrait of Barry Humphries by artist Jules Sevelson; the small self portrait of Archibald prize winner Wendy Sharpe in a rare handmade frame; the impressionist portraits by Stephen James of Paul Dyer Director of the Brandenburg Orchestra and author Amanda Lohrey; the ancient gold and beaded kalaga interwoven with Buddhist and Hindu mythology; are part of the fabric of The Hughenden.
There is music, poetry, magic performances and an array of eclectic events, in the guest lounge with its baby grand piano and black fireplaces.
Home of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Australia East and New Zealand, Susanne is the SCBWI Regional Advisor leading a talented team of authors and illustrators who over the years have included Deborah Abela, Marjorie Crosby-Fairall, Sarah Davis, Carolyn Goodwin, Katrina Germein, Sheryl Gwyther, Tracey Hawkins, Kaz Delaney, Frances Plumpton, Margaret Roc, Corinne Fenton and others.
The Children’s Book Council, storytellers, crime writers, theatres, literary dinners and events, University of Technology Writers’ Alumni, Indigenous Art Expos, Art Exhibitions, Art and History Walking tours, Antique Fairs, Book Fairs, Monkey Baa Theatre Company functions are part of the life of The Hughenden.
In 1995 Susanne Gervay established the The Children’s Writers Network at The Hughenden which operated until 2012, after which SCBWI took over the Network events in The Hughenden and The Residences Centennial Park.
Talking it up
Australian and international authors and illustrators greet, meet, present and share at The Hughenden.
Some of these authors include:-
- Jackie French and Bruce Whately – Creators of international best selling ‘Diary of A Wombat’ picture book series
- Ellen Hopkins – US based New York Times Young Adult best seller with verse novels including CRANK
- Linda Sue Park – US author and Newbery prize winner
- Anthony Browne – UK Children’s Laureate, winner of the Hans Christian Andersen for Illustration
- Anne Fine – Author of Mrs Doubtfire which was adapted into a movie with iconic actor Robyn Williams
- Shaun Tan – Winner of Academy Award for best short film – The Lost Thing’ and creator of ‘The Arrival’.
- Mal Peet – UK author and illustrator winner of the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Prize
- Eoin Colfer – Ireland’s international best selling author of Artemis Fowl
Jacqueline Wilson, Nick Butterworth UK, Gillian Cross UK; Tamara Pierce USA, M.T. Andersen and many others have also spoken at The Hughenden.
Wonderful Australian authors and illustrators come too – like fantasy author Richard Harland, multi award winning author Ursula Dubosarsky, multi-talented author and illustrator Toby Riddle; art director and illustrator Donna Rawling and acclaimed author Simon French with much loved illustrator Michael Stephan King; talented illustrators Serena Geddes and Sarah Davis with Susanne Gervay; award winning illustrator Ann James and author Hazel Edwards.
The Illustrator Gallery
The Illustrator Gallery of children’s book art from the authors and illustrators given to The Hughenden and The Residences Centennial Park, include the artwork of Shaun Tan, Donna Rawlins, Sarah Davis, Caroline Magerl, Stephen Axelson, Marjorie Crosby-Fairall, Cathy Wilcox, Nina Rycroft, Frane Lessac … and many others.
The Hughenden proudly supports Room to Read, Books in Homes, Monkey Baa and literacy for the children of the world.