What is Gembrook Retreat?

Gembrook Retreat is a 22 acre property that was given in trust by Maggie Dunkle, a Quaker woman, in 2000. Maggie believed that guests would experience spiritual renewal through connection with the land.

In 1964, Bob and Maggie Dunkle bought 22 acres of a former dairy farm. Their vision was to revegetate and rehabilitate the land. During 1980 they built a house on the property that Bob had designed to use the solar energy technologies he had developed during his career. Today this house is known as the Black Cockatoo House of Welcome.  The land now holds fruit and chestnut orchards, protea and waratah plantings, a large vegie patch, indigenous bushland and open fields.  Many bird and animal species can be found, including black cockatoos, wallabies, wombats and even the occasional goanna.

In the year 2000 with the death of Bob some years earlier and her own increasing frailty Maggie, a Quaker woman, created a religious trust so that Gembrook Retreat would be held in perpetuity as a place of spiritual retreat, renewal and healing. 

Now there is a Christian Quaker residential community living onsite at the Black Cockatoo House of Welcome which takes care of the day to day running of Gembrook Retreat, welcoming guests, and looking after the guest spaces and the land.

We live a simple rhythm of life with times of work, prayer and rest and re-creation. We endeavour to live as sustainably as possible, growing and cooking much of our own vegan food, using minimal packaging and drawing on solar power and tank water.

In this time of climate crisis we believe that living a simple, shared and more contemplative life we can equip and encourage each other to live a soulful life.