Story and photos by Carmel Liddell
The Australian Men’s Shed Association (AMSA) established in 2007, has 150,000 members and 987 sheds nationwide – that’s more outlets than Maccas! Recognised for its vital role in the health and wellbeing of men, the AMSA was named in the government’s 2010 National Male Health Policy and granted funding through the Federal Department of Health. So, what’s it all about? The clue lies is in Professor Barry Golding’s quote – ‘men don’t talk face to face they talk shoulder to shoulder’. Adopting ‘shoulder to shoulder’ as its motto, the not-for-profit AMSA invites men to meet and work, or simply yarn over a cuppa. The key to its success is simple: Shed members enjoy old fashioned mateship in safe, pressure free environments.
Close to home and nestled in a tranquil bush setting, the Hills Men’s Shed at Castle Hill (a former scout hall) was established in 2009. Recent extensions have provided their seventy five members aged from sixty to over eighty, with ample workshop and kitchen space. Everyone, including Martin Ryan (president) and John Ten-berg, has a passion for timber. Plus, they’re masters of re-cycling. Trees cleared for the extension have become rustic tables. And in the hands of John Ten-berg, an unwanted wardrobe became two magnificent, Tasmanian oak clocks. John spent four months following English clock designer Brian Law’s plans ( free on the internet), hand crafting, assembling then varnishing, his intriguing time and motion pieces.
Hills Shed members, with their warm smiles and ready handshakes, have one item on their wish list; a dust extractor. To that end, they raise funds through the sale of Shed products. And – had you’d gone down to the woods today, you were in for a big surprise… For beneath the trees, the falling leaves – barbecuing and brewing teas – the men from the Shed were having a picnic… Autumn Open Day that is, (21st April), Eric Mobbs Reserve. Missed it? All is not lost. The Shed’s major fundraiser is Market Day – Saturday, 8th September.
Meanwhile, for a shoulder to shoulder conversation, visit the Hills Men’s Shed on Fergusson Avenue 9:00 AM-3:00 PM on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays. New members are most welcome.
References: Australian Men’s Shed Association & Hills District Dads.