March 2022 Newsletter

From the President

I would like to start by thanking all of you for your support and faith in me as your new President for 2022. This is a totally new experience for me and I will rely heavily on my executive to guide me through the first few months.

We have started the year by instigating some new procedures and re-instigating some traditional things. I am happy to say the cleaning roster seems to be working, the common areas are much improved and the workload is more evenly distributed among members.

A monthly free lunch to members has been instigated and I would like to thank Brian Franklin for organising this on the third Tuesday of every month and also Dave Churchyard for being our very able BBQ chef!

The re-instigation of "Toolbox" talks at morning smoko is a good method of keeping the troops up to date with discussions at committee meetings and a good general refresher of best practices around the shed.

Things are moving ahead with Government grant monies coming in to address some issues we have on the mezzanine level and for other projects around the shed. Don't forget the "wish-list" for any perceived needs around the shed, I encourage you to send any ideas you may have to the office (preferably via e-mail) so we can proceed with our Strategic Plan for the next few years. We have already received some excellent suggestions, keep them coming.

As always the first rule in the shed is safety. As such if you see anything unsafe please address it immediately either by acting yourself or by bringing it to the attention of the shed manager or other executive.

On a lighter note we had a visit recently from the Motorcycle Restorers Club of Coffs Harbour who very generously donated $500 to the shed to be used however we see fit.

Finally during my tenure as President I would like to see the shed moving away from the "Marcia Street" mentality of pushing for as much work as we could get to finance the new project (the existing shed) and gravitating more to a fellowship mentality where the shed can be more about mateship than primary productivity. 

Of course we have to raise enough funds to finance the day to day operations of the shed but I don't want this to overshadow one of the basic reasons for the shed, that being men's health and wellbeing! If somebody is having a down day and does not feel like contributing for the day, this is okay, it's not all about work!

Here's to a happy and prosperous 2022,

Chris Hansen (President)

General News


The Mezzanine is ready for use. However, we are having difficulty getting some of the required documentation from contractors! Once we obtain these documents the Certifier can issue our final approval.

We still have some monies available from the grant we obtained to complete the works. The Shedmen have requested some alterations to the conference room to make it more suitable for band practice, installation of conference media facilities and the installation of display cupboards and storage in other rooms will be explored. Warren Sanger and Ken Ryan are managing this project on behalf of the Shed.

Mezzanine rooms are earmarked as follows:
Rooms 1&2 Conference room
Room 3 Bathroom/computer room (help work it out)
Room 4 Craft rooms
Rooms 5&6 Store rooms

AGM and Xmas Party

The AGM was held at 10am on the 16 December last year. There was a good roll up and the special resolution was tabled by Ken Ryan. The purpose of the change in our Constitution was to facilitate our charitable status with the ATO. Membership must be granted to all men who abide by the by-laws of the Shed.

A new committee was elected with little fuss. It was pleasing to see new faces step up to positions on the committee including Chris Hansen as our new President and Alan Cook as a general committee member with a special interest in maintenance.

Thanks to all who have accepted positions, which ensures that our Shed can not only function effectively but can continue to exist. Our Constitution requires that these voluntary roles are filled otherwise we have to close the doors.

The minutes were emailed to members and are available at the Shed for those without emails.

David Churchyard was presented with an award for his services during the year. He took over sole management in the Office during COVID times! A huge job, requiring him to man the Office for 4 days each week. This is a voluntary position like all others, and if you watch what happens in that Office on an average day, it takes the patience of Job, the hide of a rhinoceros and the wisdom of the ages. Thanks again Dave and we all look forward to Rob Houston (Solomon) returning.

Ken Howe generously organised a visit to the Cartoon Gallery for members after the AGM and BBQ lunch. The Shed provided drinks at the Cafe afterwards. Members thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to explore the extensive collection of cartoons, with a focus on Ginger Meggs, at the gallery.
Members then moved on to the Coffs Hotel for dinner and entertainment provided by the Shedmen.   
A good time was had by all. Thank you to Ken for his time and organisation.

Commission Jobs

Commission jobs have been a focus at the Shed for many years. Chiefly because they have been our primary income source and have allowed us to pay our bills, buy supplies and maintain our plant and equipment.

Grants from the Governments, local businesses and individuals have helped us develop the wonderful facilities we enjoy today. We have recently obtained charitable status as well.

A dedicated crew lead by Tom undertake the bulk of this work. Here are a few items produced this year.


        Mick making a storage rack  for a client

Jacko can work on these mowers with his eyes shut! He has restored a mountain of mowers for sale at the garage sales over the years.

Dave aided by Terry help produce this trolley box for transporting the Business Awards signage.

Graham loves to work on those fiddly jobs that take a lot of care and patience. He is restoring Tonka toys here for a client.

This folding picnic table has been restored by the Shed.

Mud kitchens are very popular as outdoor activities for young folk. This one was constructed from recycled materials donated to the Shed. The Shed makes use of a large range of donated materials, this is why members who wish to purchase materials need to check its availability before using them. Another reason for implementing Job Sheets!

John Farrugia (the mad monk) is a newbie, pictured here with Ian Kerr, pitching in to help with commissioned jobs.

Members jobs

Adrian and Tony worked together to produce this sign. Adrian prepared the wood and poured the black resin and Tony used the CNC router to carve the text.

Tony produced this lazy Susan from Silky Oak off cuts provided by Alan Cook and used the CNC to carve the Motif.

Framing of Aboriginal art. Stretched canvas over Merba frames. Adrian kindly mentored Tony during the process.

The finished product!

Don sometime ago decided he wanted to make a harp, so he taught himself the art. This one he is renovating for his daughter.

Don loves coming to the Shed! He is hugely talented and is forever coming up with new projects. These are ornamental books/dividers (on the right) that he is making for a bookcase he built recently.

Our new President loves to get his hands dirty and has been making a desk for his study.

Disability services Members

Arlan supporting Daniel, making model cars

Community project

We have been working with the Coffs WIRES group for some years providing possum boxes. Recently, MNC WIRES approached us to make nesting boxes for local native animals. We have produced and donated 8 boxes to MNC Wires. Another great example of our ability to re-purpose materials (in this case old fence palings) and engage with the broader community.

Garage Sales

Doug and his team continue to work hard in receiving donated items, evaluating, preparing items for sale, pricing and running the first Saturday of the month garage sales. Doug is going away on a well earned break for a couple of months. Chris and Tony will take over the management in his absence.

Members are asked not to rummage through received goods until they have been evaluated and priced. If you a looking for a particular item then let Doug know. He keeps a book on requests from members and earmarks received items for consideration by these members before putting them out for general sale.

These sale days have been very successful and have become our secondary source of income averaging around $1500 on the day.

Increasingly members are stepping up to help both at the Friday setup before the sale and at the Saturday sale days. They have become somewhat of a social occasion, members getting a chance to meet and yarn. In this spirit, the Shed provides a breakfast, sausages, eggs etc and refreshments as a thank you to helpers. Organised and cooked by Dave!

Members Health & Well Being

Most men have learned from our culture that they don’t talk about feelings and emotions many do not take an interest in their own health and well-being. Unlike women, most men are reluctant to talk about their emotions and that means that they usually don’t ask for help. Probably because of this, many men are less healthy than women, drink more, take more risks and suffer more from isolation, loneliness and depression. Relationship breakdown, retrenchment or early retirement from a job, loss of children following divorce, physical or mental illness are just some of the problems that men may find difficult to deal with on their own.

Good health is based on many factors including feeling good about yourself, being productive, contributing to your community, connecting with friends and maintaining an active body and mind. Becoming a member of a Men’s Shed provides a safe and busy environment where men can find many of these things in an atmosphere of old-fashioned mateship. And, importantly, there is no pressure. Men can just come and have a yarn and a cuppa if that is all they’re looking for.

Members of Men’s Sheds come from all walks of life – the bond that unites them is that they are men with time on their hands and would like something meaningful to do with that time.

A good Men’s Shed has a Management Committee that has developed a safe and happy environment where men are welcome to work on community projects, specific Men’s Shed projects or a project of their choice in their own time and where the only ‘must’ is to observe safe working practices….all in a spirit of mateship.

At this time our membership is restricted to men for the above reasons. This does not mean that we are not sympathetic to women wanting to join an organisation that has such facilities. The Lion's Club in Coffs Harbour is planning to open a Women's Shed and we are actively engaged with them offering support at all levels. It must be remembered that a Shed is not a training organisation, we do not offer courses in woodwork etc and there is a lack of suitably qualified and willing members to undertake such a commitment.

Member Profile: Alan Cook

Alan joined the Shed in 2016 at the Marcia street premises. He has always been keen to figure out how things work and has always enjoyed fixing equipment for family and friends. Nothing is too big or small for Alan to tackle. His attitude being that he can't make matters worse even if he has a few screws/bolts left over.

Alan was born in Brisbane in the early 50’s. His parents owned and ran a service station in Corinda for 15yrs. Alan was always keen to get his hands dirty and wanted to take on an apprenticeship in the workshop.

His parents had other ideas and encouraged him to go to university. Alan loved all things marine and learnt to scuba dive with the whole family at age 17. From this passion he chose a degree in Science majoring in Biology.

At the end of the degree he had the options of continuing his studies with a masters or a scholarship with Tasmanian Education to do a Diploma of Education on almost full pay. So he moved to Tasmania and taught there for a total of 7 years with a short stint in Cairns for 6 months.

Alan followed his passion for the ocean and camped on various islands in the great barrier reef every year for 15 years. It was on one of these trips he met his wife Jenni.
They married and moved to Sydney for 6 years, where their two boys were born. Jenni’s brothers had moved to Coffs Harbour and set up an air conditioning factory. They were followed by Jenni’s parents and in 1989 they decided to move up also. Not long after Alan’s parents and his sister also moved to Coffs. Ann his sister built the Butterfly House and ran it until 2000.

Alan followed his interest in woodwork and enrolled in courses with Neil Scobie on retiring. Sadly Neil passed away about 18 months later and Alan wanted to continue to develop his interest and a friend recommended that he join the Shed.

For the past six months Alan has served his masters apprenticeship under the tutelage of Ken Ryan and Brian Franklin. Alan has now taken on a regular role maintaining equipment usually on a Tuesday.

Alan enjoys the social aspects of the Shed as well as the challenge of making and fixing things.

Notice Board

Induction Reminder


I have included this article again because of a number of incidences at the Shed lately. Equipment has been repeatedly put out of action by members having forgotten or not knowing the correct procedures for using equipment. Some examples are the table router and the oscillating linisher.

We are extremely lucky to have very knowledgeable and willing members of the maintenance team who put a great deal of time and effort into making sure equipment is in good working order and safe for members to use.

You can help by making sure you understand how items you wish to use, function. Tools are upgraded/replaced and newer ones can have their own quirks. Don't be embarrassed to ask if you are not sure. It is easier to spend a bit of time helping you then having to source, buy and install damaged parts or new equipment.

All members are covered for injury while working at the Shed. as a major part of your membership fees. However, as part of the conditions for cover whilst using machinery we are required to induct members in the safe use of each fixed machine. 

We must also install appropriate signage, including work space exclusion zones marked on the floor and have appropriate safety guards and PPE available. 

We obtain our insurance through the Australian Men’s Shed Association (AMSA), they provide this service to all Sheds in Australia. AMSA have recently had to change insurers because the previous insurer was not happy to continue to provide this level of cover to Shed members, due to increasing numbers of claims. The new insurer has now stipulated what activities we can undertake at the Shed and what our responsibilities are, to be eligible for this level of cover.

We acquire new machines from time to time and therefore need to update our members induction records. Ken carries out most of these, usually on a Tuesday. We have a shortage of appropriately qualified and willing inductors at this point in time.

You are not covered by our insurance if you use machinery at the Shed that you have not been inducted to use.

This applies to ALL members, non members are not permitted to operate any fixed machinery in the Shed because of liability and insurance issues, regardless of their expertise.

If you haven't used a machine for sometime or just want help operating a machine, please ask at the Office.

Remember it is always better to be safe than sorry.

If a machine is not working properly please either report it to the Office or write it up on the white board outside the store room next to the drop saw. We have a maintenance schedule but naturally things wear out. The committee strives to maintain the Shed at optimum usage for members but your help is required in reporting issues, returning tools and equipment to their storage areas and using the tools for the purposes that they were designed.

Brian Franklin is our resident electrician, tagging all our electricals and is an enthusiastic member of the maintenance team. Working on the troublesome table router.

Strategic plan

Coffs Harbour Community Men’s Shed Strategic Plan for the 3 years commencing 1st July 2019 ending 1st June 2022 is up for renewal. The past three year plan covered the fitting out of the new Shed in Howard Street including the completion of the Mezzanine and consequently opening up the Shed and Mezzanine for suitable uses by the Coffs Coast Community.

The Men’s Shed Vision Statement is as follows:
To advance the health and well-being of Shed members in the Coffs Coast region by providing a safe, happy and non-judgemental environment where skilled and unskilled members of all ages and abilities can, in the company of other members pursue hobbies, pastimes and interests, learn new skills, practice and pass on old skills, learn about their own and others health and well-being, and by their efforts contribute to their families, friends, the shed and the broader community.

Why do we need such a document?

The Strategic Plan is important for a variety of reasons including defining the culture and direction forward for the Shed. To date, we have had a workshop model, which has been instrumental in achieving the standard of facilities and equipment we enjoy today.

We are now at a point where we can take a broader look at the activities available to members and develop a more inclusive culture for those members who are not as skilled or interested in making and repairing things. The Shedman, our music group and band has been a successful and welcome addition to the activities available at the Shed.

Recently, Shed members have been encouraged to put forward suggestions and become actively involved in the development and implementation of this planning document.

The Committee will begin the process of producing this document at the March meeting. Ken Ryan has offered to drive this process and produce the final document by June this year.

The Strategic Plan has also been used extensively to liaise with authorities as evidence of our management, vision and the need for such an organisation in Coffs. It has also been a vital element in our successful grant applications over the years, thanks to the efforts of Ken Ryan.

Important Reminders

Tool Box meetings will be held at morning tea during week 3 following the Committee meeting to raise issues with members.

Free member lunches will be provided on Tuesday, week 3, every month, as an initiative to promote social interaction away from the tools.

An increasing number of members are playing Crib during breaks. All are welcome to take part. If it becomes popular enough it could be offered as a regular activity at the Shed.

All members have a Competency Form kept in their file in the Office. It is important that you are signed off to use equipment in the Shed. In fact, it is a legal requirement for insurance and accreditation. The register must be kept up to date since the insurance company can refuse compensation claims for injury etc. if it is not. They have the right to request access to these records in processing claims. Please remember, equipment is replaced/updated as required. If you are unsure of your status please ask at the Office.

Job Sheets MUST be filled in and filed with the Office before you start any work at the Shed. This is a common sense rule so that the Shed managers know what is happening in the Shed. There is usually a charge of $10 for the use of plant and equipment per job sheet.

There is a simple rule at the Shed: leave equipment and work spaces as you would LIKE to find them.

Please be considerate when using common areas such as the kitchen and toilets. Other members regularly have to clean up these areas.

Report any problems with equipment to the Office so that it can be attended to.

Remember to sign in and out, it allows the committee to monitor usage and safety officers to check off members in the case of emergencies including mandatory fire drills.

Tea and coffee etc are provided as a courtesy. A donation of $2 towards costs is expected and appreciated as you sign in. This gives you a bottomless cup throughout the day, which is a great deal in anybodies language.

Members are reminded to wait until after lunch before they spirit away food stuffs provided by OZHarvest. Members regularly make use of these items for morning tea and lunch.

Donated wood etc is used extensively for commission jobs, thus value adding, which helps offset the costs of running the Shed. If you wish to purchase/use wood etc please ask at the Office FIRST. Materials are usually sold at half the retail price, however, if used without consultation then full retail/replacement price will be charged. It is often unreasonable to expect to cut off a smaller piece from a larger usable length and expect to pay just for the piece you desire. You may be asked to try your luck at Bunnings.

Improvements to the Shed

The latest addition to our Shed: A small milling machine for processing logs.

General Interest

Management of snakebites

This article was written by Rob Timmings and is definitely worth reading!

Rob runs a medical/nursing education business Teaching nurses, doctors and paramedics. It’s well worth the read

• 3000 bites are reported annually.
• 300-500 hospitalisations
• 2-3 deaths annually.

The average time to death is 12 hours. The urban myth that you are bitten in the yard and die before you can walk from your chook pen back to the house is a load of rubbish.

While not new, the management of snakebites (like a flood/fire evacuation plan or CPR) should be refreshed each season. Let’s start with a basic overview.

Five genera of snakes will harm us (seriously) Browns, Blacks, Adders, Tigers and Taipans.

All snake venom is made up of huge proteins (like egg white). When bitten, a snake injects some venom into the meat of your limb (NOT into your blood). This venom cannot be absorbed into the bloodstream from the bite site. It travels in a fluid transport system in your body called the lymphatic system (not the bloodstream).

Now, this fluid (lymph) is moved differently to blood. Your heart pumps blood around, so even when you are lying dead still, your blood still circulates through the body. Lymph fluid is different. It moves around with physical muscle movement like bending your arm, bending knees, wriggling fingers and toes, walking/exercise etc.

Now here is the thing. Lymph fluid becomes blood after these lymph vessels converge to form one of two large vessels (lymphatic trunks) which are connected to veins at the base of the neck.

Back to the snake bite site.
When bitten, the venom has been injected into this lymph fluid (which makes up the bulk of the water in your tissues). The only way that the venom can get into your bloodstream is to be moved from the bite site in the lymphatic vessels. The only way to do this is to physically move the limb/s that were bitten. Stay still!!! Venom can’t move if the victim doesn’t move. Stay still!!
Remember people are not bitten into their bloodstream.

In the 1980s a technique called Pressure immobilisation bandaging was developed to further retard venom movement. It completely stops venom /lymph transport toward the bloodstream.
A firm roll bandage is applied directly over the bite site (don’t wash the area).

Technique: Three steps: keep them still

Step 1: Apply a bandage over the bite site, to an area about 10cm above and below the bite.
Step 2: Then using another elastic roller bandage, apply a firm wrap from Fingers/toes all the way to the armpit/groin. The bandage needs to be firm, but not so tight that it causes fingers or toes to turn purple or white. About the tension of a sprain bandage.
Step 3: Splint the limb so the patient can’t walk or bend the limb.

Do nots:

• Do not cut, incise or suck the venom.
• Do not EVER use a tourniquet
• Don’t remove the shirt or pants – just bandage over the top of the clothing.Remember movement (like wriggling out of a shirt or pants) causes venom movement.
• DO NOT try to catch, kill or identify the snake!!! This is important. In the hospital we NO LONGER NEED to know the type of snake; it doesn’t change the treatment.

5 years ago we would do a test on the bite, blood or urine to identify the snake so the correct anti-venom can be used. BUT NOW…we don’t do this.

Our new Antivenom neutralises the venoms of all 5 listed snake genus, so it doesn’t matter what snake bit the patient.

Read that again- one injection for all snakes! Polyvalent is our one-shot wonder, stocked in all hospitals, so most hospitals no longer stock-specific Antivenins.

Australian snakes tend to have 3 main effects in differing degrees.

1. Bleeding – internally and bruising.
2. Muscles paralysed causing difficulty talking, moving & breathing.
3. Pain.

In some snakes severe muscle pain in the limb, and days later the bite site can break down forming a nasty wound.

Allergy to snakes is rarer than winning lotto twice.

Final tips: not all bitten people are envenomated and only those starting to show symptoms above are given antivenom.

Thanks to Tony Goninan for the contribution.

Did I mention to stay very still?

Management 2022 (voluntary)


President: Chris Hansen
Vice President: Robert Houston
Secretary: Tony Winter
Treasurer: Garth Howard
Assistant Secretary: Warren Sanger
Assistant Treasurer: Ken Ryan


David Churchyard
Alan Cook
Peter Jackson
Ken Howe
Glenn Cox
Brian Franklin


Shed Managers & Office Administration:

Robert Houston
David Churchyard

Health & Welfare Officers:

David Churchyard
Ken Howe

Woodwork Shop:

Tom Skinner

Metalwork / Engineering:

Peter Jackson

 Equipment Maintenance:

Ken Ryan
Brian Franklin
Alan Cook

Garage Sales:

Doug Tysoe


Tony Winter

Supporters of the Coffs Harbour Men's Shed

The Coffs Harbour Community Men's Shed wishes to thank all our supporters, both large and small,
for their ongoing support and generous donations of time and money. 


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