November 2018 Newsletter

Presidents Message

Ken Ryan

From time to time you may see a ride on mower cutting grass around the road in to the shed. Ron Braun is the “jockey” and Ron does a great job with keeping the roadway neat and tidy. As well as mowing, Ron clears debris from the side of the road. Great work Ron, thanks from all of us.

We have a resident birdman in the shed. Tom Skinner has managed to train ‘Wilson” the pee wee to eat from his hand. Tom has a reputation with birds? I like the way Tom holds his mouth, maybe bird talk?

There has been a lot of activity getting the mezzanine completed and special thanks to all the members who have made a big effort with an expected completion in the next couple of weeks. I am a little disappointed at the response by members to help with painting etc with the bulk of the work being done by the “usual” core group of dedicated members. Thanks to Tom “put plenty paint on” Skinner for his guidance in advising the guys doing the painting.

The Essential Fire Safety Measures have recently been completed in the shed – namely fire hydrant testing, fire hose reel testing, emergency lighting, exit lighting and portable fire extinguishers. We are now ready to conduct regular fire evacuation drills and the Fire Evacuation and Drill Procedure will be made available to all members. Please read and familiarize yourself with the procedure.

Our Christmas party will be held on the 11th December. Details on page 3 of this issue of the newsletter.

The Coffs Harbour Men’s Shed AGM is scheduled for 10:00am on 12th December at the shed. All positions on the Management Committee will be declared vacant at the meeting and nominations are now open for all positions. Details will be sent out to members. Please support the AGM and allow us to form as strong a committee as we have had in 2018

From the Shed Manager's Desk

Sign in Sheet

All members are reminded that you must sign in, and sign out, every time you visit the Shed. It may seem unimportant to you, but in the case of an emergency, like a fire, we must account for everyone in the shed, and the sign-in sheet is critical to this assessment.

AGM 2018
Wednesday 12th December at 10.00 am.
The Annual General Meeting will be held on Wednesday 12th December at 10.00 am at the shed, followed by a barbeque lunch. We had a good turnout last year, but expect all members to attend. If you feel that you want to contribute, get nominated and help mould the future of the shed. Information about nominations will be emailed to you shortly, or see Shed Management for full details prior to the AGM.

2018 Christmas Dinner
Christmas Dinner - Tuesday 11th December.
This year's Christmas Dinner will start with a free 10 pin bowling session, followed by dinner at Mardonna's Restaurant inside the Coffs Harbour Hotel.

3.00 pm start for the 10 pin bowling
We have booked the VIP room from 3.00 till 5.00 pm. The Vip room gives us private access to 4 lanes of bowling, a private bar and all shoes and bowls. Plus we have access to a lounge area with bar for anyone waiting to bowl. Some finger food will be provided.

6.00 pm Dinner at Mardonna's
We have booked a separate area for dinner, where you can choose between fish, chicken or steak, plus side salad or vegies.

Limited Numbers
All members are invited to attend. Numbers are limited, so book early with Robert or Dave at the shed to guarantee a seat. Partners are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Back Orders

We have stopped taking orders until next year to concentrate on back orders. We need talented shedders to volunteer their time to help complete all current orders. Help out - it feels good...


  •  Shedder Peter Jackson has generously donated $500 to the shed, towards the "Smoke House" - that is of course our new barbeque facility. The $500 is going towards a Carport/Gazebo which is currently being delivered.
  • $270 has been donated by the Coffs Harbour Uniting Church, which has gone into general funds.

Podiatrist visit

Mark Sullivan will visit the shed on Thursday 6th December to talk about foot and other related issues.

Fire Alarms and Fire Drills

Fire drills will be conducted occassionally.

When a Fire Alarm sounds:


and congregate at the "Emergency Assembly Point" 
located at the front car park entrance.
For more information about Fire Procedures,
see the sign posted above the sign-in book,
or talk to a Committee Member.

Garden Update

Graham Miller has designed and built a wonderful garden area and now requires some plants. Weeds are growing fast, and we need to prevent them from overtaking this great area. Graham is asking if any shedder can donate the following:

"My request is for donations of Kangaroo Paw, we need about 20. Other Australian natives for the back garden and low shrubs for the front. A raised garden is available also for anyone to plant vegetables of their choice as long as they maintain them."

Out and About


Dave Churchyard and Ken Ryan attended the 'Grandparents Information Forum' on Friday the 19th October. The forum is an information session held at the Boambee East Community Centre, where services can provide Grandparents with information about their service and what is available. Coffs Men's Shed was one of many groups who gave a presentation to the attendees.

Garage Sale at AVEO


On Saturday 20th October Robert Houston and Ray Meyer manned the 'Pop up Shop' at the Freedom Aged Care Facility in Coffs Harbour. Profits were donated towards drought assistance for our farmers. The morning 'Garage Sale' was well attended by locals looking for a bargain. As usual, there was some interest in the Shed and many brochures were handed out. New member Terry was also present helping out the staff of Freedom.

"Freedom Aged Care Coffs Harbour is not just any aged care community, it is one of Freedom's Home Care Communities, offering a genuine alternative to a nursing home. It is a vibrant, loving community offering you extraordinary levels of lifestyle, companionship and care through every stage of your ageing journey."




Around the Shed

Tom has his hands full restoring this antique red cedar desk. The side cabinets (shown) are dark with age, so Tom is restoring each part one at a time. In the photo on the right you can see the original deep red colour of the cedar timber. Tom is very meticulous, which means he'll achieve another great custom restoration for a happy Shed client.

Warren lacquering plaques for mounting Antique Golf Clubs

Peter and Tom arguing negotiating the best method to use here...

Ken with his fixed wing, back on the tools

Shed Managers hard at work

Finished Works

Every day volunteers work on commissioned jobs to earn money for the shed.

If you have a talent and want to help the shed, talk to Robert or David. There are always jobs to be done, and as can be seen here, it's not only about carpentry or wood working.


Neil McDonald has supplied this photo of the donation box made by Brian Franklin, at the shed, for the orchid society. Looks great, good job Brian.




Mezzanine Update

This month saw the shedders finishing off the interiors of the Mezzanine rooms. We hired a Professional plasterer to install the cornices and provide a finish consistent with a quality job. Next, a 2 week long effort installed the architraves, sanded back the joints, followed by the interior painting. Also, a timber hand rail was manufactured for the stairs, and anti-slip treads at the top and bottom of the stairs were installed. Well done to all involved.

Tom's expertise showing in the architraves

John doing the putty work

A couple of artists ready to paint

Neville and Tom working out their next move

Are you sure this is the right colour?

Brian re-installing the power points

Bob White's Secret Passion


A short history

In the late 1700’s the first practical steam engines were produced, mainly used for the pumping of water from mines in England. Further work and experimentation led to the production of steam trains running on tracks. In 1836 the first practical steam powered farm tractor was produced. These were massive machines that usually worked in pairs using a winch and cable to drag a massive plough from one side of a field to the other and then back. Further work led to the production of road vehicles that could haul heavy loads etc. Their use became widespread in England and several companies built large factories and assembly lines to meet the demand, both at home and abroad.

In 1905 in Australia, the then very new Federal Government was concerned about the level of imports over exports, particularly in machinery, and wished to encourage manufacturing here in Australia. The Government offered a subsidy to local manufacturers in an effort to overcome the problem. A Melbourne based company, Cliff and Bunting, were producers of small agricultural equipment and also imported and sold steam traction engines. They decided to become involved and started to produce their own traction engines, mainly by plagiarizing parts from imported engines, both English and American, and making their own boiler. However, due to the cost of local manufacture, it was still cheaper to import.

Because of these costs, only three engines were built, with one remaining example that was in use until around 2000, when it was put on the market and the Victoria Museum paid some $250,000 and had fully restored it. It was, in fact a very good engine for Australia, simple, rugged and could be repaired by any blacksmith.

In the late 1980’s, a set of drawings were produced in quarter scale, or 3 inch to the foot scales by an old steam engineer who saw the engine working and offered to buy it but was refused. He then asked to be allowed to produce the drawings. They became an instant success with model steam engineering people.

I had been interested in steam traction engines for some time and when I retired from the Police and moved back to Inverell, I purchased a lathe and some books and taught my self how to use it. I was then fortunate in
meeting a fellow enthusiast who had already built an engine and was about to start a second one. We teamed
up and built two engines.

This became an interesting journey, sharpening my skills as a self taught machinist, boiler making, pattern making for castings. I found a fellow who lived some 50 miles from the nearest town, who got tired of running sheep, read a book on foundry work and built a foundry, and could not keep up with demand. This fellow produced all the castings for wheels, hubs, cylinder blocks and guides, gear wheels and fly wheel, at no cost to us because he was interested.

I commenced work in 1992 and had a boiler ticket on completion in 1995, some 2.5 years later. The best thing
about it all was that on completing assembly and on lighting the fire for the first time and raising steam, when I
opened the steam valve, she ticked over like a Swiss watch. Since then I have completed many hours of steaming and attended many rallies around the country. Whilst in Inverell we ran a number of Australia wide rallies which gathered a lot of publicity, both in Australia and England, where model engineering is a major hobby.

These little engines, with a single, double acting cylinder is surprisingly powerful, my engine will carry a load of 4 adults plus myself with no problem. At the present time she is stripped down for a much needed refurbishment.

Bob White

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. 

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a service used on our website that tracks, reports traffic and measures how users interact with our website content in order for us to improve it and provide better services.


Our website allows you to like or share its content on Facebook social network. By activating and using it you agree to Facebook's privacy policy:


Integrated tweets and share services of Twitter are used on our website. By accepting and using these you agree to Twitter's privacy policy: