September 2019

President's Report 

Ken Ryan
  • National Men’s Shed Week is from 23 – 29 September. Our shed will be hosting a morning tea with the Coffs Harbour Pacific City Lioness Club on Tuesday 24th September. These ladies have been very generous donors to our shed and we will be repaying them in a small way.
  • On Thursday 26th September the shed will be conducting an open day with a BBQ and a visit from a member of NSW Health Rural Adversity Mental Health Program.
  • Another of our generous donors, McGrath Real Estate, have invited us to attend a “Community Give Back Sunday Sausage Sizzle” at Boambee Bay Reserve on Sunday 29th September commencing at 11:00am. Please advise Ken Ryan if you wish to attend.
  • As a result of the storm in Coffs Harbour on the evening of 29th August, the shed was flooded when water overflowed from the surface drain on the council side (see photos below). The members who attended the shed on the morning after, jumped into action and had the water cleared from the floor by 10:00am. They deserve a big thankyou from all of us. Well done guys.
  • Another successful garage sale on Saturday 7th where over $1,000 was taken. Well done Doug Tysoe and his garage sale team. The setting up of the sale area takes time and on the Friday prior to the sales, all work in the shed will cease and all hands on deck to assist with the setting up.

Ken Ryan

Shed Manager's Report

The shed is travelling well, still busy as we have work to take us past October.
And now the also the usual winge:
  • Every job in the shed needs a job sheet and to be costed by the office BEFORE you start work.
  • If you support the shed the shed can only improve and get better, we have one of the best sheds in NSW if not Australia. Help us improve it even more. It's the little things that count.
  • We are implementing a random Stop Work after morning tea to clean the shed - if you are using a machine clean it when you are done so the next person doesn't have to clean up your mess. 
  • Jobs must be off the Tables at the end of the day and put in storage with your name clearly marked.


New Treasurer

As mentioned last month our treasurer John Gregory has resigned from that role and handed over to Clive Longstaff. Thanks to Clive for volunteering his services. As well as being our treasurer for many years, John played a significant part in many of the activities which helped get the shed to where it is today. Last month I mentioned John was responsible for securing grants which made the building of the shed possible. He also produced the shed’s Strategic Plans, Constitution and was a member of the Official Opening Committee leading to a very successful opening day. 

On behalf of the members, a big thanks to John.

Unexpected Flood

As a result of the storm in Coffs Harbour on the evening of 29th August, the shed was flooded when water overflowed from the surface drain on the council side. The members who attended the shed on the morning after, jumped into action and had the water cleared from the floor by 10:00am. They deserve a big thankyou from all of us. Well done guys.

Ambo's Visit

On Thursday morning 12th September a Paramedic Ambulance Officer, Warwick Mordue from the Coffs Harbour Station, visited The Shed.

Warwick gave a very informative address to the 25 Shed members present. He covered the many of the interesting aspects that Ambulances play in our lives.   Two of the standouts were, how the number of ambulances and officers has increased appreciably in recent years and the how the level of expertise has increased whereby most ambulance officers are now in fact paramedics.

Warwick explained about their ability to intubate where necessary and administer clot dissolving drugs as well as the use of the defibrillators.   All these improvements save more lives and the Ambos now can get more job satisfaction. The variety of ambulance calls was interesting with falls of the elderly being high on the list along with mental health issues and of course overdosing of drugs with the prevalence of ice being the main offender.

Warwick made the point with the improvements of our roads and the fact that cars have airbags as well as seat belts and are designed to crumble on impact, had reduced significantly injury and fatalities in car smashes. A couple of the regular frustrations in their operations are the problems with traffic and drivers not pulling over when they are on their way to an incident and the 3.00am call outs that result in all that was administered was a couple of Panadol.

Warwick then showed us the Mercedes Sprinter Ambulance and explained the various functions the van is equipped for.   The highlight was the hydraulic mobile stretcher and the versatility of this sophisticated piece of equipment.    It can easily lift a 150kg patient from ground level into the van, fold up the wheels, be secured and be ready for transportation  to the hospital in a very short space of time.

Warwick’s presentation was well received and much appreciated by all those who attended.

Submitted by Ken Howe
Pics by Robert Houston

A Dog named "Sex"


Usually everyone who has a dog either calls him Rover or some such name.   I called him “SEX”.   Well, sex is a very embarrassing name !.  One day I took Sex for a walk and he ran away from me.   I spent hours looking for that dog.   A policeman came along and asked me what I was doing in an alley at 4.00am.   I said “I’m looking for Sex”.   My case comes up next Thursday.

One day I went to the Town Hall to get a dog licence for Sex.   The clerk asked me what I wanted.   I told him I wanted a licence for Sex.   He said he would like to have one too.

When I said “But this is a dog” he said he didn’t care what she looked like!   Then I said “You don’t understand, I’ve had Sex since I was two years old.”   He replied “You must have been a strong boy.”

When I decided to get married, I told the Minister that I wanted to have Sex at the wedding but he told me to wait until after the ceremony.   I said “But Sex has played a big part in my life and my whole lifestyle revolves around Sex.”   He said he didn’t want to hear about my personal life and would not marry us in his church.   I told him everyone coming to the wedding would enjoy having Sex there.   The next day we were married by the Justice of the Peace.   My family is barred from the church.

My wife and I took the dog along with us on the honeymoon.   When I checked into the Motel I told the clerk that I wanted a room for my wife and a special room for Sex.   The clerk said that every room in the Motel was for sex.   Then I said “you don’t understand, Sex keeps me awake at night.”   The clerk said “Me too.”

When my wife and I separated, we went to court to fight for custody of the dog.   I said “Your Honour, I had Sex before I was married” and the Judge said “Me too.”   When I told him that after I was married Sex had left me, he said “Me too.”

Well, now I’ve been thrown into jail, been married, divorced and had more damn trouble with that dog than I had ever gambled for.   Why just the other day when I went for my first session with the psychiatrist she asked me “What seems to be the trouble?” I replied “Well, Sex had died and left my life, it’s like losing a best friend and it’s so lonely.”   The doctor looked at me and said “Mister, you and I know that sex isn’t man’s best friend, so get yourself a dog.”

Submitted by Ken Howe

"Shoulder to Shoulder"

The slogan for men's sheds is "Shoulder To Shoulder", shortened from "Men don't talk face to face, they talk shoulder to shoulder", adopted after the 2008 Australian Men's Shed Association (AMSA) conference.

History of Men's Sheds

    In Australia in the 1990s a number of issues were raised about men's health. In Australian culture, there was little encouragement for men of all ages to socialize and discuss their feelings and wellbeing. This problem was identified at a men's health conference in the mid-1990s and plans were put in place to improve a number of aspects relating to men's health.

    The roots of The Men's Sheds movement have been traced back to the 1980s with work in Broken Hill, New South Wales, and the lives of former miners. Some attribute the origins of men's sheds to the Albury Manual Activities Centre, also known as "Albury Men's Shed" which opened in 1978. Work in Adelaide, South Australia focused upon the gender biased and inappropriate care of older men living with dementia in care settings and work with Vietnam Veterans in South Australia also played its part.

    Mensheds Australia was established in 2002, by Peter Sergeant and Ron Fox as an outcome of their Economic Gardening activities. It became clear an overarching infrastructure was needed to support men in establishing and managing their men’s sheds in regional, rural and remote areas. It involved documenting practical information and knowledge, tools, checklists, processes and training materials while utilising modern technology. Much work was undertaken in establishing men's sheds in some of the remotest parts of Australia and in Indigenous communities. In 2008 Mensheds Australia commissioned Assoc Prof Gary Misan from Spencer Gulf Rural Health School (SGRHS), the University of South Australia, to study 'Men's Sheds As A Strategy to Improve Men's Health'. Mensheds Australia received a number of awards for its work with Men's Sheds. Life Awards 2010 Suicide Prevention Australia. Bryce Courtney Award for Community Service top 10 shortlist 2009. Information Technology and Communications Award, use of technology portals to communicate, 2010 Australian Technology Users Group. National Broadband Award for use of technology infrastructure to communicate to regional and remote areas 2007. In 2009 Peter Sergeant received the first Unsung Hero Award for services to rural and remote health in Australia presented by the National Rural Health Alliance.

    Prof Barry Golding has noted that, "For many communities, service providers, community workers and governments in Australia, calling a shed in a community setting a Men's Shed anywhere before 1998 was too hard and contentious.". Men's Sheds challenged the acceptance of the gender agnostic approach to service provision which only saw a need for services for women. This institutional blindness resulted in "... many older men ... not even recognised as being gendered.". Negative cultural, social and ideological attitudes towards men are being countered by the expansion of men's sheds.

    The first national health conference dedicated to men in Australia took place in 1995.[18] It was suggested that men's sheds could help promote social interaction and reduce depression related illness in elderly men. After the conference, a number of men's sheds began to form across Australia. Media interest was focused upon negative stereotypical views of sheds and men whilst touching upon the health issues caused by a growing ageing population and the emerging medical discipline of gerontology.

    Men's sheds originated from the shed in a backyard scenario, where a man would go and carry out tasks, such as restoring furniture or fixing lawn mowers. The first men's shed (by that name) was opened in Tongala, Victoria, Australia on July 26, 1998. Named after its founder, Dick McGowan, the shed predates the Lane Cove Community Shed in New South Wales by just a few months, though both likely originated from ideas discussed at the National Rural Health Conference in 1995. Lane Cove Community Shed was opened in December 1998, and was founded for "shedless" men, encouraging social activities friendships, while providing vital health information to its members.

    Since the emergence of men's sheds in 1996, the number of sheds has grown year on year. The main aims of a men's sheds have also become much more varied since their foundation. Men's sheds are also active in a number of other countries, mainly based throughout Europe and South Asia. This includes over fifty men's sheds in New Zealand and over two hundred in Ireland. The United States has set up a national association, the US Men's Sheds Association, and has 3 Sheds in Hawaii, Minnesota and Michigan, as of May, 2017. In many ways men's sheds can be seen as an extension of the original nineteenth century idea of working men's clubs in the UK and Australia: "to provide recreation and education for working-class men and their families". In time working men's clubs increasingly focused on charitable work and recreational activities typically associated with pubs. Whilst acting as hubs for information exchange, the community educational aspects foundered, as men's sheds remained in people's homes typically at the bottom of the garden.

    The Australian Men's Shed Association was established in 2007 by the Australian independent community based men's sheds to represent, support and promote the Men's Shed Movement and to act as a central hub for information exchange. The Australian Men's Shed Association is funded by the federal government to provide initial and ongoing practical support for the development of all men's sheds.

    The first country in the Northern Hemisphere to have an association is Ireland, where the Irish Men's Sheds Association was established in 2011 to support the development and sustainability of men's sheds. The member Sheds of the Irish Association are from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. One notable difference between the men's sheds in Australia and Ireland is the age demographic of the participating men; in Ireland men of all ages participate while in Australia it is mostly retired men. In February 2013 Westhill & Districts Men's Shed opened its doors as a constituted charity, to be the first men's shed following the Australian model in Scotland.

Taken from Wikipedia

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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