LIKE Men’s Sheds across Australia the Ipswich branch at Bundamba has grown and flourished.
They have just celebrated their 10th year of operation after the Salvation Army originally provided them with home base in Bundamba in 2013.
The building had been partly rebuilt after it was badly damaged by the 2011 floods.
The initial Ipswich Men’s Shed members, known as shedders, moved into the premises and immediately began renovating the entire building.
Current president and inaugural member, Terry Carter, said the shedders now number over 130 and they were continually getting new members turning up to enjoy the camaraderie offered at the branch.
Terry has been one of the key leaders having held the president’s role six times over the past 10 years.
When asked to put into a few words why men should come along and join he said his motto was “it is not what we say or do, but how we make you feel.”
“You don’t have to be an expert handyman, in fact when I joined I came from a retail background and had no skills at all, we all have different abilities and they all can be shared.”
Over the past decade the Ipswich team has undertaken numerous community projects, building such things as tables and benches for local schools and making wooden toys which are sold by the Salvation Army.
The Ipswich Men’s Shed operates three days a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Terry said over the past 10 years they had accumulated a large inventory of tools, equipment, and materials, “Our current activities include woodworking, wood turning, leatherwork, artwork a metal machine shop for welding, turning, milling, precision grinding and blacksmithing,” he said.
“We also have a large garden area where we produce a wide range of plants and vegies and we have a computer room to allow our shedders to learn or keep up with the cyber world.
“We also restore, repair, and produce items for the public at reasonable prices if we don’t clash with services offered by local businesses.
“Importantly we run the shed from the bottom up not the top down and we always encourage suggestions from the shedders.”
It’s interesting to know that the first men’s shed was established by a woman, Maxine Chaseling at Goolwa, South Australia in 1993.
She came up with the idea of a men’s shed after her own father had become depressed and felt stuck at home after having a heart attack and not being able to work anymore.
She noticed that the only thing that gave her father purpose was to work in his shed.
Having also noticed that the men at the local Heritage Club seemed lost and not interested in the activities that the ladies participated in, Maxine thought she would create a men’s shed at the club to give the men a focus point for purpose.
It worked, and the men’s mental health levels improved, along with their levels of happiness.
“I struck the match and fortunatelyit was at the right time and the primary health strategy was simple and doable in any community,” Maxine was quoted as saying at the time.