After posting a link to the Darwin Men’s Shed on the Menssheds Manitoba Facebook page, Doug Mackie of the Woodhaven Shed and Men’s Sheds Canada asked if I could post info about the 2018 Gallagher Men’s Sheds Conference being held at the Cannington Exhibition Centre in Australia on Thursday 25 October, 2018.
Hopefully someone from here will be attending the event, but after reading the special conference edition of The Warbler, I was so inspired by the idea of an event devoted to promoting and supporting the Men’s Shed movement, particularly those sheds in Western Australia (WA), that I decided to do more than simply post a link.
For those of you who don’t know, the Men’s Sheds movement began in Australia. Its roots have been traced back to:
- the Albury Manual Activities Centre, also known as “Albury Men’s Shed”, that opened in 1978 in the state of New South Wales (NSW),
- work in Adelaide, South Australia, that focused upon the gender biased and inappropriate care of older men living with dementia in care settings, and other work with Vietnam Veterans,
- work in Broken Hill, NSW, with former miners in the 1980s, and
- the first National Rural Health Conference dedicated to men in 1995.
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, on July 26, 1998, followed a few months later by the Lane Cove Community Shed in NSW.
Today, there are more than 2,000 Men’s Sheds across Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland, Finland, Greece, and United States, and there are currently 16 in five Canadian provinces.
Here in Manitoba, there are three sheds – Woodhaven Men’s Shed (200 Glendale Blvd) and Park City Men’s Shed (180 Poplar Ave) in Winnipeg, and the Minnedosa Men’s Shed in Minnedosa. Other sheds are already in the works.
The Woodhaven Shed opened in January 2010, thanks to Doug Mackie and Dave Friesen, and was the first shed in Canada. Visit their Facebook page or simply turn up at 200 Glendale Blvd on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons from 1:00 pm.
Anyway, back to the Conference in WA. The official opening will be conducted by the Honourable Kim Beazley AC, Governor of WA, and Mark Folkard MLA will be representing Hon Simone McGurk MLA, Minister for Community Services.
Speakers and topics include:
- Owen Catto, Regional Men’s Health – “Talk to a Mate”
- Margaret Dixon, Citizens Advice Bureau Mediation Service – “Conflict Resolution”
- Brett Pollock, Mayor Town of Mosman Park – “Working with Local Government”
- Andrew Weston, MinterEllison – “Safety & Duty of Care: legal implications”
- Trevor Taylor, President of Men’s Sheds of WA – “What’s Happening in WA and around Australia?” and “Safety and Duty of Care: practical applications”
- Michael Woodhouse, Men’s Sheds of WA Board member – “Promoting Your Shed”
- Chris Speight, Project Officer – “Disability Inclusion and Participation Project”
That is quite the line-up for what promises to be a fantastic event! There is clearly a lot of support for men’s health and the Men’s Sheds movement in Australia, and many sponsors and funders are committed to making sure that continues. Inspiring for those who are committed to ensuring the same level of support for other Sheds in other countries around the world, especially here in Canada.
For more information, and an interesting read, check out the special conference edition of The Warbler.