Men’s Sheds were first introduced into Australia in the early part of this century. They were primarily designed to provide a means for men to get together and discuss common issues, particularly relating to health, social isolation and the like.
Many sheds have been established in a short space of time, and in 2007, the Australian Men’s Shed Association was inaugurated, based in Newcastle NSW. Today, that association boasts over 1,000 sheds, including our shed.
In some cases, sheds that started out simply as meeting venues, where members could gather to talk, maybe listen to a guest speaker, play cards etc took an extra step and workshop activities were added to their overall range of activities. Workshops provided the means for men to practice their craft skills (often not possible to do in their homes due to the machinery needed or for other reasons) and to pass on those skills to other members. Woodcraft was a major activity in this area.
Normally, membership of a shed will consist of men from the local area. However, because of the unique opportunities offered by the Ferny Grove Shed, for example, the association with trams as we are located at the Brisbane Tramway Museum, the membership is drawn from all over Brisbane and even from the Gold Coast.
Members of our shed play a major role in the restoration and maintenance of the fleet of Brisbane Trams operated by the Tramway Museum, at both a technical level and a more general level. Members include electrical specialists, mechanics, carpenters and other members who clean the trams, paint them or even polish the brassware! Overall, they keep the operating fleet operating!
In addition to looking after trams, shed members are also responsible for maintaining the buildings and grounds.
Furthermore, part of the philosophy of men’s sheds is that they perform some work for the community at large. In our case, we have just completed some ‘fringes’ for the local cricket club grandstand. We are also currently undertaking a project of re-painting signs for the Scouts camping grounds at Samford and we also help out the Tramway Museum with volunteers when required.
There is always room for more members and any men seeking to expand their hobbies or craft skills are welcome to come and have a look. The shed is open every Tuesday from 7am until 2pm and on Friday mornings from 7am until about noon. Alternatively call 3351 1776.