Women’s Shed Powers into 2021

The Women’s’ Shed at Ferny Grove Steering Committee. Pictured from left to right are: Shan Fleming, Allison Brown,Carleen Fitzsimon, Donna Confetti, Elaine Newrick, Denise Donohoe, Franschesca Ingram

While the Men’s Shed movement is well established within Brisbane, the sister movement of the Women’s Shed is far less so. However, that is soon set to change with the formation of the Women’s’ Shed at Ferny Grove (WSFG)—a first of its kind in Brisbane.  It’s also one of the few across Australia with a primary focus on wood and metal working. 

Just like it’s male counterpart, the WSFG will be a community-based, non-profit organisation that will provide a safe and inclusive space for women to work on projects, along with offering a place for friendship, company, and an all-round enjoyable time. And to clear up any confusion—no, this is not a thinly-veiled arts, crafts, and knitting group! Members of the Women’s Shed can expect the full Men’s Shed experience, with woodworking practices and power tool use at their command. 

For centuries, household handy work was typically a job assigned to the man of the house. However, in our modern world where many women are living independently and often outliving their partners, skills honed in Women’s Sheds around Australia are becoming increasingly useful. The need for this movement in our community could not be greater. 

At the suggestion of Brisbane Tramway Museum Honorary Secretary, Don Willsher, an Expression of Interest meeting was held at The Brisbane Tramway Museum in early March.  WSFG Steering Committee Chair, Shan Fleming said the response from the initial session was overwhelming – clearly indicating a communal desire for this facility.

‘The group was blown away by the numbers that turned up with almost 100 women across all age groups showing up or emailing to express their interest. At this stage we are working through how to accommodate as many as we can from those who signed up on the day, which is a nice problem to have,’ said Shan.

What is also really exciting about the establishment of the WSFG is that it will be the first Women’s Shed of its kind to ever grace Brisbane ! The closest one is in Logan, and its founding members made the effort of attending the Expression of Interest session to share their positive experiences and learnings. 

Now, with a WSFG Steering Committee formed, and weekly meetings taking place to secure insurances and complete administrative duties, the organisation is well on its way to opening its doors. It is hoped that workshops will commence by mid/end April at The Brisbane Tramway Museum, Ferny Grove. 

Just like at the Men’s Shed, members will pay an annual membership and session fee to help cover costs and will need to bring PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Sessions are anticipated to be held on Wednesdays and Thursdays however, numbers for each session are strictly capped to 12 for safety reasons so if you are interested in joining the group, get in touch with them ASAP to join the waitlist on theshedatfernygrove@outlook.com.

So, women of Brisbane, what are you waiting for, come on down and get your hands dirty!

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