THE MAROOCHY MEN’S SHED STORY

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Maroochy Men's Shed Founding Members

Ian Mackay, Wayne Pearson and Past Club Secretary Terry Welch.

In 2012, three forward thinking Rotarians from the Maroochydore Rotary Club had a gut feeling that a Men’s Shed was needed in the Maroochydore area. Wayne Pearson, Terry Welch and Ian Mackay formed a steering committee to test the waters to see if there was enough interest from senior males in the Maroochydore district to form a Shed.

 

Their gut feeling proved to be correct and from that initial meeting in September 2012 the Maroochy Men’s Shed has grown from 12 at our first meeting to over 100 Shedders today. Terry Welch, being the community minded bloke he is, offered his industrial shed at 10 Depot Street, Kaliun for our first meeting. In 2020 we are still meeting at Terry’s shed with anywhere up to 50 members attending on any given day. Now a new shed is on its way.

Men’s Sheds are an Australian phenomenon, starting up 14 years ago, there are now over 1,500 Sheds operating all over the world. The reason for their success is they address men’s physical and mental health issues, provide mateship and camaraderie, offer men the opportunity to support local community enterprises like kindergartens, schools the RSL by building toys, stages, partitions etc in a safe environment.

 

Not only do Shedders do work for the community, the less mobile Shedders discuss current affairs, world conflict, sport and any subject our fellow Shedders bring to the table at our Roundtable Discussion Group meetings. Allowing fellow Shedders to give a brief 10 minute introduction about their life thus far, is a wonderful way to learn the art of public speaking. We have Shedders who are happy to pass on their computer skills, photographers to instruct on photography and guest speakers who address Shedders on all men’s health issues from incontinence to arthritic pain.

 

The Australian Men’s Shed Association recently visited the Maroochy Men’s Shed and gave a glowing report about what they saw. Not only were they impressed with our initiatives to find a new Shed to house our growing numbers they commended us on having more community spirit than most. They know from anecdotal evidence that sheds are saving many lives in our community by giving them a purpose in life looking forward to their future with certainty, as well as informing them on mental and physical health issues.

 

The Maroochy Men’s Shed owes a debt of gratitude to those forward thinking Rotarians from Maroochydore Rotary Club who saw a need in our community and set about making a Men’s Shed in Maroochydore a reality. With the culture that abounds at our Shed there is nothing that can stop us from achieving our goals. Sheds are a wonderful place for men from all walks of life to enjoy the camaraderie and mateship of other men, may it never change.

Bill Glasson

Chairman Roundtable Discussion Group

Maroochy Men’s Shed

 
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Terry Welch OAM

Founding Member, Past Secretary, and Chair of the Premises Committee.

 

Congratulations TERANCE OLIVER WELCH OAM

The Governor General’s Australia Day announcement of Terry’s award states: "For Service to the Community of Maroochydore".

 

Terry became a founding member of the Maroochydore Men's Shed in 2012. He is a major benefactor, providing the shed we are still using today, and has worked tirelessly, speaking to and cajoling all levels of government in the hopes of finding a shed, or land we could build on. We have now purchased a block ourselves, and in the process of building our shed.

 
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Until recently suicide and depression were rarely discussed in the media. Pete Macpherson our Welfare Officer at the Maroochy Men’s Shed raised the subject at our Roundtable Discussion Group meeting last Tuesday. It became painfully obvious as Pete gave us the statistics, that depression plays a much greater role in our community than we care to imagine.

Men’s Sheds have an important role to play in informing Shedders about mental and physical health matters. As I listened to members relate their stories of depression around the table I realised we all have a role to play in being a friend, calling a mate on the phone, calling in for a coffee or just be there when needed. I’m reminded of Tattersall’s Club motto, Amicitia vita est, “friendship is life”, a motto we all should live by.

Pete Macpherson lost his beloved wife Michelle to a brain haemorrhage in 1994 leaving him with two teenagers to raise. His own health deteriorated and he was diagnosed with a form of motor neurone disease in 2007. There is no one more aware of the effects of depression than Pete and when he raised the subject of suicide and depression at MMS we all listened intently.

After attending a seminar for the prevention of suicide on the Sunshine Coast he presented some startling figures to our group. Last year approximately 2,600 people died of suicide in Australia, this is an increase over the last 10 years of 20%

Another leading cause of death in Australia is road accidents, 1,209 people died last year, a decrease of 25% over the last 10 years.

Pete deliberately put these two tragic ways of dying side by side for a comparison. As a society we are shocked at the number of people dying on our roads, so we put a lot of resources into prevention, it has worked.

A few more statistics that his attention was drawn to were:

7 people die of suicide every day in Australia.

24 people die of suicide a year here on the Sunshine Coast.

40% of the people who die of suicide are over 85 years old, that figure equates to approximately 1,000 of our senior citizens!

Pete believes our shed can do our bit, but it is very important that we understand that this problem is very real. Men’s Sheds throughout Australia take these issues very seriously, we all need to look after one another and always remember, “friendship is life”. If anything in this article raises concerns please contact Lifeline crisis support and suicide on 13 11 14 or www.beyondblue.org.au

by Bill Glasson

 
What Role Should Men's Sheds Play in Society Today?
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There is no doubting the huge impact Men’s Sheds have had since their inception in 2007.The Australian Men’s Shed Association sent the following summary of why Men’s Sheds are needed to the Federal Government Senate in 2009.

 

“Men require a different environment to women in which to talk out their problems and issues with their fellow man. Men feel more comfortable talking about such issues while working with their “mates”.

In the past decade a wide range of Community-based Men’s Sheds has sprung up each with its own unique identity and purpose. Activities within Sheds are many and various and the membership is similarly 

membership is similarly diverse. Men from all backgrounds, ethnic and social mixes enjoy a Men’s Shed bringing their unique cultural characteristics to enliven the activities.

 

As identified in the 2007 AMSA shed survey, the common theme in all Sheds is about men retaining self esteem, feeling useful, contributing again to their communities and having a meaningful purpose in life. Learning or sharing skills, making friends, networking and availing themselves of health support information programmes and opportunities. Shed members have a very determined view that stems from their own experience “if a little more was spent on sheds, they would save the government that amount tenfold in health services”. While the accuracy of this statement is arguable, the point is acknowledged and supported in a variety of articles addressing the need to increase men’s’ health issues and the related cost to the taxpayer.

 

Youth mentoring programs are popular activities within Men’s Sheds and often with the mentor and the mentored both experiencing positive benefits from the programmes. Mentoring programmes range from arrangements between individuals, youth welfare organisations, local high schools and technical education providers and even High Risk or socially disadvantaged children. Such programs provide career skills learning but more importantly “life skills” awareness from males who themselves have real life experience”.

 

The Maroochy Men’s Shed has committed to taking a stand against domestic violence and the so called coward punch. We believe we have a role to play in mentoring the youth in our society. They will be cast from the tribe if they indulge in this cowardly behaviour. Our pledge is to offer mentoring to youth who go down this path.

With Men’s Sheds in Australia alone now numbering over 1,000, it’s not difficult to see the need for men to congregate together on a regular basis for physical and mental health reasons and to enjoy each others company.

 
Reflections on My Time on the Sunhine Coast by Bill Glasson
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When Shirley Sinclair asked if I would write about the happenings when I arrived on the Sunshine Coast in 1978 to add to the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the naming of our great region I reflected on how lucky I have been.

If it hadn’t of been for Roy Thompson buying a hotel in Gympie and transferring the licence to the beachfront at Alexandra Headland in the early 70’s I wouldn’t be here today. Roy, an astute businessman, developer and philanthropist saw the huge potential of this sleepy fishing village and was one of the first to develop new infrastructure in the area. He built Chifley’s Hotel which quickly became one of the top hotels in regional Queensland.

Roy could see so many business opportunities on the Sunshine Coast he decided to sell Chifley’s tothe Stewart’s Hotels Group and I was the lucky bloke asked to manage their new pub. For me the stars had aligned, I had always loved the Sunshine Coast and to have the opportunity to bring my very pregnant wife Kay and our two boys, Will and James to be raised on the Coast was too good to be true.

 

Changes were made, Chifley’s became Stewarts Alexandra Hotel, “Thommos Terrain” became the Pioneer Grill Room with Max Mendells and his band playing every Friday and Saturday night, the “Wind Jammer” became “The Galaxy”, the private bar became “Blazes”, where Judith Durham from the Seekers and husband Ron Edgeworth regularly played jazz to an appreciative audience. Our local parish priest, Father Harry Bliss, the person responsible for building Stella Maris Primary School regularly wrote his weekly sermon whilst enjoying lunch in Blazes.

 

Allan and Chris Carroll entertained the younger clientele with disco and live bands in the “Galaxy”. It was a time I remember fondly, Endeavour luncheons with packed out audiences for guest speakers like The Right Honourable John Howard and Tony O’Reilly, a great sportsman and world renowned businessman whose company controlled Australian Provincial Newspapers took to the podium and addressed an adoring audience.

 

The Winter Wine Festival was a major attraction in the Galaxy happening every Thursday night in July. All the leading wine producers were there to give tastings of their latest vintages and at the end of each tasting a huge raffle was drawn with proceeds going to the Children’s Leukaemia and Cancer Society. Greg Chappell regularly came to support the charity helping my wife Kay with the draw.

 

I well remember taking a delivery of wine to Coolum and seeing our much loved Shire Chairman Eddie De Vere, Shire Clerk Don Christiansen and the entire Maroochy Shire Council inspecting a land parcel south of Coolum which later became the Hyatt Coolum. Twin Waters was still a pipe dream and nobody could have envisaged the unprecedented growth that was still to happen at Pelican Waters. Ian McDonald ran the Noosa Shire, Jack Beausang was the driving force for the Caloundra Shire but Eddie De Vere will forever be remembered for encouraging the major development that was happening between Mooloolaba and Maroochydore.

 

Nambour was our regional centre. Everyone listened to Geoff Malcolm (The Legend) on 4NA playing all the hits and keeping us up to date with local news. Jim Bailey and Ray Grace sold the majority of cars on the Coast, Clem Renouf, a local Nambour accountant became World President of Rotary International,

the Sunshine Coast was really on the move.

 

So many wonderful memories of this great place to raise a family, Kay and I had another 3 daughters born on the Sunshine Coast, Emily, Claire and Libby. We are happily retired and living in Buderim Gardens Retirement Village, nothing gives us more enjoyment then having our children and grandchildren

visiting us in the Village.