About Us


3A Mining Street Bundamba

Email ipswichmensshed@hotmail.com

Web site: ipswichmensshed.org.au

Phone (07)34365857




Plus an initial Joining fee of $10






What is a Men’s Shed?

The modern Men’s Shed is an updated version of the shed in the backyard that has long been a part of Australian culture. If you look inside one you might see a number of men restoring furniture, perhaps fixing bicycles for another community organisation, maybe making toys for charities, repairing lawn mowers, making items for their own homes or working in the community garden. You will almost certainly see men hanging around – talking and laughing about all manner of topics. You might also see a few young men working with older men learning new skills and maybe also learning something about life from the men they are working with. You will see tea bags, coffee cups and a comfortable area where men can sit and talk. You may also see an area where a man can learn to cook for themselves or where they can learn to use computers. What does on in a Men’s Shed is really up to the Members to decide, so programs vary from Shed to Shed.

Men who are emotionally attached to their backyard sheds may think they have locked and bolted that part of their life forever when they move into a smaller unit or a retirement community. Men who have retired from a lifetime of employment in a workshop may also feel lost when equipment or facilities they have had access to are no longer available.

But Sheds are not only for retired men.

The Men’s Shed movement is here, and it’s thriving across Australia. With more Sheds in the development stages the country is well serviced by Men’s Sheds.

“Despite their diverse origins, locations, configurations, auspicing organisations and purposes, men’s sheds in community contexts share a common commitment to older men’s friendship, health and well being in conjunction with regular and supervised hands-on activities in group settings in a shed-type space for both individual and community benefit.”

There’s nothing new about men gathering together in their own space to talk, share skills, swap ideas, solve problems or just discuss life in general – it’s been happening since the beginning of time. There’s also nothing new either about men spending time in their backyard shed (now often called the Man Cave) – an acknowledged Aussie pastime. What has developed is that men, particularly retired men, are combining these two activities in a communal space simply called a Men’s Shed. Also, men have strongly embraced a new identity –ie: being a member of a Men’s Shed

What is so special about this Men’s Shed Movement? It is part of our culture that men don’t readily talk about feelings and emotions. Until recent years there has been little encouragement for men to take an interest in their own health and well-being. Unlike women, most men are reluctant to talk about their feelings so that means that they usually don’t ask for help. Probably because of this, many men are less healthy than women. Many men are marginalised in our society. They drink more, take more risks and they suffer more from isolation, loneliness and depression.

We suggest that you visit a Shed and see for yourself.

Men’s Sheds may apply for registration with the national Body, the Australian Men’s Shed Association (AMSA)when they become incorporated. After registration they are eligible to receive the full services provided by AMSA and from the Queensland Men’s Shed Association (QMSA), including access to Grants and funding sourced for them by these Associations.

Sheds on the Queensland have grown rapidly but in the early days there was no central reference source and a great deal of duplication and “wheel reinvention” occurred. 4

 Activities in Sheds

“Men come to a Shed whenever they like, do whatever they like and go home whenever they like”

Costs in Attending a Men’s Shed. When a member attends a Shed there is an expectation that they will contribute to its ongoing development and upkeep.

The membership would expect that either the service organization or the client themselves would make a contribution when attending their Shed. The amount of payment sought would depend on the running costs the Shed incurs. Insurance premiums form a large percentage of costs but the provisions for tea breaks, the cost of utilities (eg: power) project materials, being used must be covered Many Men’s Sheds charge an Annual Membership Fee as well as a small payment for the use of the facilities. Sometimes a Joining Fee is required and special, one-off contributions may be levied form time to time.

A Shed’s Management Committee may also need to spend some time and effort in arranging projects and /or social facilities for the new members with special needs, before they begin attending.

Because Sheds are autonomous, each with their own interests, they develop programs that suit their members. Not all sheds do the same thing as their neighbouring shed.

Opening Hours also vary from Shed to Shed.

Formal mentoring of young men is occurring in some sheds, some specific programs have been developed for aboriginal men. Sheds have been known to support men on parole, or lads who have had a brush with the Law, by accepting them into formal programs.

Sheds also arrange excursions to venues of interest to men such as Woodworking Shows, and Museums. Visits to and from other Men’s Sheds are popular activities.

Barbeques, parties and Dining-out are popular social events -with or without partners.

Organisation of a Shed

Volunteers manage most sheds in QLD. They are autonomous and have elected management committees who determine opening days and times, fee structures, equipment levels and different methods for developing and promoting their philosophies. 6

It vital that all members take their turn in the voluntary roles essential to maintaining the sustainability of their Shed. Regrettably this obligation to share these responsibilities is not always recognised by the membership. A fair sharing of the work-load is necessary to avoid burn-out of a willing few.

Every shed is different both physically, structurally, with different facilities and with different management styles. To visit 1 shed and assume all others are the same would be completely wrong. Because of the sizes, layouts and equipment in individual sheds the opportunities in each are different but all offer companionship. It is not unusual for members to visit neighbouring sheds to use equipment they lack in their own and the sharing of materials and equipment between sheds is common.

Given the average age of shed members all contain men with a range of disabilities. Most members are self-sufficient however others are not so and have special needs. Within the population of Men’s Sheds , registered with the Australian Men’s Shed Association, there are Sheds which have members who are partially sighted, have artificial limbs, have had strokes, heart by passes, various serious operations that effect how they self manage, are deaf, have anger management issues, have dementia, require wheel chairs or crutches to get around, have induced brain injuries. The list is endless and usually as the age of members increase all have bad backs, stiff knees and most are simply “grumpy old men”.

Membership of a Shed

Each shed has a Membership Application form that will be required from both the carer and client. The completion of the Membership Application and the payment of the fees the Shed has established will provide insurance cover while a member attends the shed.

All members are expected to comply with the management arrangements of the shed.

Membership Application Forms usually ask for some medical/health information from the member so as to be those with authority are aware of pre existing conditions and thus be able to be able to appropriately support a member, should the need arise. This information remains confidential.

The majority of members travel to sheds using their own transport but for others they are driven by their carers or in Community transport vehicles. Some carers are required to remain with their client. Others, usually a spouse or relative, leave those independent men and return to take them home. The level of additional supervision will be discussed depending on the physical/emotional/cognitive needs of the new member.

As members attend on a voluntary basis it is not the usual practice to have them rostered to pick up men and bring them to the shed as this then places a commitment on the driver to attend on a set day and for a set time.

Safety in Sheds

As sheds are workshops with production level power equipment safety is a major issue in day-to-day operations. Each shed approaches safety in the knowledge that mature aged members will be the major uses of equipment with many never having spent time in a workshop before. Members come from all walks of life from office staff to self-employed 7

small business owners to tradesmen and some have been out of the workforce for many years before joining a shed.

Not every member is interested in using all of the power equipment and if they do they ask an approved member to carry out the task for them. Others however are sometimes too confident for their own well-being.

Safety training is an ongoing issue especially as members come and go and the projects they work on means they may need to use different machines from time to time.

Sheds identify the more dangerous machines requiring special training before they are operated and these will have documented training practices in place with records of instruction on file. Sheds have also introduced special training for complex machinery, in the interests of instructing members in their correct use to prolong the working life of the machine.

The current Work Health & Safety Act was introduced in QLD in 2011. As the majority of Sheds are operated and managed as independent incorporated organizations by a volunteer committee they are outside the Work Health and Safety Legislation. They are however specifically required to provide a Duty of Care. This duty is a legal term, which by definition means;

“an obligation, recognised by law, to avoid conduct fraught with unreasonable risk of danger to others”.

While every effort is made to ensure safety the ultimate responsibility rests with the members. Duty of Care is the responsibility of the Shed Management Committee but also the individual member.

A number of sheds are however, auspiced by organizations with paid employees and fall under the legislation as Persons Conducting a Business Undertaking (PCBU’s). Service providers need to discuss insurance arrangements when negotiating clients accessing sheds in this category.

Sheds must be covered by appropriate insurances but as most members are volunteers, coverage for workers compensation does not apply. If members suffer injury, and seek compensation, they would most likely need to lodge a common law private application.

Carers attending must be members of the shed as an employer or volunteer need to ensure they have appropriate insurance cover through their parent organization.

Expectations of Shed Involvement

Traditionally a man’s profession or job has marked his place in society and when he retires or is made redundant, this may be lost to him. A Shed is somewhere where this becomes irrelevant and a man is accepted for who he is and not what he was.

Sheds are seen as safe places for men where they are able to be themselves, participate in activities that are mutually agreeable with men, share stories, share skills, learn new ones and enjoy the company of other men. For some men a shed is a place to access tools and equipment in a workshop that would otherwise be unavailable to them. For 8

others it is a place to meet other men they would otherwise not have meaningful contact with and this is especially relevant to men living on their own and isolated from regular male companionship.

On retiring many men move from family homes into a smaller one or a retirement village. Sometimes they move to a new location and leave behind long-term friendships in communities they knew well. In doing so they also leave well established homes and are left looking for a meaningful activity to fill in their days. Sheds are places where men often feel very much at home as soon as they walk through the door and are eager to become involved immediately.

As indicated earlier the range of projects seen in Men’s Sheds is extensive and all depend on the skills and interests of the members. It is a role of the Shed Supervisor to have a number of projects ready to offer a member if they are looking for something to do. Many men come prepared with private work for which they provide their own materials, and often their own favourite tools, but many others come without a ‘job’ and expect one to be provided.

Most of the job orders coming from community groups are suitable for teams to work on and these are often provided to the end users for little or no cost; or a donation is nominated to cover manufacturing costs and to assist in maintaining the Shed.

The team allocates tasks so those components or operations requiring skill are distributed to experienced members while the less able, less skillful or physically challenged members’ work on simple parts. But all should feel part of the team and have their achievements acknowledged.

Before bringing a client to a Shed it is vital that prior discussions are held with the Shed executive, preferably without the client.

Risk Assessments need to be completed prior to client/carer attending any Shed.

For further information


3A Mining Street Bundamba

Email ipswichmensshed@hotmail.com

Web site: ipswichmensshed.org.au

Phone 07 34365857

View Induction Video

Got Something That Needs Fixing?

We are also happy to repair small items of furniture and toys. However we need to stress that The Shed is not a factory, but rather it is a hobby centre and drop-in centre, where retired men can enjoy ‘mucking about with People often wonder what we do at the Shed…


Members are welcome and indeed encouraged to bring their own projects to work on at The Shed and as well, are invited to participate in small community projects such as building useful items for local charities, pre-schools, primary schools, kindergartens, hospitals and retirement centres, etc. As well, The Shed is happy to make ‘one-off’ special items for disadvantaged members of the local community. All Men’s Shed activities are conducted on the premises.

Projects that members may wish to undertake are limited only by their imaginations although, due to space limitations, excessively large projects cannot be accommodated. Members have made rocking horses, billy carts, tables, stools, bread & cheese boards, BBQ trolleys, mail boxes, doll’s houses, wooden trains and many other toys. Some members have turned out beautiful timber pieces on lathes, while others have crafted jewel boxes, statuettes, and chess sets. The list is endless. The one thing that members would appear to share in common, is their enjoyment of doing things in the company of other men.


As a means of raising funds for raw materials and workshop consumables, members are encouraged to make items that can be sold at community markets, fairs, shopping malls, etc. The sale of such items is undertaken in collaboration with the local Lions and Rotary clubs.

The Shed is supervised at all times by suitably qualified personnel, and there is no requirement for members to have any previous experience in using the tools or equipment. Appropriate work safety practices are enforced, and tuition on the use of all equipment is provided as needed.


Visitors are always welcome…. no appointment or prior booking is required, simply call in and meet the members, share a cuppa and a yarn.