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20 November, 2020

Men's Shed future is secure

The Cairns Men’s Shed is man-heaven. It’s the Taj Mahal of man-caves. It’s got everything a man could wish for – workshops fully equipped with engineering, woodworking and electrical tools; vegetable gardens, an air conditioned library, computer room and lunchroom, and of course meeting and function space.

By Tanya Murphy

But until recently the Men’s Shed was only leasing the space underneath and behind the former Scout Hall in Mooroobool, leaving its permanence in doubt.

So it was with great excitement that on Tuesday, November 17, the Men’s Shed officially celebrated securing its ‘forever home’ thanks to a $1 million grant from the Federal Government.

The grant has enabled them to purchase the entire property from the Scouts, expand the facility to the upstairs hall, and carry out $250,000 worth of renovations.

Men’s Shed president Bob Lavington said with 130 members it was one of the best Men’s Sheds in Australia and thanked everyone who contributed to make it great.

Men’s Shed members volunteered time to renovating, painting, gardening and more while a number of local businesses contributed including Fair Dinkum Sheds, Dave Chapman electrician, Jason Piggott Air Conditioning, Masterlifts and Knight Frank Real Estate who donated the valuation for free.

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning congratulated the Men’s Shed for the accomplishment.

“The Cairns Men’s Shed is a great group with great camaraderie. It’s a wonderful place to gather, do something and meet other people. Keep up the good work,” said Mayor Manning.

Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch congratulated the Men’s Shed on being the first in Australia to own their own building, and made special mention of Beth Lavington for working on the grant application and acquittal.

“This is a wonderful club, thanks to the many hands that go into making it what it is. I may have to get myself a membership sometime soon,” said Mr Entsch.

Cairns Men’s Shed is the oldest and largest in Cairns, established in 2008 as a way to help deal with the loneliness, depression and isolation of ageing men, although all men aged over 18 are welcome.

Since then, Men’s Sheds have also sprung up in neighbouring suburbs including Trinity Beach, Edmonton, Holloway’s Beach, Kuranda and Cooktown.

The Shed provides a meeting place to bring men together to find companionship, share life experiences, and pursue creative blokey hobbies.

At the shed, men grow vegetables, fix engines, refurbish furniture and antiques, and build useful things which they either sell to raise funds for the next project, or donate to the community.

Cynthia Melvin, wife of one of the members, said the Men’s Shed was a godsend for women, too.

“It gets the men out of the house and gives them something to do,” she said.

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