26 July, 2022
Gilgandra Men’s Shed providing companionship for over 12 years
Since 2009, Gilgandra’s Men’s Shed has provided a safe place for men to catch up, work on projects, and get the latest town gossip.
The shed has around 24 members, and three times a week, members meet in the mornings to work on their latest project, create new items, or restore old furniture.
But the space is more than just a large man cave.
Members are typically retired men who come to the shed for shared solidarity, and use the space to stay busy and moving.
“You need that companionship, there’s just
too many people sitting at home doing nothing, that’s
just not a good way to end up,” said one of the original
members, Roy Duncan.
“The main thing for me was to keep on my feet and keep doing things for as long as I could.”
Mr Duncan was on the committee that organised the initial meetings to get the shed going. After searching for a venue and gauged interest, the shed officially opened in October 2009.
Mr Duncan had come off a farm and retired in town. He initially thought he could keep himself occupied at home, but soon came to realise this wasn’t the case.
“Once you get involved, you tend to realise it’s great to come up, see what the others are doing,
learn a little about what’s going on
around the place. While there’s gossip
downtown, you can get gossip from up
here too,” said Mr Duncan.
“You get to the stage when you’re up here and you find that you have poor vision or something and you need some help, you need someone to check things out for you. You can’t get that at home. So you go into reclusion.”
Phillip Yeo agreed, stating the space
was great for those who may be struggling
finding a sense of purpose.
“There are quite a few widowers in
Gilgandra, and a few are here of course.
It’s great for those people who may be
feeling lost, or depressed after they retire
or their wife/partner dies,” he said.
“I retired before I came to town really,
and now I have three days a week I
can come here and fill in the morning.
“I’ve always been an office bearer
here too so I’ve always had paper work to
do, shopping to do, things like that. Then
I can also build a few things, get to know
people. Then after you’ve been here for
the morning you can take the rest of the
day quite easy.”
Ted Harland, another original member,
also found retirement to be quite
“I joined for the male company.
When I retired, that’s what I missed. I
was always with men working, and I
But the issue with an aging population,
is member numbers are always
“We need more members!”
said Mr Harland passionately.
“We need a more even spread of age
groups if possible, but I know it’s difficult
for people who work to come. But
we could do with any age,” said Mr
“For a lot of us, with big projects, there’s only two or three of us that are strong enough to lift the project because a lot of us have back issues, limited movement etc. It makes it hard.”
Mr Yeo joked that there was even a
few “artificial knees, hips, hearts and so
forth around the men’s shed”.
Members want to encourage men to
come in with their sons when they are
working on a project.
“We have the tools,
the facilities, the supplies, we would just
love to see it get used by younger people,”
said Bruce James.
According to Mr
Yeo, medical professionals have endorsed
the Gilgandra Men’s Shed, recommending
the shed to patients who may
need some distraction or movement coming
into the later part of their life.
“There’s signs for the shed in the doctors
waiting rooms, and sometimes even
doctors steer patients up to us,” said Mr
And you don’t have to be 90-yearsold
to join either, members stressed. The
shed is open to any man who would like
a place to meet, work, and chat to other
men in town.
“Problem is – when we suggest to
people to come here, and they’re 60-70,
they say we aren’t old enough! They
think you have to be 90 to join. That’s
simply not true,” said Mr Yeo.
“I think that might be a psychological thing too though, people may not be ready to accept their retirement and their older age.”
Originally operating from the old
wool pavilion at the Gilgandra showground,
the men’s shed has only evolved,
with the present being built and opened
Still situated in the showground, the
current shed was built by locals, funded
by various government grants, and aided
by generous donations of funds and
labour from local businesses, tradies, and
The shed holds a lot of character and
love. Full of old and new tools and
machines, members main activity is
wood working, but often dabble in wood
engraving and metal working, making
things such as pot plant stands and
clothes basket holders.
“But our coffee cup is the most
important tool in the shed,” said Mr Yeo.
Enjoying smoko together, the men
lookout for each other and keep each
Most recently, the shed has installed
solar panels, and brand new LED lighting.
Mr Yeo is proud to state that the shed is now “carbon negative, and we are selling power back to the grid. We get no power bills”.