Activities 2009-2011

Activities Held 2011  (2009 & 2010 Below)

The following is an outline of shed excursions and special activities that been held.

If you click on the images below it will open as a larger image in a new window

Trip to National Aboretum 28 Jan 2011

23 members visited the National Arboretum in a 23 seater bus ably driven by Don. We were shown around by the curator Adam Burgess and his assistant Lynette Marsh. We visited the site where a large public area will be established and also the hilltop above the Himalayan Cedar plantation where there is a large metal art piece that proclaims the famous phrase of Dorothea Mackellar’s “Wide brown land”.

The aboretum is still a construction site with only 62 of the planned 100 forests planted. They hope to have all forests planted by Canberra’s centenary year of 2013. Car and pedestrian access is available on many Sundays and picnics can taken at the nice BBQ facilities at the Himalayan Cedar forest See our Pictures

Sing Australia Blokes 4 Feb 2011

We were entertained with a rendition of popular tunes sung by the local Sing Australia Blokes group with 19 of their members

Sing Australia was started by Colin Slater some 13 years ago and has grown into a nationwide organisation with some 150 different singing groups and some 5,000 members. The Blokes group is the only local men only group.

They entertained us in the Uniting Church hall for around 35 minutes ending with a the popular Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. See our pictures

In the North Belconnen Uniting Church (opened 17 June 1990) is a historic organ called “The Charles William Leggo Organ”(Picture). A short document provides and overview of this old instrument that was originally installed in the Singleton Methodist Church on 26 June 1920. It was acquired when the Melba Church was built and restored in 1997.

Meccano Support

Members were Invited to observe voluntary Meccano group in action at Macquarie Primary School on 23Feb at 11AM. Geoff arranged this visit for those who wished to see how the Meccano groups work in a live situation. See this file for details

2011-02-18 Royal Australian Mint


The Second Movement – Belconnen Bowling Club 25 Feb 2011

Last week we were entertained at the Belconnen Bowling Club in Hawker by The Second Movement – a band featuring our own Wally Kulesza. The band and venue were absolutely superb. Some 32 members, guests and wives attended. See our Pictures

Our President summed it up pretty well when he made the point that it gave us all a great feeling to see the energy and enthusiasm of the band members, all of whom would well and truly be eligible Shed members.

The Second Movement performed for nearly two hours to a very captive Shed audience, including a few very brave wives, with not only great songs that really suited the occasion but with the bonus of a very professional presentation and repartee . We heard a mix of old 1950s and 1960s music well known to all of us including songs from Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Buddy Holly, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, The Searchers, Roy Orbison, Gene Pitney, Matt Munro, Small Faces and many others.

Thank you so much Arthur Laing and members of The Second Movement. A special thanks also to John Mulrine who set up the audio equipment on the day, to Wally Kulesza for organising the band’s appearance, to Belconnen Bowling Club for generously allowing us to use their facilities, to Harry Redfern for organising all this with the Club and to Mike Munk for videoing the performance and producing a DVD for Shed use.

The Second Movement was formed in 1966 and comprises Arthur Laing (Vocals), Zdiz Hebda (Vocals/organ), Morris Avellino (Vocals/guitar), Pat Italiano (Vocals/drums), Wally Kulesza (Rhythm), Richard (Kishy) Wachniewski (Bass).

In 1967 the band signed a recording contract with EMI and recorded two singles, which were released nationally. The singles had moderate success and made it into a few top 40 charts. The group played in and around Canberra in the late 60’s and early 70’s and were resident band at the Civic Hotel Lounge. The group became the resident band at the Deakin Inn when it opened in 1969. The band played at the Deakin Inn for four years.

After a thirty years’ absence the original band (there were some personnel changes in the early 70’s) decided to get together for a 30th anniversary party bash at the Southern Cross Club Canberra. Some of the band members hadn’t played in a band since the band retired in 1974. Some of the members no longer lived in Canberra so the logistics of a reunion offered many challenges. However, the night was a huge success and was decided the band would make itself available for future functions.

The band make themselves available for special events and short tours. In December they worked three weeks for Federal Hotel venues in Tasmania including Wrest Point Casino, Hobart and Country Club Resort, Launceston. Recently the band performed at the Multicultural Ball at the National Convention Centre in Canberra. More information

2011-03-25 Springbank Island Sausage Sizzle


2011-03-26 Latham Working Bee


2011-04-15 Shed Open Forum


2011-04-18 Greenhills Working Bee


2011-05-06 Shed Meeting – Michael Mulgrew


2011-05-07 Temora Aviation Museum


2011-05-20 Shed Bowls Day


2011-06-01 Melba-Church


Farewell to Colin Bradford 17 June 2011


Friday 17th June 2011 spelt a sad day for the Shed but a happy day for Rev Colin Bradford. After a ministry of eight and a half years at North Belconnen Uniting Church, Colin is retiring and moving, with his wife Gai, to the St Ives area of Sydney. Sunday 19th June was his last service.

Around 33 members of the Shed met to farewell Colin at a special morning catered for admirably by Geoff and friends.

The initiative for setting up Melba Shed in August 2008 came from the Rotary Club of Ginninderra mainly through Don Gruber, John Inglis and Ken Hogan as a Rotary community project needing a community partner. Colin was quick to see merit in the initiative and was instrumental in gaining Church approval and support – and so started Melba Shed. Our very successful Melba Shed has been a mutually beneficial partnership and the community benefits and member benefits are clear for all to see.

So thank you Colin for three great years with Melba Shed, for your staunch, on-going support and friendship and for your foresight and determination in making it all happen. You have been a great advocate and supporter. We wish you and Gai well in your new life in Sydney and hope that you’ll call in whenever you are back in Canberra.

Our Lawn Bowling Group is going from strength to strength

When Harry Redfern made the offer to run a ‘get to know bowling’ morning for all Shed members on 20 May 2011 he didn’t realise that he would need to deal with more than one or two new recruits. At last count some eight Shedders – including Peter Mitchell, Jim Grenfell, Tony Capeder, Greg Worthington and Ted Tregillgas have all been spotted practicing on the greens under Harry’s keen eye.

Of course, Harry will be delighted if any other members are interested. Just talk to Harry at any Shed meeting.

See photos of the Shed bowling day

Lower Molonglo Water Quality Control Centre 24 June 2011

On this excursion the Shed visited the Lower Molonglo Water Quality Control Centre. Our guide was Bayne Geikie (pictures) from the Technical and Education area of ActewAGL. Bayne first explained to some 24 Shed members that ActewAGL manages the plant on behalf of ACTEW and that the plant’s objective is to meet effluent discharge targets thus ensuring treated water will not be harmful to the environment. Treated water is discharged into the Molonglo River (some 10 million litres per day) whence it flows into the Murrumbidgee and then to the ocean via the Murray River. Many towns and cities along these rivers draw river water for drinking purposes so quality control over the treated discharge is a very high priority.

The process includes physical, chemical, and biological treatment processes and Bayne explained over our three hour visit how each process operated.

Thanks to Stuart and Geoff for facilitating this visit, to ActewAGL for providing a special tour for us and to Bayne for his excellent presentation and tour of the plant including access to areas we would not normally see.

2011-07-08 Dr Alex Ritchie – Fishing with a hammer


The Woodcraft Guild of the ACT 10 July 2011

The president, Dan Steiner, gave a great talk to the Shed on Fri 10th July 2011 about the Guild. The Woodcraft Guild is an organisation of people who love wood, and love to make things with it. There is a link to the Guild’s web site on our local Shed page.

The Guild was set up in 1980 to promote, foster and develop woodcraft in the Australian Capital Territory and Region with members and participants from as far away as Goulburn, Wagga Wagga, Bega and Nowra. The Guild has about 220 members in the ACT and SE NSW of whom some 60 to 80 regularly attend the general meetings held on the last Wednesday of each month. Membership is $70 per annum. There are around 130 wood working clubs in Australia. In 2001 the Guild set up a shed at Westwood Farm in Kambah and have been developing it since then.

Their activities cover all forms of wood working, some metal working and various forms of training in relevant skills. The Guild is also about meeting other people and socialising, similar to many Mens Sheds.

To cope with a large membership with varied interests, the members divide into much smaller ‘Special Interest Groups’ (SIGS) for hands on activity in wood-turning, carving, furniture-making, toy-making, furniture restoration, scroll-saw work, tool collecting and restoration and pyrography. These groups normally meet once a month on a Saturday or Sunday at ‘The Shed’ or at a member’s workshop.

They have project and a Drop-in SIGs on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10-4PM, and also Wed between 7-9.30PM. This provides members with somewhere to meet, chat, share a cuppa, browse the woodie magazines and get on with some woodwork project. The Projects SIG for members who wish to work on individual projects under some guidance from experienced woodworkers. They are very strong on training for use of tools and all forms of work place safety.

The Guild conducts demonstrations and sales at a variety of community functions, ranging from the Canberra Show, National Folk Festival, and the Woodcraft and Home exhibitions at EPIC to school fetes and local fairs. Members make a large range of wooden bowls, plates, trinkets and furniture which is available for sale at such events. They also make toys for local Charities to distribute at Christmas.

The Guild is embarking upon a Youth Skills Enhancement program in conjunction with the Lions Youth Haven and local High Schools. This program will educate students in the delights of working with wood and equip them with basic hand tool skills.

2011-07-22 John’s Next Big Day Out


Excursion to Gundaroo 19 August 2011

Despite the rather inclement weather 27 members enjoyed a great morning’s outing to Gundaroo organised by Don Gruber.

We began by enjoying a very pleasant session for coffee at the Cork Street Cafe, converted in great style from the original Gundaroo Police Station horse stables. During this session, Jenny Thorne from the Gundaroo Store then gave us a brief overview of Gundaroo’s rich history, and described from her perspective the life of a modern-day resident of Gundaroo. Europeans first explored and settled in the Gundaroo area in the 1820’s, and the first hotel was opened for business there in 1840. The Royal Hotel, familiar to many Canberrans, was constructed in 1865.

We had the opportunity of strolling along the main street and exploring some of the historic buildings in the village. Most of these were built in the period 1860-1890 and are in the main in quite reasonable condition given their age. Some of the adjacent modern buildings have tastefully incorporated some of the local stone and will over time complement the buildings of a much earlier generation. We also had a short tour of the main village visiting her store and old workshops behind. This included some amazing old machinery and an old 1951 Jaguar XK140.

We then visited the Royal Hotel and looked at the new purpose built slat building for their Grazing Restaurant. Several of us has lunch (mostly pizzas) in the Cork St Cafe

Lying in the lovely undulating country of the Yass River Valley, modern-day Gundaroo now boasts a population of 300. If you haven’t had the chance to visit this village yet it really is worth the drive (only 35km north of Canberra).

About Gundaroo | See photos of the day

2011-08-26 Shed 3rd Anniversary BBQ


2011-08-27 Shed Dinner – 3rd Anniversary


Presentation on Electric Cars 2 September 2011

Around 40 plus members attended this extremely fascinating presentation where David Jones from the ACT Electric Vehicles Association and Coordinator for the 2011 Canberra International Electric Vehicle Festival gave an interesting talk on Electric Vehicles and their future

David gave us a terrific overview of the history of the development of electric vehicles since their inception in about 1835, explaining the modern advances in car and battery design and demonstrating their relevant components.

To top the morning off, David very generously drove groups of our members around the immediate area of the Shed in his own Mitsubishi electric vehicle (i-MIEV) so that they could experience first-hand the sensation of these whisper-quiet and very efficient machines.

An indication of the great level of interest in this topic was evidenced by the number of requests to be able to view the original presentation material from this session. Rather than include an incomplete summary of David‟s presentation here, you can have access to all of David‟s original material below.

David Glynne Jones has very kindly given us free access to all this material and permission to load it on our web site – thank you David – this is much appreciated.

We thank David for this great presentation and his willingness to demonstrate & drive his electric vehicle for enthusiastic shed passengers! Thanks also to Laurie Power for organising this session. Pictures

The following links provide access to the presentation material provided and shown by David. Others are very welcome to use these for their personal use. However would you then please attribute their source if they are re-used for wider presentation or publication

Presentation to Melba Shed | Mitsubishi i-MiEV presentationPresentation on well to wheel efficiency Nov 2010 | Presentation on battery technology Feb 2011 | Presentation on drivetrain configurations Mar 2011

The Woodcraft Guild of the ACT at Kambah 16 Sep 2011

On Friday 16 Sep we enjoyed a great morning out with some members of the ACT Woodcraft Guild (ACTWG) at their Shed premises off Kambah Pool Road. It proved to be a fascinating morning, and it was inspiring to see how the ACTWG had set up their premises. The facilities are excellent for a range of woodcraft activities, including wood turning, carving, furniture making, toy making furniture restoration, scroll saw work, tool collecting & restoration or pyrography.

It was interesting to learn that on the initiative of some of their members, two metalworking forges (conventional & gas) are maintained there and that they make many of the wood working tools themselves. Dan Steiner, President of the Guild and several of the Committee enthusiastically showed us over their spotless workshops. A few photos from the morning are included in Newsletter No 100 (courtesy of John Burrowes); Steve spotted his beloved bird boxes, Ted snapped up one of the smaller items for sale, “Two Hats” Mitch (as Shed & ACTWG member) showed us around, Laurie puzzled over a wooden puzzle, and the list goes on… good fun.

The Guild encourages any Shed member to feel free to go and visit them at their premises without any obligation to join, and have a look at what happens there. You may have latent talents just waiting to spring to the fore!

The Guild was established in 1980, and has been meeting at their workplace i.e. “The Shed” at the Lions Youth Haven premises off Kambah Pool Road, Kambah since 2002.

Our thanks go to Steve Mawer for organising our visit to the Guild | Photos

2011-10-14 Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve


2011-10-21 Model Planes


2011-11-04 Senator Gary Humphries


Presentation on the NRMA – Alan Evans, Director, 18 November 2011

Supported by Ron Collins ACT Corporate Affairs & Regional Policy Specialist (Tel 6124 8317/Mob email: [email protected]). The visit was arranged by Stuart Allan.

As Australia’s largest member organisation, NRMA Motoring & Services provides a range of services for members and the community, including their legendary roadside assistance and a diverse range of motoring, travel and lifestyle benefits, products and services.

Alan has served on the NRMA Board since 18 January 2003. He was President from 27 January 2005 to 10 December 2008 and now represents the Mann Region which includes Canberra. He is a member of the Audit & Risk Management Committee, the Policy & Advocacy Committee and is the NRMA Ambassador for Alternative Fuels and Technologies.

Alan Evans is a past President of the Australian Automobile Association. He is also Executive Chairman and owner of Dyno Dynamics (Aust) Pty Ltd, Strategic Consulting Services Pty Ltd and a Director of Citywide Service Solutions Pty Ltd. He is a Director of Eco-Motive, an Australian company developing alternative fuel technologies for motorists. He has also held senior executive positions in the public and private sectors, including CEO of Medicines Australia, Head of the Commonwealth Office of Regional Development, Executive General Manager of AusIndustry and Principal Adviser to the Federal Treasurer.

He has qualifications in engineering, law and economics. Alan is a active motor sport participant and is a Director of Confederation of Australian Motor Sports (CAMS). He drives extensively throughout Australia particularly in NSW and the ACT, as well as spending time driving on international roads to ensure he has first hand and valid comparisons to argue for more funding for better roads in the NSW and ACT.

From Alan’s Talk

Alan is a racing enthusiast and owns 1 rally, 2 racing and 3 family cars. Early in his career he was on the ALP executive. However he is not locked to ALP politics and is friendly with some members from the other side. He joined the NRMA at the 2003 elections to drive reform. The NRMA has 2.3m members and runs the largest elections outside the AEC.

After the demerger the NRMA effectively owned no assets with IAG getting the assets, IT etc. The new executive’s directions were to diversify the revenue base to help with maintaining a cost effective motoring support group. In the diversification he showed a huge range of interests including Travelodge Hotels and quality Holiday parks (operate in the 5 star range). They are looking at more dog friendly facilities as well. They are also considering good driver training facilities and things like car service centre, of which they now have 9. They are also considering a 10th one in North Canberra, maybe Belconnen.

CTP costs in the ACT are far too high. Main issue seems to be the legislation that still allows some common law claims, which supports large payouts and high legal fees.

One comment by a Shed member was made was that the NRMA premium remote area service has been used with great result. Also car 3-5 year car recovery and repair service are actually mostly done by the NRMA under contract. However some companies have cut this back to one year as they have found the service does not actually support car sales.

NRMA is in favour of stronger emission reductions targets for cars. It does appear the Federal Government has failed in this regard. The majority of NRMA members oppose the carbon tax ~57%, although in the ACT 54% support it.

ACT fuel prices are too high due to lack of competition he said. Apparently the fuel companies have access to an internal web site Informed Sources that enables them to synchronise price changes and the period of the cycle

NRMA is not against electric cars. Ron stated that they are using an iMIEV for a month as a patrol vehicle. He also said that the ACT already has 50 electric vehicles registered. Alan suggested that a similar vehicle can reach 170Km on one charge. Canberra is a place that such vehicles are quite suitable for around town use.

The NRMA supports a portion of the fuel taxes being used to build cycle paths and appropriate routes near roads but not on the road next to traffic which is a recipe for problems.

Alan and Ron spoke about the Jamison Report on ‘Alternative Fuels in Australia’. You can download a copy of this report by clicking Here. You can also download a ‘Fuelling Future Passenger Vehicle Use In Australia’ by clicking here.

2011-11-25 AGM and Sausage Sizzle


2011-12-09 National Archives Visit


2011-12-23 Christmas BBQ


Activities Held 2010

The following is an outline of shed excursions and special activities that been held.

If you click on the images below it will open as a larger image in a new window

Peter Mitchell’s Trip Across Australia 29 Jan 2010

Peter gave us a slide presentation of his interesting trip through the centre to Darwin, down the west coast of WA and back across the nullabor. He had some interesting times going underground in Cooper Pedy as well as in Kalgoorlie, camping out along the road with other travellers. Peter took some 2,800 pictures and presented some 194 pictures to the shed in his hour and a half presentation. All presented pictures can be viewed at the Photos

peter and croc

Peter with baby croc

sunset ayres rock

Ayres Rock “Uluru”

climbing ayres rock
Ayres Rock the climb

Visit by Boorowa Den 19 Feb 2010

This was a special day with Boorowa Den members (13) renting a small bus to visit Melba Shed. It started with visit to Rob Wooleys premises where we were treated to morning tea and a fine display and presentation by Rob of his veteran cars and motorcycles, followed by luncheon BBQ at the shed, and finished with a visit to War Memorial Annex at Mitchell (around 25 members attended at various stages). All presented pictures can be viewed at the Photos

Members relaxing during BBQ


Members chatting during BBQ

Inspecting a Vintage Car


Bob Wagg’s Presentation on Tasmanian History 16 April 2010

Bob gave an excellent presentations on the history of Tasmania from the earlier settlers, the aboriginal first Australians, the mining, the forestry, daming, to the conservations issues of the 1970’s and later.

Two 2MB powerpoint presentations can be downloaded if you wish to review his presentations. Bob’s Tas Preso Pt 1 and Pt 2

These can be viewed on line without Microsoft Powerpoint or downloaded as powerpoint or PDF document

First Aid Course 27-28 April 2010

The Shed organised a first aid course for 5 Shed members. The cost was $135 for a concession holders including Seniors Cards. It was held near the Red Cross premises Garran

John Burrowes’ Poem from Anzac Day session 23 April 2010

At the conclusion of this session John Burrowes read out a poem he had written many years ago. This is it if you wish to remember. This is in Google docs and can be read on line without Microsoft word

Trip to Namadji National Park (Mt Franklin Area) 30 April 2010

This was undertaken with leadership and support by Graham Scully and Bendora based Ranger Christiam Ward. A total of 26 members and friends went on this trip and the weather, the country side and the company were superb.  From all accounts everyone had a great day. We first visited the Bulls Head picnic site, then went to the Bendora Hut and arboretum area. This was very interesting with numerous plots still doing well and some to be replanted. Lastly we went to the new Mt Franklin shelter hut where we had a BBQ lunch and the more adventurous climbed Mt Franklin (1644m) later as well as looking at the old ski tow engine which was an old Austin A40 car.

For those wanting to learn more about the ACT’s high country, Graham mentioned and recommended a new book by Matthew Higgins titled ‘Rugged Beyond Imagination’ which focuses on the Namadgi-Tidbinbilla area. Matthew draws on dozens of oral history interviews he has conducted since the late 1980s. The book includes historical photographs and contemporary images – many taken by Matthew before devastating bushfires swept through the area in 2003. Available at NMA shop, Uni Coop Bookshop, National Trust, Namadgi Visitors Centre, Jindabyne Visitors Centre and from good bookstores. Here is a mail order form from the NMA Shop

Matthew Higgins did a walk and talk with 30 people on 2 May. Photos

GPS Map of the trip

Bulls Head Settlement in Winter (Anthony (Tony) Franklin collection, provided by Graham Scully)

Bendora Hut at the Arboretum

Visit to the CSIRO Discovery Centre 28 May 2010

Around 21 memebers visited this centre at their Black Mountain ACT laboratories. Anne and David, two of the guides at the Centre showed us through a myriad of different, sophisticated and interactive exhibits showcasing CSIRO’s achievements in science and technology. We saw exhibits on climate change, water conservation, health and wellbeing, energy futures, agricultural research and bio-diversity as well as learning of important research being conducted by CSIRO scientists including a most interesting and informative 3D video on polymer research.

Shed members outside the Discovery Centre

BBQ at the Shed 4 June 2010

Around 25 members attended the Shed for our weekly get together with a smaller number staying for the monthly BBQ lunch


Shed members at the BBQ

Power Laurie on the hotplate

Presentation on Sikhism at the Shed 30 July 2010

We received a short presentation by Mulkhbir Singh Gnewal and Manjit Singh on the Sikh faith. Sikhism is one of the younger faiths of the world, as compared with religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity or Islam. It is a monotheistic faith, preaching the existence of only one God, and teaching ideals that may be universally accepted today and in the future: honesty, compassion, humility, piety, social commitment, and most of all tolerance for other religions or beliefs. Here are elements of the presentation in pdf text form. There are around 26M Sikhs worldwide with about 300,000 in Australia

2010-08-02 Painting Shed


Presentation on Stratospheric Ballooning at the Shed 6 Aug 2010

Assoc. Prof. Ravi Sood talked again on stratospheric ballooning with a strong emphasise on his more recent exploits during 2010 (around 30 members attended) including one failed launch from Alice Springs. Successful balloons climb to around 40km above the earth and provide a platform for collecting radio data from far stars for several hours

Ravi Sood and Stuart in the newly painted Shed

2010-08-07 YMCA Garage Sale at Yarralumla


2010-08-13 Presentation to the Shed by Tom Dawes


2010-08-20 Talk by Mark Carmody


2010-08-27 Anniversary BBQ


2nd Anniverary Dinner held at the Master So Kitchen on 4th Sep 2010

This dinner was held sucessfully at 7.00pm at Master So Kitchen at Kippax with around 28 members and guests attending. Details of the restaurant at the Master So Kitchen (Chinese Restaurant) site and “The InTolerant Chef” blog. Pictures of the dinner are below and larger size pictures are on Google Photos

Dinner at the Master So Kitchen

2010-10-08 Canberra Train Museum


2010-10-09 YMCA Garage Sale at Yarralumla


2010-11-12 National Botanic Gardens


2010-10-29 Shed BBQ


AGM & BBQ 19th Nov 2010

Our AGM was held last Friday and resulted in the election of our Committee for the next twelve months. Details of the new Committee appear on the last page of future newsletters. Geoff Grimmett is our new Vice-president and Laurie Power joins our Committee.

Thanks also to Jim Grenfell, our outgoing Vice-president, who chose not to stand for a Committee position. Jim’s input over the past year has been significant and has always been lively and interesting as he is at our Shed meetings.

AGM and BBQ Photos

Trip to Orbost Shed 23-25 Nov 2010

The Shed undertook a trip to Orbost Mens Shed (3 days, 2 nights) via mini bus and 2 vehicles. Accommodation was at the Orbost Country Roads Motor Inn. All rooms were twin share with facilities for $45 per person per night. See the motel’s website. Newsletter No 56 has details on costs.

Pictures (all 475 of them) of the trip can be seen here

The Trip Report

Well … what a great time was had by all! Eighteen Melba Shedders descended on the Orbost Mens Shed on 23-25 Nov for three great days of male bonding and camaraderie. We departed Canberra at 7.30AM in a 14 seater bus and a 4WD with our luggage safely stowed in a trailer. The trip to and from Orbost was through Cooma, Nimmitabel, Bombala and Cann River. We arrived about 1:30 for lunch at the Shed – some of us a little later after going to the „old shed‟ first. The guys at Orbost have a great shed and great facilities.

The Orbost Shed is sponsored by Orbost Regional Health and the Rotary Club of Orbost and has been operating since 1999. They have just moved into their new premises at Tyndall Street. They are a large group meeting several times per week. The Shed has a great community focus and provides a wonderful opportunity for men in the Orbost area to get together, enjoy each other‟s company, use their woodworking skills to benefit the community and generally get on with life.

After lunch, so wonderfully provided by Tom Davis and members of Orbost Shed, we toured the Shed and marvelled at the large number and variety of equipment and tools that the Shed owned. Then it was off to afternoon tea so kindly provided by the ladies of St Andrews Uniting Church.

Here we heard Gary Green, newly started Community Engagement Co-ordinator for the Australian Mens Shed Association, tell us about the Mens Shed movement and about AMSA. Then, Patrol Padre Bruce Gallacher of the Uniting Church Frontier Services gave as an interesting talk about his experiences in the Orbost area and at his previous posting in northern Australia. Orbost is the base of the Frontier Services Snowy River Patrol. Next morning, we took a trip on the Paddle Steamer Curlip II which is a replica of an historic paddle steamer of the Snowy River, in Far East Gippsland, Victoria.

A community project, her construction has utilized the traditional skills of wooden boat builders, and thousands of hours of volunteer labour. The Curlip operates as a cruise vessel on the Snowy River Estuary exploring the natural and cultural heritage of this hidden gem of south east Australia. We had a delightful trip exploring the Brodribb and Snowy Rivers and lunched at the Orbost Angling Club on the Snowy River near Marlo where the Snowy exits to the ocean, again courtesy of Tom Davis and his hard working assistants. Only problem was the bar didn‟t open until 5:00pm.

That afternoon, we also visited Orbost Regional Health for a tour of the facilities organised through Gary Riordon. Orbost Regional Health provides acute, emergency, medical, surgical and obstetric services, and is a leader in the provision of small town rural birthing services in Victoria. All Orbost based doctors are located within the complex. ORH provides much of the funding for the Orbost Mens‟ Shed and is a great supporter of the Shed.

On Wednesday evening we were the guests of the Orbost Rotary Club and were welcomed by President Greg Norman. We enjoyed an excellent meal among convivial company. Stuart provided a short presentation on the history and operation of our Shed.

Thursday morning found us at the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment which leads the Victorian Government’s efforts to sustainably manage water resources and catchments, climate change, bushfires, parks and other public land, forests, biodiversity and ecosystem conservation. Dr Stephen Henry met us and took us through their offices where we learned about their activities including fire fighting, weed control and protection of our natural flora and fauna. It was great to see how committed these guys were and how much difference they are making. Following morning tea back at the Shed and some joke telling around the table, we headed off to lunch at the „top pub‟ and then, sadly, departed for home. It was a remarkable trip which we will all remember most fondly. We will of course arrange for a reciprocal visit but it will be hard to match the hospitality we experienced at Orbost.

Many thanks go to: -Tom Davis for initiating our visit and for being the ‘perfect host’; Gary Riordon of Orbost Regional Health for his support; The ladies at St Andrew’s for afternoon tea; Gary Green from AMSA; Bruce Gallacher from Frontier Services; Greg Norman from Rotary; Dr Stephen Henry from the Vic Department of Sustainability and Environment; All the guys from the Orbost Shed who made us so welcome; Orbost Regional Health for their hospitality and afternoon tea; Shaw Disabilities for the use of their bus; Geoff Grimmett and Don Gruber for arranging the Canberra end and making it all happen.

There was money left over? Don collected $150 from each of 18 people, a total of $2,700. From this we spent $2,307.65 as follows – the motel ($45 each per night, $1,620), $360 for the Curlip cruise ($20 each, a discount of $5 each), $127.65 for fuel for the bus and $200 as a donation to Shaw Disabilities for the use of the bus. The Shed held $392.35 as the surplus from the trip. This surplus arose because the Orbost Rotary Club did not collect money for dinner at their meeting as expected. It is $21.80 per head for each of the 18 participants. Refunds available from Don at Shed meetings on or after 10 December. Note that the communal breakfasts were kindly donated by Jim Grenfell, Phil Laird kindly donated the use his vehicle and fuel and Peter Mitchell kindly donated the use of his trailer.

Message from Tom Davis

The blokes at the Orbost Shed are thrilled about your visit and have been feasting on the stories over lunch and smoko. The Snowy River Mail Editor decided to hold over the stories and pictures until next week. I have ordered and paid for 20 copies to be posted to your home base at the North Belconnen Uniting Church. I have heard rumours that the CEO of ORH has severely edited my article reviewing the visit cutting out the philosophical differences – working on the basis that the local readers have not nearly as much interest in the raison d’etre of our Shed versus your Shed. Must away the hour is late. Happy Christmas. We (my wife and I) are off to Sydney Friday (via Canberra) and thence flying to Heathrow after stops in Bangkok and Helsinki. Regards, Tom Davis and the Orbost Men’s Shed. 12:15am 1/12/2010

John Burrowes poem on the trip to Orbost

Read it here

Newspaper Article on the Trip to Orbost

Click on it to enlarge

Orbost Trip News

Working Bees at Greenhills 3 May. 11 Oct, 1-2 Nov

On the 3 May there was a community working bee at Greenhills. 5 members attended and received morning tea and lunch

On the 11 Oct around a dozen Shed members attended a working bee plus had lunch at Greenhills near the Cotter. Photos

On the 1-2 Nov there was a special working bee at Greenhills with 14 members attending on Monday and a 5 on Tues. Greenhills has found that the Shed members have helped so much that they have donated $620 to the Shed

This latter event occurred as Barry sought the help of members of Melba Shed as since the departure of the former managers earlier in the previous month, the Manager’s Residence has been vacant for the first time in eight years. Greenhills was keen to clean up this property and make necessary improvements prior to the next managers moving in later this year.

What occurred was on Monday 1 November, extending to Tuesday 2 November (Melbourne Cup day), was to seek help from those who have assisted in the past and to make a significant donation to the Melba Shed proportionate to the members’ time and effort during these two days. Greenhills will cater for morning tea and lunch for all. The work included clearing and cutting back the overgrown garden (including chain sawing), painting inside and outside, and removal of any remaining rubbish

2010-12-03 Model Ship Building


2010-12-17 Christmas BBQ


Activities Held 2009

The following is an outline of most shed excursions and special activities that been held.

If you click on the images below it will open as a larger image in a new window

YMCA Garage Sale Sausage Sizzle 21 Feb 2009

On Sat 21st Feb 2009, Melba Shed ran the Sausage Sizzle BBQ at the YMCA Monster Garage Sale at Yarralumla and from sales of nearly $1,300 raised some $500 through the sale of sausage sandwiches, soft drinks, coffee etc. A good time was had by all and our efforts were greatly appreciated. Most of the raised cash was donated to a bush fire appeal and Uniting Care

4WD Picnic & Excursion to Blundell’s Flat and Mt Coree 17 Apr 2009

This was held on Friday 17th April and was attended by some 17 Shed members who enjoyed themselves on the 4WD trip to Mt Coree in Canberra’s South West. Five 4WD vehicles set off to Blundell’s Flat shortly after 9:00am. By 11:00am the group was on the top of Mt Coree enjoying brilliant weather and brilliant views in all directions. The climb up the 4WD track to the top of Coree was a bit rougher than normal but no difficulties occurred. The group decided on the top of Coree that to return to Melba via Bulls Head via Piccadilly Circus. The views of the western side of Coree were spectacular with high cliffs abounding. Lunch was at Bulls Head. For the home trip the group descended towards Bendora Dam before turning off along Wark’s Road and then crossing the Cotter River at Vanity’s Crossing Pictures can be viewed here

Phil’s GPS Map

Working Bee at Greenhills 20 Apr 2009 & 16 Oct 2009

Monday 20 April some members attended a working bee at Greenhills Camp and Conference Centre on the Cotter Road. An excellent lunch was provided and much good work was done on the day. Photos. Another one was held on 16 Oct 2009 Photos

Visit To Queanbeyan Printing Museum 22 May 2009

On Friday 22nd May 2009 Melba Shed was able to visit the Queanbeyan Printing Museum. Queanbeyan’s first local newspaper ‘The Golden Age’ (later called ‘The Queanbeyan Age’) was first printed in 1860 and continues to this day where it is now printed on the Canberra Times presses. Much of the machinery on display came from the Queanbeyan Age. In the early days all type was set manually – letter by letter – but was later replaced letterpress printing. In the mid-1970s the letterpress printing at the ‘Queanbeyan Age’ was superseded by electronics and computerised typesetting All machines on display are restored to full operational mode and we had the pleasure of seeing, at very close quarters, many of these machines in operation Our thanks go to Bill Woods (a previous owner of the Queanbeyan Age) and his son Bob (a photographer at the paper) and the other volunteers who specially opened up the museum for our visit and who were so helpful in explaining the various printing processes and machinery. Thanks also to Nick Hulskamp for organising and making this visit possible

Visit to War Memorial 7 Jul 2009

On Friday 7th July the shed visited the Australian War Memorial and were given a very interesting guided tour by Chris Honnan, an AWM volunteer guide. Although it would take weeks to see everything on display at the Memorial, Chris provided an excellent two hour tour commencing with the First World War Belgian and French battlefields and ending with a sound and vision presentation of a night bombing raid by the famous Avro Lancaster B1 bomber ‘G for George’

Visit to Museum of Australian Democracy (MOAD) 7 Aug 2009

On Friday 7th August 15 members of the shed visited this museum in Old Parliament House; see picture on the right. The museum was opened in April this year. We were provided with a guide with the name of Robert Hawke. We visited the House of Reps chamber, Opposition party rooms of the Senate and the real Bob Hawke’s office. We also visited the cabinet room and participated in a roll play and overhead screen view of the issues the cabinet had to consider way back in 1977 when the first boat people came to this country. We found the visit worthwhile and many plan to revisit it in the future. A guided tour is also well worthwhile. Check with the MOAD

Shed Members at MOAD

Celebration of the First Year of the Shed 28 Aug 2009

On Friday 28th August members of the shed celebrated the successful completion of the first year of the shed by holding a barbecue and sausage sizzle in the morning and a dinner at the Fortune Cookie restaurant at Melba in the evening. Further pictures courtesy of Mike Munk can be viewed by visiting the Google Photos album

Shed Members at BBQ

Visit to Boorowa Mens Den 4 Sep 2009

On Friday 4th Sep shed members departed the Shed at 8:30 am to visit the Boorowa Men’s Den which commenced around 2006, is now has about 20 regular members. They have been most successful in gaining a number of grants and donations which have enabled them to acquire an extensive list of woodworking equipment We were welcomed by members of the Den and treated to a great morning tea followed by a walking tour through a number of interesting old Boorowa buildings, including magnificent St Patrick’s Catholic Church and the Court House After lunch, we were treated to a bus trip to two properties, the Merrignee Merino and Poll Stud owned by Charlie Merriman and a property owned by the son of John McGrath, our Men’s Den host for the day. Charlie of Merrignee Merino and Poll Stud explained the different grades of merino wool. On John’s son’s property we saw and had explained to us the various pieces of large farming equipment and visited the shearing shed with its several stands of operational equipment. It was interesting hearing from the locals all about the hardships of farming during this difficult time of drought and financial hardship Pictures courtesy of Mike Munk can be viewed by visiting the Picasa web site. The newsletter which provides more details. Google Photos


Rob Woolley’s Vintage Cars, Friday 11 Sep 2009

On this Friday Rob Woolley arrived at the Shed in his 1909 Renault AX veteran car, which was produced between 1908 to 1914 and was mostly used by cab drivers. The AX had a 2-cylinders straight engine with a capacity of 1,060cm³ and power 8KW. Its maximum speed was 55 kph, the vehicle weighed 750 kg.   Rob gave a presentation about veteran cars, explaining the different categories for old cars. He is quite an expert not only owning the Renault but also a 1905 De Dion Bouton, an old one off Aussie motorcycle from the 1920 and a number of other veteran and vintage motorcycles. You can see further photos by visiting the Google Photos album


2009-09-25 Shed BBQ


Peter Tilley’s South American Journey 2 Oct 2009

Peter Tilley gave a presentation on his trip to South America visiting Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Galapagos Islands. Look at Peter’s photos on Google Photos

Visit to Namadgi National Park 6 Nov 2009

On Friday 6th Nov 2009 the Shed took a 4WD trip to Namadgi with an excellent overview of the park by Bernard Morris (viewed left) at the Visitor Centre, followed by a great trip through parts of the park with expert commentary by Graham Scully (viewed right). A great BBQ lunch was eaten at the old Boboyan homestead site area. Photos taken by Mike ( a mere 144 shots) can be view by clicking on the Google Photos link below. Namadgi National Park constitutes 44% of the area of the ACT, and consists of 105,000 ha. The highest point is Bimberi Peak at 1913m and the lowest the Cotter River at 570m. The park has 47 walking tracks, 160km of tracks, 113 management/walking trails, 84km of public roads, and 337km of trails and tracks. The park has 12 huts. It has an estimated 1,600 plant species, 37 mammal species, 130 bird species, 7 fish species, 39 reptile species and 12 amphibian species. Google Photos

Annual General Meeting 20 Nov 2009

On Friday 20th Nov 2009 the Shed held its first AGM with about 30 members present. The Chairman and Treasurer made their reports. Then the chairman called for nominations for members to be selected to the committee. Five existing committee members and two new committee members were elected. The AGM was followed by a BBQ with the usual selection of drinks, sausages, onions and bread. Several nice shots taken by Mike are shown here with a full listing available by visiting Google Photos


Presentation on Broken Hill Trip 4 Dec 2009

Presentation by 4WD members Jim and Greg on their July trip to Broken Hill and Mungo National Parks with 4 other members. Several shots here that Jim wouldn’t show.

A selection of shots taken are on the Melba Shed Google Photos site. Its Peter and a desolate view near Trida, north of Willandra on the right So you want to see where they went, well try downloading the Googelearth kmz file and running it. Naturally you need Google Earth installed. Details on the home page. Jim mentioned a good checklist we had. Its been updated to include VHF radio and GPS items. It was a great bunch of guys and a great trip. Google Photos


Christmas BBQ 18 Dec 2009

On Friday 18th Dec 2009 the Shed held its second Christmas BBQ with around 32 members attending The usual high quality cake ?? was catered. Santa (Ted) came as seen below cooked the snags and meat. A selection of shots taken is on Google Photos