Activities 2009-2014

Activities Held 2014 (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013 Below)

All items are in increasing date order within a Year, but with the latest Year at the top and older years below

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

10th Jan 2014 – Meeting


17th Jan 2014 –  Jack Waterford


31st Jan 2014 – Visit to the Charnwood Fire Station & the SES in Belconnen

Thirty-two members heard from the Fire Chief at Charnwood that if a fire is outside the ACT then it is the responsibility of the NSW patrols, but there is communication between the two services. Within the ACT the response time is seven minutes, but can vary depending on the location of the station that responds. If you are in a shopping centre and hear an alarm, then head for the nearest exit.

Michael Blumenfeld, who is the son of Wally, one of our members, then gave us a guided tour of a Fire Truck. Michael opened the many storage doors around the Fire Truck, and then pulled out the drawers and explained the use of the items/tools within. Apart from different fire extinguishers for specific types of fires, there are tools for entering buildings, both through the doors and the walls. He then showed us the fire hoses and how they are connected to the water tank. We were able to look inside the cabin, which accommodates two in the front, and four in the back. Michael explained that their breathing apparatus is attached on the way to the fire. Each fireman is connected by wireless to an alarm in the truck which sends out a piercing sound if he needs help.

At the back of the truck are two ‘Jaws of Life’, These are similar to tin snips, but much bigger and heavier, and the jaws are curved. The fireman holds on to the handles and engages the jaws by pressing a switch. The jaws then open and close mechanically. You can see how they would chew through a car. At the conclusion we were told that the installation and checking of house fire alarms is a free service provided by firemen in the ACT.

We then drove to the SES which is at the back of Egan Court, where Project Lighting is located. Here we were instructed by Wally, Michael’s father and Shed Member, as well as another SES member.

They told us about the many services provided by the SES. As well as attending grass and bushfires, they include provision of catering, shelter, drinks, toiletry, SES member on the job! and other needs to assist during a big emergency. They are also called upon to assist in other regions of the ACT, as well as NSW and interstate. They respond to calls resulting from flood and roof damage, tree collapse and may be asked at times to assist police in searches for both people and forensic evidence.

There are a few paid staff, but the majority are volunteers. Belconnen has about forty, both retired and working. They meet weekly at Egan Court. Most employers will allow a certain number of days during the year for their SES volunteers to attend emergencies.

We were then shown around the trucks … just large utes really, with similar equipment to the fire trucks but without the variety and technology. They carry a lot of tarpaulins to cover roofs that may be damaged by storm, fire or trees. Fire Station Pictures and SES Pictures

28th Feb 2014 – Excursion to Tidbinbilla Tracking Station

A great morning was experienced at the CDSCC by twenty one of our Shed members. We were met at the assembly area outside the visitors centre by Korinne McDonnell, our host for the morning. Korinne, who holds a PhD in astronomy, gave us a very informative talk on the operations carried out at Tidbinbilla and its place in the worldwide network involved in deep space exploration. CDSCC is one of the three current Deep Space tracking stations in the world comprising NASA’s Deep Space Network. The Tidbinbilla site became the prime Australian site following the relocation of tracking facilities from the former Honeysuckle Creek & Orroral Valley stations when their operations ceased. About 90 staff are currently employed at CDSCC, comprising a wide range of skills including electricians, mechanics, technicians, catering staff etc.

Korinne explained that the CDSCC currently has three active ‘big dish’ antennas (known technically as Deep Space Stations (DSS) that receive data from, and send commands to, a wide variety of spacecraft – this being the prime mission of CDSCC . Each of these antennas is identified by a unique number according to its location in the world. The largest antenna at CDSCC is known as DSS 43 and was built between 1969 and 1973 and later extended in size. It is the largest parabolic antenna in the Southern Hemisphere and weighs more than 3,000 tonnes, and as Korinne explained, has a surface area as large as the average football field! More antennas are being built to upgrade the facility.

Korinne gave us some background on the two Voyager missions i.e. Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 that have been exploring our solar system for many years, on a “grand tour of the solar system” in her terms. Launched some 37 years ago these NASA spacecraft are still powering on. Incredibly, Voyager 1 is now approximately 18.3 billion kilometres from Earth and Voyager 2 some 15.5 billion kilometres away (amazing!). Korinne explained that it takes some 17.5 hours for the signal from Voyager 1 to come back to earth, and transmits with a power of a very weak 3 watts, and it takes about 14 hours from Voyager 2. Both of the Voyager craft are nuclear powered, and the last photos sent from Voyager 1 were in 1990 – they now only transmit data and not physical photos. Their main mission initially was to explore Jupiter and Saturn, but after successfully achieving this objective NASA decided to extend their mission, with Voyager 1 making history by exploring the region between stars and Voyager 2 having gone on to explore Uranus and Neptune. Korinne then went on to tell us about Curiosity, the latest Mars rover which was launched in November 2011 and landed on August 6 2012.

We were able to view a video showing some actual film of the control station and the reaction of the staff during the pre-landing phase of the mission, together with audio-visual representation of how the highly complicated landing process took place – a fantastic effort. Curiosity was designed to determine if Mars existed with an environment that was capable of supporting life in the form of microbes, and if it could indeed be habituated at any time.

Weighing in at 900kg and measuring 3 metres long, 2.7 metres wide and 2.2 metres tall, the nuclear-powered Curiosity began sending photos back to earth only three minutes after having landed on the surface of Mars. It landed in a massive crater some 4.5 kilometres in depth to begin its mission exploring the surface. Curiosity has an amazing array of scientist instruments, the biggest and best suite of equipment of any craft ever sent to the Martian surface. It has 17 black and white cameras and several colour cameras. Photos transmitted confirm that the surface of Mars is extremely rough and rocky, necessitating the rover to move at a very slow speed during its operations (top speed being 6cms per second) to avoid damage etc. and allow for sufficient data capture. Curiosity has a 2m long robotic arm to handle a wide variety of manoeuvres. It has been fitted with a “sample” scoop which allows for the collection of rock dust and samples for analysis, the results being sent back to earth by radio waves. To date Curiosity has also taken over 100,000 laser shots of rocks and terrain on Mars, showing detailed composition of rock material. It has driven about 5 kilometres so far in about 18 months and has about 3 kilometres to go to get to the base of the adjacent mountain.

NASA is hoping to extend the Curiosity mission beyond the originally anticipated two years, with the hope that they may be able to maintain this mission for up to 10 years. If it is ever deemed possible to have humans make a manned mission to Mars it would take up to 9 months to reached the red planet, hence the primary need to try and establish the fastest mode of transport ever developed by mankind, as the craft would need incredible speed to reach that target.

Should you wish to read more about these subjects you can view the following websites for further information, which will provide links to a wide sphere of interest:

Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex (CDSCC)

Curiosity Mission to Mars & NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Pasadena

This was a fascinating talk and visit. Many thanks to CDSCC, our guide and host Korinne for her insightful technical explanations, the overworked staff at the Moon Rock Café and the Shed drivers who volunteered their services to the site. See our photos

Thanks to Laurie Power for organising this trip to Tidbinbilla and special thanks to Geoff Grimmett for preparing the trip report.

14th Mar 2014 – Excursion & BBQ at Lowden Park in Tallanganda State Forest.

On this day 28 Shed Members in 7 vehicles enjoyed a great excursion to Lowden Forest Park, east of Captains Flat in the middle of Tallaganda State Forest and about 84 Km from the Shed. Hidden in a green fern gully in the forest is an old logging camp from the 1830’s. We saw not only the famous electricity generating Water Wheel from the 1930s, still turning vigorously, but also a number of historical relics more than 170 years old scattered throughout this park.

The picnic area at Lowden Forest is very picturesque and the surrounding native bush of Tallaganda State Forest includes majestic and inspiring stands of brown barrel, making bushwalking, four-wheel-driving and mountain bike riding favourite activities in the area. There are numerous walking tracks commencing at the picnic area to explore at leisure.

After an inspection and walk around the Water Wheel and among the other historic objects, we adjourned to a great BBQ which cooks Don Gruber and Stuart Allan had prepared. Thanks Gents!

Photos and a map of our journey

We left the Shed about 9.40AM and reached Lowden about 11AM. After a BBQ we headed back and arrived at the Shed by around 2.15PM.

See also Lowden Waterwheel

4th Apr 2014 – Dr Nick Abel CSIRO gave a talk on Climate Change

47 members attended and listened to this empowering presentation and its impact  Powerpoint presentation on the Shed’s Google Drive cloud location

2014-04-25 Anzac Day BBQ


2014-05-05 Greenhills Working Bee


13th Jun 2014 – Visit to the Wesleyan Church Parkwood

36 members enjoyed our June Sausage Sizzle, this time in a slight drizzle at Parkwood Wesleyan Church, with our hosts for the day, Jim and Pam Grace, giving us a potted history of the Church and the times when it was built.

Thomas and Eliza Southwell and their two small children (Thomas and Mary Ann) arrived in Australia in 1838 from Robertsbridge, Sussex, and they first settled at Cobbity near Camden. In 1840 they established themselves on the Ginninderra Creek and their first residence was shown as “Palmerville”.

Thomas and Eliza were Wesleyans and brought their religion into this area. Bible readings and family prayers were held in the home twice a day and Thomas began to read a sermon in his home. It was not long before neighbours, often walking long distances, came to hear these sermons and gather on the Sabbath. By 1848 regular services were being held at “Southwells”. Local Preachers travelled long distances to conduct services.

On 20 May 1852 Thomas’ wife Eliza died after the birth of their 9th child. In April 1853 Thomas married a widow Mary Croxton and brought her, and her two small daughters, to his home at Ginninderra Creek.

In 1863 Thomas himself built the present “Parkwood” home and as the homestead had become too small for the increasing congregation he gave a 99 year lease of 20 perches of land for a church site near the homestead. On this site Thomas built a lined wooden slab church with a boarded floor and bark roof using voluntary labour which included family, neighbours and friends. The church was ready for occupation by June 1863.

However, by the late 1870s the wooden church was showing signs of deterioration and Thomas decided to build a new church. The slab church was demolished and the new stone building erected on the same site.

The proportions were smaller than the previous building. This fine substantial stone structure with shingle roof, which Thomas had built at his own expense is what still stands today. The Church cost £150 and has been renovated and repaired on a number of occasions since. It is currently cared for by the Southwell Family Society. Thomas Southwell was regarded as the founder of Methodism in the Canberra district. He died on May 31 1881 at the age of 68 after a long and painful illness.

Special thanks to Pam and Jim Grace for showing us over the Church and telling us about its history. Thanks too, to Don Gruber for organising our visit to Parkwood Wesleyan Church. Thanks also to Drew McDonald, Bob Salmond and Don Gruber for organising the BBQ and cooking on the day. Thanks also to Roger Amos who brought along his historic 1936 Vauxhall which added quite a bit of class to our outing. See our photos

2014-06-27 Trivia Day


2014-07-04 Shed Auction and Meccano models


2014-07-11 Short Talk Day


2014-07-18 BBQ & Sing Australia Blokes


25th July 2014 – Goulburn Brewery Visit

The Goulburn Brewery complex houses much more than the brewery itself. There is also a maltings, a steam powered flour mill, cooperage, tobacco curing kiln, as well as a mews of stables and workers’ cottages – all designed as an integrated industrial complex by colonial architect Francis Greenway. The complex was reopened in 1990 and incorporates a hotel, restaurant, function rooms, cabaret theatre restaurant, art gallery and accommodation. We tasted real ales, brewed in the time honoured traditional way, with top fermentation in open-top vessels.

This photo shows bottles of ale and stout, and a “Goulburn Stubby” (it holds two litres of ale). Oddly enough, although many of our members had lived in the region for up to 40 years, some of them in Goulburn, they had no  idea that there was a brewery here. It still functions today, although there is a modern brewery “out the back” with state of the art equipment in stainless steel vats, etc. and with modern hygiene to comply with modern health and safety requirements.

Our host for the day was Fr. Michael O‟Halloran, who among other things is something of a local historian, a brewer and no doubt, and a priest. Michael welcomed 22 of our members for a tour of the first industrial estate in Australia. As he explained, when the brewery was established in 1833, it had to be self- sufficient; it was remote from Sydney, at least a week away, with dangerous river crossings and impenetrable bush land.

They had to find their own grain, so they contracted local growers; they needed to have their own granary, brewery and mill for making their own malt (called malting). Michael told us how they graded the grain, the best for ale is barley, and how they malted it before roasting it and then cracking it, to that the yeast could access the sugars in the fermenting malt, to create the finest ales. Once the brew is ready it is put into casks, each of 72 gallons, to continue fermenting for up to 8 weeks before the ale is poured into casks, kegs, firkins, etc. for sale to the public. At Goulburn, the brewery complex includes a tax and excise office with a residence, on-site. Customers could not take their ale away from the brewery until they had paid the appropriate excise tax, and then they could go on their way. Some interesting expressions hark back to the days of brewing, guileless (meaning no guile, guile being the heat and boiling going on during fermentation), taking the “piss” as the ale ferments (literally meaning one of the by-products of yeast growing as it eats the sugar and creates waste). There were many more interesting quotes, but as I did not take notes, it is unfortunate I cannot recall them.

Fr. Michael managed to include a great deal of historical detail about the local business people and their families associated with Francis Greenway (the convict architect from Sydney) and his establishment of the brewery buildings at Goulburn. Originally, the owners were the Bradley family and they and their partners were the original proponents of railways in New South Wales, starting in 1849, in order to get their wool and other produce to the wharves in Sydney for export. However, as they began to build the railway from Sydney to Goulburn and Yass, the Government acquired their business in 1855, and Bradley became one of the first Commissioners for Railways, in NSW. Today, the Goulburn Brewery remains Australia‟s oldest brewery, pre-dating the Cascade Brewery in Hobart, by about five years (none of the existing Cascade Brewery is original). The buildings at the Goulburn Brewery are the originals and they continue to operate, albeit as a museum showing the history of brewing in the area, and of Francis Greenway‟s architectural endeavours in Australia, particularly NSW. The Goulburn Brewery is a good example of some of the significant historical examples of early life in Australia, particularly in the “remote” areas. There are some interesting examples of early architecture and of building styles of the time, some of which survive today, which would be a good topic for another visit in the future.

Thanks to Bob Greeney for organising the visit and preparing this report. More pictures

15th Aug 2014 – Monthly BBQ & Sausage Sizzle with special Talks by Dr Alex Ritchie titled “Aust Buried Treasures” & Geoff Miller about his ship trip to Antarctica in 2011

There was an excellent slide presentations by Dr Alex Ritchie titled “Aust Buried Treasures” emphasising great fossil discovery at the 3 main opal sites & Geoff Miller talked about his ship trip to Antarctica in 2011. Both these presentations are available on Google Drive with Alex’s here Opal Fossils and Geoff’s here Antarctica

Note there are some large files here so we have taken out the 6 video files. These can be viewed online or downloaded

22nd Aug 2014 – Visit to Lake Bathurst Heritage Museum

22nd Aug 2014 – Visit to Lake Bathurst Heritage Museum 16 members drove to Lake Bathurst and visited this museum. This is a handout on the WWII Underground Fuel Tanks

29th Aug 2014 – 7PM Friday Labor Club in Belconnen, 6th Anniverary Dinner & Our 6th Birthday Events

This was held with spouses/partners/friends at the Labor Club Belconnen. We had a special presentation by the Tuggeranong Ukulele Group (TUGS) and Greg Hutchison gave a short talk on history of the Shed (51 people attended and an enormous 27 from the band) Pictures

Greg Hutchison gave a short overview on the Shed’s early history with a few photos on the occasion of the Shed’s 6th Birthday – There was also a great performance by the Mt Rogers Primary School Band in the Church Hall (45 members signed the book). Overview Presentation on the Sheds Creation & Development

2014-10-26 Graffiti


2014-10-27 Greenhills Working Bee


2014-11-07 AGM & Sausage Sizzle


24-26th Nov 2014 (Mon-Wed) Trip to Griffiths

14 people (7 couples) travelled to Griffith in individual vehicles. Most stayed at the Kidman Way Motel. Wal Cooper organised a visit to his brother-in-law’s farm that make prunes using hi tech equipment and an orange juice factory. Laurie was fascinated by a prune making machine and was astounded to find that it was made on the farm by the owner. Another special highlight was the visit to “The Hermit’s Cave”.

The Hermit’s Cave, situated on Scenic Hill on the outskirts of the town of Griffith, New South Wales, is in fact a complex of stone structures covering an area of 16 hectares. These structures include shelters, terraced gardens, water cisterns, dry-stone walling and linking bridges, stairways and paths that stretch intermittently across more than a kilometre of the escarpment. The complete structure and landscape was created single-handedly by reclusive Italian migrant Valerio Ricetti who made this place his home between about 1929 and 1952 during that time creating his own private “utopia” using the natural landscape and materials found in the area. The site is recognised for being a rare example of an Australian hermit’s domain and is listed on the New South Wales State Heritage Register.

It was a great trip. Griffith was a comfortable 5.5hr drive via Temora

2014-11-30 Voices in Forest – National Aboretum


2014-12-05 Awards & Presentations


19th Dec 2014 (Fri) Mark  Tunningley, President of the ACT Video Camera Club, talked about Home Videos & Christmas BBQ

Home Video & BBQ Pictures

Fortunately, making a good (or even great) home video isn’t hard when you know how, but with the abundance of video recording devices around these days, some sort of knowledge is required to make the home videos watchable and interesting. Mark explored the many digital camera options including iPads, GoPros, compact cameras (Panasonic Lumix and the like), SLR cameras (such as Canon EOS varieties – more expensive but better) through to movie only cameras ranging in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.

Mark then showed us a number of his own videos including ones taken with basic cameras like an iPod right through to videos shot with expensive video cameras.

These videos were very well done and clearly demonstrate the following points Mark made in his talk.

Mark’s home movie videoing tips

  1. Do use a tripod or other stabilization techniques.
  2. Do keep your shots level.
  3. Do vary your shots, angles and positions, including long shots, medium shots and close-ups.
  4. Do take shots that show motion.
  5. Do frame your shot. Use zoom to frame your shot.
  6. Do realise sound is important. Whenever possible, use an external microphone
  7. Do take “cut away” shots.
  8. Do realise as the camera moves change in light is important. Be aware of backlight.
  9. Do shoot more than you need. Shooting ratio around 6:1 to 10:1.
  10. Do keep target audience in mind.
  11. Do keep your lens clean.
  12. Do have spare batteries.
  13. Do have spare media.
  14. Do turn off recording red light.
  15. Do check your screen to see that you are recording.
  16. Do remember to pause your recording.
  17. Do monitor continuity.
  18. Do check your screen to see that you have enough battery power.
  19. Do check your remote, as it made start or pause someone else’s camera.
  20. Do know your camera, read the manual. Know how to access the menus.
  21. Don’t be constantly zooming, panning or cutting between moving shots.
  22. Don’t let anything into the frame that distracts from the subject or scene focus.
  23. Don’t use “in camera” effects, do it in editing software.
  24. Don’t use digital zoom.
  25. Don’t pan against “the traffic”.

Mark’s 10 tips for editing video footage

  1. Scenes to last for about 4-5 seconds.
  2. Edit to about 10-1.
  3. Use only 1 or 2 types of transitions.
  4. Try to tell a story: Have a beginning middle and end.
  5. Don’t make it too long (5 to 8 mins).
  6. Know who your audience.
  7. Be aware of sound levels – music and ambient.
  8. Edit the sound as well- fade-in/fade-out change music on scene change.
  9. Use titles that are readable.
  10. Don’t be afraid to put things out of chronological order.

Mark’s list of Video Editing Software

  • Adobe Premiere Elements (Mac OS X, Windows)
  • Avid DS (Windows)
  • Corel VideoStudio (Windows)
  • Edius (Windows)
  • iMovie (Mac OS X)
  • Magix Movie Edit (Windows)
  • PowerDirector (Windows)
  • Sony Vegas Movie Studio (Windows)
  • Windows MovieMaker (Windows)

More information? Then contact Mark Tunningley Phone: 6231 9587 or email: [email protected]

ACT Video Camera Club caters for all ages and members range in ability from complete novices to those with fairly advanced skills. With two meetings a month on the first and third Thursday there is always something happening and a monthly newsletter. The Club has an Email group list for notices of meeting and events and their newsletter “Viewfinder” is emailed out monthly and posted to those not on the internet. Meetings are on the third Thursday of the month 7:30pm, at the Weston Creek Community Centre, and usually feature a special presentation or guest speaker.

From time to time the Club also organises trips to places of interest or hold outdoor events such as the recent outdoor workshop at the Botanic Gardens. Within the club there are also special interest groups catering for different editing systems.

For more information Click Here

Thanks to Harry Redfern for organising Mark’s attendance at our Shed.

Activities Held 2013

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

6th Jan 2013 Bunnings BBQ No2


North Belconnen Uniting Church’s Leggo Organ – 18th Jan 2013

On this Friday we had the great pleasure of hearing Malcolm Morrison tell of the history of the church organ in the North Belconnen Uniting Church and listening to a number of excellent organ renditions by Geoff Fiddian.

Malcolm told of the twenty year project to obtain and restore the organ to its present condition – the high points and the low points.

It originally was built by Charles William Leggo in 1920 for the Methodist Church in Singleton. With the amalgamation of the Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregation churches in the early 1980’s, the methodist church closed and the organ was left. The organ was Leggo’s first but he went on to build another 16.

In February 1988 Malcolm received a call from Trevor Bunning about an organ at Singleton. The Church acquired the organ for $3,000 and moved it to Melba in Oct 1988. The 4 ton, 610 pipe organ was dis-assembled and moved to Canberra in a 7 metre long van with the major front section having to travel on the truck’s tailgate! A professional was asked to quote to re-assemble the organ but the $60-$80,000 quotation led to a decision that the congregation members would attempt the task.

In 1994 and 1996 the church put in bids for $1,5000 from the ACT Heritage Trust to restore and install the organ. In 1997 they tried again and were granted $3,000. They then discovered and bought for $2,000 a new blower from and Adelaide church.

It wasn’t however until 1997 that work commenced in earnest and in 2000 an expert organ builder, Roger Jones from Adelaide, became involved and directed the work. He organised the installation of mechanical actuation of the organ, replacing electronic controls which had been installed sometime in the past. Much work continued but it wasn’t until June 2008 that the organ was dedicated and presented to a full congregation.

The organ was mostly timber and leather and a lot of replacement of the leather and some wood was required.

Roger Jones continued to help with maintenance until 2012 whence he had a stroke and remains in a rehabilitation hospital in Adelaide.

Geoff Fiddian explained how the organ worked and played three of four hymns for Shed members, culminating in a great rendition of a Phantom of the Opera favourite – Music of the Night.

The covers of the organ were then removed and it was Question Time.

Thanks to Malcolm and Geoff and to Gary Watson and Frank Hicks, two congregation members associated with the organ and who helped on the day. Also a special thanks to Geoff Grimmett for organising the morning.

This short document provides a technical overview of this old organ. Photos

‘Groovy’ Aerodynamics Cricket Balls, Golf Balls and Throwing Sticks – 1st Feb 2013

Well we all certainly learned a lot listening to what Ray Nelson had to say on boomerangs and cricket balls, golf balls and throwing sticks.

Did you know that boomerangs were the world’s first heavier than air flying machines, used most famously by the Australian Aborigines, but also found in other ancient cultures in Egypt, stone age Europe and the Indian Sub-continent. No-one knows how they were first invented and even though they look simple, they use a very complex combination of physics and aerodynamics to perform their amazing flights.

We commonly think of returning boomerangs as being the ‘real thing’ but in reality they are more a product of post European Australia as is the didgeridoo. Neither the returning boomerang nor the didgeridoo really existed in pre-European Australia and real boomerangs were used for hunting and fighting, and often, as a tool. These boomerangs did not return when thrown. They could kill their prey at distances to 100m and injure to 150m.

Ray explained with demonstrations and diagrams just how the boomerangs and throwing sticks work, how lift is generated via the curved upper surface of the boomerang (just like an airplane wing), how the grooves or flutes cut into the upper surface increase the distance it can be thrown by disturbing the airflow, reducing drag and increasing lift.

We learned that the same principle led to dimples on golf balls – did you know you can hit a dimpled golf ball 50% further than a smooth golf ball. Ray demonstrated why with some slides showing the different flow characteristics around a bowling ball dropped into water where one ball was smooth and the other rough.

Thanks Ray for a great presentation and for bringing along some of the boomerangs and throwing sticks from the B.L. Hornshaw Collection of Aboriginal Art and Artefacts.

2013-02-20 Working Bee – Extensions


2013-02-22 Cotter Picnic Ground BBQ & Excursion


2013-03-08 Bowling & BBQ


2013-04-12 Shed BBQ & Video


2013-04-19 Alex Ritchie Central Aust


2013-05-10 Gubur Dhaura Excursion


2013-05-17 Myrtleford – Rail Trail Trip


2013-05-24 BBQ at Belconnen Bowls Club


2013-06-09 Bunnings BBQ No 4


2013-06-14 Capt Nigel Roden Salvation Army Defence Services


2013-06-21 Shelter Box & Shed BBQ


2013-07-19 Australian War Memorial Excursion


2013-07-26 BBQ with visitor Yvette Berry


2013-08-23 Aboretum Visit


2013-09-13 Tarago – Woodlawn – Bugendore Woodworks Excursion


2013-10-04 Peter Hawker’s Yachting World Trip


2013-10-18 5th Birthday and Extension Opening Celebrations


2013-10-25 London Bridge Outing


2013-11-24 Gleeson Rosella Nesting Box

Photos with box designs

2013 May-Sep Shed Extensions

Photos What more can we say

2013-12-06 Shed Meeting


Activities Held 2012

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

 Behind the Scenes Visit to the National Library – 27 Jan 2012

On Friday 27th Jan a large contingent of around 28 Melba Shed members descended on the National Library for a ‘Behind the Scenes’ tour.

The Library holds the greatest collection in the world of material relating to Australia and the Australian people. It ranges from the earliest European works about the Great Southern Land to the most current publications. The collection includes all formats of material, from books and magazines to pictures, photographs, maps, sheet music, oral history recordings, manuscript papers, ephemera and much, much more!

This year marks the 10th anniversary of volunteer guiding at the National Library, and we were privileged to have three volunteers guide us through the tour. Many thanks to Alan, Margaret and Sheena for looking after us so well.

Among many things, we saw the reading rooms, the old vacuum tube system used to order books to be delivered to the reading room, old microfilm and microfiche equipment, book stacks like you wouldn’t believe, Charlie the roving automated robot delivering books, newspapers going back to the very early 1800s and map collections including some most interesting globes with maps dating back to the 1700s.

After a quick coffee stop we then proceeded to the Treasures Gallery which featured many of the Library’s greatest treasures – some of which had never previously been publicly displayed. We spent some time looking at Captain James Cook’s journal of his discovery of the eastern coast of Australia. Fascinating stuff.

We also learned a little about ‘Trove’ – the Library’s one line search facility. Trove is described as ‘an exciting, evolutionary and free search service. With millions of items, Trove is an unrivalled repository of Australian material. Trove is for all Australians. Whether you are tracing your family history, doing professional research, reading for pleasure, teaching or studying, Trove can help.’ To access Trove, click on: Many thanks to Stuart Allan for organising this tour. Photos of our visit to the Library

Canbera Museum Visit inc the King O’Malley Exhibition and the Old Bones – New Insights Exhibition, 24th Feb 2012

On 24th Feb we visited the Canberra Museum and Gallery. It was a most interesting visit attended by 29 Shed members and included the King O’Malley Exhibition and the Old Bones – New Insights Exhibition

King O’Malley

Curator, Social History of the Museum, Rowan Henderson, gave us a very comprehensive exposé on the life of King O’Malley, an insurance salesman from the United States of America, who migrated to Australia around 1888 and after selling insurance in Melbourne and then Tasmania, Western Australia and South Australia was elected as an independent to the SA House of Assembly. He injected colour into Australian politics from his election in 1896 until his death in 1953. Joining Federal politics after Federation, O’Malley represented the Tasmanian electorate of Darwin for sixteen years, acting as Minister for Home Affairs at the time the competition to design Canberra was held, and the federal capital was named. Read more about this most interesting man by clicking here.

Old Bones, New Insights

Dr Alex Ritchie organised this fascinating visit to the Old Bones – New Insights Exhibition at the Gallery. The exhibition was put together by Dr Gavin Young and Professor Tim Senden, both from the ANU. It displays some of the finest Devonian fossil fish specimens found and prepared by ANU staff and students over more than forty years. Most specimens have never been displayed publicly before and when the exhibition closes they will unfortunately disappear back into the ANU vaults, assessable only to scientists. What a great shame funding can’t be found to permanently display this rare and important collection! Physics has joined palaeontology at the ANU using 3D X-ray scanning to reveal new evidence of early vertebrae evolution. Over the past 40 years the Wee Jasper area has yielded fossil treasures which now showcase a once diverse coral reef – 400 million years ago. See photos by clicking here

Bill Cole – Funeral Director – 23 March 2012

On Friday 23 March we welcomed Bill Cole. Bill, who with his wife Christine run William Cole Funerals, which is a family owned business, serving the Canberra community since 1990. It began in a small office in Mitchell before moving to Belconnen. Being a Funeral Director is an unusual occupation but Bill seems to revel in it, telling us that he had decided upon this occupation well before leaving school. He is clearly well suited to the role exhibiting compassion, understanding and professionalism which no doubt would be greatly appreciated by all those with whom he comes into contact. Bill also told us a little history of the funeral business in Australia including providing an insight into some of the different burial or cremation options.

Bill spoke about a range of issue related to funerals including:

  • coffins are getting large as the population get larger
  • at least 70% of funerals are now a cremation
  • around 1400-1500 funerals in ACT per year
  • they have a contract with the coroner and thus need 4 staff on call at all times
  • Norwood Park is a private crematorium, although the adjacent cemetery is Government owned. The crematorium needs work
  • Cremations are cheaper, ie just over $1000 for the crematorium, $260 for the doctors cost against $4600 for cemetery fees, plus of course Funeral Director charges, flowers and coffin
  • can provide a cheap wooden coffin cheaper than cardboard at the moment
  • one can make their own coffin
  • must have a coffin for a cremation
  • prepaid funeral are OK if you die quickly but if you live a long time paying at the end might be cheaper
  • prepaid funerals amounts can be transferred to the estate if you die interstate
  • you can have your ashes in an urn added to an existing cemetery plot that contains a coffin
  • you can have a burial without a funeral service, although you must have a coffin

 Thanks to Peter Mitchell for organising Bill’s presentation.

2012-03-24 Wedding – John and Pam Burrowes


Ian Foster, volunteer from the Australian War Memorial – 30 March 2012

Ian Foster gave us a great session on the Australian War Memorial and some really interesting facts on the history and evolution of the Australian Flag. Ian talked about his experiences as a War Memorial volunteer guide giving us a better insight into the three primary roles the Memorial has – a shrine, a museum and a war archive. Ian explained how the Memorial’s purpose is to commemorate the sacrifice of those Australians who have died in war. Its mission is to assist Australians to remember, interpret and understand the Australian experience of war and its enduring impact on Australian society.

The AWM was approved for building in 1922, long before most others structures in Canberra. It opened in 11/11/1941. It now gets some 900,000 visitors annually. Its not juts a memorial but a shrine; a museum; and an archive. There are about 300 volunteers of which 120 are volunteer guides

The standard “highlights” tour takes 90 min whereas the WWI tour only takes 30 min

In WWI our population was quite small around 5 Million, yet 300,000 volunteered ie 8% of the population. 60,000 of these died or 1:6 who served.

Australian Flag

Many Australians want to retain our current flag because they feel that it is the flag under which we fought. However Australians have not always ‘fought under’ the present flag. The only war where servicemen ‘fought under’ Australia’s current flag was the Vietnam War.

The Union Jack was the only flag used on our side during the Boer War. The Union Jack was again predominant in the First World War. Then there was confusion among the Union Jack, the defaced Red Ensign, and the defaced Blue Ensign. The famous Changi Flag, which flew at the liberation of Singapore in 1945 was a Red Ensign.

The current Australian flag (blue ensign) was first flown in Melbourne in Sep 1901, but was not popular at the time. The British Government could overrule Australian laws until 1942. In WWII various flags were used but it seems most Australians did not fight under our current flag. In 1920 the Red Ensign was flown at the opening of the Parliament House. However the official flag was still the Union Jack.

Again in WWII various flags were used. In 1943 Curtain allowed the Blue Flag for miliary funerals. In 1947 Chifley make it formal. In 1950 Menzies promoted the blue ensign and in 1954 the Queen approved its use.

The 1996 Flag act made changing the flag difficult as it will require a referendum

It was a most interesting presentation and thanks to Geoff Grimmett for organising Ian’s attendance.

North Belconnen Uniting Church Minister, Rev Tim Jensen about his life and experiences – 20 April 2012

Around 40 members listened to new Uniting Church Minister, Rev Tim Jensen give an enlightening talk about where he grew up and the things that influenced him during his life before he moved to Canberra. Tim commenced his ministry at Melba in January this year after previously being minister at Byron Bay Uniting Church.

Tim’s father came from Horsens, Denmark and was active in the underground as a teenager during WWII. He joined the UK army after the war and served in Palestine. To avoid serving in the Danish army he went to Canada for about 10 years, then to Rabaul in New Guinea. This is where Tim was born.

He next went to Darwin, which is where he calls home. Tim first started working he and was inspired by a partially disabled person called Doug Wilkie. Working for Doug in Darwin he learnt to be a plumber. It was here whilst playing rugby that he heard from his Captain the expression “Revenge is a dish best served cold!” This was not for him so he went to Teachers College, and then served on several aboriginal settlements in the NT and QLD where he learnt about tribal cultures. Again teaching was not his ultimate career so he ended up studying theology in Brisbane and then was posted to several QLD towns including Longreach. Lastly he spent 10 idyllic years in Byron bay before ending up here in Melba

Excursion and Tour of Captain’s Flat – 27 April 2012

20 Melba Shed members headed to Captains Flat for a tour of this interesting and historic town by local historian and Captains Flat’s representative on the Palerang Council Heritage Advisory Committee, Elizabeth Estbergs. We met Elizabeth at the lookout near the old railway station and learned that Captains Flat was home for 5,000 people during mining operations but that now only some 500 people reside there.

What a shame the railway was closed in 1968 as it passed through some very scenic countryside as it meandered its way from Queanbeyan to Captains Flat. We saw the turntable and other railway infrastructure before heading to view the mine site that overlooks the town. We then headed into town and looked at some of the historic photos at the Community Centre – a former cinema.

Then we visited the local Anglican church, then off to a magnificent lunch at the Outsider Café – a most interesting place to enjoy great food and a most unusual décor. If you weren’t there, take a look at the photos and see what you missed out on!

After lunch we took a look at the Captains Flat Hotel where Vicky showed us around and we saw what is reputed to be one of the longest bars in Australia. The hotel is a quaint old style country hotel with considerable charm and would be great place for a few days away from the hassles of Canberra living.

Thanks to Elizabeth and Vicky for showing us over the town and the hotel and thanks to Laurie for organising a most successful visit.

See our many photos Further information on Captains Flat

ACT Greens follow up!

Meredith Hunter and Shane Rattenbury of the ACT Greens visited the Shed on 17 February and promised to follow up on several questions relating to disabled parking spaces at the Jamison Centre and the Kippax Library. Meredith did indeed follow up this issue and received the following response from our Chief Minister.


Talk by Alan Tongue – 4 May 2012

Pictures: Alan Tongue talking to shed member David Lingingstone; and members listening to Alan. Pictures compliments of Jennifer Thompson

Alan Tongue, former Raiders’ captain talked about his life and approach to rugby league to around 40 members and guests.

Alan grew up on a 2,500 acre mixed grazing/farming property outside of Tamworth. He had a religious upbringing and still goes to the local Baptist Church on Sundays. He started playing rugby league at school at age 6. Initially he obtained a scholarship from the Brisbane Broncos for 3 years to support his schooling.

He made the Year 12 schoolboys team that toured NZ and during this he met some Canberra boys and hit it off i.e. Brett Finch. This encouraged him to then join the Raiders in lower grades.

In 2000 he went to Newcastle to play, and then straight to Brisbane to debut in1st Grade later that same week. He then played 21 games in that debut year in 1st grade. Throughout his career he tried to be a multi position player such as half and hooker enabling him to be more useful to the club

Over the years the raiders have used 211 players with some 8-9 debuting every year. It’s a bit hard to keep consistency with that sort of turnover. Maybe that’s part of their lack of performance in recent years.

2004-2009 were Alan’s best years. In 2006 was named player of the year. At the end of 2006 lots of players left the club. This facilitated Alan becoming Captain. In early 2011 he had a serious shoulder injury i.e. ruptured AC joint.

At the end of 2011 he decided to retire even with a year left on his contract. He had played 220 games.

Alan has 3 children, 2 boys and a girl. He well remembers working as a a trainee apprentice when he played lower grade and earned the princely sum of $4.69 per hour as 1st year apprentice. (some of us remember similar rates of pay!)

Now he commentates for ABC Radio 666 for Canberra and Sydney matches and on Sat morning at 11AM. He is also in the NRL education and welfare team. He is also with Dixon Advisory teaching them leadership skills. He is also a personal trainer, and is associated with the National Brain Industry Foundation.

Alan is keen to work with younger players coming through and tries to teach them how to behave and have goals for the future to improve themselves and also so that they will be remembered for their good attributes.

In his thought processes Alan developed some great expressions, and some he relayed to us were:

  • “pain is weakness leaving the body!” associated with his pre-season training
  • “repetition is the mother of all skill!
  • “we are what we repeatedly do!”

Thanks to Peter Mitchell for organising Alan’s visit. More pictures

Engaging Solutions – 4 May 2012

On this Friday we also welcomed Jennifer Thompson, Managing Director of Engaging Solutions. Jennifer is producing a short media piece for a local organisation (LEAD) highlighting ways in which people living with a disability can be treated as individuals and more engaged in the general Canberra community. LEAD assists David Livingstone in attending the Melba Shed. Like many Canberra men, it is a highlight in David’s weekly social calendar.

Digital Storytelling is the practice of using digital tools, typically pictures and video to tell stories. As with traditional storytelling, most digital stories focus on a specific topic; in this case, typical days in David’s life.

David enjoys his visits to the Shed accompanied by his carer, Harry Enright. Harry’s role is to assist David to utilise community facilities for social, recreational and volunteering options. He works with Lead and with David’s family to consider choices, provide skill development training, identify suitable community venues, provide initial support and undertake capacity building activities.

Good work Harry. It is hopes David’s experience at the Shed is positive and enjoyable and we all look forward to seeing the results of Jennifer’s work with the Digital Storytelling.

A Surprise Visit from Tom Davis – 11 May 2012

Pictures: Tom Davis 2012-05-11 at Melba, and in Nov 2010 at Orbost It was a welcome surprise to members to have Tom Davis from the Orbost Mens Shed drop into our meeting on this Friday morning. A number of our members will remember Tom from our very successful and happy trip to Orbost in 2010. Tom kindly addressed the meeting during the program and outlined the latest developments at his Shed. In January this year fire caused damage to the Orbost Shed at a cost of somewhere between $100K–250K, destroying equipment, a good deal of work in progress by the shed members, and some computers. The steel roof will need replacement as a result of the fire after structural assessment. Plans are in place and tenders being prepared to replace this steel. Orbost Shed before the fire (from our Shed visit in 2010) Shed members are busy visiting neighbouring sheds and keep general morale up as they look to replacing some treasured possessions. Santos has generously contributed money towards building a new shed out the back, and members are making very good efforts in raising their own funds by conducting raffles in conjunction with other support. The shed has met weekly at Orbost Regional Health’s Board Room for lunch and a report back process (ORH are a major supporter of the Shed) as the dining room/kitchen has been redeveloped. The shed now faces the challenges of establishing a new work area and obtaining new equipment and ensuring its correct layout and maintenance, with all the new associated EH&WS issues and rules arising from that. We wish our fellow Orbost Shed friends every success in their endeavours in re-establishing their Shed to its full potential again, and look forward to hearing positive updates in the coming months.

Terrys Pumpkin Challege 2012 – Judging 18 May 2012

Terry issued a challenge for any member to grow the largest pumpkin from Nov through to around May2012.Terry supplied his own butternut super seeds to those who wanted to have a go.

On this day we held the judging of the winner and this function was ably performed by our elder spokesman Clarrie Hockley

Five members participated: Terry M (himself), Steve M, Geoff G, Tony C and Bob Salmond. There were some fine specimens and some that looked very weird or phallic (Steve, Tony).

The winner was judged as Bob Salmond’s 2.528Kg pumpkin of length 42cm. Bob also had another pumpkin of weight 3.419Kg. His winning certificate is shown. Pictures

2012-06-01 Shed Bowls Day


Bunnings BBQ – 15 June 2012

Pictures: 1 & 2 Crew 2; 3 Crew 4 12 different members manned the BBQ at Bunnings Belconnen in 4 different crews. Thanks to Jim G, Peter T, Ron T, Ted T, Harry Williams, Steve M, Tony C, Drew, Greg H, Stuart A, Bob S and a special thanks to Geoff Grimmett for his amazing organisation and overall efforts. RonT also helped with providing 2 large eskies and buying some supplies. Crew 1, Geoff and Jim arrived early about 8.15AM to setup with the other arriving later for the setup and first shift through to 10AM. Geoff obviously had done much planning and purchasing so his day started much earlier. The setup went well although the lighting of the front burners required a firelighter rather than pushing the button. Crews 2 and 3 followed on from 10AM through to 2PM. Then Crew 4 did from 2PM through to about 4.35PM. longer than planned. Geoff had to go home for domestic activities as well as purchase more stock, and in the meantime the BBQ ran out of gas and they had trouble starting it again. However this was finally achieved for the final spurt through to the finish. It was getting cold around about then although thank heavens the wind dropped off. Then Crew 4 stayed on to clear down the setup, pack up and clean the BBQ etc. We had to get hot water from the Bunnings cafe inside to wash the BQ with soapy water. We also had to remove all the rubbish and spare items back to the Shed. Some lessons: Looked like coke, orange and lemon were the most popular drinks, certainly mostly water and some lemonade were left at the end. We need to bring easy to use large garbage bags, smaller bucket liners and a clean bucket to collect hot cleaning water at the end. Certainly need 4 people working on the stand when its busy

Geoff’s Report from Newsletter #136

Well, after all the lead-up info to members in recent weeks it is pleasing to report that the Bunnings BBQ last Friday proved to be very successful. We were fortunate in that the weather was fine (though somewhat cool in the marquee!) and that we had a reasonably steady supply of customers. The day resulted in the shed making a net profit of $747.00, which is a valuable contribution to our fund-raising goal. Well done Melba Shed! Many thanks go to all those who volunteered their services in manning the BBQ and for being flexible with their time as needs dictated. A top crew – happy, co-operative & very efficient! Many laughs were shared throughout the day and it’s always great to experience the spirit of camaraderie that such an event generates. Without doubt our culinary skills and customer relations were honed to a fine degree on the day! Fund-raising aside, it was interesting to experience the level of interest shown in our Shed and Men’s Sheds in general, and happily this BBQ also proved to be a valuable marketing exercise and useful point of contact for those seeking out information either for themselves or relatives. Bunnings have allocated us another slot in their busy calendar, and at this stage we have locked in January 6 for another BBQ. We are however pursuing additional opportunities for the intervening period, so “watch this space”. If you weren’t able to participate this time around and wanted to be part of a team next time, please add your name to the general list that is kept on the table each week as you enter the Shed.

2012-06-29 Lanyon Homestead


David Wild – Cancer Council, ACT 10 July 2012

From Newsletter # 144 by Geoff Grimmett

On Friday we welcomed David Wild, SunSmart Coordinator with Cancer Council ACT. David gave us a very interesting and informative presentation on the effects of over-exposure to harmful Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR) rays and offered us a range of practical and sensible suggestions as to how we can best look after our skin and help prevent potentially fatal skin cancers occurring.

The cancer Council suggest that as soon as the UV Index reaches 3 it is time to start warnings about skin exposure and associated harmful effects of over-exposure, and encourage people to cover up and take protective measures to avoid skin damage. This usually begins in August in Canberra, and from this time on UV levels begin to rise rapidly, peaking at about 15 on the Index over the summer period.

UVR is dangerous in that it can neither be seen nor felt (and therefore is often neglected), is present every day and has many known health effects. Some of the most dangerous periods are cloudy days in the spring/summer period when it is assumed that UVR will not be harmful – this is an incorrect and dangerous assumption as the UV Index is often still at levels between 10 and 15 and presents real risk factors if ignored.

It is important to note that an adequate amount of sun exposure is required to maintain sufficient Vitamin D levels in the body, but this exposure should take place at the appropriate times of day. David made the point that the vast majority of people in Australia get enough sunlight to maintain Vitamin D, suggesting that only a few minutes a day is required in summer, and a few hours skin exposure spread over each week in winter should be sufficient.

The peak UVR period occurs between 10.00-11.00am and 12.00-3.00pm, and it is important to ensure that sun exposure is limited to periods outside these if at all possible.

Some assumptions about risks posed to certain types of workers have proved to be incorrect. For example, indoor or office workers have been found to be at far greater risk than those who usually work outdoors, due to the fact that the limited exposure they get is typically for very concentrated period on weekends, and at dangerous levels.

Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world; this can in good measure be attributed to very high UV levels, the fact that we predominantly have fair skins and tend to be very “outdoorsy” in Australia, with social attitudes often disregarding sun-safe protection measures for fashion and tanning reasons.

David pointed out that sunburn damage often does not become seriously evident until many years after the damage has been done, often with serious consequences. At least 2 in 3 people in Australia will experience some form of skin cancer within their lifetime. Skin cancer melanomas are the fourth most-commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia, and kill over 1200 people each year (1850 total skin cancer deaths per year and growing). It is also the most common cancer among young people.

David recommended that appropriate clothing for sun protection should be of a tight-weave variety to enable blocking of as much UV radiation as possible. “Rashies” for example are great for surf wear. Loose fitting and loose weave clothing (or basically material that can be seen through) is insufficient protection. Caps offer very minimal, if any protection from UV penetration, and hats were recommended to be the best form of head protection. The wearing of “Wrap-around” style sunglasses to the AS 1067:2003 standard is also recommended, as eyes are often neglected and considered not to be at risk, when in fact the figures show that eye cancers are quite common among our population due to high UV concentration.

Sun creams are considered a last defence against harmful rays, and should be used in sufficient quantities and strictly in accordance with the instructions. The Zinc-based/metal creams (that generally do not “disappear” on application and don’t tend to neutralise) have been found to be far more effective than the “chemical” based creams.

If you would like to explore this subject more closely, refer to the following web links for further information: Cancer Council ACT, on skin cancers

CCACT, “Know Your Skin” Brochure (a pdf doc) How Much Sun Is Enough ? (a pdf doc)

Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR) and the UV IndexView todays UV index for Canberra

Linda Kwong, the Education Officer from ACT NoWaste 27 July 2012

Linda Kwong, the Education Officer from ACT NoWaste spoke to 31 members with great passion about recycling and the do’s and don’ts of what goes in the recycling bin. Ted also learnt that old hammers cannot be placed in these bins. Such tools should be recycled to the recycle sheds at Mitchell or Mugga

From Newsletter # 142 by Geoff Grimmett

Last week we enjoyed a very informative and entertaining session. Linda was a terrific presenter and passionate about the recycling work she is involved with – all attending found the session both a fun-filled and interesting one.

All recycling material collected from ACT household kerbside bins in the territory are taken to the Materials Recovery Facility at Hume for sorting and processing, prior to being sent off to Sydney or Melbourne for recycling. This facility employs 15 staff and uses machinery that is worth in excess of $20M.

If you would like to see video of this process at Hume, you can do so by clicking on the following You Tube video link where the ACT Government (TAMS) explains the recycling process from collection and sorting through to dispatch.

The ACT Government is also in the process of extending the Mugga Way landfill at a total cost of some $30M, recognition that while huge advances are being made in recovering recyclable material in the ACT some 260,000 tonnes of waste material from various sources are currently finishing up in landfill each year- hence the need to improve the quality and efficiency of recycling facilities generally. Linda advised us that there are only 6 categories of items that can be put into our domestic Yellow waste bins, namely all of the following:

  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Rigid plastic containers
  • Cartons
  • Steel cans, including aerosols, aluminium cans, trays & foil

Things that should not be placed in the recycling bins include; plastic bags, electrical goods, clothes, polystyrene (including meat trays), nappies, no DVD/CD/VCRs, ceramics, broken glass, light bulbs of any type, mirror glass, paint or oil, batteries of any sort. However, pizza boxes (including stuck on greasy bits), oil cans if empty and paint tins if empty (or with dried solid paint) can be included in the standard yellow recycle bins.

Used Motor oil and paint can be dumped in the appropriate sumps at either the Parkwood (West Belconnen), Mitchell or Mugga Way facilities. Excess building timber can be taken to Thor’s Hammer in Yarralumla. Thors Hammer Small batteries can be put in the waste or collected and taken to Battery World in Phillip. Car batteries can be taken to Mugga, Mitchell or Parkwood.

Polystyrene can be easily disposed of by putting in the normal green waste bin or contacting Cleanaway in Hume (6239 2600).

We learnt about the availability of the free Wheelie Bin Assistance Program. If you, your family or friends need assistance with handling and moving your bin due to age, illness, arthritis etc you can contact Canberra Connect and they will arrange to come and put your bin out for you and return it after collection. A form to enable you to apply for this service can be found by clicking on the link: Canberra Connect

As advised previously through our newsletter and web page, a free e-waste recycling service to enable dumping of old TV’s etc is also available at the Mitchell and Mugga Way facilities. Free e Waste recycling service

Linda mentioned that for some time now she has been working hard at developing an exhaustive list of recyclable items that will be put on the ACT NOWaste web page in the next 2-3 weeks, that will enable householders to identify easily and in detail hose items that can be recycled in the ACT, together with alternate solutions if they can’t go in the standard recycling bins. We (Melba Shed) will publish this web link for the benefit of members as soon as it is completed

If you want to read more about “Recycling and Waste” management in the ACT, visit the TAMS web page at NoWaste

For those members who were unable to attend this week and missed Linda’s talk, the ACT Government has commissioned a video showing Linda being interviewed regarding recycling matters, and this can again be viewed via YouTube by clicking on the following link Talkin’ Tams – Recycling on YouTube with Linda Kwong

2012-09-03 Greenhills Working Bee


2012-09-07 Queanbeyan Historical Museum


2012-09-07 Fourth Anniversary Dinner


2012-09-21 Louise Ellery and Minister Joy Burch


2012-10-20 Weetangera Cemetery Working Bee


2012-10-22 Golf in the Country – Yass


Visit to Age of Fishes Museum – Canowindra 26 Oct 2012

On this Friday excursion we journeyed to the distant country town of Canowindra. Review site information here & Alex’s history in our Newsletter #152 of 10th Oct 2012 and Newsletter # 155 of 2nd Nov for a writeup of the trip

Well what a day we all enjoyed when over twenty Shed Members descended on the Age of Fishes Museum in Canowindra. We were joined by Monica Yeung of Gondwana Dreaming and by David Shaw of Anglicare Shaw Possibilities. David kindly offered the Shed use of his bus to transport us to Canowindra and back. We also has Phil’s 4WD.

Morning tea was taken at Boorowa. Bob Salmond wrote ” The trip was really good. I had a double ice cream at the bakery at Boorowa, and on the way back had a soft serve at Maccas . No more needs to be said.”

On reaching Canowindra we were welcomed by Bruce who along with Monica ensured we were very well looked after.Bruce also cooked on the lunch time BBQ ably supported by Harry Redfern.

Shed Member Alex Ritchie who re-discovered the spectacularly rich Devonian fish site at Canowindra and unearthed the best preserved specimens of Groenlandaspis in the world – a single slab bearing five uncrushed adult skeletons – was our guide extraordinaire for the day and he was certainly a walking encyclopaedia as far as his knowledge about the fossils. After looking through and lunching at the Museum, Alex took us to the Canowindra Showground where a significant volume of fossil rocks are stored, awaiting resources for appropriate storage, processing and classification. Then it was off to the dig site on the Grenfell-Orange Road (near where the Merriganowry bridge crosses over the Lachlan River), where we saw where and how in 1993, Alex and his supporters recovered the 360 million year old fossils. The next stop was a fossil rich quarry off the Lachlan Valley Way where Bruce, Monica and Alex set us up for a bit of real fossil fossicking. After a safety talk by Bruce and some further fossil information from Alex we were all let loose with a geological hammer, a cold chisel, some sheets of newspaper and a foam kneeling mat.

We returned home via Cowra stopping, to view the hologram that recounts the tragic breakout from the Cowra Prisoner of War Camp during World War II.

Many thanks to those who made this trip happen – Alex, Monica, Bruce, David and the staff at the Age of Fishes Museum and to bus driver, Don Gruber. A great expedition that we’ll all remember fondly. See all the pictures.

Rough Itinerary: 0800-0930 to Boorowa bakery 0930-1100 to museum. On trip Alex explained how the discovery was made 1100-1200 Guided (by Alex) tour of fossils and castings exhibition at museum 1200-1300 sausage sizzle 1300-1400 trip to showground to look at warehoused fossils, & then to discovery site 1430- 1600 to quarry site, & practice at digging 1600-1700 travel to Cowra, some members viewed the hologram exhibition of the Cowra breakout 1700-1900 Cowra to Melba via diesel stop at Yass roadhouse

2012-11-09 AGM and BBQ Sausage Sizzle


2012-11-17 Canberra Country Music Festival


2012-11-23 Jim Greethead’s Model Engines & Ernie’s Roast Lunch


2012-11-24 Voices in the Forest


2012-11-30 – Fedra Olive Grove excursion


2012-12-17 – Years Closedown & Christmas


Activities Held 2011

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

sunset ayres rock

Ayres Rock “Uluru”


Peter with baby Croc

Peter with baby Croc

Climbing the Rock

Climbing the Rock


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


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 OrbostOrbost 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