The Men's Shed movement began in Australia in the 1990s. There were concerns about men's health, but there was little encouragement in Australian culture for men to meet and talk over their issues. However, men were comfortable with the concept of the backyard shed, where many would go on a regular basis to potter about and work on projects. So the concept was born of a community-based shed as a place where men could go to meet other men, socilise and work on projects.
The Katoomba Men’s Shed is a not for profit community organisation affiliated with Australian Men’s Shed Association. It aims to promote the health and well being of men, and provides an opportunity for men to share time together, swap yarns and work together on community projects.
Since its establishment in 2005, the Shed's dedicated volunteers have donated their time and skills to restore the old Light Horse stables at Katoomba Showground into a Men's Shed.
The shed has a well equipped workshop, but it is so much more than a workshop space. The facilities are being developed all the time, to further the objectives of the movement.
The Katoomba Men's Shed is slowly returning to normal operations under a Covid-19 Safety Plan.
11 October 2020
Throughout the early to mid 1990s concerns were growing around Australia about men's health. There was little encouragement in Australian culture for men to meet and talk over their issues. Men were comfortable with the concept of the backyard shed and would often gather in backyard sheds to potter about and work on projects. So the concept was born of a community-based ‘shed’ as a place where men could go to meet other men, socialise and possibly work on projects.
The first Men's Sheds appeared in Tongala Victoria and Lane Cove NSW in 1998. They were not the result of any coordinated or organised national approach - that came later. These early Sheds appeared spontaneously, and the idea spread.
A small group of men in the upper Blue Mountains started to talk about creating a Men's Shed in the early years of the new century. The key obstacle was to find a place for the Shed to call home. Then an ordinary meeting of the Blue Mountains City Council in 14 December 2004 resolved as follows:
RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY on the MOTION of Councillors Angel and Searle:
The trotting pavilion required extensive work to make it suitable for use as a Men's Shed. Photo dated 18 February 2005. The building had just been hosed out by the Fire Brigade and a trotting gig can be seen in the right foreground.
The 'Trotters Pavilion' is part of the Katoomba Showground complex. Originally constructed in the 1920s as stables for the Australian Light Horse (light cavilry army regiment) . The building had also been used as a poultry pavilion. There had also been an accompanying army drill hall that had been used for training by the State Emergency Sercices organisation. Following major roadworks and a realignment of the roads in the area around 2008, the drill hall was demolished ane the address of the Shed was changed to 6 Orient Street.
With the Council providing the premises, the way was finally open, and work could begin on establishing the Shed more formally. Katoomba Men's Shed (KMS) was registered as an Incorporated Association on 24 Febriary 2005. A developoment application was approved for the modifications necessary to convert the building into an operational Men's Shed.
Work progressed quite rapidly, mostly carried out by voluntary labour. A lunch and meeting room was constructed, new doors were cut into the walls, a wrap-around deck was constructed (providing emergency exits for the lunch room) and the roof was replaced. The workshop was set up with generous donations and a few strategic purchases.
Finally, in May 2006, the Shed was launched for normal operations.
KMS has continued to build and develop as the years go by. It is now financially secure, has a healthy membership base and operates 4 days each week.
The current members of KMS owe a debt of gratitude to the small group of men who had the vision to create a Men's Shed at a time when few such organisations existed. There were probably less than 25 Men's Sheds in Australia (and the world) when the idea to create KMS was first raised. At the time of writing there were almost 1000 Men's Sheds in Australia and the idea is rapidly spreading worldwide.
Other members will generally help men with projects where possible. In most cases this help is giving advice and helping learn new skills, rather than doing the job for you.
KMS can often help people with small projects like furniture repairs, with a few important exceptions:
Our primary community service is addressing men's health and related issues, by providing a place for men to gather and work on projects. Our ability to do other community projects is a by-product of our activities, rather than our main purpose.
KMS is not a centre of excellence for quality handcrafts. Yes we do have some highly skilled craftsmen, but we also have members who are just having a go. Some are learning new skills and some are self-taught.
Having said all that, if you have a project that you would like the Shed to help with, call in and talk it over or send as an enquiry (see contacts page). It does not hurt to ask, but please don't be offended if we say no.
Friends of KMS is an email based mailing list for people who want to keep in touch with the Katoomba Men's Shed. It is intended for people who are not current members, but support or are interested in the Shed.
The mailing list is used sparingly, to deliver newsletters and ocassional updates or announcements. Subscribers can remove themselves from the list at any time they choose. A link to unsubscribe is included on each message.
KMS is committed to protecting your privacy and your details are not available to other subscribers and even access within the Shed is limited to those who manage the system.
If you have any problems, Contact the Shed and we will remove your name from the list manually.