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Blue mountains at Katoomba

How does it work?

The Shed can be whatever members want it to be! Some men just drop in from time-to-time for a yarn and some company, others spend whole days at the Shed.

Some members concentrate on projects that help the Shed or the community, others use the facilities for their own private projects.

Many Shedders pick one or more days and make those their 'Shed' days. This means you are likely to bump into the same men on a regular basis, allowing friendships to develop.

A profile of a typical day may give you a better idea - in this case it was a Wednesday. Half a dozen members were working on a project that generates some income for the Shed (assembling display items for the local Big W store). In another room, three were working on an electronics project. There were also several men in the tea room just having a chat by the fire, while another member was playing games on one of the computers. The men from the workshop came into the lunch room for morning tea. Many of the men left before lunch, but a few ate heir lunch at the Shed before returning to their projects.

Can women attend?

It depends on why a woman wants to join the Shed.

Like Men's Sheds in other places, the Katoomba Men's Shed seeks to address issues of men's health, isolation, loneliness and depression which are becoming major issues for some men and their families. Our Shed is open to all men, including vulnerable, disadvantaged and isolated men, men with disabilities and men experiencing major life changes, such as  chronic illness, bereavement and family breakdown. We encourage mateship, communication and a sense of self worth by connecting men with each other through the sharing of practical and creative skills in a non-threatening environment. Some isolated and disadvantaged men struggle to relate to women and feel uncomfortable in their presence. Such feelings can limit the attendance of these men.

In many ways, the Men's Shed is a Men's Health Centre - but men are happy to come along because they can relate to a 'Shed'.

The Katoomba Men's Shed Constitution does not limit membership to men. Any application for membership from a woman is considered with the objectives of the Shed in mind.

Two examples on how the Shed Management Committee might deal with an application for a woman to become a member are as follows:

  • An application from a woman who wishes to become a member and attend the Shed in the capacity of carer for a male relative or friend would probably be supported. In this case the membership is directly relevant to the Shed's objectives. The Shed is a voluntary organisation and cannot normally provide carers. Without the carer's presence, the man concerned would be denied the benefits that the Shed is set up to provide.
  • An application from a woman wishing to become a member so she can use the workshop facilities may not be supported if her frequent presence is likely to discourage men from spending time at the Shed. In this case, the membership would do little to further the Shed's goals, and could in fact work against them. It would be different if it was a woodworking club where the purpose was to enjoy woodworking.

I don’t live in the Blue Mountains. Is there a shed in my area?

There are sheds all around Australia, and the idea is spreading to other countries throughout the world. New sheds are being opened all the time. Assuming that you are in Australia, you may be able to find a Men's Shed near you by using the 'Find a Shed' page on Australian Men’s Shed Association web site.

Where is the Katoomba Men's Shed located?

We are located in the old Trotting Pavilion in Katoomba Showground at 6 Orient St, Katoomba That is west across the Showground from Katoomba Hospital. See the Contacts page for more details and a map.

When is Katoomba Men’s Shed open?

See the Work days page for opening days and hours.

Please turn up on any day that we are open to have a look around and talk to someone about the Shed. Keep in mind that we are a voluntary organisation and the openning hours are at the sole discretion of the 'Day Coordinator' on any given day. If there are no men at the Shed, the coordinator may well close up early!

The current operating times do not suit me, is it possible to open on another day?

The Shed is prepared to alter or extend its operations if there is sufficient interest. In 2018 we trialed opening on Saturday afternoons for example.

Our criteria for opening at a new day or time are:

  • At least 6 people are prepared to attend at the new time on a regular basis.
  • We have a volunteer prepared to act as the 'Day Coordinator' for the new session (this has to be approved by the Management Committee).

Who can attend?

If you are a man, young or old, of any background and with any level of ability, and you are willing to share your company, skills and wisdom with other men, then you can become a Shed member (known as a 'Shedder').

Visitors are  welcome, but for insurance and legal liability reasons, you must become a member, or be part of an approved course or program, to attend regularly or to use any of the Shed's equipment.

Our constitution is not specific as to who can become a member, but it is expected that a person's membership will be consistent with the organisation's purpose and objectives. (Please also see the earlier question on women joining the Shed.)

As far as the Katoomba Men's Shed is concerned, a 'man' is a male person at least 18 years old'. There are a number of legal and safety issues related to people under 18 years of age. A special policy applies to members bringing their children and grandchildren to the Shed - see the Children at the Shed - members relatives policy.

Who runs the shed?

The Katoomba Men's Shed is a non-profit incorporated association. It is run by the men who use it, through a Management Committee. The Committee meets once a month and is open to all members to attend. Committee membership is voluntary and election of officers is held at the AGM. We are afilliated with the Australian Men’s Shed Association, but are otherwise not affiliated with any outside organisation. We receive only occasional limited funding from government bodies.

Can I get a refund of my fees if I decide not to continue?

Membership and joining fees are generally not refundable. If there are special circumstances, the Shed's Management Committee may consider making an exception.

If you are not sure whether the Shed will suit you, we suggest that you attend for a few days as a visitor to try it out. You won't be able to use any of the workshop machinery (for insurance reasons), but you will be able join in any group projects that are under way and have a yarn with the other men.

Keep in mind that the annulal membership fees are very modest and cover little more than the basic insurance costs. Most of the daily running costs are covered by the daily attendance fees, which you don't incur if you don't attend.

How is the Shed funded?

The Shed is self-funded. A substantial proportion of our income comes from the members themselves through annual membership and daily attendance fees. We also recieve some income from work carried out at the Shed, including some sub-contract work and sale of surplus equipment. We also do ad-hoc repair jobs for members of the public, who often make a donation in appreciation of the work done..

We recieve frequent donations of tools, equipment and material from members of the public, and in the past have received some generous financial grants and donations for the development of the facility. When these occur they are acknowledged on our Sponsors and Supporters page.

The Shed has use of a facility owned by the Blue Mountains City Council, for which it is very grateful. In return, the Shed members maintain and improve the building, which has some historical significance to the local community. The Shed also insures the building.

We also receive in-kind support from several local businesses who provide specific services to the Shed. These in-kind donations are disclosed on our Sponsors and Supporters page.

Do you take donations of tools, wood etc

We sometimes accept donations of tools or materials that we can use at the Shed. We are always happy to have a look at what you have to offer, with the following broad guidelines:

  • if you have already had a garage sale, then it unlikely that the Shed could use anything that is left over.
  • We generally cannot use small pieces of treated pine, MDF and chipboard.

If in doubt, call in and talk to the men, or send us an enquiry (see contacts page).

Please don't be offended if we say no. Like a lot of not-for-profit organisations, we have to pay to dump unwanted donatiopns.


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