Fast forward nine years and there are now 1067 Men’s Sheds across Australia, with some 80 per cent located in regional or rural Australia, catering largely to men who have retired.
“Between 2011 and 2013, Men’s Sheds were opening at a rate of about four a week,” David says.
In 2009, the shed idea was picked up by Ireland — there are now some 550 sheds there alone — before spreading throughout the UK and finally to Denmark, Sweden, the US, Canada and, most recently, Iceland.
“The Men’s Sheds, in some ways, are a bit like a pub with no beer,” David says.
“Men can enjoy that social interaction and that camaraderie and talk about what is on their mind.
“I remember going to one aged care facility and giving a chat about setting up a shed and there was a gentleman in the corner, who was 102 years old, and he said, ‘Thank god, I’m sick to death of playing bingo!’”
The daily routine at the sheds often mimics the standard workday, David says.
“We have found that men will come into the shed at the same time, have lunch and tea breaks, do a bit of work and then go home,” David says.
“Men form their social connections at work so when they leave or retire that bond is lost.
“If there isn’t a shed in your area, we will help you start one.”
Words: Johanna Leggatt Images: Dean Golja