First published with The Advocate –

Feature image: Dylan Burns.

A large green shed appears to sit silently behind the Victoria Park football ground. What lies behind its corrugated doors is a vibrantly noisy meeting place and well used workshop for a community of Daylesford’s men.

“Men don’t talk about their problems. But when we get around the table here we do get our issues out” – Daylesford Men’s Shed member John Wolfs

Daylesford Men’s Shed member John Wolfs said the shed was a place to have a chat when members come together on Mondays and Thursdays.

“Men generally don’t talk to people,” he said.

“We don’t talk about our issues and we don’t talk about our problems. But when we get around the table here we can talk a lot of rubbish, but we do get our issues out.

Picture: Dylan Burns

“Women seem to do that a lot easier, they resolve things. Men have more difficulty in doing that. I have been here for about three and a half years and my life has changed in the sense of the way I see things and the way I see other people. It’s not easy for a man to turn around and sit down and say ‘I have got a problem’.

“That’s what the men’s shed is all about.”

MEN AT WORK: John Wolf and Ken Ferguson spend time in the workshop at the shed creating and building with other men. Picture: Dylan Burns.

The Australian Men’s Shed Association has been recognised for playing a role in addressing men’s social isolation and health and well-being through inclusion in the National Male Health Policy.

But Mr Wolfs said it was not only men who benefited, but the wider community.

“If somebody walks through the door asking for help we will give them a hand,” he said.

Picture: Dylan Burns.

The Daylesford Men’s Shed has been involved in fixing a heritage telephone, building shelving for museum cupboards, creating the Lost Children’s monument, building signage for the fire brigade and creating seats for the Daylesford Cemetery.

Member Ken Ferguson said he loves seeing men enjoy working and creating in the shed.

“We have just made a walking stick for a fella who is six foot six and has had problems buying a walking stick to suit him,” he said.

A HELPING HAND: The Daylesford Men’s Shed makes a walking stick for six foot six man. Picture: Rochelle Kirkham.

On average, one in eight men will have depression and one in five men will experience anxiety at some stage of their lives, according to Beyond Blue.

Current men’s shed members encourage other men to drop in, have a cup of coffee and find out what the shed is about.

“As soon as you walk in the door you are welcomed here,” Mr Wolfs said.