On any work-day in a Men’s Shed around the country, there are sparks flying, wood being shaved and sanded, and much careful adjusting and turning of nuts, bolts and screws. Likewise, there are cups of coffee and tea washing down cake, biscuits and bull-dust as men share the day and their experiences of life.
At Stuarts Point east of Kempsey on the coast, the Men’s Shed is a stand-alone, off the grid setup with solar panels, batteries and power inverters to run the collection of table-saws, drills and lathes.
Members pay a $3 levy for their shared cuppa and bring treats to share. But when the shed needs a concrete slab to extend the working space, a $3 chip-in doesn’t cut it. So they came up with a motorcycle show which will be at the Stuarts Point Workers Bowling and Recreation Club on September 2, 10am-4pm.
Little Ripper Band will entertain and there will be raffles. The public will vote for their favourites in two divisions with a gold coin - Most Popular Old Bike; Most Popular Modern Bike; and Most Popular Motorcycle Overall. The winner’s name and bike name will be etched onto a perpetual trophy held at the men’s shed.
Prizes include a two-day holiday for two at Grassy Head Getaway with ocean views; A three-day holiday for two in a luxury cabin at Stuarts Point Holiday Park on the water; both with a food and drink hamper included. There will also be complimentary random spot-prizes awarded between noon and 3pm.
Stuarts Point Men’s Shed has about 20 members. William (Bill) Colder has just turned 90 and started out as a motor mechanic before getting involved in manufacturing. He later built five yachts and sailed Bass Straight five times before sailing north to Stuarts Point in 1989-90. Les Oxenbridge is shed manager and regularly cleans the Stuarts Point Community Hall to earn some income for the shed.
John Hastings, 88, is manager of the award-winning Kempsey shed and has owned a string of motorcycles, a British two-stroke called a Francis Barnet, an ex-army BSA, an ex-army Indian. John has even owned a legendary Vincent Black-Shadow.
Another Kempsey shedder, David Browngedge, is rarely off his bike, having toured much of the planet on two wheels. He lived in India for 10 years traveling on a 1956 350cc Royal Enfield. He now rides a 2002 Honda VT-750S which he recently rode from Cairns to Crescent Head with 80kg of tools on the back, strapped to a wooden rack.
Steel sculptural works produced by motorcycling Port Macquarie Men’s Shed member, Alan Bruhn are amazing. When Alan moved to Port Macquarie he worked as an exhaust fitter and later as a mechanical engineer. Now he enjoys touring the outback and supporting Port Macquarie Men’s Shed, helping to repair charity bins, bikes, mowers and creating unusual sculptures.
Call Mark Merritt on 0427 571 770 for information.