More space for mates to meet at the Men’s Shed

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By Jen Gourley

Mateship, camaraderie and support – that’s what the Callide Valley Men’s Shed is all about. At the opening of their new storage shed last Saturday night, you could see just how much the members (or ‘Shedders’) support each other.

Held in conjunction with a dinner and Elders Annual Auction, the local community also showed their support for this wonderful cause by turning up in droves for a fantastic night out.

The Callide Valley Men’s Shed had grown so much that it was running out of space for all their tools, timber, machinery and the wide variety of thingummybobs and whatchamacallits required for all their projects, so a new storage shed was a must!

Batchfire was proud to play a role in contributing funding for the construction of the new shed, with Phil Casey, Stakeholder and Land Tenure Consultant at Batchfire, presenting a cheque for $5000 to Callide Valley Men’s Shed President Graham Barnes.

“It takes a team to make projects like this work and Batchfire is very pleased to be involved,” Phil said. “Currently with more than 1200 employees employed by the mine, we would like to see them all retire in this community. Organisations like the Men’s Shed will keep people here and keep people involved in their community.”

He said Batchfire appreciated how much the Men’s Shed does for mental health by providing a place where you can be with your friends, and have a cuppa and a conversation.

Mayor Nev Ferrier did the honours by officially opening the new shed and cutting the ribbon (a bandsaw may have been more appropriate than a pair of scissors!).

Local Shedder Roger Van Itallie talked about how the Men’s Shed gives blokes a purpose in life and a reason to get out of bed in the morning. He then read a touching poem called “What the Doctor Ordered”, which detailed how this nation-wide community organisation touched one man’s life.

Shedder Gail Rodda, who also takes part in the Ladies Group at the Men’s Shed, spoke of how wonderfully inclusive this local organisation is.

“We include members of all abilities, ages, race and gender,” Gail said. “It’s not just about making things. It’s about providing members of our community with a respectful and safe place, where they can gather with like-minded people and have a yarn, sit and watch the world go by, or seek help for something that’s going on. It’s not unusual for a member to go and help a fellow Shedder with a job or visit them in hospital or take them to a medical appointment.”

There were plenty of laughs and shenanigans during the night as is to be expected when the MC is Noel Bates (if you ever need someone to do a mower impersonation, he’s your man).

TJ Hollis kept everyone entertained with his great music, and the food was delicious, thanks to hours of prep work from the crew of hardworking cooks and kitchen assistants, and the Rotary Club of Biloela were kept busy at the bar.

With the shed tastefully decorated with lovely table settings (including Ngarita’s beaut little shed-shaped biscuits) and twinkling lights strung across the ceiling, it was a terrific way to see the new shed before it was “all filled up with all their sh*t”, chuckled Barnesy.

After the meal (which required having to dance your way over to fetch your dinner) it was time for the auction. Elders Biloela runs this auction every year out of the kindness of their hearts, donating their time and skills so all the proceeds from the auction can go straight to the Men’s Shed.

As well as some beautifully crafted timber products up for sale, auction items included a wooden Christmas tree, Queensland Rugby League Greats memorabilia, a silky oak pull-along trolley, a wood chipper, assorted mowers, garden benches and a huge grazing platter made out of leopard tree timber. There were also some precious and very sentimental items up for auction including a stunning lazy susan made by Wes Frances and a marvellous hat rack by the late Graeme Whelan. In total, the auction proceeds came to an impressive $8525 with auctioneer Simon Clark and Jaimi Wilkie keeping everything running smoothly.

Between the construction of the new shed and all the work that went into organising the dinner, there were many individuals and local businesses that contributed. These included:

Financial or in-kind support:

Ray Grace, CMC, Banana Shire Council, Biloela Plumbing Works, Home Timber & Hardware, Batchfire, Lynch Concrete, Greg Lee, Callide Valley Electrical, RDO, Callide Dawson Funerals, L&H Yurika, Fitzpatrick Constructions, Elders Biloela, Biloela Post Office & Tech Support.


 Noel – MC; Ngarita McCarthy – cookies; Rotary Biloela, David Kidd, Terry Morris, Steve Hancock – mains; Fay Boal, Gail Van Itallie, Heather Barnes – dessert; TJ Hollis – music; members of the CV Men’s Shed, and the community of Biloela.

If you would like to learn more about the Callide Valley Men’s Shed or come along and check it out, you can email, follow their Facebook page, or pop into the Men’s Shed on Valentine Plains Road, Biloela. The Men’s Shed members meet from 9am to 12pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the Ladies Group gets together on the first Saturday of every month, also from 9am to 12pm.

Note: Check out all the photos from the night at (1) The Biloela Beacon | Facebook

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