Boys, their toys and all sorts of their other stuff

By David Chapman

ECHUCA-MOAMA Men’s Shed is providing a productive outlet for a lot of men, thanks to the support of clubs such as the Rich River Rod and Custom Club.

In appreciation, the Men’s Shed recently threw open its doors in Rotary Park to show the rod club members around the facility over a cuppa or two.

The Men’s Shed has 48 members and is open three days a week for men of any age to drop in and work on a project and/or simply enjoy each other’s company.

Phil Delaland, of the Echuca-Moama Men’s Shed, said the banter and camaraderie of men using the shed worked well.

‘‘No one’s compelled to come. If we don’t see someone for a month that’s fine,’’ Mr Delaland said.

‘‘We work on projects here but people bring stuff in from home to work on if they like.

‘‘There’s always someone to help you.’’

Among the projects the Men’s Shed undertakes are crafting of wooden cars, trains and boats which are sold up at the information centre, and wooden guitars for the Winter Blues Festival competition.

Men’s Shed committee member John Shinns said they also carry out little jobs such as fixing coffee tables and renovating tables for entertainment venues such as the Moama RSL and Echuca Hotel.

‘‘We’re not competing with local tradesmen,’’ Mr Shinns said.

‘‘It’s more the fiddly jobs that don’t make a lot of money and takes a few hours to do.’’

They also make nesting boxes for Strathallan Landcare and myna bird traps as well.

The Echuca-Moama Men’s Shed was officially opened in March this year, but members had been in it for six months before that.

Until then the organisation had something of a nomad existence, even setting up in a shed donated by Tony Aquino for a few years which enabled the group to save money to fund a permanent home.

‘‘Halfway through we ran out of money and we appreciate the help clubs like the rod club has given us,’’ Mr Delaland said.

Many other clubs and businesses, such as Moama Bowling Club, Byfords and Kennaugh’s Garden Centre also helped the cause along the way.

Men’s Shed members run sausage sizzles at Big W and Coles and clearance sales and this year ran the barbecue at the Rich River Rod Run.

Rod club president Rod Munro said his club was happy to support the Men’s Shed.

‘‘Us guys go downhill pretty quickly if we stop doing stuff,’’ he said.

‘‘Our club does a lot of fundraising throughout the year and try to direct a certain amount of funds back into the community, such as the hospital and the Cancer Council through the Big Morning Tea.

‘‘As men get older they need to keep busy for their mental and physical wellbeing and the Men’s Shed is a wonderful thing for the community.’’