Shed Men



Australian men are typically defined as confident and unassailable characters, but this stereotype is outdated, and has made it difficult for today's generation to open up when times are tough.

Of Australia's 2,000 annual suicides, 80% are male, and the population most at risk is isolated older men.

This is where the shed comes in.

Community sheds provide "activity, identity and meaning" for their members.

Some "shedders" may have struggled to cope with widowhood or retirement or depression, others are in poor health.

Many are lonely.

Mark Hartley is an Aboriginal member of the Mount Druitt shed in Western New South Wales.

"I'm part of the 'Stolen Generation'.

I first start coming to the shed because I didn't know who I was," said Mark, "The big thing for me was coming to the shed and talking to people.

I've found 'home'."

Cris Ruhr gives his personal account of the effect that the Black Saturday fires had on him, his family and the town that swept through Kingslake in Victoria.

Homes were lost.

People died.

"I was watching the house be consumed.

And it took about four minutes for the house to fall flat.

My wife couldn't watch.

And I became very upset at that point.

I realised how close we were to not making it out."

Cris talks about his belief that a proposed men's shed for Kingslake will bring the community together again.

Sheds bring hope in many ways.

Sharon Mascall investigates how in Australia, community sheds are saving lives.