Aboriginal men’s shed finds a home after four years

The Northam Aboriginals Men’s Shed now has a place to call home after a new partnership was created with the Fresh Start Recovery Program at the Northam Recovery Centre. 

The men’s shed has been without a permanent home for four years but will now be able to settle in at a shed at the Recovery Centre on Spencers Brook Road.

The group has a steady membership of 65 men of white, Indigenous, Islander and Maori backgrounds.

Their meetings are more than just discussing tools and building projects.

Karl Walsh of the Aboriginal Men’s Shed said the men come together for a cultural experience. 

“If the men don’t want to build anything they just drop around for a mug of tea and discuss anything on their minds because anything said in the shed stays in the shed,” Mr Walsh said.

“Particularly for Indigenous guys they have issues they can’t talk about at home.

“Culturally they just can’t do it.

 “They can come into the shed and talk about their problems and everyone listens. 

“We might not have the solution but a problem shared is a problem halved.”

David Gunter general manager of the Northam Recovery Centre said the partnership will benefit Indigenous men involved in the Fresh Start Recovery Program.

“For me, rehab can’t be all clinical, you’ve got to have a connection back to community,” Mr Gunter said. 

“What I see this as, is cultural connection to other strong Indigenous male role models and elders.

“I’ve got a lot of young Noonjar guys who have the Department of Child Protection involved and corrective services and they’ve come from backgrounds of violence and alcoholism so to have some decent blokes that they can connect to is very important.”

Mr Walsh said the members of the men’s shed are testimonies of success.

“Our men have gone around the paddock a few times and they've come out the other side,” he said.

“They’re just good men.”

A long term project the Northam Aboriginal Men’s Shed is working towards is the identification and maintenance of aboriginal sites in the Northam area.

So far the group have identified 21 sites.

Mr Walsh said the project is worth up to $170,000 and once it is complete they will be able to take young Indigenous men out to the sites to reconnect them with the land.

To get involved in the Northam Aboriginal Men’s Shed contact their chief executive officer Lyndon Ugle on 0438 995 246.