Monday, 15 February 2021
Statements by Members
Oxley Electorate: Oxley Men's Shed
Ten years ago a man in my electorate called John Brown wanted to open a place where men could go to relax, to rub shoulders and to exchange banter—a place to get out of the house and maybe have some company with fellow mates. At the age of 82, John established the Oxley Men's Shed. He came to my office when I was the local councillor and said, 'Let's make this happen.'
As a lifelong handyman, he has built a great many things. But the most important thing that he's created is a safe place that provides a shoulder to lean on for men in our community. These are men who have lost their partners or who are struggling with their mental health, or maybe there are those who only have months to live and want to do something meaningful with their final days.
Last week, at the age of 92, John stepped down and handed over the presidency at the AGM, which I attended. I know that he will continue to make a legacy in community outreach within schools and kindergartens, and now in supporting the 35 men who find solace in the shed. John says that he has done a lot of things which have brought him satisfaction through his long life, but heading the men's shed has been the most satisfying of all. He told me: 'I've been able to help so many people, especially people with depression. They've come through it beautifully.'
John has pledged to continue his work at the shed, and although he is looking forward to a well-earned holiday I know he'll be back and turning up to St John's church each week. It's been a privilege to support John's hard work; he's a true local hero. Congratulations, mate, and I look forward to many cuppas in the years ahead.