NEWBOROUGH Men’s Shed moved to its new location in July 2023 – The SEC Production Centre, Yallourn in the heritage listed ‘Whitehouse’ – the last remaining building of the original Sir John Monash brown coal development.


The move was made possible by many volunteers of other men’s shed and our own loyal team of members, together with the support of the owners of the facility, Environmental Clean Technology LTD.


The Newborough Men’s Shed was created to make a difference in the broader community, in a positive way on all segments of society, in the local area. Currently, we are the Newborough Men’s Shed and will change our trading name to Newborough/Yallourn Men’s Shed at our annual meeting in July. This is considered appropriate due to our location.


The woodworking and metal working areas and garden activity are now up and running, and we hope to be able to expand these activities in the near future. Other areas being developed are self-defence classes in Chi, art classes, including drawing, painting and murals and social activities as needed in the community.


One aim is to repurpose the heritage listed Yallourn Production Centre as a Social Community and Creative Hub, a vibrant community space-hosting social enterprises, arts groups, boosting economic development, social inclusion, and cultural activities, through community connection, service delivery, participation and activation.


Increasing the diversity (we already have women in our membership) and capacity of the woodworking and metal working activities currently in operation, gives us more opportunity to increase the involvement of younger people and in turn strengthen our membership with younger members.


By repurposing and reactivating the Yallourn Production Centre, our project will contribute to the sustainability, capacity and diversity of the Gippsland Region. It will deliver community focused infrastructure that contributes to regional priorities, promoting social inclusion and access, and supporting economic development through social enterprise, training education and participation.


We are appealing to those that have had to retire, as well as those that are looking for work skills to get employment. This covers ages from 17 to 80-plus. The older group cover tradesmen, labours, and administration people. The younger participants have been impacted by the downturn in the power industry and ancillary industries. Therefore, we have a lot of disenfranchised people – as such, we are working with Gippsland Trades and Labour Council and Victoria Police to get young people job ready.


A major project that we are planning for is the development of an Urban Farm.


Urban farming provides healthy, fresh, and locally grown produce. They have a strong outreach component, educating people about how the food is grown, what grows in the region and ways to prepare the food. People increasingly take to urban farming to lower grocery bills and bring healthy foods to the collective plate. Some urban farms are designed to train people to farm and re-enter the workforce. Other ventures fit into the idea of making fresh food more accessible to economically disadvantaged communities. Ultimately, urban farms help save money on groceries, limit the food’s carbon footprint, and provide the chance to ‘shake the hand that feeds you’.


Our project will be undertaken in six stages and is hoped to be completed in two years, depending on our ability to get grants.


Our aim is to make it appealing to a diverse group of people in the community, individuals (able and disabled) and interest groups.


The Project Scope is:


1. Creation of a small orchid – apples, pear, orange, lemon etc;


2. Vegetable growing in both raised beds and flat beds;


3. Flowers;


4. Herbs;


5. Asian vegetables;


6. Indigenous plants (eating);


7. Glass House for propagation of plants;


8. Mushrooms in our underground vault area;


9. Bees;


10. Worm Farm;


11. Aquaculture;


12. Chickens;


13. Consider other small animals, and;


14. Sensory gardens – smell, touch, colour.


The Power Industry was a very active area for migration over the years. We therefore have a wide number of people with Indigenous, European and Asian backgrounds, as well as Australian born. The region is a very diverse area and we will work with all groups and religions.


A social day has been organized for next Wednesday (April 17) for individuals and groups to come along for a get together, to see what we have in mind. Attendees can enjoy a barbecue lunch.


Phone George on 0407 408 090 or Michael (0418 513 092) for more information.


Michael Fozard is secretary of Newborough Men’s Shed.