The historic brick Gatehouse that once guarded the entrance to the Mortlake Gas Company is the premises of the B.P. Men’s Shed.
In 2013, with financial assistance and clever planning, a group of Breakfast Point residents turned the space within the gatehouse into an incredible workshop.
I was pleased to be invited to visit the shed by Stewart McAlister, a founding member of the Men’s Shed. Stewart and his thirty fellow members have adapted the space and stocked it with woodwork machines that would delight any handyman.
With adaptability and safety a keynote feature all machines have wheels and can be moved as required. The front room contains a grinder and wire brush, a speed drill press, table saw, compressor, thickness planer and a router table.
In the middle section there is a wood turning lathe, a vertical sander and belt sander, dust extractor, a big band saw and a precision sharpener.
There are three moveable work benches, one of which is fitted with a wood vice which can be converted to a standard steel vice.
One wall holds every hand tool imaginable and whilst adhering to work-safe practice, a large first aid kit and a defibrillator are at hand on another wall.
Further into this amazing expanse are full amenities for the working men. A refrigerator, a sink, cupboards, a roomy table and chairs. A bathroom and shower and a TV for showing instructional dvds.
Finally Stewart explained what has been designed, made, fixed, improved and planned over the two years BP Men’s Shed has been assisting in the community.
Their work has resulted in rehabilitation aids for RPA and Concord Hospitals. Such aids assist in training damaged muscles to re coordinate. Vision Australia has welcomed Braille training boards that help children learn and read with braille. Interesting are the prayer stools made from softly planed wood.
There is an atmosphere about the BP Men’s Shed. One of comradeship, satisfaction and humour.
I am sure the members look forward to their Wednesdays in the company of like-minded achievers. Also, I am sure there is laughter.