Tongala Program for 16 Nov 2015 Celebration of the Dick McGowan Men’s Shed & Book Launch

‘Bringing it all Back Home’

 Celebration of the World’s First Men’s Shed &

Launch of ‘The Men’s Shed Movement: The Company of Men’ book

1-3.30pm Monday 16 November, 2015, Tongala Aged Care Service ‘Activity Centre’, adjacent to the Tongala Men’s Shed, Tongala, Victoria, Australia

The ‘Tongala Men’s Shed’, officially opened in July 1998 as ‘The Dick McGowan Men’s Shed’, is identified in Professor Barry Golding’s recently published Men’s Shed Movement: The Company of Men book as the first Men’s Shed opened by that name* in a community setting anywhere in the world. (* ‘The Shed’ opened behind an Aged Care Centre in Goolwa, South Australia in 1993).

With 1,500 Sheds open globally by November 2015, one third of which are outside of Australia, and one new Shed opening globally on average every day, the Men’s Shed in Tongala was indeed a ‘Great Beginning’, as the late Dick McGowan wrote in 1998. The full story and history of Men’s Sheds globally is included in the book.

It is fitting that this celebratory Victorian launch of the first definitive book about the now international Movement is taking place next to the first ever Men’s Shed. Hon Dr Sharman Stone, Member for Murray who launched in the Shed over 17 years ago has returned to launch the book. In many senses, this event is a celebration of what Dick McGowan and the Tongala community created. The Men’s Shed template, clearly defined and elaborated by McGowan in 1998, has become the template for a now global movement.

This public event celebrates the role and impact of all previous and current Victorian Men’s Sheds, and welcomes several early and influential people involved in Men’s Sheds and the Movement in Victoria. It has been organised by the Victorian Men’s Shed Association (VMSA) fully supported by the Tongala and District Memorial Aged Care Service, the broader Tongala and Victorian shedder communities.

Our special guest of honour is Ruth McGowan, a long time and highly respected shedder in the Tongala Men’s Shed and widow of the late and great Dick McGowan.

Paul Sladdin, current Board member of the Australian Men’s Shed Association and former President of the Victorian Men’s Shed Association (current Deputy Mayor of Mansfield Shire) is acting as MC.

Copies of the book are available for sale and signing from Barry Golding at the launch for $40. Additional copies can also be ordered (including postage for $50) via Barry, orders to with a preferred Postal Address. Much more information available via


Public Celebration & Book Launch, 16 Nov 2015 from 1.00-3.30pm

 Access to the Tongala Aged Care Service Activity Centre is via the front entrance of Koraleigh off Purdey Street, Tongala. Extra parking is available around the back in Memorial Drive (but avoid people’s nature strips, and come in the back door).

Allow an hour and a quarter drive north from Bendigo.

 1.00pm Welcome Cuppa

  • 1.30pm: Acknowledgement of Country and Welcome. (MC, Paul Sladdin, Board Member, AMSA).
  • 1.35pm: Welcome to Tongala and District Memorial Aged Care Service. (Sara Tee)
  • 1.40pm: Introduction to The Men’s Shed MovementBook and its author. (Paul Sladdin).
  • 1.50 pm: The importance of ‘The Dick McGowan Men’s Shed’ and Dick McGowan’s role. (Professor Barry Golding, Federation University Australia, Patron AMSA).
  • 2.20pm: Address and Book launch. (Hon Dr Sharman Stone, MP, Member for Murray).
  • 2.40pm: Response from Ruth McGowan. (Tongala Men’s Shed).
  • 2.50pm: ‘The important role of VMSA and AMSA in shaping the national Men’s Shed Movement’. (Paul Sladdin).
  • 3.00pm: Afternoon Tea.

3.30pm: CLOSE

Informal tours of the Tongala Men’s Shed with its original opening plaque as the ‘Dick McGowan Men’s Shed’ are available before and after the formalities.

Sincere thanks to:

  • Tongala and District Memorial Aged Care Service (Jean Courtney & Sara Tee).
  • Hon Dr Sharman Stone, MP, MHR, Member for Murray.
  • Victorian Men’s Shed Association (Ric Blackburn CEO & Phil Keily, President).
  • Australian Men’s Shed Association (David Helmers, CEO & Victorian Board Director, Paul Sladdin).
  • Tongala Men’s Shed and shedders
  • All other Men’s Sheds participating in the Tongala event.
  • Ruth McGowan, Tongala.
  • Federation University Australia, Ballarat (Barry Golding).
  • Irish, UK and New Zealand Men’s Sheds Associations who assisted with research for the book, including chapter contributors John Evoy (Ireland), Mike Jenn (UK) and (Dr Neil Bruce (New Zealand).

 The Men’s Shed Movement book contains the complete history of Men’s Sheds in community settings in the world: from Australia, Ireland, the UK & New Zealand; the development of all national & state associations, 90 case studies of ‘early’, ‘innovative’, ‘remarkable’ & ‘new and cutting edge’ Men’s Sheds plus the evidence base about Men’s Sheds and the current trajectory of the Movement worldwide. It includes 50 photos and original documents. All Sheds registered globally to mid 2015 are listed in an Appendix.


Author: barrygoanna

Honorary Professor, Federation University Australia: researcher in men's learning through community contexts, author of 'Men learning through life' 2014) book (NIACE, UK), 'The Men's Shed Movement: The Company of Men' (2015) & 'Shoulder to Shoulder: Broadening the Men's Shed Movement' (2021) books, both published Common Ground Publishing, US.

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