Some ‘Golding’ family connections

Some ‘Golding’ Family Connections

Barry Golding

last updated  13 Nov 2016

Family trees are like rivers: finding out where you come from is like swimming in a stream and wondering which of many forks to follow in the headwaters. Beyond my four grandparents, on my father, John William Golding’s side of the family, I could follow the Golding stream via William Golding and wife Elizabeth Golding‘s immigration (at age 26 and 20 respectively) to Australia in 1851 from rural Suffolk, via his son William Golding (born 1863 in St Arnaud), my grandfather, Walter James Golding (born 12/5/1892) and father John William (‘Jack’) Golding (born 17 April 1920).

I could instead follow the Pearse stream via my grandmother Golding, born Amelia Geake Pearse on 11/12/1897 leads back to rural Devon and Cornwall. In both cases it appears to have been economically driven immigration from England to Australia during the 1850s. While many of my Golding and Pearse forebears ended up on the Victorian goldfields, in the case of the Golding connection at least, the exit from England just preceded the discovery of gold.

The detailed family trees on my parent’s side confirm that there has been a move by successive generations  over two centuries from grinding poverty and very large fMilies in rural England to relative opportunity in Australia, at first on the Victorian goldfields, but later to the Western Australian goldfields, small north western Victorian towns and more recently to Melbourne. The number of Golding descendants is relatively small because in many early generations women predominated and many children died relatively young.

This account concentrates mainly on my fathers family. On my mother, Joan Ethel Lane’s side I could follow either her father, Ralph Lane’s family back to London, England, or back to London via my maternal grandmother, born Mary Robinson Gudgion. Ralph and Mary married in England and emigrated to Australia in the early 1900s, around sixty years later than the Golding’s and the Pearse’s. Their emigration to Australia appears to have been more related to what became Ralph’s lifetime profession in the Royal Australian Navy.

To keep it simple I will later separately research and write an account of ‘The Lane & Gudgion Connections’. Given our three children Dajarra, Karri and Tanja Rose Golding also have Bracks connections back to Lebanon via my wife, Janet Elizabeth Bracks ( her father Stanley Salem Bracks and wife Marion  nee Davis) I optimistically plan to later research and write a complementary ‘The Bracks & Davis Connections’ account. Both these accounts will be based on more limited evidence. Everything that follows is based either on documentary evidence from previous family research or confident recollections from people still alive in 2016.

My method and acknowledgements

This blog follows just my ‘Golding’ origins that I inherit in my surname and that our three children also inherit. To be consistent I have bolded only the names of my directly connected forebears and asterisked * people alive during my life and known to me. In brief, the Golding connections story is most simply told via three sub-stories. The first and most fragmentary story goes back to the Golding family in England pre-1851.

The second sub-story covers my ‘grandfather’s grandfather’ William Golding’s (born in Stansfield, Suffolk, England on 22 February 1824) immigration to Australia in 1851 with his wife Elizabeth Golding (born in Cavendish, Suffolk in 1830) through his son, also William Golding (born 2/1/1863 in St Arnaud around the time his parents were on ‘The Peters’ Diggings (now Carapooee, near St Arnaud, Victoria), to the birth in 1892 of my grandfather Walter James Golding * in St Arnaud. Much of this sub-story is centred on the area around St Arnaud.

The third and most recent sub-story covers my grandfather Walter’s marriage and move to Donald, My father, John William Golding * was born in Donald (17/4/1920). Most of this sub-story focuses on Donald where I was also born in 1950, 101 years after the first Golding’s arrived (on 8/8/1851) at Port Adelaide from London on the barque Sultana.

I acknowledge that this small summary, like all research, rests on the shoulders of previous ‘giants’. My sincere thanks to all those who, living and dead, who have assisted by researching information from within and beyond our extended families. This is very much a work in progress. My particular thanks to Dale Watts for researching the Golding family tree, Sincere thanks to Ross Proctor and Gail Remnant of St Arnaud, Golding family descendants via Ellen Golding  (born 1871 in St Arnaud) and Emma Golding (born 1868 on Peters Digging)s for a huge effort researching all of this on behalf of the hundreds of descendants. It was Ross Proctor who generously did all of the organisation for the Golding family commemorative plaque in Nov 2016.

Why does all this matter?

I understand why our children, now in their 30s ask me this question. For me it is important to make sense of the past in order to make sense of the present. As a UK academic colleague I greatly respect, Professor Peter Jarvis once said, there can be no more important quest in life to make sense of the life you have lived before you die.

It is also important because one day other family members will want to know some of these stories and they have some modern parallels. I was born approximately 100 years after the first Golding and later Pearse ancestors left Suffolk and Cornwall respectively seeking to make their fortunes and to be reunited with family who moved to Australia. They were an earlier generation of ‘boat people’, effectively English economic refugees, fleeing rural poverty like many generations of immigrant Australians – except for our First Nations people.

I was actually motivated to write when I heard about a project, generously led by relatives going back to William Golding (born 1824) – relatives that I did not know – to finally place a tombstone on his grave in the St Arnaud Cemetery on 13  November 2016, 165 years after William and Elizabeth arrived as recently married very young economic refugees in Australia, from Suffolk in England, looking for gold and a new life together.

The photo, below was taken at the unveiling of the ‘memorial to our ancestors’ generously organised by Ross Proctor on the site of William and Elizabeth Golding’s previously unmarked graves in the St Arnaud Cemetery on 13 Nov 2016, by Doris Jones (nee Golding, born January 1925) and our eldest son Dajarra Golding (born January 1981).


It is finally important because some of the information I have collected from my parents and grandparents is in danger of being lost. When my parents Jack and Joan Golding were interested in and explored family history I had little interest and it was very much harder without the internet. The family trees were painstakingly researched by collecting original documents, by ‘snail mail’ as well as by visiting cemeteries, birthplaces and churches in the UK, written in longhand or typed on typewriters. In the process lots of errors were made and repeated, including by me. This is just a draft: please let me know what I may have got wrong.

The Golding connections in Suffolk, England

Relatively little is know about the Golding connections in Suffolk, England prior to William and Elizabeth immigrating to Australia in 1851. William’s death certificate (copy below from 1876) records his father’s name also as William Golding (tailor) and his mother as ‘Mary Ann Golding ‘maiden name unknown’, but her maiden surname was likely ‘Mansfield’.

William Golding Death certificate, St Arnaud 13 Aug 1876

The William Golding who emigrated to Australia was recorded as a 15 year old on the UK Census from 1841 living in Stansfield. In the same census household was another ‘William Golding’ aged 60 with a profession that appears, from the written census form to be ‘shoemaker’). ‘Susan Golding’ also aged 60 was also in the same household, along with a 15 year old Mary Ann whose surname appears to be ‘Mashton’. The 60 year old William and Susan are more likely in those times to be grandparents than William’s father or mother.

 From Suffolk to life in St Arnaud

 The barque Sultana (588 tons, Mastered by Captain Mainland) left London on 24 April 1851 (via Plymouth, departing 2 May 1851) and arrived at Port Adelaide, South Australia on 8 August 1851. Its cargo comprised 256 immigrants including William and Elizabeth Golding. The free immigrants aboard were mostly families, including 56 children aged 10 years or under but also including 17 single women and 35 single men 15 years or over. Most of the people on board whose professions were identified on the ships passenger list were miners from Cornwall or rural English agricultural labourers (like my forebears) from a range of English counties but also included a small number of Scottish and Irish immigrants.


Whilst many of the immigrants on the Sultana would have later headed for the Victorian goldfields from South Australia to ‘try their luck’, they did not set out to do so when they left the UK. The Sultana was already at sea on its three month plus voyage to Australia at the time of the first widely publicised gold discovery in Australia near Bathurst in May 1851: by June 1851 the resultant ‘gold rush’ attracted over 2,000 miners at the Ophir diggings near Bathurst. The passengers on the Sultana were still in transit on 7 July 1851 when the news of the first gold discovery in Victoria at Clunes.

The Sultana passenger list includes William Golding, age 26, agricultural labourer from Sudbury, Suffolk, as well as his wife Elizabeth Golding. Four of the immigrants died at sea on the long journey across, and there were three births. William’s death certificate records that he lived for ‘about two years South Australia, 24 years Victoria’, most likely until approximately 1853when they appear to have headed for the Victorian goldfields.

Their first-born child, Hannah Golding was born one year later in 1853 in Avoca. By the time their second child, Elizabeth Alice Golding was born on 10 Nov 1856 they were in nearby Dunolly. Susan Golding (perhaps named after her grandmother) was born three years later in 1859 in nearby Bealiba, and Mary Ann Golding was born the following year (1860) in nearby Lamplough. While my direct Golding forebear, young William Golding and the next born, Sarah Golding were both born in St Arnaud in 1863 and 1865 respectively, Emma Holding was born on Peters Diggings in 1868.

It appears that William and Elizabeth Golding and several of their youngest children were part of the gold rush at the Peter Diggings near present day Carapooee, a locality 12 km south east of St Arnaud crossed by the both Carapooee and Strathfillan Creeks. The Strathfillan pastoral run was first taken up in 1844, and in 1857 the run came into the hands of David Peters. When gold was discovered there in 1858 the resulting tent settlement became known as Peter’s Diggings. During 1859-60 there was a population on Peter’s Diggings of around of 1,300 miners.

William and Elizabeth Golding had nine children in the 22 years between 1854 and 1875, seven of whom were girls (Hannah, Alice, Susan, Mary Ann, Sarah, Emma and Eileen). William Golding (senior) died relatively young, apparently at age 51 in St Arnaud in August 1876 (his death certificate records his age at death as 50 years and cause of death ‘carcinoma of liver’). At the time of his death their youngest child, Walter James Golding (same name but not my grandfather, who died aged 10 in 1887) was only 2 months old.


William’s wife Elizabeth, undated studio photograph below, remarried in 1883 to John Perry (a ‘labourer’, born 23 August 1829 in Kent, England) and lived to the ‘ripe old age’ for those times of 82, dying in St Arnaud on 31 July 1912.


William and Elizabeth’s middle child from whom I am descended, William Golding (junior) was named after his father and was the only male family member to have children and carry on the Golding name to the next generation. He was born 2 January 1863 in St Arnaud, working much of his life as a miner there in the Lord Nelson gold mine and dying in St Arnaud in 1935. Young William’s six sisters who lived into adulthood married into some then well known St Arnaud families with the surnames of Tucker, Perry, Rigoll, Jeremiah and Cockburn.

Several generations of Tucker descendants mostly lived in Melbourne; many of the Perry descendants remained in St Arnaud, while many of the Rigoll descendants followed the gold west to Western Australia. In 1933 Emma Jeremiah was still living at Strathvale in Carapooee.

William Golding (junior, often referred to as ‘Wally’) was only seven years old (in approximately 1870) when his parents moved from Peters (Carapooee) to St Arnaud and only 13 years old when his father died. An article from the Donald Times (23 May 1933) fills in some of the gaps. His parents and their nine children including young William lived in a bark hut off Butcher Street in St Arnaud. He has attended the Common School, later (by 1933) called the Church of England Sunday School but at age 13 with the death of his father became the family breadwinner at the Chrysotile Mine (renamed Lord Nelson Mine). His first job involved washing the pyrites from the gold battery. Later he did some ‘tributing’, a mining term for doing work on a mining lease where the proceeds are shared by those doing the work. William Golding junior spent a total of 38 years working at the very rich Lord Nelson mine, which was worked to the great depth of 3,380 feet (over 1 km). When the mine closed William worked ‘with Mr McMullen repairing Shire bridges’. For four years in later life he was in charge of the St Arnaud Bowling Green and put a lot of time into ‘improving his property and growing vegetables’. ‘Wally’ was an active member of the Methodist Church for many years and a prominent local preacher.

William Golding (junior) married Olivia Trewin (from Ballarat, born 1859) on 28 July 1890 in South Melbourne. They had four children and lived in Mackay Street opposite the now St Arnaud Secondary College. My own grandfather, Walter James Golding * was their first live born on 12 May 1892 (a stillborn child was born to them in May 1891). Walter lived as a child in St Arnaud and only moved to Donald after he and his wife (born Amelia Geake Pearse * 11/12/1897, died 15 July 1981) married on 21/3/1921 and set up a hardware business, details of which follow in the next section below.

My grandfather, Walter had three siblings: Doris Olivia Golding, known as ‘ Dot’ and employed ‘as a salesgirl in a St Arnaud business’ was born on 18/8/1893 and died in her 20s (on 21 March 1921), so the family story goes, ‘of a broken heart’ but it seems her cause of death was actually tuberculosis, then known as ‘consumption’. My grandfather’s brother Rupert William Golding was born in 1895 and died in 1967. Rupert married Vida Lillian Digby * (who I do remember) died in 1986) and in 1933 was manager of the drapery branch of Tyler’s Stores in Port Fairy. Their son, Geoffrey Gordon Golding * born in 1927, contracted polio and also lived in Port Fairy and married Opal June Kitching on 18 March 1950, very close to my own birth date. Geoffrey and Opal’s son Chris Eric Golding born in 1952 had children who carry on the Golding name.

My grandfather’s youngest brother Eric Golding *, born in 1897 died in November 1964. In 1933 Eric was employed in Mildura by Risby and Company. Eric and family lived much of his life on a ‘fruit block’ with grape vines in the Mildura area with his wife, my ‘Auntie Eva’ * (born Eva Townsend, who died in 1966). They also had two sons. William, better known as ‘Bill’ Golding * born in 1932 became a schoolteacher and later Principal in Mildura, Dimboola and Portland. Bill Golding retired to Portland with Val (born Valerie Jean Murray) to create and maintain the now iconic Great South West Walk. Bill was is alive and very well in 2016, Bill and Val had two children, Jennifer and Stephen, born in 1963 and 1964 respectively. Stephen’s children carry on the Golding family name.

From St Arnaud to life Donald

 My grandfather, Walter and my grandmother, Amelia were from St Arnaud and Donald respectively. Their ‘courting days’ involved a lot of travel in between. At first Walter went into partnership with Rowe’s hardware store in St Arnaud, to become Rowe & Sons and Golding with a Donald store that was still functioning by this name in 1933.

James Rowe and Sons was first established in St Arnaud in 1869. In 1908 a Donald branch was opened under the management of a Mr Cole. A photograph in the ‘Shanty at the Bridge’ book taken in 1910 shows J Rowe and Sons store in Woods Street, Importers, of furniture ironmongery, stationery, crockery. In 1912 Walter James, W J. Golding succeeded Mr Cole. In the mid 1920s there  was also a branch of the store in Mildura and Melbourne. Fire destroyed the store in 1927 as well as adjoining W.H. Gray stock and station agent store. The fabric of the store that became W. J. Golding and Co was presumably rebuilt of both sites after 1927.

Amelia’s parents helped Walter and his bride  build a new brick house in Donald in Meyer Street that was for a long time my sister Judith and Wayne Hastings’ family home. Walter was a keen musician and in 1917 a member of ‘The Donald Minstrels’ that gave concerts in Donald, St Arnaud, Corack and Watchem. He was accomplished at bush recitations, a keen sporting shooter and cricketer. In the mid 1920s he was President of the Donald Cricket Club.

When the business partnership with Rowe broke up the Donald hardware store became ‘W. J. Golding & Company’, which became a long running family business that sustained and employed not only my father John William Golding * better known as ‘Jack’ (born 17/4/1920, died 26/4/2002) and my mother Joan Golding * (born Joan Ethel Lane, died 5 April 2011), but also my Auntie and father’s ‘young’ sister, Doris Golding, born Jan 1925, who became Doris Jones * when she married Graham Jones (born Dec 1924) in 1947. ‘Auntie Doris’ is the only ‘Golding ‘family member still alive (and very well) from my father’s generation in 2016. Doris and Graham had one child, Shirley Faye Jones * (born Jan 1949). Shirley married Richard Riordan (now deceased) in 1970 and they had one child Bryce Richard Riordan in 1980.

I am the middle of three children, born in March 1950 at the Donald Bush Nursing Hospital as Barry John Golding, changing my middle name by statutory declaration to Goanna. My only sister Judith was born August 1948, and married Wayne Alfred Hastings (born July 1947 in Maryborough) in 1972. After their marriage they lived in Maryborough, Wangaratta and Yarrawonga while Wayne worked in the bank and Judy taught in primary schools. in 1979 they took over the family business, W. J. Golding and Co. and moved back to Donald. The business was sold to Onley Holdings in 2004. Their two children Sean David Hastings (born Dec 1978) and Lachlan Wayne Hastings (born August 1981) are both married, to Jean ( Maiden name Oi) and Emma respectively, and are living and working in Melbourne. Lachlan and Emma (maiden name Schmidt, originally from Nhill) in 2016 have one very young son Daniel Joseph born in April 2015..

My only brother Peter Golding was born in March 1950 the day after my fifth birthday. His first marriage was to Martina Callahan, whose father Frank Callahan was a passionate musician and the former Donald Postmaster. Frank and his wife Margaret retired to Ballarat, was well known around Ballarat in later life as ‘The One Man Band” and died quite recently. Peter and Martina had three children together: Sarah, Hannah and Simon, born in 1985, 1987 and 1990 respectively. Sarah was born in Australia. Hannah and Simon were born in the US where Peter has worked using his PhD as a physics academic, first at Columbus in Ohio, and later in University of Texas in El Paso where he still lives. After Peter and Martina separated and divorced in 1994, Peter married Diane Schlueter and they have two children, Walter Golding  (born Jan 1994) and Joan Golding (born Feb 1996( as well as Aaron Macelunas from Diane’s first marriage.

The Pearse Connections

My great grandfather J. T. Pearse (my paternal grandmother’s father, born in 1869 at Hardy’s Hill south of Buninyong, who died when I was five) was the fourth and final child to an earlier W. N. L. Pearse born in Cornwall (not my grandmother’s brother). The word ‘Pearse’ in Cornish was pronounced more like ‘perse’. J.T.’s siblings Jane Mary Pearse (born 1860) and William Geake Pearse (born 1861) were both born in Creswick. Edward John Pearse was born in at Durham Lead near Ballarat in 1866 and only lived to the following year. The family tree starts to look very confused a few decades later since Lilly Lucretia Pearse (WNL’s daughter) later married her nephew, J.T Pearse.

J.T.’s father, the earlier W. N. L (William Nicholas Langman) Pearse was born on 16/6/1832 and christened at the South Petherwin parish (Methodist) church in Cornwall, England. W.N.L. Pearse was the second of nine Pearses – all born in Cornwall. He married Amelia Geake (born 22 April 1835 in Saint Germans, Cornwall: after whom my own grandmother, Amelia Geake Golding [nee Pearse] was named. Both died on the Pearse family farm, Devon Park near Donald: in 1897 (Amelia) and 5 April 1906.

Their father, William Pearse was born in 1804. William was a butcher by trade. William married Jane Langman (born in 1803, died in 1892). William died in Ballarat East in 1889.

Their first born was Thomas Pearse, born in Cornwall in 1830, married in 1861 in Victoria to Elizabeth Jane Sullivan. They both died in Dean, Victoria: Thomas in 1922, Elizabeth in 1938.

Third born Geddie Pearse (born in Cornwall in 1835) had four children all buried in Buninyong. Fourth born was Richard Thomas Pearse (born 1836) who became a grocer in Ballarat and had eight children, all of whom were born and died in Ballarat. Richard Pearse, who was at one stage Mayor of the City of Ballarat, and lived at 615 Skipton St, Ballarat) and Phillipa (mother of Lilly Lucretia who emigrated with William Caddy from Wendron, Cornwall around 1867.

Fifth born, Joseph Langman Pearse (born 1838) had five children. Sixth born, Mary Ann Langman Pearse. Both Joseph and Mary (died 1918 and 1915 respectively) were buried in Charlton.

William and Jane’s last-born,  Phillipa Langman Pearse (born in 1845 in Cornwall, England) who married William Caddy. It was their  daughter Lillian Lucretia Caddy also known as ‘Lilly’ (born 1870) who married her cousin, John Thomas (J. T.) Pearse (my great grandfather) in 1895.

The Pearse’s descended from W.N.L are a well know Donald family, most having been wheat and sheep farmers in the area around where their ancestors were born and lived as children at ‘Devon Park’ on the St Arnaud side of Donald. My great grandfathered fourth born  J. T. Pearse (born 1869 in Durham Lead near Ballarat) had three siblings, A younger sister Jane Mary Pearse was born and died in 1860 in Creswick.

William Geake Pearse was  also both in Creswick in 1861. His third born son (to Isabella) was my beloved ‘Uncle Jack’, John Frederick Pearse* (born 1891, died 1976). Uncle Jack was in my eyes, a very wise and philosophical man. He milked cows in the open paddock wherever he found them on the farm and brought fresh cream and milk to our home in Donald. He was a devout Methodist and Superintendent of the Donald Methodist Sunday School. Uncle Jack’s children ( Auntie ‘Eva’ [and ‘Jack’ Frankling]*, ‘Jean’ [and Ivan Clempson]* as well as Ivan [and Beryl] Pearse* were all very much part of my growing up in Donald.

William Geake Pearse and Isabella’s fourth child was Geddie Thomas Pearse, my Uncle Ged’* whose daughter ‘Lorraine’  Pearse ( nee Eleanor Lorraine Jenkins) married cousin ‘Bob’ (Robert Wyatt Pearse). Bob and Lorraine’,  brother Tom (& wife Margaret)  Stan (and wife Rilla) and Edmund (and wife Jean) farmed east of Donald and were well known to me. Barney (Edmund Palmer Pearse, born 1995) who married  Bethel (nee Mary Ethel McWhirter) was W. G.’s last born also farmed east of Donald.

My ‘Grandmother Golding’ was born Amelia Geake Pearse on 11/12/1897. She was the second of five children born to John Thomas (J.T.) Pearse *, who I remember reasonably well, as he died when I was six in 1956. He lived for much of his later life with my grandparents in Donald since his wife ‘Lillian’ (born Lily Lucretia Caddy 25/7/1870) died 27 years before J.T. at only 58 years in 1929. J.T., my great grandfather was generally known to the family in my generation as ‘Grandpa Pearse’ and was quite a character. He smoked a pipe and had a bad habit of letting the pipe burn on through his waistcoat pocket through which he had a pocket watch on a gold chain. He took many solo fishing trips to the Murray River and beyond.

My Grandma Golding’s elder brother was ‘Uncle Os’ *, born John Oswald Pearse on 1/1/1896 and died 10/9/1988 without having children. His wife ‘Auntie Het’ *, born Henrietta Fleming Kerr on 1/11/1895 had family in Heywood and died at the great age of 96 on 13/7/1992. Both, particularly Auntie Het are well remembered, including by our own children as a grand and thoughtful lady. Het and Os travelled extensively overseas. Os was a keen and experienced breeder and judge of poultry. They were off the power grid on their farm for many decades with a very early Dunlite 32 volt wind turbine.

My grandmother Amelia had three younger siblings: a sister Phillipa Lily Pearse (born 22/12/1899), Thomas Geddie Pearse, (known to me as ‘Uncle Ged’ *) and my ‘Uncle Bill’ * colloquially known to some as ‘the flamin’ Uncle Willie’, properly called W.N.L. (William Nicholas Langman Pearse). Uncle Bill and ‘Auntie Leila’ * (born Leila Ada Ellis 2/9/1905) lived at Devon Park and had two sons. Like het and Os who lived on a farm nearby, they travelled widely and were very keen photographers. Auntie Leila’s ‘slide nights’ during my childhood were an early version of ‘death by Powerpoint’.

My ‘Cousin Billy’, William Ellis Pearse (born May1933) farmed with his father W.N.L. Pearse at Devon Park before marrying and moving into Donald with his wife Pat (born Patricia Jane Weeks). They had three sons: Grant, Aaron and Drew. John Stanley Pearse, their younger son born in August 1935 lived in Melbourne, worked for a time as a driving instructor and did not marry.

The Caddy Connection

 My connection to the ‘Caddy’ and Pearse family (above) is complicated by an earlier intermarriage between the Pearse and Caddy family in the 1860s. Firstly, as outlined above, I have Caddy ancestry via Lily Lucretia Caddy, known as ‘Lillian’, my paternal great grandmother who married my great grandfather J.T. Pearse in 1895. Lillian died quite young in 1929.

Secondly, Lillian was one of fourteen children (nine girls and five boys) born to William Caddy (born 18/11/1839, died 1906), his wife being Phillipa Langman Pearse (born 29/5/1845, died 1923/4). William and Phillipa married on 21/1/1867. William Caddy was himself one of 12 children from a marriage at Wendron, Cornwall 29/11/1831 between John Caddy (born 1810, died 1887) and Ann Perry (who died 28/11/1869).

A little about John and Ann, who are in effect my ‘great-great-great grandparents’ (following my Grandma Golding’s line) might be of some interest. John Caddy was born 10/6/1810 in Cornwall, England. He was a tin miner and engineer. His son William Caddy (who married Phillipa Langman Pearse at Ballarat on 21/1/1867) was also born in Cornwall. William’s father came to Melbourne, Australia with two of his brothers (Richard and William) on an unassisted passage in 1854. His mother and 8 siblings arrived in Melbourne, Australia on the Maldon three years later to join their father at 7 Tress Street in Mt Pleasant, Ballarat on 28/7/1857.

William Caddy and Phillippa had 14 children between 1867and 1889, nine of whom were girls including Lilly Lucretia Caddy who married my great grandfather J.T Pearse. The Caddy family history complied some decades ago by Ingrid Forrester in Southern River, Western Australia chronicles the literally thousands of Caddy descendants from Devon and Cornwall and runs to 90 pages. Many present day Caddy descendants are either in Victoria (including Ballarat) or to Western Australia, where many of the miners went as the Kalgoorlie-Boulder gold rush took over from the Victorian gold rushes by the early 1900s.

Keith Spence & The Lane Cove Men’s Shed

Keith Spence and the Lane Cove Men’s Shed

Barry Golding’s account of the history of the Lane Cove Men’s Shed in my Men’s Shed Movement book (published during 2015) was based on documents on hand to early 2015.

In late 2015 Helen Johnston-Lord, from Warnervale, New South Wales) contacted me asking whether I was aware of her father, Keith Spence’s role in the very early days of the Lane Cove Men’s Shed. Helen subsequently provided me with copies of original documents and recollections about her father, cited below, that confirm that Keith (aged 84 in mid-1997) certainly played an important role in shaping the Lane Cove Men’s Shed at least 17 months before its official opening in December 1998.

Sharon Pearce, the then Lane Cove Council’s Community Development Officer also played a hitherto poorly documented role, as these new documents confirm. Sharon Pearce cited as the contact person about ‘the shed project’ soon after the Shed officially opened (in an article in the Sydney Weekly, dated Jan 12-18, 1999, with the header ‘Opening the door on men and their sheds’ with a picture of ‘Lane Cove resident Keith Spence tooling about at the men’s shed’. In the August 15-11 2000 issue of the Sydney Weekly (p.10) is a photograph of ‘Keith Spence, 87, Ted Donnelly, 66 and Bruce Brown, 71’ citing Ruth van Herk as ‘the project co-ordinator’.

These documents confirm that the Lane Cove Men’s Shed was being planned at around the same time (in mid-1997) as the Men’s Shed in Tongala, the latter being the oldest officially opened anywhere in a community setting with ‘Men’s Shed’ in the organisation name as the ‘Dick McGowan Men’s Shed’ on July 26 1998, approximately five month earlier than Lane Cove.

The early rationale for the Lane Cove Men’s Shed

The Northern Herald article headed ‘Strong support for Lane Cove ‘Men’s Shed’ Idea,’ dated July 10 1997 (p.3) is very early indeed and says the following in the second paragraph:

A unique idea to establish a Men’s Shed in Lane Cove has been met with enthusiastic support from older men in the community, many of whom no longer have that special retreat. The brainchild of the council’s community development officer, Sharon Pearce, the Men’s Shed will offer a meeting place where older men can socialise and carry out activities.

Whether Sharon Pearce was actually ‘the brainchild’ for the Men’s Shed is debatable. Keith’s daughter Helen Johnston-Lord wrote recently that that Ian Longbottom (also actively involved in the early days of the Lane Cove Men’s Shed) ‘… commented that it was certainly NOT Sharon Pearce’s brainchild’.

The July 1997 newspaper article cites Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data from 1995 confirming the relatively high proportion of older people in Lane Cove, as well as research commissioned by the State Government in 1996 which found that men over 60 who lived alone spent 84 per cent of the time on their own. Sharon Pearce was cited as saying that:

A lot of men were saying that they really missed their place, that the domestic domain for that particular generation [of men] was the domain of their partners

Towards the end of the article ‘Mark Thomson, who wrote Blokes and Sheds’ is quoted as saying ‘it’s not what you actually do in the shed but the potential of what you can do’.

As of July 10 1997 ‘… the plan was to build a “homey little shed” [in Lane Cove] with a grant from the department of Health and Family Services and give local retired men a say in its design and use.’

For context, only four days earlier than this newspaper article and 700km away in Victoria (on 4 July 1997) Ron McLeod of the Tongala RSL was penning support for the late Dick McGowan’s already well developed proposal to create what I still contend is the first Men’s Shed by that name to open in a community setting anywhere in the world.

The back-story about Keith Spence

Peter Keith Spence, widely known as ‘Keith’, was born in Sydney on 14 Feb 1913 and died 16 Sept 2002 at the age of 89. By the 1930s Keith was working as an electrician, and was married in Lane Cove in 1936. He later worked for Frank Packer at the Daily Telegraph and developed an interest in sailing, building and racing a 30-foot sailboat.

To quote from parts of his daughter’s (Helen Johnston-Lord’s) biography of Keith:

After he retired in 1979 he took to woodwork. … In late 1992 [he] was involved in an almost fatal motor vehicle accident. … [He] survived although he had to give up driving and was a little lost about what to do with himself. Never fear. He became part of the Greenwich Day Centre and was quickly helping with activities, a welcome addition with his fresh approach to life.

At the ripe old age of 84 [1997] he had an idea about a place for men and he was asked to help set up the Lane Cove Men’s Shed. He had been such an inspiration to many people and some of the contacts from his past thought the idea of men getting together might work in the wider community. Just a few days before being told he had lung cancer, he was at the Shed.

The following are some pertinent quotes taken from a longer article headed ‘Vale Keith Spence: Men’s Shed Patriarch Passes on’ in The Village Observer (October 2002, p. 20).

Keith, often referred to as the “Guru” or the “Boss”, was a founding member of the Men’s Shed and an integral member of the team. Keith’s shared vision of a Community Shed which would provide a space for where older men could come and share some time with each other and lean skills together, was an active passion in the last three years. …

A generosity of spirit and an ability to cheerfully impart knowledge were the characteristics of this man who inspired so many worthwhile community projects and helped to emerge the current ethos of the Men’s Shed – which is to be of service to the community by making useful and interesting wooden items for a variety of institutions while having fun and enjoying some company. …

Keith has bequeathed the Lane Cove Community a valuable legacy. His belief was that we could all make a difference and each of [us] could bring some joy to another was underpinned by an impish sense of humour that inspired some amusing projects to generate fun in families and communities. His spirit of generous sharing of knowledge and skills is now integral to the Men’s Shed community.

… We would suggest that by now St Peter would have been co-opted to find some space so that Keith could form the Heavenly Men’s Shed so that the blokes could get together in a familiar environment and have a bit of a chat.

‘Getting of wisdom’ International Exchange & Conferences mid-Feb 2017


Information about the Exchange & Conferences involving researchers, policy makers and practitioners involved in learning in later life from Europe , New Zealand and Australia can be found below:

Getting of Wisdom, Learning in Later life 12-18 Feb 2017

The link also includes registration details. It is very simple to register and pay on line now of the Full Exchange or any of the Conference via the link, above, on ALA website. The call for Conference papers is now open via the same link.

Here is some early information (accurate to 5 Sept 2016) as ‘a taster’, oriented particularly to those from outside of Australia who are wondering what is all about and what they will experience if they register for the full Exchange program: ExchangeTasterSept2016

Why barrygoanna?

Why barrygoanna?

How and why  I came to take on my official middle name Goanna in place of the middle name John on my Birth Certificate is a long story and one I have not previously told in full. Half of the story is about Bill Jones, a mine caretaker at Coopers Creek , and a play on the surname of William Baragwanath, a famous Victorian geologist. The other half of the story is about me taking a ‘stage name’ in Mulga Bill’s Bicycle Band. The whole story helps explain why barrygoanna is deliberately embedded in the name of my website.

The ‘geology’ part of the story

It was the early 1970s. I was studying for an Honours Degree in Geology that involved carefully mapping the rocks in the wild and beautiful area around the tiny and isolated former gold mining township of Walhalla in Gippsland with Clive Willman (several years later to become the Sound Technician for Mulga Bill’s Bicycle Band). We rented the cottage above the Walhalla Band Rotunda that year and spend a memorable year exploring the rugged and beautiful area looking for rock outcrops: by car, on foot and wading up creeks and rivers. Sometimes we would drive all the way back to the Geology School at Melbourne University at night and cut our thin sections, and head back, sort of like in the Elves and the Shoemaker. This was the era well before GPS and computers. Rock outcrops were located by tape and compass survey, our theses were typed manually on a typewriter and the maps they contained were coloured by hand.

One of the important outcrops we mapped that year was near Coopers Creek, an isolated bush township on the Thompson River. The only large building left in Coopers Creek was the former Coopers Creek Copper Mine Hotel, with the recently reopened Coopers Creek platinum and copper mine on the opposite bank, accessible either by ‘flying fox’ or by a long, steep and winding back road from Walhalla via the former mining settlement of ‘Happy go Lucky’.

Bill Jones, something of a weather beaten, rough local diamond, was then the caretaker at the Coopers Creek mine. He spent a lot of his time patrolling the area with his rifle, occasionally shooting goannas that were commonly found sunning themselves on the rocks along the Thompson River. The Thomson at that stage had not been tamed by the now huge Thompson Dam upstream. Bill also played a mean accordion, including when we played some evenings at the Walhalla Hotel.

Bill Jones had been in the area a long time and enjoyed telling us, as budding young geologists, all of the famous geologists he knew of or had met who previously mapped the area, including [David] Thomas [1902-1978], (Dr Don) Spencer Jones, [Hyman] Herman [1875-1962] and [William] Baragwanath (1878-1966]. Bill’s likely quite accurate pronunciation of ‘Baragwanath’ sounded to us like ‘barra -gwanna’ hence barry goanna. We fantasised that in years to come Bill would add Willman and Golding to his small list of geological heroes. Clive has indeed gone on the become a well-known geologist, and recipient of the prestigious Selwyn Medal. I enjoy (and make up stories about) rocks that I see as I ride my bicycle but they are no longer my academic forte.

The back story of the amazing William Baragwanath

William Baragwanath (1878-1966) had died only around five years before we met Bill, but he was still was something of a geological ‘legend ‘in Victoria, for good reason as summarised below. He was born at Durham Lead near Ballarat and learnt his craft as a field and mining geologist and surveyor at Ballarat School of Mines. Fellow geologist John Talent wrote in 1979 in the Australian Dictionary of Biography (Volume 7) that:

In 1897 Baragwanath was assistant surveyor and draftsman in the department’s survey of the Walhalla goldfield, and was in charge from 1898 until 1900. Successive geologic, topographic and mine surveys of the Castlemaine-Chewton, Aberfeldy, Berringa and Ballarat goldfields earned him an enviable reputation for precision, perseverance and attention to detail, qualities he was to require of his juniors. Late in 1916 he began investigating the La Trobe Valley brown-coal region, selecting bore sites, carrying out topographic surveys and assisting in management of the coal-winning operations; he accumulated much of the data used later by the State Electricity Commission to establish the Yallourn open-cut mine and power-house.

Baragwanath developed an unrivalled and encyclopaedic knowledge of the mining geology of Victoria. His memory for mine, bore and old assay data, the modifications of mine names (even of obscure ‘scratchings’), and the chronology of discoveries, incidents and personalities became legendary; it was primarily for this reason ‘Mr Barry’ was retained as departmental consultant. His advice was highly valued by the mining industry because his opinions were invariably judicious and his optimism guarded. It was his pleasure to provide anyone with detailed information on geology and mining in Victoria, for geology and mining were his life; his favourite hobby was building model ships.

Baragwanath had argued from analogy with oil-bearing sequences elsewhere in the world that the Tertiary rocks of east Gippsland could be petroliferous. In 1922 the Department of Mines tested his theory by drilling a line of bores west of the Gippsland lakes; it was an unsuccessful experiment, but he lived to see his theory vindicated when off-shore drilling of the same sequence from 1964 led to the discovery of the Bass Strait oil and gas reservoirs.

Quite a man.

The ‘Mulga Bills Bicycle Band’ part of the story

The same year that Clive Willman and I were mapping the rocks around Walhalla, Mulga Bill’s Bicycle Band that I was one of the foundation members of was beginning its transition from being a very ‘part time’ Melbourne University Folk Club-inspired ‘Australian folk band’, to becoming a full time professional touring band well into the mid 1970s. (Co-incidentally several members of the Bushwhackers Band, also mostly university students, but from La Trobe University were well known in Australia in that same era, regularly visited the Walhalla area).

The tradition in Australian country music circles had been for some touring artists to take one or more stage names, for example David Kirkpatrick became Slim Dusty and Roger Hogan became Dusty Rankin. The Baragwanath / Barry-Goanna name gave me a ready-made stage name. A good friend, Liz Cox, screen printed barry goanna on the front of a black sleeveless top which I later took to wearing whilst on stage and while riding the band’s penny farthing bicycle into the many towns we played at all around Australia.

I should declare before I proceed that do really like goannas, and was very concerned that Bill Jones claimed to regularly shot them for no obvious reason, though they are predators. For those not from Australia, goannas (the word derives from an Australian alteration of iguana found in South America) are a family of rather large monitor lizards (with 25 species ranging from 20cm to 2m) with sharp teeth and long claws. The goannas at Coopers Creek we’re very big.

At first Barry Goanna was just a catchy stage name, but a year or so later I came round to the idea that I was more comfortable having ‘Goanna’ than ‘John’ as my middle name, and proceeded to change it formally to Barry Goanna Golding by Statutory Declaration. I do enjoy having the endemic Australian name, Goanna on my Australian passport and drivers licence. There was a lot of tittering in Melbourne University’s Wilson Hall in 1999 at my PhD graduation ceremony when my full name was read out. It also makes for some interesting exchanges in formal ‘name checking situations’ such as when voting.

I figured that exercising agency and changing my name was a simple but powerful way of defining who I was and had become. John had biblical associations I was really uncomfortable with. It was only after I had formally changed it to Goanna that I realised that my father, commonly known as ‘Jack’ (=John) might have been disappointed his eldest son had dropped his birth name. I should note here that I have never really liked my first name, Barry, and the name has progressively fallen out of favour across Australia and most other countries for a range of reasons, in part because of the less likable personalities lived and created by Barry Humphries, Barry Crocker and Barry McKenzie. Most ‘Barry’s are like me, mostly over 60.

In part for reasons alluded to above we decided as parents to give our first two children, Dajarra (named after a small and remote town near Mt Isa) and Karri (the beautiful Western Australian eucalypt) only first names, providing the opportunity to later add a name that they liked, in the middle or instead. We partly softened our stance by 1985. While our daughter Tanja also got an Australian place name (Tanja is a tiny, bucolic hamlet in the NSW south coast near Bega), she also got ‘Rose’.

A November 2019 update on Bill Jones from Bill Power

The early part of my post prompted Bill Power to contact me about his recollections of Bill Jones at the Coopers  Creek mine in the early 1970s and comment that he loved reading this post. I have pasted his email note to me in full in italics,  below, with Bill’s generous permission.

“In the 1970s, my partner, her two sons, I and my daughter used to frequently camp at the Coopers Creek  copper mine and got to know Bill Jones quite well. My partner was an art teacher at Syndal Tech at the time and got to know Bruce Cozens who, although a geologist by profession, was a science teacher at Syndal Tech. He and his partner Liz Loder lived close by. Bruce had done some work for the Copper Mine at some stage and Liz thought the clay in the area could be used to make things. Liz and Bruce had camped at the copper mine before in a tent. Bruce and I had many a long philosophical discussion.

We were introduced to Bill Jones who lived in a filthy shack at the mine-site. By filthy, I mean it was absolutely black inside – soot from his fire. Not considering ourselves such hardy types, my family opted to live in the miner’s quarters that were in pretty good condition and provided us with somewhere to sleep and somewhere to eat. We soon had the gas bottles connected, the stove lit and the hot water service for the showers working. Liz and Bruce always preferred their tent. To preserve the gas, we always cooked outside in camp-ovens. Bill usually had something he wanted to contribute to the camp oven and ate quite a few meals with us – probably the only solid food he ever had.

I gather that Bill’s drinking was legendary: if he felt the need for some protein – then what else but Advocaat could provide it?  Green Chartreuse fulfilled his occasional need for greens and there were any number of drinks made from fruit for desert. I think his favourite was Cherry Brandy. Despite his drinking habits, he used to tear down the track to the mine [via the back road to Walhalla] at break-neck speed in his old ute, worrying everyone who knew him. He seemed to have no shortage of friends who often braved the track to drop in and see him.  I gather Coopers Creek mine paid him in shares for his work as caretaker. He once showed me his share certificate and asked me how much he was worth. He had quite a few shares worth a few cents each – typical ‘penny dreadfuls’. He may have had some other source of income because he was forever buying books for the libraries of local schools. I never saw Bill with a gun and if he had one, he never mentioned it.

He was a great raconteur and during meal-times would tell us stories of times past: of the battery cam shaft that was being delivered from somewhere in NSW to a mine in Victoria when it fell off the truck and got a bit bent – the locals figured if it was built up a bit here and ground down a bit there it would be usable in a few days. But and old mine-worker knew the answer. He built a fire, threw on the shaft and covered it with dirt.  Next morning it was fixed! [Reminded me of a friend who worked for a company that made compressors: they had to ship shafts out from England and my friend had the job of nursing them in the hold giving them a quarter turn every day (like champagne) so they wouldn’t develop a permanent bend]. Another time, Bill told us how to make (in an emergency) the end for a Furphy water tank. You dig a circular hole in the ground; cover it with a sheet of iron; put sandbags on top of the iron and throw a stick of dynamite in the hole. The iron develops a nicely rounded shape.

He told us a story when during the depression he and a mate were desperately hungry when they came across a cow. The killed the cow, ate what they could of it and buried the rest. Several weeks  months, (who cares?) they were so hungry they decided to dig it up again. After cutting off the blue rind that had formed, it was still quite tasty!

Once we built a camp fire and sat around it. Old Bill astonished us with his ability on a blues harp (a small harmonica). I didn’t know it could be played like this – it sounded like 3 people playing it.

There was a diesel-driven pump that Bill used to fill his water tank which was nearly empty. It had become buried in sand  during recent flooding of the Thompson River. Bruce and I dug it out and, much to our amazement, were able to start it and fill Bill’s tank again.

One day Liz decided to build a Raku kiln from the fire-bricks used to line the on-site cupola furnace. We left peep-holes so she could observe the pyrometric cones she’d brought along to ensure the right temperature. Bruce and I chopped wood madly for hours  and Liz, looking at the cones through to peep-holes kept calling for more. When at last we retrieved the bits and pieces of pottery from the kiln, it was all burnt. So much for pyrometric cones!

Once, when the river was very low, we waded across it to investigate the Coopers Creek hotel. It had no-one living it; but was still in pretty good nick and wouldn’t have required much effort to make it able to accommodate a few people.

Another day we had another geologist friend who stayed with us: John Raivars. He was working on Thompson River dam which  was being built at the time. The kids thought he was wonderful because of his ability to name rocks and were constantly picking up rocks for him to identify. “That, my boy”, he would say solemnly, “Is what we geologists call Rock Stone“. The kids would run off – happy with their new-found knowledge. Another time, he showed us a photograph of man’s first attempt to fly a 200 tonne truck. Apparently one of these trucks ran over the edge of the dam wall. The driver managed to jump out in time; but it ended up landing fair and square on a Foreman’s ute reducing it to a white line about an inch thick. The workers were delighted.”



‘Men’s Shed’ Research Update: all articles 2015- July 2016


Men’s Shed Research Published Internationally, 2015 to mid 2016

Adjunct Professor Barry Golding

The Men’s Shed Movement: The Company of Men book published in 2015 (Barry Golding, Ed: Champaign: Common Ground) lists all literature (103 total articles) about Men’s Sheds published between 1995 and 2014 (Table 9, pages 423-421).

The table below lists all literature (21 articles: 18 published in 2015, 3 published to July 2016) published in the 18 months between January 2015 and July 2016 thatincludes ‘Men’s Shed’ in the title. The table, sorted by first Author uses the same categorisation of articles as in Barry Golding’s Men’s Shed Movement (2015) book.

If anyone is aware of research articles that have been published but are not included in his book or this updated list, please advise Barry Golding

 Published Men’s Shed-related Articles, January 2015 to July 2016 
AUTHORS Article & Publication details Study Type & Data Source Year Status
Ang, S., Cavanagh, J., Southcombe, A., Bartram, T., Marjoribanks, T. & McNeil, N. ‘Human resource management, social connectedness and health and well-being of older and retired men: The role of Men’s Sheds’. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, pp.1-31. M: Australian survey, 200+ Men’s Shed; 419 shedder responses, 162 Shed leaders. 2015 A*
Carragher, L. Golding, B. ‘Older Men as Learners: Irish Men’s Sheds as an Intervention’, Adult Education Quarterly, 1-17, On line. 0741713615570894. D: Irish empirical research, 30 Men’s Sheds, Ireland. 2015 A* 1
Cavanagh, J., Shaw, A. & Bartram, T. ‘An investigation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men’s learning through Men’s Sheds in Australia’. Australian Aboriginal Studies, (1), pp.55-67. I: 15 men’s groups, 45 men. 2016 A*
Cordier, R., Wilson, N., Stancliffe, R., MacCallum, J., Vaz, S., Buchanan, A., Ciccarelli, M. & Falkmer, T. ‘Formal intergenerational mentoring at Australian Men’s Sheds: A targeted survey about mentees, mentors, programmes and quality’. Health & Social Care in the Community. M: 40 Australian Men’s Sheds, 387 mentees. 2015 A* 1
Culph, J., Wilson, N., Cordier, R. & Stancliffe, R. ‘Men’s Sheds and the experience of depression in older Australian men’. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 62(5), pp.306-315. H: 12 men, 3 Australian Men’s Sheds. 2015 A* 3
Ford, S., Scholz, B. & Lu, V. ‘Social shedding: Identification and health of men’s sheds users’. Health Psychology, 34(7), p.775-778 H: Survey, 322 Australian shedders. 2015 A* 2
Golding, B. ‘Men learning through life (and Men’s Sheds)’. Adult Learning, 26(4), p.170. L, C: Literature-based. 2015 A*
Golding, B. (Ed.) The men’s shed movement: The company of men. Champaign: Illinois C, O, R: History & Scoping of Men’s Sheds internationally. 2015 Book
Golding, B. & Carragher, L. ‘Community Men’s Sheds and Informal Learning: An Exploration of their Gendered Roles’, in J. Ostrouch-Kaminska & C. Vieira, Private World(s): Gender and Informal Learning of Adults. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. C: Australian & Irish empirical research from multiple Men’s Sheds. 2015 B
Hansji, N., Wilson, N. & Cordier, R. ‘Men’s Sheds: Enabling environments for Australian men living with and without long‐term disabilities’. Health & Social Care in the Community, 23(3), pp.272-281. D: On Australian Men’s Shed, 12 interviews. 2015 A* 9
md consulting Learning about Community Capacity Building from the Spread of Men’s Sheds in Scotland. Dungarven: md consulting. B: Scoping study, 42 Sheds, Scotland. 2015 B
Milligan, C., Neary, D., Payne, S. et al. ‘Older Men and Social Activity: A Scoping Review of Men’s Sheds and other Gendered Interventions’, Aging and Society, 1-29. R: Critical review of 31 Men’s Sheds papers. 2015 A* 2
Milligan, C., Payne, S., Bingley, A. et al. ‘Place and Wellbeing: Shedding Light in Activity Interventions for Older Men’, Ageing and Society, 35 (1), (published on line Aug 2013). P: Program evaluation, Mixed method, 3 Sheds, UK. 2015 A*
Misan, G. & Oosterbroek, C. ‘South Australian Men’s Sheds: Who, what and why?’ New Male Studies, 42 South Australian Men’s Sheds, 163 shedders. 2015 A
Moylan, M., Carey, L., Blackburn, R. & Hayes, R. ‘The Men’s Shed: Providing biopsychosocial and spiritual support’. Journal of Religion and Health, 54(1), pp.221-234. O: One Men’s Shed, Melbourne, interviews, 21 men 2015 A* 6
Schroeder, J, Sowden, J. & Watt, J. Social Return on Investment: The Westhill and District Men’s Shed, Scotland, Scottish Men’s Sheds Association. S: Case study, one Scottish Men’s Shed. 2015 R
Southcombe, A., Cavanagh, J. & Bartram, T. ‘Retired men and Men’s Sheds in Australia’. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 36(8), pp.972-989. M: Interviews, Australian Men’s Shed groups 2015 A*
Waling, A & Fildes, D. Don’t fix what ain’t broke’: evaluating the effectiveness of a Men’s Shed in inner‐regional Australia. Health & Social Care in the Community. Online 20 June 2016. DOI: 10.1111/hsc.12365. H: One Australian Men’s Shed, 22 surveys, 20 interviews. 2016 A*
Wilson, N., Cordier, R., Doma, K., Misan, G. & Vaz, S., ‘Men’s Sheds function and philosophy: Towards a framework for future research and men’s health promotion’. Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 26(2), pp.133-141. H: International Men’s Shed online survey. 2015 A* 3
Wilson, N., Cordier, R., Parsons, R., Vaz, S. & Buchanan, A. ‘Men with disabilities: A cross sectional survey of health promotion, social inclusion and participation at community Men’s Sheds’. Disability and Health Journal, 9(1), pp.118-126. D: International Men’s Shed online survey. 2016 A*
Wilson, N., Stancliffe, R., Gambin, N., Craig, D., Bigby, C. and Balandin, S. ‘A case study about the supported participation of older men with lifelong disability at Australian community-based Men’s Sheds’. Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 40(4), pp.330-341. C/D: 9 Older shedders. 2015 A* 2

KEY: Status’ column: A: Published Journal article (* indicates peer review); B: Reports, book chapters or thesis; C: Conference paper; D: Evaluation document; E: Other. The number indicates how often the article had been cited to 21 July 2016. ‘Study Type & Data Source’ column: First letter indicates the main themes explored in the article: C: Critical; L: Learning; D: Disability; H: Health; I: Indigenous; M: Management; S Case Study; P: Program Evaluation; R: Literature review; O: Other.


Running a ruler over a Men’s Shed?

Is there a standard way of ‘running a ruler’ over a Men’s Shed?

Barry Golding

(Comments are Welcome)

Governments and other funding bodies would really like to be able to have a standard ‘Quality Assurance’ or ‘Outcome Framework’, in effect to ‘run a ruler’ over a Men’s Shed and check whether it is ‘up to scratch’. This brief article provides a possible, reasonably simple response about what such a framework might look like, and have ‘at its core’. I also urges some caution.

As all shedders know there is no one right way to run a ruler over anything. Whichever direction or dimension you measure, it will come up with a different answer. So too it is with a Men’s Shed.

So which basic dimensions of Men’s Sheds are most valuable?

I suggest two simple ways of ‘running a ruler’ over a Men’s Shed to ensure it provides quality outcomes for men and the community. Both can be asked as simple questions, and apply no matter where and what the main purpose or activity happens in the Shed.

  1. “To what extent is the Men’s Shed inclusive and welcoming of all men?”

The main reason this question is important is that social isolation is the most important factor affecting health and wellbeing, at any age and in any situation. If a Men’s Shed and its shedders are not able to reach out to men from diverse background and needs, it is not fulfilling its full potential.

  1. “To what extent does the Men’s Shed work with the local community?”

This question is important because no Men’s Shed is sustainable without understanding and supporting the community, and vice versa. Grassroots community organisations reap what they sow.


  • There is no simple ‘number’ that tells you how a particular Men’s Shed measures up against either of these questions (or against other Men’s Sheds). Since all Men’s Sheds are different, ‘a one-size-fits-all’ survey or evaluation method is neither desirable not possible.
  • The two questions above might be not only asked of shedders, but also of people (men and women) in the community. The questions would be best framed as an ongoing conversation.
  • Surveys and evaluations, using these two questions as a starting point, will be most valuable if shedders are consulted from start to finish of the process.
  • It is possible to ask (and answer) other useful and informative questions about the Men’s Shed, that the Shed, the community, governments and funding organisations want answered. This is possible and desirable because Men’s Sheds, like a table or chair, have multiple dimensions. The more dimensions and outcomes you value and therefore factor in, the more you will come to understand its form and function.

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.

Buying the Men’s Shed Movement book in Australia

The book costs $40 plus $10 for postage within Australia.

if you want to order a copy send Barry Golding an email to with your preferred Postal Address. You will be sent the book with an invoice with two payment options: by BSB bank transfer or cheque.

There are two book shops where you can by a copy in Victoria. The Book Barn in Daylesford has copies for $40. Readings in Carlton has copies on sale for $59.95.


Dick McGowan: A few remarkable ‘back stories’

Barry Golding, 5 November 2015

The role the late Dick McGowan played in starting up the first Men’s Shed opened by that name in the world in Tongala, Victoria, Australia in July 1998 is covered in considerable detail in my recently published Men’s Shed Movement: The Company of Men book (14 pages, between 114 & 127). Indeed the ‘Company of Men’ idea comes directly from McGowan’s genius.

On page 123 of my book I say ‘One day someone will write more about the many other facets of Dick McGowan’. This brief account, created in advance of the Victorian launch on my book in Tongala on 16 November 2015 goes some small way towards doing this. It is based mainly on interviews and documents collected in 2015 after my Men’s Shed Movement book manuscript was finalised, including from conversations in mid 2015 with his remarkable and generous widow, Ruth McGowan. My particular thanks for much of this new information to former Gordon Dowell (who worked with Dick in Tongala, now living in Newstead, Victoria), Lynne Cooper (now in Bendigo), Alan Dureau from Tongala (who was Principal in Tongala when Dick McGowan began work there) and Rob and Olya Willis from Forbes, NSW.

Dick McGowan was a widely travelled and highly regarded concert and dance band pianist and entertainer, sometimes teaming up with Graeme Watt, a bush poet, as the Coolstore Concert Company. Dick was born in Maroubra in Sydney in 1940. He was taught piano by a nun at the school he attended in Castlemaine, Victoria and played in his first dance band at age 13. At band gigs, at dances and in venues such as the Leagues Club foyer in Moama he would persuasively talk and network with patrons to get them to support and donate to any of his many community projects.

One of the most powerful new documents to elaborate on Dick’s philosophy about the Men’s Shed, opened in his honour as the Dick McGowan Men’s Shed in July 1998 surfaced via Ruth McGowan after the text of the book had been finalised. In words typed by Dick dated 27 May 1999 and signed off as ‘The Company of Men’, McGowan used capitalisation for emphasis when he noted that the list of things that might take place in the Shed

… is endless. WE SHOULD NOT THINK OF THE SHED AS ONLY A WORK-SHOP. It is an activity centre, a meeting place, a place for discussion and argument, a place for companionship – in short a part of HOME.


Dick was two-year trained as a primary school teacher at Bendigo Teachers College in 1958-9. He was posted to schools at Tarnagulla, Kananook (Frankston) then Dingley before the family moved to Tongala as a ‘temporary move’: they had intended to move on to Wangaratta but they never made it. Dick and Ruth in married January 1963 and had nine children including two sets of twins. Their third son, Peter died at 8 and a half months while they were in Frankston. Ruth became ‘the essential rock’ at home for much of Dick’s working life. Their other children are today all grown up and spread very widely.

Dick was a highly regarded primary school teacher. An unsourced and undated newspaper cutting headed ‘Dick’s near the top of class’ noted that Mr Richard McGowan (then at Tongala Consolidated School, age 41) was being considered in the final selection of the Victorian Teacher of the Year award. The evidence cited in the article went back almost three decades before his creation of the first ever Men’s Shed. The cited evidence is reproduced verbatim below:

  • ‘His sustained innovatory approach to education over many years. That approach won him the G.S Browne Prize for outstanding educational practice and successful use of teaching methods on teaching by a classroom teacher in 1970. [then age 30]
  • His actions in seeking out and developing programs to cater for the individual needs of individual children.
  • His sustained and successful efforts to utilise resources from departmental, Commonwealth programs and community resources to further the educational and cultural opportunities for children and the community generally.
  • His efforts to develop teachers and programs within and beyond his own school.’

Dick’s first early experiment with community education for adults in Tongala was The Cottage. Created in tandem with Murray Ross, a local graphic artist, it was for many years a local activity centre opposite the Tongala Swimming Pool. Like the Men’s Shed, McGowan regarded it as a place to go and do things.

Dick was a major contributor to the creation and regional success of the Country Education Project (CEP) model in Victoria, which was still operating in 2015. McGowan wrote in 1981 that he regarded CEP as ‘a grass roots, self help scheme. According to Gordon McDowell (21 May 2015 email)

Don Edgar and Dick developed the innovative CEP [Country Education project model. If not, he certainly had the task along with Don of selling the concept around the state [of Victoria]’.

The CEP North Central Area Information Booklet from 1979 provides a brief history of CEP, which Dick McGowan was closely associated with from its inception in 1977. At one stage Dick

… was the Director of CEP under the Chairmanship of Dr Don Edgar. Within this role he advocated for and supported a wide range of education initiatives within rural and remote communities if Victoria that we often take for granted today’ (‘A rural educators contribution to the Men’s Shed Movement’, CEP Newsletter, 2015).

For eight years from 1985 Dick spearheaded the creation of a radical Conductive Education School in Tongala for children with neurological disorders. The Conductive Education model was first pioneered in Hungary and focused on young children with cerebral palsy. Whilst operating, the Tongala-based program that Lynne Cooper became an important part of ‘worked with around 150 families from all states of Australia, from New Zealand and Papua New Guinea’. In a huge advertisement thanking donors and supporters as the School was forced to close in early 1992, Dick listed over 100 individual sponsors and 150 community organisations, including 23 CWA Branches, 13 Catholic Women’s Leagues, and nine Lions Clubs that had provided support.

Dick took a 54 year 11 month ‘early departure package’ from his position as Primary School Vice Principal, as part of the aggressive Jeff Kennett-era school restructure and closure program. Kennett, to 2015 Chair of beyondblue, a national depression initiative, was the Victorian Liberal Premier from 1992 until his electoral defeat by Steve Bracks in September 1999. In the first three years of Kennett’s Premiership, 350 government schools were closed and 7,000 teaching jobs were eliminated. The campaign of privatisation and cutbacks that led to people losing their jobs was popularly known as ‘being Jeffed’. In several ways, ‘being Jeffed’ on what he described as a ‘Kennett Scholarship’ arguably spurred Dick to find ways of helping other men debilitated and not in work for a wide range of other reasons: and to the invention of his Men’s Shed in a community setting

Dick was an unwell man for much of the last decade of his life before his early death at age 59 in 1999, only one year after his remarkable Men’s Shed, effectively the first in the world, was formally opened by Sharman Stone, MHR. Dick had his first, then undiagnosed heart attack in 1981 and his second major attack in October 1997 in the period where he was working tirelessly to get his Men’s Shed funded and built. Dick also suffered from poorly managed diabetes, leading in his final year to several lower limb amputations and restriction to a wheelchair.

A ‘testimonial celebration’ including a concert and dinner was held for Dick and Ruth in their honour in April-May 1999. In thanking the Tongala community for their thoughtfulness and generosity on 15 May 1999, Dick noted that the move to Tongala had been ‘the move of a lifetime’, and selflessly said, “Friends, without you there would be no past; without you there would be no future.” Ruth McGowan remarked in a 2015 interview with Rob and Olya Willis for the National Sound Archives in Canberra that a lot of what Dick wanted to do with and for the Men’s Shed in Tongala did not happen because of his heart attack. If only Dick knew what he had started.

As a final postscript, a small group of older Tongala men that dubbed themselves ‘The Bike Brigade’ regularly rode their bicycles to the Men’s Shed with Hec Macleod as their leader. Gordon, Cox who died at age 102, rode his bike to the Men’s Shed until he was 95. Bert Andrews, a returned serviceman from the Second World War was the only member of the Men’s Shed Bike Brigade surviving to May 2015.


Golding, B. (Ed.) (2015) The Men’s Shed Movement, The Company of Men. Champaign: Common Ground Publishing.

if you have any information that can help enhance (or correct) any of this brief and partial account of Dick McGowan’s life and community contributions, please contact Barry Golding.

Tongala Celebration of the World’s First Men’s Shed, 16 Nov 2015, 1pm

‘Bringing it all Back Home’, Book Launch, 16 November, 2015,

Tongala Men’s Shed, Tongala, Victoria, Australia


The ‘Tongala Men’s Shed’, originally 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 oldest Men’s Shed opened by that name in a community setting anywhere in the world.

Below is a press cutting from December 1997 confirming receipt of a grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs to establish a Men’s Shed in Tongala.


With 1,500 Sheds open globally, 30 per cent of which are outside of Australia, the Men’s Shed in Tongala, opened as The Dick McGowan Men’s Shed in Dick’s honour was indeed a ‘Great Beginning’, as the late Dick McGowan wrote in 1998.

It is fitting that the celebratory launch of the first definitive book about the now international Movement is taking place in the first ever Men’s Shed. Dr Sharman Stone, Member for Murray who launched in the Shed over 17 years ago has generously agreed to return to launch the book. In many senses, this event is a celebration.

This public opening, to which everyone is welcome, celebrates the role and impact of all previous and current Victorian Men’s Sheds, and welcomes several early and very influential people involved in Men’s Sheds and the Movement in Victoria.

This gathering and celebration of the Shed has been organised by the Victorian Men’s Shed Association (VMSA) in collaboration with the Tongala Aged Care Centre, with the support of the broader Tongala community and the Victorian shedder community.

Our 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, former President of the Victorian Men’s Shed Association from Mansfield has been invited to act as MC.

Many Men’s Sheds across Victoria  have indicated their intention of participating in this historic event. Any Sheds in nearby southern New South Wales are also most welcome.

Some copies of the ‘Men’s Shed Movement’ book will be 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, email with a preferred postal address. Payment is by invoice, via BSB bank transfer or cheque.


Public Book Launch and Unveiling of a Commemorative Plaque


  • 1.00pm Welcome Cuppa
    • 1.30pm Acknowledgement of Country and Welcome (MC Paul Sladdin, Board Member, AMSA)
    • 1.35pm Welcome to Tongala Aged Care Centre (Jean Courtney)
    • 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).
    • 2.20pm Address and book launch (Dr Sharman Stone. MHR, Member for Murray).
    • 2.40pm Unveiling of The Dick McGowan Men’s Shed, commemorative plaque (Ruth McGowan).
    • 2.50pm ‘The important role of VMSA and AMSA in shaping the national Men’s Shed Movement’ (Paul Sladdin)
    • 3.00pm Afternoon Tea.
    • 3.00pm CLOSE

Sincere Thanks to:

  • Tongala Aged Care Centre (Jean Courtney & Sara Tee).
  • Dr Sharman Stone, MHR, Member for Murray.
  • Victorian Men’s Shed Association (Ric Blackburn CEO & Phil Keily, President)
  • Australian Men’s Shed Association (David Helmers, CEO & Board Member, Paul Sladdin).
  • Tongala Men’s Shed.
  • All Men’s Sheds participating in the Tongala event.
  • Stephen Dunn (CEO, Adult Learning Australia).
  • Ruth McGowan, Tongala.
  • Federation University Australia, Ballarat (Barry Golding).
  • Chris Bettle (Canberra).

Goolwa ‘Celebrate The Shed’ Event 30 Oct 2015



Thanks to the Alexandrina  Centre for Positive Ageing via Beth Moore, the ‘Celebrate The Shed’ event in Goolwa, South Australia on 30 October was very successful.


Men participated from Murray Malle Men’s Shed, Murray Bridge, Tintinara Community Men’s Shed, Tea Tree Gully Men’s Shed, Mount Prospect Men’s Shed, Nurioopta Men’s Shed, Playford Men’s Shed, Strathalbyn Wood Shed, Aldinga Community Centre, Encounter Centre and Victor Harbor Men’s Shed. We took a photo outside The Shed as below.


Maureen Kitto-Chaseling generously came all the way from Brisbane to return to ‘The Shed’ that she pioneered with the assistance of the late Ras Stokes in July 1993. A photo of The Shed with Ras’ Retreat alongside is below.


Maxine did a formal South Australian launch of Barry Golding’s Men’s Shed Movement book . The great story behind The Shed’s establishment is in ‘The Men’s Shed Movement’ book. Maxine’s stories were generous and uplifting for the 70 people who participated.

A plaque was unveiled on the end of the day by Councillor Tuckwell from there Alexandrina Council acknowledging The Shed as the first community Shed for men opened by that name in the world.

John Evoy, founding CEO of the Irish Men’s Sheds Association, and 2015 recipient of ‘The Ted Donnelly Award’ and David Helmers, CEO of Australian Men’s Shed Association drove across from Newcastle, New South Wales for the event.


Mark Thomson, from the Institute of Backyard Studies and author of several influential books about men and backyard sheds from 1995 also generously contributed to the program and supplied several photos including the one of John Evoy and Barry Golding, above.

Thanks finally to South Australian Men’s Shed Association via Bryce Routley for publicising and supporting the event.

Reviews of Men’s Shed Movement book


James Sutherland, Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin, New Zealand

‘The detail and scope of the ‘The Men’s Shed Movement: The Company of Men’ is extremely impressive. From the perspective of a New Zealand based researcher, this book has provided a wealth of information about the development of the Men’s Shed movement, and how it has benefited those involved. It situates the Shed I’m involved with, The Taieri Blokes Shed, within the scope of a wider entity. I would recommend this book as an essential purchase for any Men’s Shed bookcase.’

Emale, Men’s Health Magazine, October 2015

‘…  Barry’s book is a truly amazing work, detailing the history of men’s sheds in Australia and globally. He notes how the “men’s shed movement” in Australia was supported by the Australian Men’s Health Forum’s National Conferences which “provided an important point of contact between men’s health workers and those working in the growing Men’s Shed space for almost two decades.” The final chapter of this massive work looks at issues, trends and possibilities for the future of men’s sheds. I found this chapter the most engrossing as he suggests “this book provides evidence that, aside from the benefits of Men’s Sheds to men’s health and wellbeing, there are numerous social justice benefits of working with men and boys, exposing boys and men to traditionally masculine and non-masculine knowledges, improving their relationships with other humans, including women and other men, and thereby establishing a more just society”. This is a masterful work and a book that all people who have an interest in men and social justice should read. It has something for everyone – a bit like most sheds do.”

Dr Rob Mark, Ireland :

“Along  with Men learning through life (2014),  this is another very useful book which demonstrates how a focus on men’s learning can bring very many different benefits not only to the men themselves, but to their families and communities. It demonstrates how lifelong learning empowers individuals to make a difference in their personal and home/community life. It provides further evidence of the value in supporting men’s learning in non-traditional learning contexts.”

[Honorary Secretary, Universities Association for Lifelong Learning (UALL) UK; Editor, The Adult Learner Journal; Honorary Research Fellow, School of Education , University of Strathclyde, Glasgow; Honorary Research Fellow, Higher Education Research Centre, Dublin City University.]

“Reading it now. Great survey, lots of insights. Very useful”, Roger Spicer, (Halswell Menzshed Christcurch, New Zealand).

If you or others  are interested in reviewing the book, please contact  Barry Golding and request a copy, confirming where the review would appear.

Men’s Sheds in Denmark and Sweden


imageMaens Modesteder in Swedish, literally

‘Men’s Meeting  Place, in English.

in Stevns, Denmark, officially opened 15 September 2015, one of nine sites where ‘Men’s Shed’ type organisations are being established, based on the Australian concept, with a ‘Danish cultural twist’.


‘Shedders’ in the Stevns Maens Modesteder after the opening.

Shed  i Malmo


Established in Malmö, Sweden by expatriate Australian Will English (in black sweater) and friends. Photo taken by Barry Golding, 14 September 2015


The Men’s Shed Movement: The Company of Men, BOOK DETAIL



Barry Golding’s most recent (2015) research and writing project:

The Men’s Shed Movement: The Company of Men

Common Ground Publishing, Champaign, Illinois,  published August 2015

This book tells the story of how men’s sheds actually got a foothold in community spaces, originally in Australia, and how it has become a Movement in several other countries. There are many myths, legends and quite a few half truths. There is an ongoing debate about ‘which sheds were first’.  My short answer before writing the book has been that wherever a new shed pops up, it is always first in some way, and certainly the first in that location or community to meet the needs of the men whose unique interests and need to ‘do stuff’ together (whatever that stuff might be), for the good of other men and the community.

I have sometimes joked that akin to ‘Aladdin and his Lamp’, someone rubbed the lamp and the first community Men Shed popped out. The real story in the book is much more interesting, and has diverse and fascinating strands, many of them starting to come together as community -‘Sheds’ in rural South Australia in the 1990s, a few years before the first named ‘Men’s Sheds’ opened in Tongala (Victoria) and Lane Cove in New South Wales (in July and December in 1998 respectively), with others appearing in Port Augusta and Bendigo during 1999.

There were only around 30 Men’s Sheds in the world a decade ago (before 2005). By May 2015 there were 1,416 Men’s Sheds open globally. All are mapped and listed by name in the book. The list includes 933 Men’s Sheds in Australia, 273 across the Island of Ireland (including 16 in Northern Ireland), 148 elsewhere in the UK (England, Scotland and Wales) and 57 in New Zealand. By September 2015 several Men’s Sheds, with an appropriate cultural accommodation) were open in Denmark (called Maens Modesteder) and Sweden (in Malmö) and at least five were open in Canada.

Part II  of the book  provides a carefully researched ‘Community Men’s Shed History’, explaining  how Men’s Sheds originated and  spread, first   in Australia, then across Ireland, the UK and New Zealand as well as very recently to Canada, Denmark and Sweden.  Part 3  illustrates  the remarkable ‘Men’s Shed Innovation and Diversity’ using national case studies. Part IV summarises the research evidence about participants and outcomes, explains its implications for shed practice and identifies some current trends an future possibilities.

Generous assistance and information have been provided by each of the four main national men’s shed associations, particularly from David Helmers and Ted Donnelly (AMSA in Australia), Mike Jenn (UKMSA in the UK),  Anne McDonnell and John Evoy (IMSA in Ireland) and Neil Bruce and MENZSHED NZ in New Zealand. This new book about The Men’s Shed Movement includes brief histories of some of the earliest sheds in each country. In an attempt to give readers an idea of the depth and breadth sheds and shedder practice, the book also documents sheds that have been particularly ‘innovative’ or ‘remarkable’, as well as those that are quite recent (opened post 2010) and that might be regarded as ‘new or cutting edge’.

The book was published in August 2015 (by Common Ground Publishing in Champaign, Illinois in the US). It will be formally launched in Europe at ESREA Research conferences in Belgrade, Serbia and Jonkoping Sweden on 10 and 15 October,  as well as at AMSA’s Australian Men’s Shed Conference, in Newcastle on 19 October 2015.

A special, Victorian and local public book  launch, called ‘Bringing it all back home’  will take place in the Tongala Men’s Shed, on 16 November  at 1pm, just over 17 years after the first Men’s Shed was launched there in July 1998. Dr Sharman Stone, MHR for Murray who originally opened the shed as The Dick McGowan Men’s Shed is returning to launch the book. The event is supported by VMSA and AMSA and hosted by the Tongala Aged Care Centre that auspices the Men’s She. The event is open to the public and shedders are particularly welcome.

A one day event organised by SAMSA and hosted by the Alexandrina Centre in Goolwa, South Australia on 30 October, A Celebration of the Shed, will celebrate the role of many early South Australian Sheds, including ‘The Shed’ in Goolwa, opened there  in February 1993. David Helmers, AMSA CEO and John Evoy, Founding CEO of the Irish Men’s Shed Assocation are also participating, as well as Mark Thomson, well known Blokes and Sheds author. It will conclude with the South Australian launch of the book and unveiling of a plaque to commemorate The Shed, opened in 1993: the first ever opened by that name in a community setting 22 years ago. Maxine Chaseling (formerly Kitto) who played an important founding role is returning to Goolwa for the event. This event is also welcome to the public and is being supported by several regional South Australian Men’s Sheds.

The book’s completion and launch takes place a decade after the first national Men’s Shed Conference in Lakes Entrance, Victoria, Australia in 2005, and only around two decades after the first handful of community Sheds  began to emerge in, mainly in rural South Australia from 1993 (until late 1998 without ‘Men’ in the organisation title).  If that whets your appetite, you will likely enjoy the book. …

The writing and researching has been made possible by the generosity of spirit of many Men’s Sheds, passionate and experienced shed practitioners (‘shedders’) and experts across several nations. Many people have been keen to get this untold story out: about community Men’s Shed history, innovation and diversity as well as evidence of impact, as summarised in the Chapter headings, below.

Book cost via Common Ground Website US$30, Ebook US$10, Postage Extra.

Cost in Australia, purchased or ordered via Barry Golding, A$40, postage within Australia A$10 extra for between one and four books (posted to New Zealand, A$63): for orders and payment options, contact


Chapter 1: Nailing down the Men’s Shed basics


  • Chapter 2: Coming out of the backyard shed in Australia
  • Chapter 3: Early Australian Men’s Sheds and state associations
  • Chapter 4: The Men’s Shed Movement in Australia
  • Chapter 5: The Men’s Shed Movements in Ireland, the UK & New Zealand & Elsewhere


  • Chapter 6: Australian Men’s Sheds
  • Chapter 7: Irish Men’s Sheds (John Evoy, Anne Mcdonnell & Barry Golding)
  • Chapter 8: UK Men’s Sheds ( Barry Golding & Mike Jenn)
  • Chapter 9: New Zealand Men’s Sheds (Barry Golding & Neil Bruce)


  • Chapter 10:  Research evidence from Men’s Sheds
  • Chapter 11 Men’s Shed theory and practice
  • Chapter 12: Men’s shed issues, trends & possibilities

The book’s Appendix includes a list all 1,416 community Men’s Sheds open globally to May 2015 and the 100+ articles published about Men’s Sheds.

Are you interested to learn more about this remarkable Men’s Shed Movement globally?

 Are you interested to know more about Men’s Shed innovation and diversity in community settings in four countries Australia, Ireland, the UK and New Zealand, all with active national Movements?

 Do you want to read about how and where the Movement started, who was involved, and how and where the Movement has spread globally?

 Are you interested to learn from the experience of over 80 diverse Men’s Sheds in four countries?

 Do you want to know how and why over 1,400 diverse Men’s Sheds organisations are already embraced by men and communities across the world?

 Then this book is for you

This 454 page book documents for the first time (with evidence):

  • how and why the first community Sheds were created in South Australia during the 1990s
  • the fascinating ‘birth’ of the first ‘Men’s Sheds’ elsewhere in Australia during 1998-9
  • the way the first early Men’s Sheds joined up, the Movement gained traction, forming national and state associations in Australia in the following decade
  • how Sheds have quite recently (since 2008) ‘escaped’ to and thrived in Ireland, the UK and New Zealand, to form robust, new national associations
  • what research says about the value and impact of community Men’ Sheds including men’s experiences as ‘shedders’.

 This book includes:

  • 11 national (Australian, Irish, UK and NZ) maps, 6 Australian state maps plus a list of all 1,416 community Men’s Sheds open globally to mid-2015
  • 35 photographs plus 15 historic documents from early Men’s Sheds globally.
  • a list and analysis of over 100 research articles about Men’s Sheds
  • 92 Shed and Men’s Shed case studies, one half from Australia, with around 15 each from Ireland, the UK and New Zealand
  • 45 ‘early’ Men’s Shed case studies, plus 15 ‘innovative’ case studies, 16 ‘remarkable’ case studies and 15 ‘new or cutting edge’ case studies across four countries
  • serious consideration of issues, trends and possibilities for Men’s Sheds globally.

This major, independent piece of global scholarship includes:

  • endorsement by the four national Men’s Sheds associations: in Australia (AMSA), Ireland (IMSA), the UK (UKMSA) and New Zealand (MENZSHED NZ). All assisted with the histories and case studies and contributed to the preface, as well as with the writing and checking of the four national chapters.
  • co-authorship of the Irish chapter by John Evoy, foundation CEO of IMSA (assisted by Anne McDonnell); of the UK chapter by Mike Jenn, founder of UKMSA, and the New Zealand chapter by Dr Neil Bruce, a foundation Board Member of MENZSHED NZ
  • endorsement by Mark Thomson, well known Australian author of several books about backyard and personal men’s sheds starting with Blokes and Sheds in 1995.

Endorsements of The Men’s Shed Movement Book

Mark Thomson: Widely published author about Australian (backyard) sheds since Blokes and Sheds (1995):

The Men’s Shed Movement book charts the rise of a remarkable social Movement from its unlikely origins in the backyards and streets of Australia to a global trend. As an insider in the creation of an immense network of community Sheds and meeting places, Barry Golding brings a unique perspective to a fascinating story. He reveals the immense untapped potential that lies within the grasp of ordinary citizens looking for connection and involvement in modern life and how they organized themselves into a powerful social force. The best part is that the Men’s Shed story is still evolving. A timely and useful history.

Ted Donnelly: Founder of the best known early Men’s Shed in Australia in Lane Cove, Sydney, Australia, first President of the Australian Men’s Shed Association and widely respected ‘Grandfather’ of Men’s Sheds:

Although Men’s Sheds have existed for a relatively short time there are many different versions of their history, because accurate factual information has not been available. This book, which for the first time definitively details and analyses the growth and development of Sheds in Australia, and now overseas, is very timely. Nobody is more qualified to write it than Barry Golding. Barry’s research into Men’s Sheds from their earliest days has given him a very wide range of contacts and information to access the data for this book. He has meticulously verified his data with the key people who were involved in the early development stages using original documents. The work that Barry has put into this book is impressive. This will become a very valuable resource for all involved in any way with Men’s Sheds.

 David Helmers: CEO of Australian Men’s Shed Association (AMSA):

This important book confirms that Men’s Sheds in community settings did not happen overnight. It does three things. Firstly, it carefully honours and acknowledges the early Men’s Shed ‘pioneers’ in Australia and other countries that the Movement has since spread to. Secondly, it charts the incredible diversity of Men’s Sheds. Thirdly, it considers the emerging evidence base about the wider value of the Movement and Men’s Sheds to men and the wider community. It is very important after two decades to accurately tell this story: about how and where it happened, why it happened, who participates and with what benefits, as well as where this remarkable international Movement might now be headed. This knowledge is very important and timely for the future of Men’s Sheds.

 John Evoy: to early 2015, Founding CEO Irish Men’s Sheds Association (IMSA):

On behalf of the Shedders from across the Island of Ireland I would like to thank and congratulate our friend, Barry Golding, on the creation of this very valuable and insightful resource. It diligently outlines the growth and development of the Men’s Sheds Movement across the globe. The arrival of Men’s Sheds in Ireland was perfectly timed in terms of helping us manage some of the challenges we faced economically over the last number of years. This book outlines their evolution here including the tremendous support and guidance we received from our Australian friends who blazed a trail that we followed.

 Mike Jenn: President of UK Men’s Sheds Association (UKMSA) and founder of the Camden Town Men’s Shed in London, the first ‘grassroots’ Men’s Shed in the UK:

Men’s Sheds have hit a nail on the head in a very timely and powerful way. The nail in this case is the need many men feel, particularly following retirement, to recreate critically important aspects of their former workplaces: particularly the social interaction, having a purpose, being able to learn and share experiences, as well as engage with tools, materials and ideas. This book documents how men and women have got together and created the resources and facilities needed. It chronicles how the idea has spread across the world, with remarkable success, and how the Men’s Shed Movement has continued to evolve and develop. This book greatly informs and assists with this process.

Ray Hall: President of MENZSHED New Zealand:

MENZSHED NZ acknowledges the value of this timely book, which carefully places the Men’s Shed Movement, including its development in New Zealand in the past decade, in its wider international context. It illustrates what has been achieved in New Zealand, when the simple but powerful concept of a Men’s Shed in a community setting has been picked up, developed and implemented by a wide range of community groups. It charts the remarkable and rapid spread of Men’s Sheds across New Zealand, achieved through the efforts of both men and women, mostly volunteers, working by establishing trusts or incorporated societies, gaining charitable status, getting building approvals and bringing together potential shedders. This has been achieved in the absence of central government funding, but supported by local councils and providers of community funding, acknowledging the huge value and potential benefits.

Author and Editor, Professor Barry Golding

  • is an Adjunct Professor of Education in the Faculty of Education and Arts, Federation University Australia, Ballarat.
  • has extensive research experience in all adult learning sectors.
  • is a world expert on informal learning by men through participation in community organisations (see Men Learning through Life, 2014, NIACE)
  • has completed many national and international studies of men’s learning and wellbeing through community participation particularly through men’s sheds
  • is the most widely published and cited author (of 33 research publications) about Men’s Sheds, one third of the global total.
  • is honorary Patron of the Australian Men’s Shed Association.
  • is a Board Member and past President of Adult Learning Australia.



Past lives

Some Past Lives …

  • B. J  Golding, B Sc (Geology) Honours Thesis, University of Melbourne, 1972,  Lower Devonian Stratigraphy of the Walhalla-Moondarra Area.
  • Founding  member of Mulga Bill’s Bicycle Band. Vocalist, guitarist and lagerphone player. The seven to eight member band played in many towns and cities in all states and territories in Australia between 1972-6 including with State Arts Councils. It represented Australia at the World Cup Soccer Finals Opening Concert, Frankfurt, (then) West Germany in 1974.
  • Master of Environmental Science Thesis, Monash University, Use of artificial hollows by mammals and birds in the Wombat Forest, Daylesford, Victoria, Feb 1979.
  • Chair, Ballarat Regional Conservation Strategy to 1991. Ballarat’s original conservation strategy was one of the first conservation strategies of its kind in Australia, making Ballarat a leader in the field of environmental planning at the time.
  • Messmate Eucalyptus obliqua
    Messmate Eucalyptus obliqua. University of Coimbra Botanical Gardens, Portugal, October 2013

‘Men learning through life’ NIACE book released in 2014

“280 page book, Men learning through life (prices and order details in Great Britain Pounds), now published by NIACE in the UK in Feb 2014, launched in UK and Ireland late February, for launch in Australia 23/24 April.

Flyers about the book with information to order copies are also available for other countries:

Extracts from two recent reviews:

‘ A useful book providing a theoretical background plus practical suggestions to enhance teaching and learning options for males outside formal settings.‘ (Matt Bennett)  The Australian TAFE Teacher Winter 2014.

I have pondered why we have been so slow to look beyond classrooms for places to engage with learners. So this is a book I have been waiting to read and it does not disappoint,

This is an important and refreshing book that urges us to take male friendly learning places seriously. But it does more than this. It gives both research evidence and concrete examples how this can be done, and is being done in Australia and internationally. …. These spaces give men a place to feel safe and be themselves, surely we want this for all our learners.’ Fine Print (VALBEC)  2014, Vol. 37 #2 (Pauline O’Malley, Australia).

‘Men Learning through Life’ ….does make a significant contribution to our understanding of men’s learning in informal settings. It is a useful book for someone who has an interest in how we can make men’s leaning more successful, and how we can encourage more men into ongoing learning. Book Review, ACE Aotearoa Summer Newsletter 2014, p. 12 (Peter McNeur, New Zealand).

The book is edited by Professor Barry Golding ( Federation University Australia), Dr Rob Mark  (University of Strathclyde, Scotland) & Dr Annette Foley (Federation University Australia) with contributed national chapters including eleven other researchers across seven world nations.

2014 Launch dates  (those editors and Chapter authors attending are indicated):


21 Feb University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland (Barry Golding, Rob Mark, John Evoy)


  • 25 Feb The Oak Room, the Mansion House, Dublin, Ireland info here , a men’s shed networking event and book launch, Ireland, coordinated by the Irish Men’s Sheds Association (Barry Golding, Rob Mark, Lucia Carragher & John Evoy)
  • 2pm 27 Feb (Thursday) Belfast, Northern Ireland, after the WEA ‘Man Matters’ Forum in Crumlin Gaol (Barry Golding, Rob Mark, Lucia Carragher).


  • Centre for Ageing Research, Lancaster University, England, Thursday 20 February 2014 (Barry Golding)
  • Monday 31st March 2014, at a Conference on ‘A Socially Mobile Scotland?’ Social Mobility and Widening Access to Higher Education in Scotland: Policy, Practice and Research. (Rob Mark)
  • 11-12 April, at the  The  University  Association for Lifelong Learning (UALL) annual Conference. in London.


  • Wednesday 23 April 2014, hosted by Federation University Australia (Barry Golding, Rob Mark, Annette Foley), with Prof John McDonald officiating and The Hon Steve Bracks, ex Premier of Victoria conducting the launch. Post Office Gallery, corner Sturt & Lydiard Streets, Ballarat
  • in Melbourne  as part of a Forum on ‘Learning and wellbeing across the generations’ at the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Brunswick (Father Tucker’s Room, 49 Brunswick Street) (Barry Golding, Rob Mark, Annette Foley).

Men learning through life Book Outline

Contributed national chapters are  from Ireland (Dr Lucia Carragher, John Evoy & Dr Rob Mark), UK (Dr Rob Mark & Jim Soulsby), Portugal (Dr António Fragoso, Dr João Filipe Marques & Milene Lança), Greece  (Dr George K. Zarifis),  China (Professor Tingyan Zhao, Dr Aijing Jin, Liang Hua & Prof Barry Golding), Australia (Professor Barry Golding) and New Zealand (Professor Brian Findsen).

Part 1, comprising most of the first half of the book (Chapters 1 to 8) introduces and critically analyses some of the international research evidence surrounding men’s learning. An introductory Chapter 1 provides a broad rationale and theoretical framework for analysing men’s learning. The balance of the Chapters in Part 1 are organised around themes relating to men’s learning. Specifically, these chapters discuss men’s learning: in international settings (Chapter 2), as it relates to learning and health and wellbeing (Chapter 3, Professor John Macdonald) and men’s literacies (Chapter 4, Rob Mark). Given the contested nature of ‘men’s turn to learn’ arguments, Chapter 5 makes a case for some places and spaces for men’s learning for men, particularly for those men beyond paid work (Chapter 6, Annette Foley), at different ages and stages (Chapter 7, Annette Foley & Barry Golding) and through men’s sheds in community settings (Chapter 8, Barry Golding).

Part 2 includes seven chapters (Chapter 9 to 15), each focused on aspects of men’s learning across seven nations located in three continents: in Europe (UK, Ireland, Portugal, Greece), Australasia (Australia and New Zealand) and Asia (China). Each chapter, contributed or led by researchers based in those nations, is framed around recent research evidence that points towards practical initiatives and policies that increases men’s level of engagement in learning in that national context. Given our book’s theme, Men Learning Through Life, Part 2 seeks to identify new, practical and creative ways of working and engaging men of all ages. Several of these Chapters point to new ways of involving men in communities of practice as active participants in shaping their own learning.

Each of the seven national Chapters in Part 2 has been written around four broad research questions, but customised by diverse researchers using different theoretical perspectives, as appropriate to very diverse national contexts and available data.

  1. • What prevailing socio-cultural factors affect men and their learning?
  2. • What is the current learning and wellbeing situation for men?
  3. • What practical initiatives encourage men’s learning?
  4. • In what ways are policy, practice and research shaped to accommodate men’s learning?

The book’s three editors contribute the final Chapter 16. It includes a discussion and conclusions. It seeks to identify and summarise what can be said about policy, practice and research into men’s learning in the international context. It also identifies examples of good policies or practices in men’s learning that can be shared in the international arena.

How I come to live where I live 2013

Professor Barry Golding, Kingston


‘Personality of the Month’ article for Creswick and District News, April 2013



Barry Golding recalls driving through Kingston each day in the late 1970s on the way to work from home in a rented farmhouse at Kooroocheang, to Sacred Heart College in Ballarat East. The then Shire of Creswick called for public tenders for the sale of their Shire Hall in Kingston, which by that stage was in a very sad state. The back part of the building, built with triple-thickness, hand-made bricks dates back to 1860. Built by the Creswick and District Roads Board with John Hepburn then on the Board, the current 1911 ‘Creswick Shire Hall’ façade and new hall was added in 1911. By 1948 the Shire and Borough of Creswick had amalgamated and its administration had moved back to Creswick.


After being gutted internally for a post-war factory (that did not eventuate) and used as a local youth club, the hall interior was subject to vandalism and excess to Shire needs by the late 1970s. When Barry’s late father, Jack saw the building after Barry won the tender and paid a now small amount of cash for the building, Jack said it would cost too much to bulldoze. Barry put back windows, doors and internal walls that had been removed, and with family (including three children who went to Kingston Primary School, then Daylesford Secondary College, now all working in Melbourne) has made it a home for 33 years.


Born in Donald in north-western Victoria, Barry moved to Daylesford in 1976. He had completed a Science (Geology) Honours degree, mapping the rocks around Walhalla as his Honours thesis in 1971. This was followed by several years as a full time touring musician with Mulga Bill’s Bicycle Band, one of Australia’s first full time, professional ‘folk ‘bands, that played in hundreds of larger Australian towns in all Australian states in the early 1970s, and was selected to play by the then Whitlam government, representing Australia at the World Cup Soccer finals opening concert in Frankfurt in 1974. Barry says no other band played such far-flung and eclectic gigs as the outdoor Amphitheatre in Darwin, Thursday Island, Cunnamulla, the Festival of Perth, Alice Springs Rodeo, the 1973 Sunbury Pop and Nimbin Aquarius Festivals: curiously also the backing band for Frank Zappa at Festival Hall. For around 15 years while living in Kingston Barry played locally for bush dances with other local musicians in the Jacaranda Jumbucks and later Everyman and his dog. He says his decision to say ‘enough’ came with the sub-text of being booked for the Hearing Impaired Ball in Ballarat.


Living in Kingston since 1980 (with one year away teaching at Humpty Doo in the Northern Territory in 1984, before returning to Daylesford Secondary College to teach until 1988), longer-term Creswick residents may remember Barry training on the grass perimeter of Hammon Park in Creswick for the annual Australian penny-farthing racing championships in Tasmania, which he won three years running, 1978-80.


Barry made the break from school teaching to university in 1988 via a job coordinating the first Aboriginal education programs at SMB, then to Ballarat University College which became University of Ballarat (UB), before gravitating to vocational education and training research at Bendigo Regional Institute of TAFE. Having completed an Arts degree in 1984, a Masters in Environmental Science, several postgraduate education diplomas and a PhD in Education in 1999 about two-way transfer between university and the vocational education and training systems (most while working full time), Barry returned to UB around ten years ago to a senior lecturer position in the School of Education.


In his current (2013) role as Professor and Associate Dean, Research, in the School of Education and Arts at UB, Barry’s main area of research is in men’s learning and wellbeing. He says he was fortunate enough to be researching in rural adult and community education as the first community men’s sheds started over ten years ago, and has made research into men’s learning beyond paid work his international speciality, currently working on a book to be published in the UK in 2015 called Men learning through life.


Contributing to the spread, development and studies of the men’s shed movement, with 900+ sheds now in Australia, nearly 100 in Ireland and 50 in Zealand, Barry regards this as a great privilege. Now Patron of the Australian Men’s Sheds Association and President of the Board of Adult Learning Australia, Barry is acutely aware of the need to have accessible places and spaces available at community level, such as the Creswick Adult Learning Centre and Neighbourhood House and the Creswick Men’s Friendship Shed, one of the earliest in Australia and one Barry has an ongoing ‘soft spot’ for.


Barry is clear about the need to follow your learning, work and out of work interests with a passion, wherever it takes you. Most weekends he rides a bicycle 100km in a loop north to Tullaroop Reservoir and back through Majorca, Mt Cameron, Clunes and Ullina: deliberately very tiny communities and quiet roads. In the past few years he has worked with and visited researchers across Australia, in Greece, Portugal, Ireland, the UK, New Zealand, Finland and China.


He recalls first coming to Daylesford as an unemployed 25 year old, looking for a house to rent a room in Daylesford, and falling on his feet by becoming part of a local study organised by then Daylesford forester, David Parnaby. The research into hollow dependent mammals and birds in the Wombat Forest, with study areas near Daylesford, Spargo Creek, and Leonard Hill, later became the subject of his Masters thesis.


Barry retains a strong interest in the local environment, with a particular interest in the pre-contact landscapes of the DjaDja Wurrong Aboriginal Nation that includes Creswick. His main, recent UB undergraduate teaching area is in Indigenous education. Before Easter 2013 much of the Crown land in this region that form part of DjaDja Wurrong country was recognised for the first time in nearly 200 years as Aboriginal land, recognition Barry regards as very welcome and long overdue. Image