Cabot’s 2015 Australian Men’s Shed Association 6th National ConferenceScreen Shot 2015-11-25 at 4.57.14 pm

Jessica Christy writes:

Every other year the Australian Men’s Shed Association (AMSA) holds a National Conference to provide ‘Shedders’ with an opportunity to gather “Shoulder to Shoulder” to share information about their projects, ideas and achievements. It is also the ideal forum for those who acknowledge Sheds as being in the forefront for the advancement of Men’s Health to discuss the movement’s future direction.

This year the NSW branch of AMSA hosted the event in the Newcastle City Hall and Civic Theatre. AMSA CEO, David Helmers said “I am pleased to see the Conference in Newcastle, as historically the administrative base for our Association commenced operations under the auspice of Catholic Care Newcastle and the Windale Men’s Shed back in 2007. The city is a key part of our identity and AMSA is now recognised as the largest male focused organisation in Australia.”

Growing up in Newcastle, I witnessed the prominent role the movement played in the Hunter, along with the remarkable contributions the Sheds make to their local communities. I was honoured to manage the conference and encourage those who aren’t aware of what AMSA involves to click here to visit their website.


This year’s conference theme ‘Innovation’ examined what sheds do on a day-to-day basis with a focus on their future growth and development, whilst at the same time tackling the bigger picture issues such as the prevention of social isolation and engaging men within the community.

The four-day conference program, attended by 320, delivered a host of well-known guest speakers including, Barrie Cassidy, Hugh Mackay, Jeff Julian and Craig Rispin (Business Futurist & Innovations Expert) and a brand new session for Shed Leaders presented by John Peacock, General Manager of Associations Forum.

In addition to the formal conference agenda, the social activities, especially the Shed Tours were a great success. Delegates ventured out to local Men’s Sheds across three regions and visited some of the Hunter’s great attractions such as; Fighter World, Lost in the 50’s Car Museum and the Hunter Valley Gardens. Entertainment at the conference dinner from country music singer, Adam Harvey was also a major highlight of the social program.

During the meal breaks, attendees were able to have a yarn to 24 exhibitors who ranged from health care organisations to paint and tool suppliers, including the conference naming sponsors Cabot’s. Click here for a full list of exhibitors.

After spending four days together, the conference came to an end where countless hand shakes and manly hugs were exchanged and shedders said “Hooroo, see ya in a couple of years.”

A snapshot of the night below, for more photos head over to the conference Facebook page.

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