Shed Details and Management

History of the Shed Establishment


Melba Shed was opened on 29 August 2008 by the ACT Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope. You can read the old media release here

The Shed became an incorporated body on 4 June 2009 as an association, ACT Number 04861, and with ABN 96 617 404 218.

Melba Shed was established as a joint initiative of the Rotary Club of Ginninderra and the North Belconnen Uniting Church in Melba

The Rotary Club of Ginninderra is a grass-roots organisation consisting of business professionals & community leaders that volunteer time, talent & resources in order to remedy vital community needs. They are centred on West Belconnen and regularly meet on Tues night at the Raiders Belconnen Club in Kippax.

Melba Shed Early Dates 2008 and History of Establishment | Scanned view of the log book for the official opening meeting

A little bit of the Shed history (Newsletter #185)

Barry Howe wrote in Newsletter #185 about reading Hugh Mackay’s latest book ‘The Good Life’ and he has highlighted some parts of the book that go to the heart of what Melba Shed was set up to achieve

North Belconnen Uniting Church historic organ. In the church (opened 17 June 1990) is a historic organ called “The Charles William Leggo Organ” Picture. A short document provides and overview of this old organ that was originally installed in the Singleton Methodist Church on 26 June 1920. It was acquired when the Melba Church was built and restored from 1997 and finally commissioned in June 2008

Shed Management


Further down the page, you will find information on Shed EtiquetteShed Arrangements (which covers things that have been going on) the Shed Extension, and Shed Merchandise/Apparel.

Chairing a Meeting –  President Laurie asked the meeting on 30th Jan 2015 if anyone would like to chair a meeting to see how they go. This would provide some support as Laurie would not always be there and it may give any volunteers more confidence in joining the committee or even standing for President. The new President Roger has a similar theme and is hoping that those organising a talk or presenters might step up and also chair the same meeting

Short Talks – The President has also called for members who are prepared to give a short talk of 10-15mins to members on BBQ days or other days when meeting plans go awry for one of the many reasons they can. Contact the president preferably at his email address or phone no listed on the  site contacts page

Editors Wanted for Shed Newsletter? Phil has been doing this job since September 2009 & it’s time for a change. The Newsletter is issued weekly & is prepared using Microsoft Word. If you have modest writing & Word skills then you can perform this role. Naturally Phil will provide required training & ongoing support. Maybe you don’t want to be permanent editor but would be happy to go on a roster with other interested members. Either way, please contact Phil on 0428 581 935 or if you can assist with Newsletter releases.

23 Oct 2020 – The Shed Reopened

From the President – Please stay home if you have been to a COVID-19 hotspot within the past 14 days or if you are feeling unwell.  We must abide by all the requirements of the ACT Government COVID-19 Safe Event Plan as well as North Belconnen Uniting Church Risk Management Plan and our own Risk Management Plan.  We have a checklist of actions that we must follow.  Please read the following checklist carefully. If you cannot abide by these requirements, please stay home. We all look forward to a time when we can once again meet in a relaxed manner in the Don Gruber Room, but until then we must all play our part in staying safe.

Conditions for a COVID-19 Aware Melba Shed Meeting

If you are comfortable with these requirements then please arrive between 9.30 am and 10.00 am.

  • Practise social distancing of 1.5 metres at all times. Facemasks are voluntary
  • Sanitise your hands on entry to the Church Building.
  • Log in with the attendance desk that will be just inside the door. Its now best to use your phone using the ‘Check in CBR’ app available for Android and Apple phones. After installing the app and completing details of your name, phone number and email address (once only) you then simply scan the QR code. Sometimes they will not scan but you can also enter a 6 digit code that should be available adjacent to the QR Code. No mobile phone? Not to worry, you can still have your details recorded on paper.
  • Place a gold coin donation in the box. No change can be given. If you pre-paid for the year thats unnecssary
  • Take your name badge and at the end of the meeting take it with you for the next meeting.
  • Tea/coffee will be dispensed from the servery. Give your order and wait to be served.  Maintain social distancing.
  • Move away from the servery as soon as you have your tea/coffee.
  • Return your cup to the servery when you have finished. Please don’t try to help by returning other members’ cups.  
  • When you move into the main hall, please select a chair to sit upon and stay on it.  Please don’t change chairs.
  • At the end of the meeting, please leave your chair where it is and move out in an orderly manner when asked to do so by the President.
  • Please don’t try to help by putting the chairs away.

Shed Etiquette


There are some basic rules of courtesy at our meetings, especially when we enjoy the company of guest speakers. Please:

  • Turn off your mobile phone – If you genuinely need to leave your phone switched on, turn it to vibrate and please leave the room, well out of earshot, if you receive a call.
  • Don’t talk among yourselves as this is very rude to the speaker and very inconsiderate of your colleagues who might be trying to listen to the speaker
  • Don’t hog question time – please give others as go

From Newsletter #352 of 4 Nov 2016

(Ed note: background. Recently one member wrote to the Committee about the lack of manners being displayed by some members during talks by guest speakers. It was discussed at a meeting and the Committee came up with some strategies to address the key issues)

Our guest speakers have a right to expect courtesy during their presentations but often we don’t give them that courtesy.

There are a number of things we can all do to fix that:

  • Let’s not have conversation or whispers among ourselves or smart comments to the general audience whilst our guest is presenting
  • Let’s not have our meetings and speakers interrupted by mobile phones. Unfortunately phones ring far too often. If you must have your phone turned on, please turn it to vibrate mode and if you need to answer it, please leave the room before you do so. It’s just common old courtesy
  • Let’s not ask questions or interrupt the speaker during their presentation unless the speaker has specifically agreed to this. Where a speaker agrees to take questions during his/her presentation this will be announced at the time they are introduced
  • All questions should be through the Chairman of the meeting so that all members have an opportunity to be heard – if you have a question, raise your hand and the Chairman will acknowledge you
  • Let’s try to remain alert and actively listen. Slouching, yawning and falling asleep does little for the speaker’s confidence and the people around you
  • Let’s show appreciation for the effort the speaker has made to plan, write and deliver the speech. If he/she makes you laugh, laugh. Clap when it’s appropriate. A speaker needs your response. Your laughter, eye contact, and clapping all let the speaker know he/she is doing a good job

29th Oct 2016 – Subject: Sending out emails from Melba Shed- Just a reminder that if you are sending out any emails from the Melba Shed Gmail account that addressees should be shown as BCC recipients and not as the ‘To’ recipient.   In other words, please address all multi-recipient emails to ‘Melba Shed’ and add all intended recipients under the BCC heading.  That way any recipient will only see their own email address and not every other recipients. This is necessary as a number of members have asked that their email addresses not be publicised.

Message from the Treasurer (Reimbursements) Melba Shed encourages members to claim for any personal costs incurred in contributing to our Shed activities e.g. Meeting expenses, BBQ supplies and other miscellaneous authorised purchases on behalf of the Shed. Our members are very generous and in a number of instances members have declined reimbursement. However, while this is much appreciated it is not necessary and the shed has sufficient funds to reimburse your costs. Simply retain your original purchase receipt and give them to the Treasurer and these refunds will occur as soon as possible.

Usually the current method of reimbursement i.e. via cash or cheque works pretty well, however it is not so good when members are away in subsequent weeks or for longer periods of time. Another option is now available to shed members. If you prefer to have your refunds placed directly in your personal accounts by electronic transfer this can easily be arranged, and will mean that funds will be returned to you even more promptly, irrespective of your attendance or availability. For this to occur all that is required of members is to provide your account details to me at your convenience (once only required) should you wish to take advantage of this method, as per the following information: Bank BSB No; Account Number; Account Name.

Sign Our Attendance Book We are keen to maintain a history of Melba Shed and our Attendance Book is an important part of this. Please remember to sign our attendance book each time you visit the Shed

Let’s keep our kitchen a safe place to be! Some members may have noticed the addition of a new sign in our kitchen area (around 20th Sep 2011), requesting that this area be vacated once you have got your cuppa and cake etc. No offence is intended with this sign – it is aimed solely at promoting a less congested and much safer environment in the interest of all our members. Congestion in this area means that access to the coffee/tea making facilities is hampered, but more importantly it increases the risk of someone being injured or scalded, not something we want to see. The warmer weather is beginning to kick in, so why not continue your conversations enjoying our great area immediately outside the shed area. Your understanding and cooperation in keeping our kitchen a safe place is much appreciated.

Shed Management News

29 Sep 2020 – Restarting the Shed Meetings

29 Sep 2020 – Presidents Message. Hello to all Members of Melba Shed. At a Committee Meeting on Monday, 28 September 2020 it was decided that plans be put in place to recommence Shed Meetings from Friday, 23 October.

It was decided to wait until after the ACT election results and the return to school of all students after the school holidays before re-starting Shed Meetings.

This plan was to allow for possible easing of current restrictions on the gathering of people in areas of less than 4 square metres per person or the possible escalation of the number of cases of COVID-19 after the return of holidaying families from the school holidays.

At the moment we are still restricted by the ACT Government to limit our gatherings to one person per 4 square metres of useable space for up to 100 people.  As our normal meeting room is restricted to 16 people, we will be gathering in the North Belconnen Uniting Church.

We have set the date for our Annual General Meeting for Friday, 27 November 2020. At this AGM we plan to move a motion that all Committee Positions stay in place until a date later in the year when we can hold a Special General Meeting to vote for a new Committee. This will allow us to get back into a routine in the Don Gruber Room before we call for nominations for the new Committee.

We need you to consider volunteering to join the Committee, so think about what you can do for The Melba Shed and keep your eyes out for the Nomination Forms when they are emailed to you.

31 Aug 2020 – Restarting the Shed Meetings – Presidents Message

(Note Edited) Your Committee has been active during the closure of the Shed and met on Monday to discuss the results of the recent survey emailed to everyone and to make a decision on the difficult problem of when to reopen the Shed. I have thanked our Secretary, Rick Causebrook for the time and effort he has put into surveying all members regarding your thoughts on starting Shed Meetings. The survey response was quite high (76 out of 101 members).  ….  The key question was the first one “Do you think that we should reopen the Shed under the current restrictions?”  Forty-six responded “Yes” and 30 “No”.  The Committee noted that 60 percent of responses were in favour of starting shed meetings.  However, after discussing the pros and cons of reopening, a majority of Committee members considered “That the Shed should not proceed immediately to reopen but to review the situation again in the first week of October”. In making this decision the Committee took into account all ACT Government requirements plus the “User Responsibilities” required by the North Belconnen Uniting Church……

17th May 2019 – On this meeting day Ron Thomson presented the President Roger & Treasurer Paul Taylor with a cheque for $100 – proceeds from the Gungahlin Lakes Club ‘token in a bottle’ competition late last year. This was the second grant to Melba Shed from the Club

9th Feb 2019 – Work Started on Replacing the Shed’s Pergola with a large Shadecloth Structure. Unfortunately in the demolition of the pergola some of the material caused Phil Laird to fall off a ladder and seriously cut his right arm. Phil had to go to hospital and spent a day or so there. He is recovering well. Apparently he is now banned from climbing ladders

21st Aug 2018 – The committee agreed to spend $2000 buying a defibrillator for the North Belconnen Church. The Cycling Group also provided $400 making a total of $2400 from the Shed

21st Aug 2018 – The committee agreed to contribute $1000 of Shed funds towards the Drought relief funds. Members can add to this by putting money into a collection box at the Shed. The final destination of any funds will be determined after seeking advice from Yass Shed

21st Aug 2018 –  The committee has agreed to erect a plaque on a wall of the main meeting room naming the room “Don Gruber Room” in memory of one of our founding members

13th Jul 2018 The cheque from the Gungahlin Lakes Golf Club for $300 has been handed over to the Shed’s President.  6th Jul 2018 Ron Thomson reported that the Shed had been given a donation of $300 from the Ainslie Football Club’s Giving Tree

22nd Jun 2018 – The Cycling group purchased replacement pads ($102) for the Shed’s AED (defibrillator) because the old pads had reached their use-by date. The total donated from the “coffee card” funds is now $6,638

10th Feb 2017 – Roger Amos advised that a new Westinghouse 540 lt fridge had been purchased for the Shed during the week (at an all-up cost of $1010.00) and will be delivered to our premises on Tuesday 14 February

29 Aug 2016 – The 8th Anniversary of the Shed was celebrated with a dinner at the Raiders Club at Kippax with around 55 members & guests attending with entertainment provided by Annie Sloane of the Armadillos & Tony Haley

13th Nov 2015 – New President Roger Amos presented the Shed with another $250 cheque donation from Iris Hockley. In memory of Clarrie and as a sign of our appreciation we will plant a tree outside for Clarrie.

10th Nov 2015 – Shed contributions to Uniting Church. The committee has agreed to increase our contributions to the Uniting Church to cover cost of electricity and maintenance to 2,000 pa or $500 per quarter

10th July 2015 – President Laurie presented a $200 cheque donation to the Shed from Iris Hockley in memory of Clarrie and as thanks for the celebrations at the Shed after Clarries funeral

17th Oct 2014 – Kitchen Upgrade – We were advised by Uniting Church that the Community Centre kitchen that we use will shortly be upgraded, with new microwave, heating oven, etc

29th Aug 2014 – 7PM Friday Labor Club in Belconnen, 6th Anniverary Dinner was held with spouses/partners/friends at the Labor Club Belconnen. We had a special presentation by the Tuggeranong Ukulele Group (TUGS) and Greg gave a short talks on history of the Shed (51 people attended and an enormous 27 from the band)

7th May 2014 – Dr Chris Bourke’s speech about Mens Sheds where he talks largely about Melba Shed | 29th April 2013 – ACT Assembly Men’s Shed Forum – This was a meeting held in the Assembly with several MLAs present & two representatives from 12 ACT Sheds. Ray Nelson & Billy Williams represented Melba Shed | Ray and Billy’s Notes

18th Feb 2014 – Sincere thanks to Ian Cameron for donating a Public Address System to Melba Shed. We are still to install the speakers but that will happen shortly

3rd Feb 2014 – On this day Harry Redfern & Brian Wells met, along with representatives of other Sheds, with Mary Porter MLA, Yvette Berry MLA and Dr Chris Bourke MLA to consider how the ACT Government could better assist Men’s Sheds. Here are the minutes in relation to our Shed:- Melba Shed. The Melba Men’s Shed is located at the North Belconnen Uniting Church premises. They have an extensive network of community organisations with whom they interact. The shed operates in a somewhat different format from traditional men’s sheds. Unlike most men’s sheds, the Melba Men’s Shed does not have a workshop, or programs that would require them to build a shed. Rather, they focus more on activities such as excursions, discussion forums etc. However recently, because of increased membership, they successfully undertook to extend the premises with the help of a professional builder, assisted by voluntary labour. Issues: Equipment: There is increased concern about the health and safety of members, particularly given the age of some members. Consequently they are seeking to raise funds to:- Purchase life saving equipment such as a defibrillator; and Train several members to be able to use the defibrillator, as well as administer other life saving skills. Other matters raised Due to the number of meetings and discussion forums they host, as well as the rapidly increasing attendance, the following items are progressively becoming necessary:- A laptop for PowerPoint presentations; A whiteboard on wheels; Public Address (PA) system- which would be of great assistance to those with hearing impairment; A cupboard to securely store valuables, including their records. ACTION: A subsequent meeting of the MLA’s will discuss the best approach to take in relation to the issues raised

4th Nov 2013 – PA System for the Shed The Rotary Club of Ginninderra (Our Co-sponsor (our Co-sponsor) has made a grant of $360 towards the cost of a PA system for our Shed

BBQ fund raisings at Bunnings Belconnen The committee decided that the Bunnings BBQ of 16th August 2013 will be the last for this year. This is due to the high demand placed on members over the last year and the extra work required in the Shed extensions

16th Aug 2013 (Fri) – Bunnings Belconnen BBQ No5 This was run from 7.30AM to 4PM with about 12 members participating. The Shed raised a net amount of $588

19th Jul 2013 (Fri) – Bunnings Belconnen. This was cancelled on the Thur by co-ordinator Ron Thomson due to the bad weather expected on Friday; which did indeed occur

9th Jun 2013 (Sun) – Bunnings Belconnen BBQ No4. Shed Members ran the BBQ from 7.30AM to 4PM. It was an outstanding success thanks to all the volunteers on the day and specially to Geoff Grimmett who organised the event. Keith Sinderberry reports that takings were some $1,985 and expenses were around $500 giving us a profit of over $1,485. Pictures

17th May 2013 (Fri) – Bunnings Belconnen BBQ No3. Shed volunteers ran the BBQ from 9.00AM to 4PM in 3 hour shifts. The BBQ grossed $726.55 with expenses of $154.00 leaving cash to bank of $572.55. Thanks to some twelve Shed volunteers, we sold approx 270 sausage sandwiches & about 30 cans of drink

6th Jan 2013 (Sun) – Bunnings Belconnen BBQ No2. Around 20 Shed volunteers ran an all-day BBQ at Bunnings on Sunday 6 January. We raised $1,453 net for the Shed funds Pictures

10th Nov 2012 (Sat) – Community BBQ No2 outside Woolworths at Kippax. About 11 Shed volunteers ran the BBQ from 9.45AM-5PM. We made $395 towards Shed funds. Harry’s ukulele playing might have helped

13th Oct 2012 (Sat) – Community BBQ No1 outside Woolworths at Kippax. 14 Shed volunteers ran the BBQ from 10AM-5PM & we raised a net $357.20. Volunteers were rostered for only one hour, we cooked 230 sausages and 6.725kg of diced onion, & we used 11 loaves of bread

15th June 2012 (Fri) – Bunnings Belconnen BBQ No1. The first one raised a net $747.

Bunnings Belconnen BBQs. We plan to run BBQs at Bunnings when available, on the 3rd Friday of each month. This will ensure a steady income for our Shed to meet building extension and furnishing costs. However to do this we need to know that we have sufficient volunteers. If you are prepared to assist running the Bunnings BBQ for around a 2.5 hour shift please let us know (email) or fill out the sheet at Shed meetings in the weeks leading up to the next BBQ. Whilst the timeframe will be from 7.30AM through to 2PM to maybe 3PM on Fridays, we need at least 4 people available to work on each shift. The initial shift will help setup the facilities which includes setting up the marquee, BBQ and tables provided by Bunnings as well as helping with bringing food and drinks.

The following letters and notes relate to our first BBQ on 15th June 2012 but most will be relevant to all BBQs: – 15th June Actual Volunteer RosterBBQ 15th June 2012 ResultsGeoff’s Email Instructions for the BBQ 15th June 2012BBQ Location Aerial PicThe Bunnings letter is one that they sent to us with all the info about what happens at their site, with associated requirements – Bunnings have requested that each person assisting is aware of, and has read, other documents on food handling etc

The relevant local and national standards are: Fete and Fundraising in The ACT (HPS)Food Standards Australia Food Safety Fact Sheets for Charities & Community Organisations

24 Aug 2012 Shed Bell There was a presentation to the Shed by Laurie Power of a quite large, mounted bell kindly donated by our Vice-President, Peter Tilley and loving polished and mounted by Laurie Power. President Harry wasted no time in bringing the meeting to order by ringing the new bell and no doubt we’ll hear more ringing at future meetings. Wonder if it will disappear sometime!

Shed Extensions

6 Jul – 13 Jul – 20 Jul 2012 Raffles for Harrys Donated fine wine Harry Williams after his talk on 22 Jun 2012 generously donated quite a number of very fine quality wines. The Committee decided to raffle these bottles over three Shed meetings commencing Friday 6th Jul. Tickets were $5 each and all proceeds went towards the Shed extensions. In this process we raised $490 towards these extensions. Three bottles were raffled at each meeting in this way, with each winner receiving his choice of a bottle:- 06 Jul: Grant Burge Rose, Caspian Rose Magnum, Grant Burge Shiraz (Magnum) The winners were: Keith Sinderberry, Robert Mair, Clarrie Hockley 13 Jul: Grant Burge Sauvignon Blanc, Arrowfield Show Reserve Chardonnay, Hoffman Liqueur Vintage Port. The winners were: Bob Salmond, Drew McDonald, Doug Crawford 20 Jul: Grant Burge Semillon Viognier, Kirrihill Semillon (Clare Valley), Grant Burge 20 year old Tawny & two wine bags. The winners were: Doug Crawford, Robert Mair, Greg Hutchison. The wine bag winners were Drew McDonald and Laurie Power

Ron Thompson helped raise funds for the Shed extensions. President Harry Redfern arranged for Ron Thomson (member and also with the Rotary Club of Aurora Gungahlin), to present a cheque for $1000.00 to our Treasurer on Fri 3 Aug 2012, being the proceeds from a lot of good work by a number of our members who participated in towing rubbish away from the Rotary Trash and Treasure site in Jamison, as below. Belconnen Rotary and Gungahlin Rotary Clubs required volunteers for each of 5 Sunday afternoons to cart a trailer load of rubbish from Trash and Treasure at Jamison Shopping Centre to the Mitchell Recycling Centre. The Shed provided a volunteer for each of the 5 weeks involved they will give us $1,000 towards our Shed building upgrade. The Sundays were 22nd April (Don Gruber), 6th May (Barry Howe), 20th May (Bob Salmond), 3rd June (Laurie Power),17 June (Phil Laird)

Morning Tea relocation At the Committee Meeting on Monday 18 June 2012 the Committee has decided that, out of consideration for our invited guest speakers, that morning teas prior to and/or during presentations will be set up and held in the larger “play group” area at the eastern end adjacent to the kitchen. This will ensure that noise emanating from the kitchen area will be minimised, as this noise can be very distracting for both speakers and audience and is seen as being somewhat rude when it interrupts the flow of the speaker’s presentation. To facilitate this change, it would be greatly appreciated if members could vacate the kitchen as much as possible before and after presentations when enjoying their morning tea (this will also ensure that a safe environment is maintained in the kitchen). Members are also encouraged to take up any vacant seats in the main room rather than congregate in the kitchen during presentations.

Shed Extensions Pictures We used our new room for the first time on Friday 12th July 2013. It proceeded quite quickly with work starting work on the 6th May, the foundations being laid on 23 May, the concrete slab on 5 June, the brickwork and framing completed on 21 June, roof installed 25th June, glass in windows-doors 4th July, painting on 8-9th July, and the final building completion certificate issued on 8 July. Our volunteer licensed builder, Bernie Rees, performed magnificently and was on the job most days from 7:30am until dark. He was assisted by his band of helpers. On 17th July 5 of us did extra painting and cleanup work. In early Aug 3 of us (John Edge, Colin Fitzpatrick, Greg H) finished Stage 1 of the paving in two tranches. Geoff Grimmett finished off painting the roof, Don Gruber finished the paving (Stage 2) outside the north door & organised the curtains. Don, Geoff, Stuart finished moving and extending the fence on 2 Sep. A BBQ and airconditioner are still being considered Background: The Committee sourced funding to allow the Shed building to be extended by about 4m – effectively doubling the space.

A brief history and update on Shed Extensions This is a 4 page pdf document. It outlines current shed running costs and likely financial aspects of the shed extensions as well as a chronological summary of major news. The Extension’s Development Application: 201323195CT: COMMUNITY FACILITY- COMMUNITY CENTRE Location: Block: 9 Section: 59 Suburb: Melba 30 Conley Drive Extension to meeting room on northern side of building, was advertised in the Canberra Times on 27/2/13 and comments closed on 21/3/2013 North Belconnen Uniting Church letter from Roger Kilham about the Building Extension and Cost Schedule