Members Items

The following sub pages (i.e. the pages on the drop down menu under heading menu Member items) provide some information on:-

  • Member announcements about members doing things, travelling, moving house, etc
  • Community Involvement about the shed and members giving help to various people or organisations, working to raise funds such at Voices in the Forest
  • Members Birthdays, Sicknesses, or Accidents
  • Remembrance of Past Members or special friends

Melba Shed – Member(s) of the Year Award

Many Shed members make a large contribution to our Shed but some go that little bit further. Your Committee decided some time ago to request one of our non-committee members to seek views on worthy candidates to become our ‘Shed Person of the Year’ and Peter Mitchell was commissioned to obtain a suitable plaque on which to record the result. Congratulations and well done to the very worthy members who have had their names added to the plaque:

2008-2009 Don Gruber
2009-2010 Geoff Grimmett
2010-2011 Stuart Allan
2011-2012 Phil Laird
2012-2013 Greg Hutchison
2013-2014 Harry Redfern
2014-2015 Peter Mitchell
2015-2016 Brian Harber
2016-2017 Paul McCarthy
2017-2018 Paul Taylor – Paul has been a great and willing contributor for many years. He arrives early each Friday morning and assists with the morning tea, the setting up of the meeting room, arrangement of name cards, clearing up, washing up etc
2018-2019 Ian Cameron – Ian joined Melba Shed back in March 2011 and since that time has donated, set up and each Friday has managed our excellent audio system

2019-2020 Phil Laird and Paul McCarthy as Joint Shedders of the Year – They were chosen for the work they had done in producing the newsletter each week during the Shed’s shutdown

2020-2021 John Edge and Brian Harber as Joint Shedders of the Year – Congratulations John and Brian for your very worthy and hard-earned award.


Peter Mitchell 2014-15
Members of the Year 2020-21
Brain Harber member of year 2016
Brian Harber accepting member of the year award
Ian Cameron Member of Year 2018-19
Ian Cameron Member of Year 2019
Paul Taylor
Paul Taylor Member of Year 2018
President Awards Two Persons of the Year - Phil & Paul
President Awards Two Persons of the Year - Phil & Paul

12th Jun 2017 – Walter Blumenfeld Posthumously Awarded the Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the general Division


The late Mr Walter Michael BLUMENFELD RFD, late of Holt ACT 2615 was
awarded the OAM for service to the community of the Australian Capital
Service includes: Volunteer, ACT Branch, State Emergency Service, 1979-2016; Life Member, 2006. Volunteer, ACT Branch,
St John’s Ambulance Community Care, 1997-2016. Volunteer Guide,
Australian War Memorial, 1994-2016; Life Member, Voluntary Guides, 2014.
Awards and recognition includes: Recipient, ACT Volunteer of the Year (Emergency Services Category), 2016. Recipient, Order of St John Service Medal, 2012.
Recipient, ACT Community Protection Medal, 2011.

26th Jan 2017 – Don Gruber awarded OAM – 28th April Don was presented his OAM Medal by the G-G

On Friday 28 April 2017 the Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, presented Don with his Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia at a ceremony in Government House

Video of the ceremony

The Australia Days awards included Donald Stuart Gruber being awarded the Order of Australia Medal for service to the community of the Australian Capital Territory. Congratulations to Don who was one of those instrumental in establishing Melba Shed as well as a member of Ginninderra Rotary Club. G-G’s Honours Lists

The reasons for Don’s award were listed as Service including:

  • Co-Founder, Melba Men’s Shed, 2008; Secretary, 2009-2013; Board Member, 2008-2014.(Ed Note. Means Committee Member)
  • Rotary Club of Ginninderra:
    • President, 2014-2015 and 2000-2001.
    • Treasurer, ‘for 4 years’.
    • Member, since 1993.
    • Served on a range of Club and Rotary District 9710 committee’s including:
      • NZ Twin Exchange, Rotary Youth Leadership Award, Rotary Youth Program of Enrichment and Ambassadorial Scholars.
      • Established ‘Lunchtime Melodie’s in West Belconnen.
  • Volunteer, Book Fair, Lifeline Canberra, since 2006.
  • Board Member, Uniting Church Greenhills Centre, since 2010 and Convenor, Finance Committee.

Remembrance Don Gruber – Donald Stuart Gruber (12 Oct 1948 – 3 Jun 2018)

It’s with much sadness that we learned of the passing of Don Gruber our Shed’s founder, tireless supporter, mentor & a great personal friend to many of us. Don passed away on 3 June following a three & a half year battle with cancer. During the last month his health had deteriorated rapidly. Don’s ten year contribution to Melba Shed was just one of his community focused activities. He worked tirelessly for Rotary, Lifeline and Greenhills. His enthusiasm and tenacity to ensure the success of all his community activities were appreciated by all who have known him. We have indeed lost a great man. Our thoughts and prayers are with Don’s wife Betty and sons Scott & Phil. Don’s funeral was held at Norwood Park Crematorium on Tuesday 12 June 2018. Afterwards a well catered for wake was held at Melba Shed where a large
gathering of those who knew Don gathered. Don was instrumental in starting off the monthly Lunch-Time Melodies. Gininderra Rotary has donated $1,000 in Don’s memory so that the performers at Lunch-Time Melodies can be paid an allowance for their efforts.

8th Jun 2018 Meeting – Harry’s Poem Re Don
The day’s proceedings commenced with a minute’s silence to remember our founder Don, who sadly passed away on 3 June. Harry Redfern then read out the following poem that he had composed in Don’s honour.
What Did Don Do?

Album of pictures containing Don Gruber on Shed Walks. This covers from July 2010 until Feb 2016Album of pictures containing Don Grubers on other Shed Activities  2009 – 2017

Donald Stuart Gruber
Don Gruber

Dedication of the Don Gruber Room – 8th Mar 2019

(Information from Newsletter #471 of 26th Apr 2019.  29 Members & visitors attended)

Don Gruber was the driving force behind the founding of Melba Shed (a Mens Shed) in 2008.  Don had the foresight and determination as well as the contacts through Rotary and the Uniting Church to establish a Men’s Shed.  The aim was to attract retired men in Melba and the surrounding suburbs to socialise, be entertained and be educated.

President Roger Amos welcomed the visitors.  He said that Don had great respect from all Shedders, particularly the committee, because he was so willing to help out in any way.  He was an important link with Rotary, which continues to support the Shed.  The average weekly attendance of 50+ shows the success of the Shed.

Barry Howe was one of the original members when the Shed was established in 2008.  Don first had the idea of finding a means of socialising when he found himself adrift in Washington for two years, without a US Green Card and unable to work, while his wife Betty was working at the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  He checked out the spouse/partner associations run by the IMF and World Bank.  When he returned to Canberra he visited the Men’s Shed in Boorowa, where he had grown up.  Initially, Don had the idea of a traditional Men’s Shed model, with wood and metal working.  However, he was happy to try anything that might work, with table tennis being an early option.  If something worked then it was continued, otherwise it was discarded.  The current, very successful model gradually evolved.  Don was the driver behind having Ginninderra Rotary and the Melba Uniting Church as joint sponsors.

Stuart Allan (the first President) was the next to pay tribute to Don.  Stuart said that Don initially used ABS census data to check out the numbers of retirees in Belconnen and concluded there were sufficient numbers to support a Men’s Shed.  Don anticipated about 20 attending regularly but word of mouth has resulted in that number being a gross underestimate, with over 100 on the members’ list and 50+ attending on average each week.  Jon Stanhope (then the ACT Chief Minister) was invited to officially open the Shed.  Don was concerned that only a handful would be there so he organised a “rent a crowd” from Le Gallienne Street to attend, most of whom became regulars.  During the first year the program became two guest speakers per month, plus an excursion each month and a BBQ on the last Friday.  That year, 26 speakers presented sessions on diverse issues, some of which continue to be of interest a decade or so later (e.g. alternative energy, very fast train, climate change).  Stuart thanked Don both for his ideas and his drive in implementing them.

Ken Hogan was the next speaker.  He said that Don was a remarkable man who had been involved with many community issues, not just Rotary and the Shed.  He was a leader whose driving force resulted in the success of everything he was involved with.

Reverend Tim Jensen reiterated that it was Don’s thoughtfulness, vision and energy that has led to the Shed we know today.  Don’s attitude was “let’s try this and see how it goes”.  Tim is very happy to see this attitude continues in the Shed.  He confirmed that the Uniting Church sees incredible value in the Shed and completely supports its activities.

Bernie Rees said that Don and Ken Hogan approached him about building a Shed (one of the initial proposals was to build a Shed on a site in Scullin).  However, the North Belconnen Uniting Church offered the use of a former community centre building.  Bernie was instrumental in building the extensions several years ago so that the Shed could cater for the numbers wanting to attend each week.

Harry Redfern (the 2nd President) read the poem he had composed  What Did Don Do?

Don’s wife Betty the pulled the string that unveiled the “Don Gruber Room

Betty said that Don would be honoured to have the room named after him.  He became involved when Ginninderra Rotary was looking for a community project to support.  His time in Washington and the Boorowa

Shed gave him the idea of establishing a Men’s Shed.

The Shed was very important to Don.  He loved a chat and made some great friends through the Shed.  Even though he was a committee member he liked to work in the background.  New ideas were important no matter who they came from.  He saw the OAM that he was awarded a few years ago as the recognition of many people, not just him.  Betty said the greatest legacy for Don would be to keep the Shed going.

Geoff Grimmett unveiled a plaque on the wall, dedicated to the “Father of the Shed”.  Geoff said that one of Don’s favourite sayings was “It sounds like a plan”.

The crowd in attendance adjourned to a wonderful luncheon.  Our thanks to those involved, particularly the ladies from the North Belconnen Uniting Church.

Photo Album of the event

Don Gruber Plaque
Plaque about Don Gruber
Collage for Don gruber Room Dedication
Dedication of the Don Gruber Room

19th Jan 2020 – Farewell – Rev Tim Jensen

Tim has been a wonderful supporter of the Shed during the past eight years or so that he has been at North Belconnen Uniting Church, Melba. Now he is moving on to some new, very different challenges. He will be the “resident” Minister for Saltbush–Uniting the Scattered Community, which seeks to encourage and connect smaller Uniting Christian communities that do not have a resident Minister. Tim will be located near Lismore but his responsibilities will cover a massive area between Lismore, Armidale and out west of Bourke. He will work partly through gatherings in remote localities and partly through online means (Skype etc).  Tim said he had enjoyed his time at Melba. He highlighted the way in which tragedy, such as the current bushfires, can result in communities connecting more with each other. He also emphasised that it is OK for people to have different opinions and to express them but it is also necessary for everyone involved to be respectful of others’ views. The President expressed the Shed’s thanks for Tim’s support over the past 8 years & wished him well for his future endeavours. His last service was on 19 January.

Rev Tim Jensen

2021-08-06 – A tribute to Roger Amos from Ramón Montero

Dear Roger (Retired President) First of all, I would like to personally thank you for your outstanding presidency and guidance for the last six years at the Melba Shed. I appreciated your capacity to face sometimes many unforeseen circumstances and more importantly to put up with our old types. A few times I had issues involving my understanding of the language and you were very diplomatic and understood the situation and was able to tranquil me down and explain to me the situation and the reasons why? Also, your knowledge has no boundaries, and any conversation with you is extraordinary and more importantly of all it is your skill to listen. Again I have enjoyed your presidency tremendously and I can speak for many others. Thank you, Roger, you are an excellent “mate” to be around, with so much information.


President Roger handing over to Ken
Roger Amos Handing over to Ken Kemp