Bring back the...Men's Shed

Indigenous Men

The health of Indigenous men is significantly worse than for any other group in Australia, with an average life expectancy of only 59 years - some 20 years less than non-Indigenous Australian males.

Indigenous men often have to contend with many barriers to improving their health, establishing businesses, employment and training and therefore require additional assistance in order to gain access to the same opportunities as non-Indigenous men.

A men's shed without a Shed Titjikala NT


A men's shed can become a foundation for Indigenous men to interact with mainstream Australia when it comes to getting jobs and accessing government and NGO training programs. A starting point in some communities will be to have training initiatives relating to basic life skills and providing work experience so they can move to becoming job ready. It will be particularly important to create hope and opportunities for young people.

Indigenous men are not too dissimilar from any other men in their attitude to doctors and their own health.

The research ranking of the different groups in our society shows that Indigenous Australians face the greatest deprivation overall. Adding to this deprivation are such things as:Indigenous men who fall sick can access health care, but often cannot afford, or don't bother to follow-up on the actions recommended by those who treated them.

  • Lack of a substantial daily meal
  • 'Chicken and Chips' is hardly bush tucker, or nutritious.
  • Prescribed medications are being understood or take correctly
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • A reasonable and secure environment in which to live
  • Activities for men of all ages
  • Hobbies or leisure activity for men of all ages


What can a men's sheds offer Indigenous men and Indigenous communities?

  • Provide a means of engaging Indigenous men in remote and rural communities.
  • Provide a model for developing and supporting Indigenous business and employment opportunities leading to improved social outcomes.
  • Provide a training, leadership and capacity building environment for Indigenous men (particularly young men).
  • Provide wide ranging benefits in health and social well being for Indigenous men and the broader community.
  • Provide a way of helping to give men their lives back by assisting men to take personal responsibility for their own lives and that of their family and the community.


The following is a quotation by Associate Professor Garry Misan of the Adelaide University in a recent report that was commissioned to evaluate men's sheds in Australia: 

"Within this holistic construct of health, Indigenous empowerment through resurrection of traditional hierarchies of authority, of cultural and spiritual values, of a sense of purpose together with self-esteem and respect, correlates with improved physical, emotional and spiritual health and wellbeing. A 'men's space' or a men's shed in conceptual terms, may provide an environment where this metamorphosis can take place".

Each men's shed will require local solutions and partnerships linking communities, government, local businesses, industry and service providers. We need to work together to strengthen investment growth and opportunity in specific places, in ways which reflect the location, identity, assets and opportunities of a community.

We are seeking to have each of the men's sheds sustainable by the end of an establishment period.

Initial Planning of the Wadeye NT Men's Shed

How the Lake Hume Mens Shed Network Can Help

We feel it is pointless trying to do anything without engaging the men to work on their own problems. Lake Hume Mens Shed is seen by Indigenous men as a great way forward, helping them to:


An important aspect in the support for the Indigenous communities will be the existing network of Lake Hume Mens Shed's affiliated Members. These members can be involved in supporting the remote men's sheds by men with specific skills visiting selected men's sheds to impart those skills, while they enjoy other parts of our country.

The skills of the Lake Hume Mens Shed Network can be supplemented by other organisations and people such as employees on secondment from corporations and businesses, the Indigenous Volunteers and the Grey Nomads and through the extensive network of contacts of Lake Hume Mens Shed.