All posts by Brian Black

Fire Museum, Hume

May 18 2023

Nine WCMS shedders visited the Fire Brigade Museum in Manaka last Thursday,
after a delicious pizza lunch organised by Lino. Thanks Lino.

Ron Hourigan from the museum, and a retired ACT fireman, hosted the visit.  

The fire brigade in the ACT was established in 1912 with the Percy Douglas as the first fire chief.  Percy remained with the brigade for 40 years, a real achievement.  Ron spoke about the history of the brigade in the ACT and when it was merged with the NSW Fire Brigade and when it undertook ambulance services for the ACT.  ACT Fire Brigade now operates as a standalone entity.

The museum has a fantastic collection of fire trucks, the oldest being a
1913 Hottchkiss with wooden wheels!  This was not the original that operated in the ACT, but one on loan from a museum. Other vehicles included an Albion which went into service in 1923, and the famous Dennis pumpers (made in the UK) which were in service from 1935 to 1970.  A real problem with the old pumpers was that the crew were exposed to the elements and had to hang on for dear life. Other pumpers on display included the International KB6, Dennis F12 (with a RR engine) and the Dennis Jaguar.

More modern engines incorporated crew cabs but early versions were
more than converted commercial trucks with a ‘box’ added for the crew
travel in.  Not good for communication between the SO and the crew.

Another interesting feature was a display of old ladder trucks, including
one with a wooden ladder (120 feet) mounted on large wheels. The
wheels combo were detached from the truck for use.

The display included a collection of uniforms and communication
Ron had a lot of interesting stories to tell about ‘false alarms’.

In all, an excellent afternoon and well worth the visit.  Thanks to our
host, Ron Hourigan, and to members Alan Castle and Tony Burns for
the visit.

Report: Warren Jones

Bunnings BBQ

6th May 2023 Tuggeranong ACT

All the signs were there for a dismal failure. Freezing, high likelihood of thick fog, general lack of enthusiasm, even the public seemed to be moving slowly….

However, the sun came out, it didn’t fog or rain, people came out to Bunnings in droves and we worked our behinds off all day selling , cooking, running, sandwiching.

Apart from the number of “sausage, no onion, no bread” orders, which we interpret as “one for the dog please” , and we are happy to oblige, the order of the day was for 10 of everything, but not made into sandwiches, the lady had her own containers and took away the ingredients for the family lunch! Thanks to all our public, we really appreciate your support.

As it was, we put the last snag on the last slice of bread at 3:20 and decided enough was enough. That was our 800+ quota cooked and delivered. Never seen a bunch or tired blokes clean up, pack up and git so fast!

Thanks to all our customers and all the shed men who worked on the project in their own way, and of course thanks to Bunnings for making it possible.

Police Museum, Hume ACT

April 27 2023

Last Thursday, 9 of us visited the Police Museum at Hume (after a pizza lunch kindly organised by Lino – thanks Lino).  The visit was organised by Alan Castle.  Terry Browne from the museum gave an excellent talk on the origins and history of policing in the ACT.  Another highlight of the visit was an opportunity to see various models of police cars and vehicles, including the last V8 Commodore for the police to come off the production line.  The vehicles were housed in large plastic bubbles for climate control and to keep sticky fingers off the merchandise !!  And there was a beautifully restored Kawasaki 1100 bike that one of our members (who shall remain anonymous) wanted to take for a spin. 

Author: Warren Jones

If our ability to get into the Museum is any way to guage how hard it would be to get into a police station, then we can conclude that they are as safe as houses. The usual ‘defences’ confronted us when we arrived and included: 3m high fencing, cameras all over the place and finally having to sign our lives away before we could put foot inside the door. From here our guide (Mr Brown) went through the history of the AFP from its inception to today. This proved vey informative and had all intent . That is to say that not person drifted off during this presentation. From there we went through 3 different areas whch contained a kings ransom of ‘toys’ from the police archives.

All of us decided that the Z1000 bike was the thing that we all wanted to take home. Secondly was the different cars and trucks that they have used over the decades. We all had our different idea of what we wanted to take away. The concept of how they keep them in pristine condition was also interesting – imagine huge blow up bags with pumps that switch out air every so often. Finally we were shown the different ‘keepsakes’ that the police keep to show both the public and new officers when they are in Canberra. Unfortunately we were not able to include photos – a big no-no! We were surprised to find that the visit had taken 1.5 hours. Our guide would have gone on for some more but some members had to get back to undertake chores. We thanked our guide and departd, vowing that we would make time to come back.

Thank you goes to Alan Castle for setting up this tour and we hope to go again in the future.

Author: Tony Burns

Guest Speaker, C Moore, Health Consumers Association

Thursday 20th April 2023

Health Literacy Officer, C Moore, from the Health Consumers Association presented a step-by-step guide to weaving your way through the intricate health maze that one faces when you are ill or in need of medical attention. Some 17 of us were spellbound by the multitude of different groups that we face when we become ill, starting from the first port of call – the Chemist – all the way up to the port of final call, the Hospital. We learned that each of the agencies has a part to play in the health area but are also constricted in what they can do, what they can dispense and any after care that may be required.

The system appears to be rigid and this leads the patient into a web of
referral after referral to get something fixed. During the presentation
some members gave first hand accounts of their experience with the
health system and these seemed to confirm what nearly all of us thought
of the system. The hand out given to all is very comprehensive even down to locations of walk-in places.

At the conclusion of the talk we were enlightened but puzzled by the
complexity of the system and why it should be that complex. As for most
of us, we did not know that ear wax can be removed by the nurses in the
walk in centres. I, for one, have concluded that little piece of information will not be passed onto the ‘cheese and kisses’. That way I can keep up feigning deafness when I find it is required. The group have also concluded that we would like to repeat this speaker in the future. It was felt that a wider audience would be more appreciative of this information. To this end we will engage the same speaker from the
Health Care Consumers Association ( if possible ) at a date to be fixed.

Author: Tony Burns.

Pop-Up stall at Coleman Court

Stall at Cooleman Court

March 23rd and 24th we has a stall at Coolo both to sell a few trinkets but mostly to put ourselves out into the Community, telling them who we are and what we do. Its was a two day event and though we didn’t sell a lot, there was plenty of interest in our group and what we do

Bus /  Tram ride / lunch at Gunghalin

February 16, 2023

A bunch of blokes took the Rapid R7 into town from Cooleman Court where they caught the light rail to Gungahlin. Luncheon was taken at a the Raiders Club, a short walk front Gungahlin terminus.

Then they did the whole ting again in reverse to get back to Coolo!

Cooleman Court Christmas Pop-up

8th and 9th December 2022

The lovely people at “Coolo” asked us back again and gave us a great stand at the top of the escalator, outside Aldi.

Maybe people had been waiting for us to arrive, as we were ‘flogged’ from the moment we stepped off the escalator and it continued all day. And the next. Reindeer ran out the door, aeroplanes took-off, toast tongs were taken two at a time and it turned out to be another roaring success for the Shed, Cooleman Court and the Community.

There can’t be anyone left in Weston Creek who hasn’t heard of us and more importantly, the facility and service we provide to all men who come along to join us.

New Small Shed

Over the last few months we have been busy working on the creation of a small shed ‘annex’ designed to house the dust extractor and the air compressor.

First a site and size was decided, and a framework / platform erected.

Then we ran into a bit of a snag because a new shed to our requirements wasn’t immediately forth coming, but thanks to Colin from ACT Outdoor Structures, a local business in Fremantle Street Stirling, we were given enough bits and pieces at no cost to build ourselves exactly what we wanted :

The equipment has been moved in and with a few more little tasks attended to, will be complete. Just moving the gear out of the main shed has increased the amount of useable workspace available, and of course the dust and noise has also been dramatically reduced. As a bonus the airline was extended to the middle of the workbenches, making it convenient to use and removing a tripping hazard.

Zoo and Aquarium Pop-up stall

Saturday 3rd December 2022

The Shed was invited to provide a stall at the first ever Christmas Market put on by the Zoo and Aquarium. We really had no idea what to expect but the Zoo people were extra friendly and the grounds were grassy and pleasant. I for one was quite surprised how much the Zoo has changed in the twenty years or so since I had been there last, and I will say that it looks like a great place to take the grandkids!

There were other stalls present, the common theme being natural or recycled products, a community based ethos and of course animal welfare.

Even though the crowd wasn’t huge, we had a very pleasant day and made a worthwhile contribution to the Shed’s funding.

Well done to all who contributed to the making of the products and to those that manned the stall on the day.

Shed Christmas Lunch

Thursday 24th November 2022

Thanks to the Committee who provided a full baked lunch for all members. The turkey, ham, baked potatoes, baked pumpkin and greens, slathered in a delicious gravy was prepared and served to almost 40 members. And given that there was nothing left at the end of the day it must have been OK.

As if such a treat was not enough, there was hot pudding and custard to follow.

Thanks to all the members who came along and partook of the meal and mateship. And thanks to all that helped clean up and pack away afterwards. Its a big job but a really great day for all concerned.