Corrimal Men’s Shed members find friendship and purpose in commissioned woodworking projects

04 April 2019

Corrimal Men’s Shed has been commissioned by IRT Group to build a number of standing garden beds, large-scale fiddle boards, planter boxes and a wishing well for the enjoyment of residents living at IRT aged care centres in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven.

Meeting Wednesdays and Thursdays behind the Corrimal Region Uniting Church, a dedicated and hardworking group of Men’s Shed members have thrown themselves into the woodworking project.

One of the Men’s Shed members working on the project is Tony Oyston, whose son is employed by IRT.

“When Dad mentioned the Men’s Shed was looking for projects to do, it turned out that at the same time IRT was looking for a way to produce some pretty customised pieces for residents living with high care needs,” said Paul Oyston, Tony’s son and Facilities Management Improvement Lead at IRT.

“Since taking on the project, the men have shown so much enthusiasm and I’ve received a lot of excited text messages from Dad with updates about how it’s all coming along.”

Kevin Toombs, Men’s Shed member and master carpenter has also been heavily involved in the project and is proud of the work the men have done. “It’s like an extended family here. Being here and working on projects like this together, it extends your life,” said Kevin.

In all, eight standing garden beds will be made for residents to use at IRT Tarrawanna and IRT William Beach Gardens in Kanahooka. The beds will be wheelchair accessible and movable, enhancing residents’ ability to immerse themselves in the joy of gardening.

Eight large-scale fiddle boards have also been constructed by the Men’s Shed as a way to engage residents living with dementia at IRT Woonona and IRT Greenwell Gardens and IRT Sarah Claydon in the Shoalhaven region. The boards feature a wide variety of locks, latches, buckles, handles, screws, hooks, hinges, taps and switches. These materials were donated by Hardware Man Unanderra.

“We’ve found that many residents living with dementia explore the corridors and enjoy handling familiar objects they find along the way,” said Jason Malone, IRT’s Executive General Manager – Aged Care Centres.

“We’re looking forward to installing the fiddle boards at the ends of our corridors in Woonona and Greenwell Gardens. They’re filled with familiar household fixtures that our residents are drawn to and we’re excited for them to try them out.”

IRT Macarthur will also receive a planter box and a beautifully crafted wooden wishing well.

The Corrimal Men’s Shed membership comprises a wide cross-section of skills, experience and personalities. Beyond providing the space and tools for woodworking and metalworking, the shed is a place for men in the community to forge friendships, receive support, learn new skills and find purpose in a relaxed and interesting environment. New members are always welcome, visit for more information.


Media enquiries: Hannah Ellson 0429 361 627                                                        

General enquiries: 134 478