Men's Shed celebrates 20 years

20 YEARS: Volunteer Project Co-ordinator Neil 'Noogar' Edwards and Shed Co-ordinator Bronwyn Filsell cut the anniversary cake.
20 YEARS: Volunteer Project Co-ordinator Neil 'Noogar' Edwards and Shed Co-ordinator Bronwyn Filsell cut the anniversary cake.

When it opened in 1999 the Port Augusta Men's Shed was one of the first of its kind in the world.

For two decades the Shed has remained a shining example of an environment that fosters social inclusion and promotes male health and well-being.

It's now one of over 200 in Australia, providing a sense of belonging, skill sharing and friendship among its members.

Today, the organisation celebrated the 20-year milestone with morning tea at the Carlton Parade facility.

Project Coordinator Neil Edwards was presented with a Premier's Certificate for his outstanding volunteer service.

'Noogar' as he's known by most, was instrumental in establishing the organisation.

"I had a stroke when I was 44 and I was in Hampstead for three months, I came up here and there was no rehab," Noogar said.

"I needed to do work with my hands and Michelle Margitich actually tricked me and said you help me start a Men's Shed up and I'll give you some therapy at Health Focus. Well Michelle has moved on, and I'm still here!

"I think it saved my life really, because I was really depressed."

Noogar's story is similar most members.

Originally the Shed started as a safe space for Vietnam Veteran's to interact and find purpose.

Vietnam Veteran Brian McGovern was also presented with a special pin to commemorate his 20-years as a member of the organisation.

"I was having a few problems and I knew I had to get something to keep me occupied and fill my life in," Brian said.

"A lot of our blokes had problems, including me, some of them locked themselves away in isolation, they didn't want to be part of society or mix in or anything.

"Having a place like this that you can come where there's other vets and you've all got one thing in common - it just makes it that much better."

While the amount of veterans members gradually dwindled, the Shed's number of retirees grew.

92-year-old Earl Yager loves the place so much, he's even prioritised his time in the shop over his health.

"I've got to the point where I've got a few medical problems, I've got to go to Adelaide every six weeks but my medical problems take second place," Earl joked.

"I've got to arrange them on a Thursday of Friday so I can get to the Men's Shed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday!"

"I've belonged to other organisations in Port Augusta but its the friendship here that we have. I'll be doing this until the day I die."

The program offers retired men over 65 years of age and veterans place to go where they can enjoy physical and social activities.

The Men's Shed is a self-sufficient community project which relies upon the production and sale of items by participants and support from the local community.