Ted O'Brien Sunshine Coast Member for Fairfax

A range of brand-new power tools are sitting under the Christmas tree at the Coolum Women’s Shed thanks to a Federal Government grant announced by Federal Member for Fairfax Ted O’Brien.

The tools will enable the group to offer hands on introductory workshops for their growing membership base of over 130 local women and to apply new skills to future projects.

“It’s a privilege to support the Coolum Women’s Shed by way of a $3,750 grant to purchase the club’s first set of tools,” Mr O’Brien said.  

“These tools will not only enable the women to tackle a variety of new projects but will help create unique opportunities to build important social connections and friendships, which is what it’s all about.”   

“I’m a huge supporter of the Men’s Shed movement in Australia and I’m thrilled to see a groundswell of interest in Women’s Sheds emerging right across the country, and the Coolum Women’s Shed has played a leading role in this regard.”

The funds from the Federal Government’s Stronger Communities Grant were used to purchase a range of new equipment including a band saw, worktables, a mitre saw and a thicknesser.

President of the Coolum Women’s Shed Nell Harvey said they were eager to unwrap their new gifts and put them to good use in the new year.

“One of our biggest challenges is funding larger pieces of equipment, and so we are very grateful to Ted for his support,” Nell Harvey said.

“This funding is fantastic, because most people associate a Women’s Shed with access to tools, and now we have a shed to put them in.”   

“The shed is all about trying out new things and learning new skills, so without the tools it’s very difficult, but we’re off to a real flying start now.”

The Coolum Women’s Shed is not only leading the charge for the women’s shed movement on the Sunshine Coast but right across Australia.

Following a surge of enquiries from women interested in setting up a shed of their own Nell Harvey formed the Australian Women’s Shed Community, which aims to connect ‘sheddies’ all over Australia through the Women’s Shed model of sharing and learning from each other.  

The group, which has 243 members from all over Australia have even unofficially declared the second week of March ‘National Women’s Shed Week’.

“We’re trying to teach others because there is no guidebook currently to create a women’s shed,” Ms Harvey said.

“While the Men’s Shed model is very well established, we are about 20 years behind.”

“We do however have a great relationship with the Coolum Men’s Shed who have been very supportive from the beginning.”  

The Coolum Women’s Shed provides a place for local women to connect by providing opportunities to participate in a broad range of recreation-based activities.

Similar to Men’s Shed’s, the regular participation in recreational activities with others is designed to promote a sense of connection and improve people’s wellbeing.

If you want to learn more about the women’s shed please visit

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