What is RSL Life Care? Find out
Arthur-gives-a-masterclass-in-woodturning | RSL LifeCare - provide care and service to war veterans, retirement villages and accommodation, aged care services and assisted living
May 31, 2019

Building a shed

When Arthur Thomas left Emu Plains to take up residency at RSL LifeCare’s Kingsford Smith Village, North Richmond, he knew he would not need his stockpile of wood-turning tools. Rather than putting them behind him forever, the 83-year-old decided instead to give them to the Village’s men’s shed.

“I had a garage full of equipment but I donated most of it to the men’s shed,” he says. “There was a lathe, bandsaw, circular saw, a saw bench, a scroll saw, and a joint sander.”

“The Shed”, as it is known at Kingsford Smith Village, recently received a $3,200 grant from the Men’s Shed Association.

Arthur, an award-winning craftsman, has been a resident at Kingsford Smith for more than three years. The former cabinet maker, car salesman and now decorative woodworker, says he likes being able to impart some of his knowledge to others. He said he learnt his trade “the old fashioned way” … where you did everything yourself and you did it properly. “I haven’t lost any fingers,” he says, resisting what must be a burning urge to say ‘touch wood’. “I’ve had more trouble breaking fingers playing cricket.”

 

First-hand experience

 

After completing his trade in Bangalow, northern NSW, Arthur moved to Sydney but soon tired of a mass-production work routine. Instead, he chose to make selling cars his vocation. “When I retired in 1998 I needed to take up a hobby and went back to working with wood,” he says. Since then, the accolades and the awards have come. “I’ve been going to The Shed at the Village and teaching. I recently taught a gentleman how to turn (wood) and he is now making pens. He’s thrilled.”

 

Outside the new Men's shed at Kingsford Smith Village Richmond
Outside the new Men’s shed at Kingsford Smith Village Richmond

 

Kingsford Smith Village resident John Kropman said “a shed” was talked about when he first moved to the RSL LifeCare Village five years ago, but that it only became active relatively recently. “We have members who used to be tradespeople and some who’ve never held a tool,” he says. “All of a sudden people are retired and thinking ‘now what am I going to do’.” The Kingsford Smith shed operates two days-a-week.

The idea of men’s sheds is national, with an umbrella association called as such, but The Shed at Kingsford Smith is also inclusive of women. “We have one lady who comes along who does carving,” John says. “She is hoping to teach people and to bring other women into The Shed.”

The residents at RSL LifeCare ANZAC Village Narrabeen have become aware of the Kingsford Smith Shed and in a collaborative gesture have donated equipment to the fledgeling venture. “We’ve given them some equipment such as a belt sander, small handsaw, pedestal drill, hand tools, and two power saws,” Narrabeen Men’s Shed’s Tony Philps says.

 

Time for a cuppa and a piece of cake at the Men's Shed Richmond
Time for a cuppa and a piece of cake at the Men’s Shed Richmond

 

He says the benefits of a place such as this, where people from disparate backgrounds could meet, were immeasurable. “We have great activities such as social events,” he says. “And we like fixing things, helping people where we can.

“Lately we’ve been doing the noticeboards around the Village. We’ve also made furniture. Recently we did a job for saddle racks for an equestrian group – somewhere for them to store their saddles.”

He says the Narrabeen Men’s Shed is open every day. “It’s a very social time,” he says. “We sit down and have a coffee and a chat. We talk about anything.”

For Arthur, working with wood is joy in itself, but he says he gleans other things from The Shed at Kingsford Smith Village. “I enjoy mixing with other men and being able to teach them things,” he says. “In terms of working with wood, I like it that you start out with a log and then, after taking to it with a chainsaw and a bandsaw, you have a finished item. Finally, you give it a wax.

“I feel proud of the finished product. This is how I Iearned my trade – by making something and being proud of it.”

By Rod Bennett

Arthur Thomas mastercraftsman at work
Arthur Thomas mastercraftsman at work

Blog Posts

Help for Vets in Need

Veterans’ Services

Find out more

Latest News

array(2) { [0]=> int(175) [1]=> int(41) }

RSL LifeCare’s Response to Federal Budget

RSL LifeCare has welcomed the Australian Government’s commitment in additional support and funding across Aged Care and Veterans’ Services as part of the October 2022...

Read more

RSL LifeCare welcomes new CEO

Media Release 21 September 2022 RSL LifeCare has welcomed a new CEO this week, with the appointment of experienced and entrepreneurial business leader, Janet Muir. ...

Read more

Fee-free certified training for veterans or their partners across NSW with JobTrainer

In collaboration with Training Services NSW through their JobTrainer program, RSL LifeCare Veteran Services is providing access to four certification programs across hospitality, business, leadership...

Read more

Access to fee-free certified training with the JobTrainer pilot program

In collaboration with Training Services NSW through their JobTrainer program, RSL LifeCare Veteran Services are piloting access to three certification programs across business, leadership and...

Read more

Lakes of Cherrybrook

As a part-owner of ‘Lakes of Cherrybrook,’ RSL LifeCare is aware of some building and maintenance issues raised by a small number of Strata owners...

Read more
Wal Williams OAM, ANZAC Commemorative Service, 21st April 2022.

Vale Walter Williams OAM

RSL LifeCare staff and residents alike have been deeply saddened to learn of the passing of long - time ANZAC Village resident and respected RSL...

Read more

Giving our nurses a voice to lead

Today, on International Nurses Day (IND) we shine a light on our nursing staff and their vital work. Our nurses are a core part of RSL...

Read more

Hugh Cunningham Gardens welcomes Australian Defence Force support

RSL LifeCare has welcomed the support of Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel at Hugh Cunningham Gardens residential aged care home at Tura Beach.  The 15-person...

Read more

Construction Begins on Permanent Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre

Construction has begun on a new purpose built, state-of-the-art facility to permanently house the Nowra Veteran Wellbeing Centre, providing an expanded range of health and...

Read more

Today we honour Rawdon Hume “Ron” Middleton, VC.

SEVENTY nine years ago today a bomber took off from an air base in Suffolk, England. It was one of more than 200 aircraft on...

Read more

Baby Boomers to change the face of aged care for ever

Baby Boomers are set to revolutionise aged care by banging down the doors of change, according to the annual research we (RSL LifeCare) have undertaken...

Read more

Download a brochure

We'll never share your email address and you can opt out at any time, we promise

Career Application Single

  • Accepted file types: docx, doc, pdf, Max. file size: 50 MB.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Contact Veteran Services

Are you ready to explore a new operations role with extra benefits?

Take your career in a new direction RSL LifeCare.

Search for an operations role at an RSL LifeCare Residential Aged Care facility in the Southern NSW region. Take a look at all our current positions here.

1. 100% funding on participating certifications

Undertake a participating certification through the RSL LifeCare Earn and Learn Incentive Program1 and you could be eligible to have your learning fully funded.

2. Cash bonus of up to $1000 (less income tax).

Through the RSL LifeCare Sign-on Bonus, you could be eligible for two split payments of $500 (less income tax), when you start a new role with us.

Contact Homes for Heroes today