Men’s Shed rift prompts mass defections
A COURT-FUELLED rift in the Toodyay Men’s Shed has led to mass resignations and the formation of a new rival group that has registered the name ‘Moondyne Men’.
Veteran Men’s Shed member Jeff Roberts (right) applied in the Northam Magistrates’ Court last month for a restraining order against former Men’s Shed member Owen Webb, who is now a member of Moondyne Men.
It followed a verbal dispute between the pair after five former Men’s Shed committee members – including the chairman and secretary – resigned their elected positions and quit their Shed membership on April 14.
The former committee had voted 4-1 on March 10 for Mr Roberts to resign from the committee over several emails he sent to other members and for “serious concerns” about his ability to continue in the role.Read more
Mr Roberts resigned from the committee later that day “so as not to cause the elected representatives any embarrassment of drawn-out mediation or litigation”.
Former Men’s Shed vice chairman and “Shed Boss” Fred Fellowes failed a month later to secure a committee vote of no-confidence in the Secretary and Chairman.
The vote was lost 5-2 with only Mr Fellowes and Steve King voting in favour.
Mr Fellowes then tabled a note signed by nine Men’s Shed members that required a special general meeting of all members to be called, prompting the five who voted against his no-confidence motion to resign.
A special general meeting called by Mr Fellowes for May 7 elected Mr Jeff Roberts as Secretary, Phil Roberts as Chairman and former Toodyay shire president Brian Rayner as Vice Chairman.
At last month’s Northam court hearing, Mr Jeff Roberts and Mr Webb accepted the magistrate’s view that the restraining order sought by Mr Roberts should not go to trial.
Neither side was understood to have been represented by lawyers, and the pair agreed to sign a “mutual understanding” provided by the court for them to sign this month.
Mr Jeff Roberts wrote in this month’s Men’s Shed column on Page 12 that “gaps” had been filled after a “glitch” in the “normally smooth running of the organisation”.
An interim committee had been formed.
Mr Roberts said later that he knew of only five Men’s Shed resignations in April.
One of them – former Men’s Shed chairman Graham Hill – now chairs Moondyne Men.
Mr Hill said Moondyne Men had been incorporated as a not-for-profit association and had 18 new members – mostly from the Toodyay Men’s Shed – who meet weekly at the new Toodyay RSL Hall in Clinton Street.
Former Men’s Shed committee member Colin Bird was new Moondyne Men Secretary, and Barry Squires Treasurer.
Mr Hill said Moondyne Men raised $1100 in last month’s Moondyne Festival clean-up and donated it to Toodyay Locals Care.
Members meet at the RSL Hall on Mondays and Thursdays from 9am to noon, and for breakfast on the last Saturday of the month from 8.30am.