Vic and I are going collecting for memories of sounds in this West Riverina region and we go to the Men’s Shed. This is one of the many good ideas we don’t have in the US, and has spread across Australia as a haven for retired men to put their skills to good use and find a place in their community.
This one in Narrandera has 30 members and is self organized. It was a very different sound environment, tin walls, lots of machines, lots of projects going in mechanics, metal, wood and an awning being stretched on the lawn for a local school.
Tony tells us a story about the disturbing lack of bird song in Tazmania while he works at recreating a hundred year old wooden toy for his grandchildren.
One of his friends is helping by carving the rider while Tony makes the horse. He came to Australia at 16 on a ship from Copenhagen where he grew up. He met a girl and didn’t get back on the ship. Spent time in the northwest on horseback with the sheep. He’s heard a lot of interesting sounds but that was long ago. He tells us about the sound of the women’s voices on the Aboriginal lands he visited. The men’s shed seems to be full of sounds and stories. ”What are you, sound collector ?” he asks. “If you want to find things like that YOU go lookin for it. That’s the best part”