For tradie Patsy, beautiful kitchens all in a day’s work
FOR more than 35 years, Patsy Ibrahim has quietly worked at her trade of cabinet making.
Way before women started entering the traditional male trades, Patsy had mastered the art of creating beautiful kitchens.
In fact, she thinks she may well have been one of the first female tradies in Victoria.
“Ever since I was in high school, I liked wood work,” she explained.
“I just thought, this is what I want to do for a job.”
Patsy has recently moved to Mansfield from Healesville, chasing a town that was slightly less metropolitan but that retained a country charm.
Having had a holiday home at Gough’s Bay for almost 20 years, Patsy was familiar with the area and decided, on a whim, that she would make it her home.
Packed securely into the back of her car, when she moved, was all the bits and pieces she needed to continue as a cabinet maker.
“When I first started out, I think people were surprised when they learnt I was a tradesman,” she explained.
“It’s not so unusual now, but 30 years ago it certainly was.”
Patsy is not so much a feminist as she is practical.
Being a cabinet maker is not something she has undertaken to buck society’s expectations, but rather because she has al- ways enjoyed working with her hands.
“I guess I just liked being able to do things for myself, making things, and it grew from there,” she said.
“If something breaks at home, I want to be able to fix it – why pay someone else to come out when I am perfectly capable.”
Because she is all about learning new things, Patsy has recently finished a welding course with MACE.
Not because she wants to become a professional welder, but rather because the course was available, and – like so many other things – she thought “why not.”
“I’m always wanting to learn new things, especially if it means I can work with my hands,” she said.
“You can never learn too much.”
Because she herself knows how hard it can be to begin a trade, Patsy has had female VCAL students under her tutelage in the past.
Since her move to Mans- field, she has been busy catching up on old orders and looking to the future of her country life.
Most days, she can be found working in her large shed – creating timber cabinets, bathroom vanities and one-off furniture pieces.
Because for this female tradie, there is nowhere else Patsy would rather be.
HARD AT WORK: One of Victoria’s first female tradies, Patsy Ibrahim, has moved to Mansfield to continue her work as a cabinet maker.