For tradie Patsy, beau­ti­ful kitchens all in a day’s work

Mansfield Courier - - YOUTH NEWS & VIEWS -

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.

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