Work­ing class heroes

Scott Cam is on a mis­sion to keep the dream of the back­yard shed alive and kick­ing, writes

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - STYLE - More Scotty’s Top Aussie Sheds, $35 Mur­doch Books Maya Vidulich

It was coun­try mu­sic crooner John Wil­liamson who sang “All Aus­tralian boys need a shed” and they are still a much-loved part of many Aus­tralian back­yards.

But more peo­ple are liv­ing in apart­ments and on smaller blocks of land. Host of re­al­ity show The Block, Scott Cam, says he’s wor­ried about the fu­ture of sheds.

“In the old days, ev­ery­body from the ac­coun­tant to the car­pen­ter had a shed,” he says. “I don’t think that’s hap­pen­ing now.

“There’s only a cer­tain per­cent­age of us who have got sheds with all the gear and tools. I’m try­ing to keep the shed alive.”

Keep­ing com­mu­nity alive

Last year Scott ran a com­pe­ti­tion to find Aus­tralia’s 20 best sheds and the top en­tries been col­lated in his new book, Scotty’s Top Aussie Sheds.

The over­all win­ner was a large shed at Aber­dare in NSW owned by a man named Richard, who is bet­ter known as Yok.

“He’s got this great shed with a mez­za­nine level and he’s a muso and he’s got posters up there, he’s got bars, a pi­ano and a pool ta­ble.” Scott likens it to a com­mu­nity hall. “Some­times, like at Christ­mas, he has 150 peo­ple in there and he has live bands and all that jazz,” Scott says.

“He doesn’t re­ally in­vite any­one, peo­ple just turn up be­cause they know some­thing’s go­ing to be on at his shed.”

Other en­tries in the book are a surf shack in Mel­bourne and a shed in North Nowra with a che­quered floor, com­pe­ti­tion tracks and a col­lec­tion of 800 slot cars where a group of mates meet up each week to race.

Some of the best sheds in the book had bars and pool ta­bles and others were used to house col­lec­tions of ev­ery­thing from beer bot­tle tops through to cricket mem­o­ra­bilia.

“I think a lot of them dou­ble up as the old man’s cave, where you have your mates around and have a few drinks,” Scott says.

“A few were pure work­shops, but there’s cer­tainly a lot with bars and pool ta­bles.”

Scott says he’s been to some sheds where it looks like the owner spends ev­ery wak­ing mo­ment think­ing about ways to im­prove it.

“Blokes tend to try and outdo each other with their sheds,” he says.

“Peo­ple come around and you’ve got to try and wow them when they walk in the door.”

Scott says he has two sheds — one at his city home and one on his prop­erty in Mudgee. He’s in­stalling a fire­place in that one soon.

“For me, a great shed is hav­ing all the gear that you can do some work with and you can hang around and have a beer in there af­ter you’ve knocked off. But that’s not to say I don’t like a shed with a bar and pool ta­ble.”

Make your own

If you want a great shed, Scott sug­gests start­ing with tools and a work­bench.

“Then you can keep adding to it,” he says. “Maybe a couch and a telly, de­pend­ing on the size and the space.”

Scott says the sheds them­selves tend to be built with tim­ber frames.

“They start off as a tim­ber frame and cor­ru­gated iron on the out­side,” he says.

“Then you can start in­su­lat­ing it and lin­ing it on the in­side, but I al­ways like to keep the tim­ber frame there,” he says. He says sheds can be a place to es­cape. “Gen­er­ally the peo­ple with the big sheds are the work­ing class fel­las, which I love,” he says. “The shed is an ex­ten­sion of their house. They mightn’t have a lot fi­nan­cially but they’ve put their ef­forts into mak­ing that shed and cre­at­ing them­selves a fan­tas­tic es­cape.

“They work hard, then they can go to the shed with a few mates, have a few beers and re­lax.”

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