Mick Loeckenhoff earns men's shed's first life membership

The Murraylands Community Men's Shed's inaugural secretary has had his service recognised.

This post was contributed by David Laing and the Murraylands Community Men’s Shed.

In 2011, a small group of Murraylands retirees got together and started talking about the need for a men’s shed in the region.

Mick Loeckenhoff was the main instigator of that discussion.

Many men had moved to Murray Bridge in their twilight years, but once they retired, many had nothing to do and nowhere to go outside of their homes.

Having a place to meet other retirees and work on small projects was a definite must in continuing an active lifestyle.

After negotiations to use already-occupied premises with the Murray Bridge Wood Turners fell through, a steering committee was formed under the logo of the Murraylands Community Men’s Shed, and Mr Loeckenhoff was voted in unopposed as secretary and treasurer.

He helped in lobbying and obtaining land from the Murray Bridge council, and was fundamental to discussions with council and obtaining grants to build the shed.

He also helped in the actual construction of the buildings, and over the years obtained grants for equipment and machinery.

He also wrote to and spoke to different organisations, spreading the word and asking for donations.

The inaugural general meeting of the Murraylands Community Men’s Shed took place in 2012.

Mr Loeckenhoff was the main organiser of an early auction held at the men’s shed, which was very popular and raised much-needed funds.

He helped with its first project, the building of a boat towing eight barges commissioned for Murray Bridge Library, and helped organise a Saturday fundraising barbecue outside Mitre 10.

He was also involved with the Murray Bridge Show and Murray Bridge Horse Carnival, and over the years organised table sales of shed goods at these different organisations.

A Friday gourmet barbecue was organised by Mr Loeckenhoff early in the shed years, and once the kitchen was built he – being a fully qualified RAAF chef – organised, prepared and cooked Friday luncheons.

He had health problems a couple of years ago and the luncheon was temporarily taken over by a few of the members, but at the beginning of 2020 – before the coronavirus put a stop to the luncheons – he once again become the chef.

Mr Loeckenhoff organised the proper protocols to receive the Governor of South Australia, the Honourable Kevin Scarce, for the shed’s official opening in 2014, which was very successful.

He planned and helped organise the shed garden, especially the building of the garden shade cloth cover, and is currently organising new and more efficient plant boxes.

In his time on the committee he has entered applications for awards at the Australian Men Shed’s Conference; the Murraylands Community Men’s Shed won the best garden award.

He has instigated and edits the current shed newsletter, bringing members and other interested people up to date on happenings at the shed.

In the past he held the positions of treasurer, for three years, and secretary, also for three years, on the shed’s committee.

Without doubt he would be one of the most passionate members of the shed and is known and liked by many in the community.

The Murraylands Men’s Shed is the envy of most other men’s sheds, largely due to his sterling efforts.

At a recent annual general meeting member Noel Hackett moved a motion that Mr Loeckenhoff be the first member to be bestowed life membership.

All present voted unanimously.

Mr Loeckenhoff accepted the award with surprise and humility.

Photos: David Laing (top), Murraylands Community Men’s Shed/Facebook.