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This article explores the cultural and political history of the men’s shed movement in Australia. This movement, which is ongoing, gathered steam after the first men’s sheds were opened in the mid-1990s, propelling the development of the community men’s shed model over the next decade and its widespread expansion across Australian communities. This article situates this movement in the context of broader contests over men’s rights in Australia and suggests that it deserves much closer and critical historical attention. Tracing the claims made about the experience, nature and needs of Australian men by the movement and its supporters, this article argues that a conservative politics of masculinist restoration and rehabilitation underpins what has been framed as a program of community-led public health. A closer examination of these claims reveals a persistent attachment to forms of settler national masculinity that had been politically undermined in the late twentieth century.
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