Over 20 retired men attend the fortnightly Wednesday morning Men’s Chat Group, now in its 12th year, paying just $5 for a cuppa, great biscuits and an opportunity to chat.
Two volunteers - Eric and Ian - serve as chairman and treasurer, arranging inclusive activities such as talks, lunches, bus tours and pub trips for the group.
While some of the men admit “the wife sent me” others readily acknowledge the need for social interaction after retirement or the loss of a partner prompted them to seek out the chat group.
Glen, at 95, is a founding member of the Men’s Chat Group and recalls many marvellous stories from past members. Their stories often read like a Boys Own Adventure annual, from operating a mine in South Africa to shared war experiences.
Some fondly recall moving across the ocean to follow their girlfriends, or met their wives to be when they arrived in Australia – “I came from the UK as a sign writer, I met my wife at the Adelaide Scooter Club”, Peter Harrington.
There are currently quite a few Peters in the group. Peter Hardwick is a fit 85 years and rides his push bike everywhere, “I can be a bit of a loner so I really appreciate the genuine, helpful and friendly people I’ve met here”.
Not all share Peter’s good health. Geoff has ongoing health problems – “This is only my second visit but I’m sure it will help to distract me from my health problems”.
Bob enjoys the opportunity to relax and be himself “after years of working and giving, it’s great to sit back and catch up with everyone. There’s no pressure or hassles”.
The Men’s Chat Group provides an opportunity to share diverse views and problems, discuss life experiences and current events and have a laugh - “They laugh at my jokes!” – Arthur.