Shed your inhibitions

July 18, 2017

Craig Veysey

The upstairs space Whiskas created for his kids.

A place to relax or somewhere to get loud.

They can be a respite from the busy world or somewhere to get noisy at the weekend, a treasure trove of memories, or a workshop to hone hard-earned skills — a shed is many things to many people.

For Shepparton’s Craig Veysey — aka Whiskas — a shed is somewhere he can set his own rules.

‘‘It’s therapy — you can do your own thing,’’ he said.

‘‘You can smoke a cigarette if you want to, have a drink or not.

‘‘If it was up to me, I’d live in a shed.’’

Whiskas and his family did actually live in their backyard shed when a gas strike one particularly cold winter forced them to abandon their home for the comfort of the shed.

‘‘I realised then — you don’t really need a house. We had everything we needed — a pot belly stove, a bar, couches and an upstairs loft,’’ he says.

Whiskas’ love of sheds hit a highpoint last year when he and a mate ‘‘PK’’ travelled across Victoria, taking sneak peeks into people’s sheds for a video series he called The Shed Show.

The pair filmed eight episodes that aired four times a week on Melbourne community television station Channel 31 from August to October last year.

On their travels, Whiskas and PK met blokes and a few ladies with names like Wal, Jack, Crom, Rachel and Gladdy who packed their sheds with beer cans, guitars, motorbikes, cars, cricket bats, toys, posters, books and everything in between.

‘‘I met one bloke who had a full-on aircraft flight simulator in his shed — it was awesome. I ended up flying everywhere with him,’’ Whiskas says.

The Shed Show failed to find sponsorship and is no longer being made, despite a following of 40000 to 50000 viewers an episode and people stopping Whiskas in public to ask when the next episode was happening.

‘‘We didn’t make any money — it actually cost us money,’’ he said.

Nevertheless, the call of the shed lingers.

‘‘In a shed everyone is equal — if you’re a rich person or a knockabout dude, it doesn’t matter in the shed. It has a great levelling effect,’’ Whiskas said.

It’s also not just a bloke thing — Whiskas and PK met a few ladies with their own personal sheds.

‘‘She-Sheds is a movement, too,’’ he said.

His own shed is a small annexe to the family home in central Shepparton.

Just a few steps from the back door and you are into a world of corrugated iron, old leather, guitars, bars, motorcycle signs, hats, AC/DC posters, beaten-up couches, drink dispensers and an ashtray or two — all dimly lit by orange lights.

The space is also a tour of Shepparton heritage.

‘‘Those roof rafters are from the old sheds at Shepparton Showgrounds, the concertina walls are from Tarcoola, those palings are from an old vet building in Maude St, the carpet was going to be thrown out at Aquamoves,’’ he said.

There are also stairs to a loft area — created as a shed hangout for his children after school.

‘‘We used found bits of tin and a load of panels from a pet shop,’’ he said.

The compact room has the obligatory couch and cushions, a guitar or two, a wall plastered in music posters from the Yahoobar and a giant American confederate flag — perfect as an after school beaten-up retreat.

‘‘We knew where they were and they knew where we were,’’ he said.

‘‘I remember my Dad turning our shed into a ‘hangout,’ for me and my mates when I was a rebellious teenager. My Mum told me years later it was so they knew where I was.

‘‘Smart man, my Dad, maybe it happened because his dad did the same for him.’’

It looks like the tradition will continue — Whiskas’ son also has his own shed in Melbourne.

‘‘The shed has a culture and a spirit where everyone is equal, a space of self-expression, filled with knowledge and problem-solving skills,’’ he said.

‘‘Sheds are a sneak peak into people’s lives. It’s not just the shed — it’s the people.’’

If you have a shed you would like to share with the world, email [email protected] or phone 58203221.

We’ll come around with a camera and a recorder and you can tell us all about your special world.

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