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When it all started; Our History

The MensWork Project (Inc) Founded 1996 Perth. Western Australia The MensWork Project Inc. [MWP] is a not for profit organisation that originated out of the inspiration and leadership of Wes Carter in the early 90’s. He had developed the concept of an ‘action based men’s group’ in 1991 using the MWP name and logo, and it actually emerged as a consistent provider of programs and events in 1995. This was following that years Annual Men’s Gathering in Perth, where Wes called for support to form a group specifically to create workshops and support for Fathers. Seven men volunteered, and the MWP became an organisational reality. (The Men’s Health and Wellbeing Assn. which had previously run these annual Men’s Gatherings, had ceased to exist in a form that could continue to offer the gathering to WA men.) Part of the MWP design was that it was first and foremost a Men’s Group, and secondly that it originated and delivered programs and events for men. It was also decided that MWP would operate as a ‘closed men’s group’ originally of 7 men who could readily bond together and develop a team approach to their work. Fortunately ,this was a rich talent pool, with an already established combined ‘personal development’ background and a wide range of organisational,  presentation, events management and facilitation skills to call upon. [Wes Carter, Peter Fry, [deceased] Peter Efford, Gary Williams, Carmelo Lenzo, Bob Prinz [deceased], Michael Glover] There followed 1997/2001 a flurry of remarkable initiatives for that time, notably, The Fathers Festival (1997) On the Way to Father s Day (1998)  both full scale weekend and week long events, The Steve Biddulph presentation (2001) and the Men’s group funding development program, set up to support and fund new men’s groups. (initiated 2001). As well, there were numerous presentations for the annual Men’s Gatherings in those years. During this time MWP also specialised in creating interactive presentations to men’s events such as craft fairs, rallies etc. As well they regularly presented to service groups, and instituted advocacy for change around men’s issues through lobbying with the State Government.   By the year 2000 MWP won the right to host the Australian and New Zealand Men’s Leadership Gathering [ANZMLG] in the year 2001. [It registered itself as ANZMLG Inc for funding reasons and re registered/renamed itself MWP Inc in 2002] The success of the ANZMLG event had three major outcomes;
  • It established MWP as an innovative and respected Australasian provider of quality events and programs for men.
  •  It guaranteed the continuation of future local Men’s Gatherings in WA by MWP.
  • That ANZMLG event enabled the nationwide formation of the Pathways To Manhood program by having all the different State representatives present to agree on a merger.
It is from this that MWP developed its mission statement of;  ‘The MensWork Project is an Incorporated, not for profit action group who work to develop and fund projects that will strategically bring about awareness and positive change to issues related to men and boys.’ Now an established and consolidated body, MWP continued to stage the Men’s Gathering as its annual ‘ flagship event’ but with the objective of succession once suitable other organisers could step in. (This eventually happened in 2007) There follows a period of development that includes an expanding calendar of initiatives and events. 2002 The development of the play ‘The Men’ by Chris Dickens Annual WA Men’s Gathering 2003 Perth season of ‘The Men’ [funded project] Albany season of ‘The Men’ [funded project] ‘The Men’ in Auckland and Taupo Country Talk-about; Albany [funded project] Annual WA Men’s Gathering 2004 National Free Fathers Day project launched. 1st Men in Bali program Annual WA Men’s Gathering Source Paper, ‘Why are we not taking care of ourselves?’ [Auspiced, commissioned research doc. Dr. Prakash Menon] 2005 Annual WA Men’s Gathering Elders Induction Ceremony devised and implemented. Sitting with Elders process devised. MWP promotes concept of Eldership in the community. MWP strategic plan; Men’s Matters Matter. 2nd Men in Bali program 2006 MWP regular breakfast program for men begins Men in Bali programs continue. Annual WA Men’s Gathering 2007 MWP regular breakfasts Men in Bali expands to 2 annual programs Being in Country [MWP auspiced presentations to raise awareness about aboriginal men and culture, with Ranald Alan] Annual WA Men’s Gathering “What a man’s gotta do” concept incubated [Andrew Horabin]. 2008 MWP regular breakfasts First ‘Time of your Life’ weekend residential Program 2 Men in Bali Programs Spirit Journey programs begin with Nyoongar Elders, organised by MWP. 2009 MWP regular breakfasts 2 Men in Bali Programs We initiate The Elders Way Program in Bali [Wes Carter and Peter Efford] Spirit journey programs continue 2010 MWP launch event with expanded suite of programs. Website Launch with webmaster Jeremy Ingham MWP regular breakfasts. Steve Biddulph event with 200 attendees. Men on the Move weekend retreats begins. [Geoff Paul and Wes Carter] The Time of Your Life Program (Wes Carter, Peter Efford and Peter Fry) 3 Men in Bali retreats, two Elders Way and the first A Man’s Journey program (Wes Carter and Jeremy Ingham) Spirit Journey program continues and we hand over the organisation to others. 2011 MWP Breakfasts Re launch of ‘The Men,’ 3 weeks season, in Perth and Karratha. 3 Men in Bali Retreats. Men on the Move Program. Fathers on the Move Program. Size matters programs begin. 2012 MWP breakfasts 3 Men in Bali retreats. Men on the Move Retreat The Time of Your Life retreat Size Matters Programs MWP organize and host the 4th National Elders Gatherings 2013 MWP breakfasts 2 Men in Bali Elders Way retreats Craig Gibson, Findhorn Elder event Men on the Move Retreat Size Matters Programs Facilitator Training Workshop. Fathers on the Move Retreat Circle of Men (WA) begins under MWP auspices Secret Old Blokes Business seminars Secrets Men’s Business, for women only, seminars. We initiate a writing course for men. 2014 MWP generates its ‘incubator policy’  and succession planning process. The Elders Way in Bali. Size Matters programs. ‘Way to go’  preparation for dying programs. Breakast circle programs expanded. Secret Mens Business for Women Only 2015 The Elders Way 2 programs The ‘Australia Post’ sponsored Facilitator training. Hang out in Bali with blokes, past participant retreat. Wes Carter awarded OAM. Athol Prior joins MWP as ‘Elder in Residence’ Wes Carter to attend the International Men’s Gathering Hawaii Waneroo Shire Mens Group initiative 2016 The Elders Way A Mans Journey This Way to Fathers Day Past and present members of The MensWork Project Wes Carter OAM; ‘Founder’ originator of MWP, facilitator, national stature in men’s movement, Leader, Elder  [current member] Peter Fry; Actor, facilitator, events organizer, Elder. [Original member, deceased] Peter Efford; Academic, events organiser, writer, program/workshop designer, artist, Elder [Original and current member] Gary Williams; Actor, entrepreneur, events producer/organizer, facilitator, networker [Original member] Camelo Lenzo; Actor, administrator, media specialist, facilitator. [Original member] Bob Prinz; Original member. [deceased,original member] Michael Brooke; [Original member] Michael Glover; Facilitator Dr Prakash Menon; Academic, social worker, author, researcher Byron Mulligan; Men and youth worker Ross Prout; Actor, leader, organiser Andrew Horabin; Public speaker, comedian, author, songwriter, recording artist, facilitator, media presenter, events organiser, MensWork and Eldership advocate. Steve Hammond; Advocate of aboriginal inclusion, advisor and organiser Geoff Paul ;Psychologist, facilitator, administrator, events organiser, leader Steve Dimitriadis; Program designer, comedian, film maker, [deceased] Mick Englert; Program designer and instigator. Reijer Groenveld; Advocate, advisor, Leader. Athol Prior; Elder in Service Jeremy Ingham; Facilitator,  program designer, co gender innovator, author, leader. Harry Pearson; Elder and Eldership advocate, MWP program and enrolment support and administration. The chronological listing of The MensWork Project’s past membership and continuing events is impressive, and made more remarkable because MWP is a lean, not for profit, non funded group. Its operation and programs exist as a result of dedication and commitment without a paid organiser. MWP relies on grants for some of its programs and its reputation and credibility for continuing attendance. Behind this is an impressive background of organisational skills. The MWP is not fazed at taking on  complex challenges. Most of the men involved hold or have held, day jobs, meaning a further call on dedication and resourcefulness to have MWP’s work fit into already busy lives. The MensWork Project Inc. touches many lives. Importantly, MWP is an incubator of emerging ideas, skills and talents. Past members have moved on to generate initiatives that have had their genesis in MWP.  Notably the remarkable body of work established by Andrew Horabin, his ‘What a Man’s Gotta Do’ concept and its many permutations including an Australia wide tour as a one man show, The Eldership Project, The Elders induction ceremony and further work around Eldership and much, much more.] Gary Williams continues to create innovative and challenging programs now centered in Beyond the Threshold program and also in his role as a promoter, entrepreneur  and producer within the entertainment industry and in his advocacy and advisory capacity within other initiatives in the Men’s Movement in Australia. Steve Hammond continues to advise and develop initiatives involving the cultural interface between Aboriginal and non aboriginal people. MWP’s current invited membership combines potential youthful talents, impressive leadership, exceptional, organisation skills, varied expertise and Elderly wisdom and experience. Geoff Paull has taken MWP to a further level of development by establishing its work and credibility into the academic domain and setting up guidelines for the future of MWP. The 8 day, The Men in Bali programs [Wes Carter, Athol Prior, Jeremy Ingham and Peter Efford] are possibly the most substantial retreat programs available to Australian and overseas men. All of these men involved with MWP will have on, countless numbers of occasions, stepped out of their comfort zones and into a wide range of public forums and events to present, perform, persuade, process, represent, actualise, create, advocate, apply for, justify, develop, evaluate, research, facilitate, organise, academically legitimise, feed, nurture, and support, concepts, ideas considerations and programs with the objective toward expanding community consciousness about the importance of raising awareness about issues about men and boys. A unique, ongoing privilege. Watch this space. 1       E&OE references to accurate date structure and attributing dates of MWP’s  many activities has been challenging. Every attempt has been made to provide a correct and accurate dating sequences. 2       Written by Peter Efford for The MensWork Project 2013/ update May 2016 Video :