As you enter the Men’s Shed at LiveBetter in Broken Hill, a large metal Dalek sits in the centre of the room.
What is a Dalek you might ask? Only one of the most feared robots in the Doctor Who television series, of course!
It’s hard to miss, and one must manoeuvre their body through the workshop to get around it.
The smell of burnt, smoky wood fills the air and metal sparks spit out in all directions, like a shooting star through a faraway galaxy, as Disability Support Worker, Abe, cuts through another sheet of metal with his trusty angle grinder.
His building partner, project manager and LiveBetter customer, Daniel, watches on, dressed in his well-worn work shirt, ear muffs and protective eyewear, both eyes firmly planted on the small square of metal being cut. This Dalek, which is powered by an old mobility scooter, is a project which Daniel and Abe have been working on since 2020.
“I cut the pieces of metal for him and then he welds them all together. He does all the welding and everything himself, I just cut the pieces to the right size,” Abe comments.
“Daniel just says what bits he wants, he cleans them up and then moulds them to where he wants.”
The 23-year-old budding designer and builder of this Dalek mentions that this project was a long time in the making,
“The first Dalek I made was a prototype out of cardboard and my parents said why don’t I try to make one out of metal. So I thought it was a good idea – I just got myself a mobility scooter and had to build a framework,” Daniel says.
When asked if the pair has ever had any creative differences or squabbles, quick as a flash, Abe mentions that they support and help each other,
“He (Daniel) is good to be with. He has his projects and I just help him and make sure everything is safe. He has really built the Dalek from scratch himself, just with a little bit of help along the way.”
“Doing the project together, it’s good fun and Daniel enjoys it.”
LiveBetter’s Men’s Shed is Daniel’s favourite place, as it allows him to explore his passion for building, welding and sheet metal, with Abe adding that Daniel has a knack for coming up with ideas for different projects,
“Some of the ideas he comes up with or has made, I wouldn’t think of making them and the finished project always turns out really good.”
But the deadline for completion is fast approaching, with Daniel determined to get it done for Broken Hill’s annual Christmas pageant,
“This year I will get it done!” Daniel says convincingly.
And with his determination, and Abe by his side, we certainly won’t challenge him on that.
Pictured above (L-R): LiveBetter customer, Daniel, and Disability Support Worker, Abe