As activities grew there came a desire to establish and maintain communication links with interested parties. To keep in touch, disseminate information, share thoughts and ideas as well as engender connection.
With the advent and formalisation of MHL there arose an imperative to keep a connection with the various volunteers & supporters. This led to a black and white four-page publication called He-mail as a Newsletter of the Men’s Help Line. Edited by Tony Groom. It provided information pertinent to the MHL (both Brisbane and Gold Coast chapters) including training programs for telephone operatives, upcoming men’s festivals and encouragements to be a better man.
It was offered as:
A Newsletter for you:
This is the first of what we hope will be a quarterly newsletter which will be sent to all volunteers and members of the Men’s Helpline. It will be a way of keeping in touch for volunteers who might miss a care and support meeting and especially for members who are not volunteers but who are still interested in what is happening.from page 1 of issue 1
It first appeared in August 1995 and continued for 10 editions until May 1998 with an additional fund-raising edition in March 1996. It was mailed 4 times a year.
Mentor was launched in November 1998 under the editorship of Tony Verner. It was introduced as:
Mentor is the newsletter of the Men’s Health and Well Being Association. The purpose of the newsletter is to keep men informed about the organisation, events that are specific to men, and any developments here and overseas. It is also intended to be a useful and entertaining forum on health, well-being and self-development of men and boys in Australian society.
Its circulation was about 800 copies 4 times a year.
Mentor, in effect, was a worthwhile successor to MHL’s He-mail. Similarly, it offered information and connection to MHWA(Q)’s members and supporters.
Why Mentor? Was a question posed in the first edition with the explanation:
A mentor is defined as a wise and faithful counsellor. Derived from Greek mythology mentor implies a relationship between a young adult and an older person. The older person becomes the coach to help guide their protégé to develop their full potential.
Perhaps quite an appropriate choice of name to support the development of the full potential of this unfolding organisation.
Mentor has undergone a number of iterations over the years along with a range of editors:
- Tony Verner carried the editor role from November 1998 to the end of 2000. It was published four times a year in a black and white multi-page format with a staple in top LH corner and distributed through the mail.
- Steve Harrop is recorded as editor for April, August and November 2001 editions published in the same format.
- Rudran Brannock edited 4 issues 2002 – 2003 with the last one in September 2003. The format was folded A3 pages in a magazine format.
- Terrence Bishop took on the role in Spring 2005 while serving as volunteer administration man. He changed the format to magazine style. Black and white and normally12-16 pages. Mailed to 300-400 recipients on the mailing list. Folded manually into envelopes (apparently, he enjoyed licking stamps). He produced 10 editions with the last one being Winter 2009.
- In July 2008 Alan Millett came on board in a paid administration wizard role and assumed the editor’s role – likely in a changeover period with Terrence. The duration of his role is not known.
- Paul Mischefski was next in line. Terrence Bishop noted that with Paul’s extensive journalism back-ground he fixed the formatting to make it readable, gave it colour and evolved its distribution to make it digital.
In an email spruiking the July 2021 edition, Paul noted:
Mentor is the member publication and creative voice of Mens Wellbeing members and affiliate programs. It gets mailed electronically to a database of over 2000 and a further 400 hard copies are printed for promotion and distribution to men’s groups, group leaders and service agencies, so it is reaching an increasingly wide spread.
Over the years of changing editorship, the format and style of Mentor altered however the underlying message of providing information and support to its readers did not change. Below are examples of different mastheads over the years:
Manshine Email List
The Manshine Email List was birthed in the year 2000 by Rudran Brannock. As staff holder for Manshine 2000 (Sunshine Coast Men’s Festival was renamed) he wished to create a modern era ongoing communication means for men who had attended the gathering.
While it shares its name with the Manshine gathering the List is entirely independent. In fact, its origins pre-date the Manshine gathering coming under the MHWA(Q) umbrella in 2004.
Over time it has morphed into a communication link for the broad membership of, now, Mens Wellbeing. And in its development has come to function like a large men’s group, and uses many of the same guidelines experienced in a Common Ground course, or a men’s gathering Tribal Group and is open to anyone who comprehends these guidelines. It is a mailing list for men only and intended to be a safe space for sharing at any level to occur. It is also an excellent way to keep in touch. It is, in effect, a forum which allows members of the list to reply to the entire list.
As originator it was an education for Rudran in relation to expanding his computer capabilities as well as being the moderator of submissions:
I had challenges around the understanding that I was the final authority on the list as I had the power to delete messages and to say what was acceptable … to set the boundaries. In the end it was a good learning of how to come into my own authority … not as a right, but as a responsibility.
Rudran continued as moderator for 7-10 years when he passed the role on to Ged Maybury who acknowledges:
it was quite challenging at times, scary having to challenge a man for his behaviour(s), even at a distance.
At Manhood 2012 Ged put out a call for a successor. Warren Huck and Tim Fisk responded to the call. There was a division of labour with Tim taking on data input and Warren becoming moderator. Warren has commented that:
Over time there have been quite colourful respondents whose feisty fire in the belly approach challenged the rules or guidelines for the List. With this, there were often others on the List who took steps to keep the intent and process of the List on track.
Following Warren taking on the role of President of Mens Wellbeing in 2021, Warren and Tim passed on the moderating roles to Peter Kroll & Rudran Brannock.
In order to connect with the List an Invitation to Join is sent to a man who has attended an activity of Mens Wellbeing and upon acceptance of the invitation is sent The Manshine List Guidelines which sets out ways to interact with the process.
The List maintains a consistent number in excess of 300 members with the inflow and outflow of participants.
Mens Wellbeing Administration
Mens Wellbeing Administration communicates to the membership via email through firstname.lastname@example.org which is a one-way broadcast. It is conducted largely by Administration Officer, Scott Grimmett, while some selected members do have access for particular purposes.
Reference to a website “www.menshealthandwellbeing.org.au” can been seen in Mentor April 2001 and in the brochure for Pathways for Men 2001 Gathering. The originator and date of commencement is unknown.
In 2006 the site “mhwaq.org.au” appeared, again creator is unknown. According to Terrence Bishop:
The mhwaq website was (if memory serves correctly) a couple of pages of general information and updates on gatherings etc, but no booking engine, payment gateway or any other such thing. A basic website from the early days of the web. I did some basic text upgrades to it but nothing much.
With the rebranding from Men’s Health and Wellbeing Association (Qld) to Mens Wellbeing in 2010, during the Presidency of David Greenwood, there was also a major upgrade and revamp of the website to menswellbeing.org
According to Terrence:
It was the first real upgrade to the 21st century. It was originally built using the Memberize platform which offered a bunch of features to manage member subscriptions and event bookings and since then it’s been moved to some other platform that uses Eventbrite for event bookings.
Early in 2022 a new website was launched. Same address with a major revamp as a consequence of a $5000 Pro Bono Community Grant offered by SevenDev, a Brisbane-based web development company, and sourced by Craig Wyld. Owner of SevenDev, Nicholas Coupland, said:
Anyone who is trying to change the world for the better deserves to have a great web presence. We are really looking forward to working closely with Mens Wellbeing and can’t wait to see what outcomes we can help them achieve.Mentor Autumn 2022
The website revamp greatly enhances Mens Wellbeing‘s capacities and abilities to conduct its activities and support its membership.
On 31 July 2020, Mens Wellbeing launched a new Facebook group called MensWellbeing Australia and can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/579289042744100
It is a Facebook “Group” that complements other social media platforms and its primary purpose is to provide another place for discussion and chat about Men’s health and wellbeing topics. It also contains information about upcoming activities and events.
Being a Facebook platform, it requires participants to firstly have a Facebook profile, and then to request membership.