Repair Cafe gives new life to old tech
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Repair Cafe gives new life to old tech

Repair Cafe gives new life to old tech

Published in the Ballarat Times on July 3

BLACK Hill resident Tom Huberts is a proud tinkerer.

He has been repairing broken items since he was a young child learning from his father in the family shed in a time where practical fixing skills were essential.

Mr Huberts will now share his knowledge and skills with others as a volunteer fixer at new community initiative Ballarat Repair Cafe.

He and other fixers will lengthen the life of broken items that would otherwise go to landfill while encouraging community to re-think attitudes to purchasing.

Mr Huberts said during his younger years, repairing was self-taught and involved improvisation to save on costs, but in his later years it had become a hobby that reflected his nowaste values and desire to continue using items he loved.

“My view is a lot of what was made 50 or 60 years ago was really well made. So an old record player and an old coffee machine with some repairs over the journey is going to outlast a modern one,” he said.

GOOD AS NEW BREW: Ballarat Repair Cafe volunteer Tom Huberts fixes a coffee machine he first purchased in 1996. Picture: Chippy Rivera

“The problem I think modern society has is that consumables are too cheap, meaning it is often cheaper for people to earn their hourly rate in their job, throw out something that is repairable and go and buy a new one.

“That is a mindset we need to try to adjust.”

The Ballarat Repair Cafe will provide an opportunity to reduce household spending and the cost of repair, by providing members of the community with broken items free access to volunteer fixers.

People who bring in a broken item will learn how to repair it with the help of volunteer fixers.

It is a concept developed in Repair Cafes worldwide that celebrates community and forms new social connections, while passing on valuable repair knowledge that may otherwise be lost.

The first Repair Cafe Ballarat will be held at the Ballarat Tech School on Saturday, 27 July from 1pm to 4pm.

People interested in volunteering can join the Ballarat Repair Cafe Volunteers Facebook group.

Members of the community are encouraged to keep their broken items and bring them along to the first Repair Cafe session to see if they can be fixed.

Visit Ballarat Repair Cafe on Facebook or contact for more information.

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