We envision a safe, friendly and welcoming place where blokes from all walks of life can:
We value and respect all people, regardless of their ability, race, spiritual belief or sexual orientation.
We respect the opinions of others and value free and vibrant discussion but will not tolerate the preaching of religious, political or commercial ideals.
We do not tolerate loud, disruptive or abusive behaviour and language.
President and Secretary - Tony Flew
Treasurer - Kev Murray
Founder & Life Member:
The First 10 Years
A speech given by our founder, Ian McDougall,
at the December 2022 AGM
Ten years of Blokes Lounge - who’da thunk it?
Well, thoughts about the organisation were germinated in 2010 when I ended up sharing an office pod with the local Office for Woman representative. I retaliated with an Office for Blokes sign.
Part of my government communications role was with seniors. That, and my involvement in establishing the city’s first men’s shed and being on Seniors Regional Roundtable, made me aware that social isolation was affecting the coast’s
fast-growing ageing population.
Affecting men my age and older. Lonely. Lacking regular social contact with blokes of similar age. Shifting or retiring here from communities where they were known, had family and friends. Isolated like caged crocs in tower blocks or living in villages
where most residents are females.
The Gold Coast is a long stretch of a city with a transient population and more Kiwis than most New Zealand cities. A hard place to meet people, especially for those who do not participate in inclusive activities, eg golf, bowls or line dancing.
I envisaged a safe, friendly, and welcoming place where blokes from all walks to life could:
We have come a long way since the yarn attracted a few fellas, 19 actually, who got together there for an initial putting-the-feelers-out chat that June. Among them Vince Paino and Barry Edmonstone - just turned 80 - still with us and Roger Crook, sadly not so. Mind you it took Barry until 2014 to get around to joining us officially. We held two other public meetings - attended by only me, Vince and Rob Murrells one of our early treasurers.
Then on September 19, a few blokes gathered at Gov’s Espresso, a now defunct ramshackle cafe on the highway at Mermaid Beach. Seven (7) people. The minimum required to form a registered association. Future president Ian Begaud was among the apologies. There we voted to form the Blokes Lounge Association, accept the vision and suggest ways to move forward.
I had no idea this would take us to where we are now: about 90 members and still growing, albeit slowly.
My dream was for an actual place where men could drop in, meet others, chat, make coffee, read newspapers, play cards, darts or pool etc. socialise. It remains so, but the effort needed to jump the bureaucratic hurdles was better spent getting
the Lounge up and running. It is a virtual Lounge, but the core purpose is still the same: meet new people and
make new mates. We started meeting over barbecues at Albert Park, Broadbeach Waters. Then we
shifted to the Broadbeach Library, where the only two other Foundation Members still with us joined: Robert Sanderson and Mick Gannaway.
The early request was for guest speakers on a range of topical issues, health and wellbeing being a focus.
Sessions included Centrelink entitlements, employment challenges, aged care service, GC Seniors Regional Roundtable, superannuation changes, Beyond Blue, loneliness, mental health and assistance for grieving. But we soon got sick and tired of being told we were old and sick and tired and changed tact.
We had entertainment from fellas from Poetry in Paradise and local author Jim Parsons, talks on library services, the new hospital and tram, social media awareness, quizzes and an inspirational session with Bali bombing survivor Andrew
Csabi. Regular barbies were held at Pratten Park, Broadbeach, where mounted police patrols would give a wave and ignore us old farts having beers in a non-alcohol zone. The barbies later moved to, and remain at, Cascade Gardens.
We visited the Sporting Hall of Fame and, through emails, put blokes in touch with a range of information and support services.
Other outings since have included war, car, maritime and rail museums, Port of Brisbane, Tugun water recycling plant, a robotic dairy, Condong sugar mill and, close to our hearts and livers, Beenleigh Rum Distillery, Carlton Brewery and
Sirromet winery. And the inner bloke was sought by some firing handguns at the Southport Pistol Club. Many of us are in the other pistol club: have drinks with dinner, piss ’til dawn!
The library had its limitations, so we moved to the Italian-Australian Club, where we could stay after meetings and get to know each other over lunch and a drink. This relaxed socialising, missing at the library, was the making of the Blokes
Our numbers grew quickly, so much so that a committee at one stage discussed limiting membership to 50! It peaked at 125+.
Italian-Australian Club fiery internal politics and disorganisation plus rising meal prices led to another move, to the Surfers Paradise Golf Club. (Mind you it wasn’t like Millionaire Myers shifting cycle groups breakfasts from a $5.95 café to the $4.95 one around the corner!). We had good times, and our card players continue to gather there, but mobility access and other issues had us move again, this time to Mermaid Waters Hotel, where the new lunch arrangements should get people returning.
Many venues do not charge use to use their facilities for activities, grateful for our patronage. While they don’t ask us to become members, many of us do. But there are some blokes who are happy to go along to things like darts/whatever and don’t spend a zac. We should appreciate the favor and be grateful. Please buy a coffee, sandwich, beer or soft drink so the welcome mat stays out. It’s as simple as that.
We are a strong and self-sustaining mob, starting out necessarily a bit formal at meetings but relatively unstructured activity wise, coordinated by blokes who willingly put their hands up and kept things fairly loose: nominate a time and place,
whomever turns up, turns up. This has changed in recent times, impacted by costly insurance, web hosting and
compliance issues, which also impacted on fees and membership. To reduce this, we need to explore alternate ways to run activities, perhaps not under the Blokes Lounge banner but still involving members getting together to have fun.
However, our early get-to-know-each-other activities continue; barbecues, cycling, darts, barefoot bowls, beach walks. More have been introduced including a regular Zoom session, open to all members; golf; eight ball; tennis; table tennis; geek stuff; and a guitar group with some strummers as old as, but not looking as good as, Keith Richards! I call ’em Gunn and Posers. (Our current group activities are listed here).
Please come back to this website regularly. It’s a mine of information. I introduced the listing of a member's profile way back when, it is a great resource to find people with similar interests and learn a bit about their backgrounds. I encourage you to utilise it. (Members can view another member's Bio here).
Got an interest? Why not share it and attract like-minded people to join in. Already involved in things with other people outside the Lounge? Invite them along; our membership could do with a boost.
For less than dollar a week and with access to a host of diverse activities and a motley mob of bonza blokes, it’s great value.
Good natured give-and-take ribbing features in all things we do, all the while remembering our values:
We value and respect all people, regardless of race, spiritual beliefs, ability or sexual orientation.
We respect the opinions of others and value free and vibrant discussion but will not tolerate preaching of religious or political ideals. Along with no alcohol at general meetings, these values were firmly established at our foundation stage.
Strong friendships have formed, and new ones are developing. It would be no surprise to hear of the many things our good-hearted blokes have done for each other without seeking recognition. Lending a hand, or a tool. Giving a lift. Emotional support. In Covid times, doing some shopping or dropping by with a meal. We’ve lost some fine men over the years but considering our age make-up we’ve done bloody well.
I thank everyone who has served on the committee, coordinated an activity, organised an outing, been a visitor host or chipped in in other ways. Volunteers are the lifeblood of organisations like ours. I am grateful and I value your contributions. While the committee keep things running, it is each and every one of us who makes the Blokes Lounge the success it is, whether it be through:
We’ve had our struggles along the way - including the ongoing pandemic challenges - but I believe our future is bright: one of stability and growth.
Thank you for bringing my dream to reality. Live long and prosper
13 December 2022
The Sun newspaper April 2012
Ian has a strong background as a newspaper journalist and editor in Queensland and NSW as well as 19 years as a media and communications officer in Queensland Government departments.
Ian helped establish The Gold Coast Street Library for homeless and disenfranchised people. He was temporarily secretary of the foundation committee set up to establish the Gold Coast's first men's shed. Ian was a member of the Elder Abuse Task Force/Committee on Ageing, and later on the Gold Coast Seniors Regional Roundtable, helping develop the Gold Coast Seniors Action Plan, and was a victim representative for the Youth Justice Conferencing program.
Ian started the process to bring his vision for the Bloke’s Lounge to reality in early 2012. He has been honored with Life Membership of the Lounge and was selected as a Queen's Baton Relay carrier for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Previously Ian was involved in Apex, Neighborhood Watch, Community Youth Support Scheme, Police-Community Liaison Committee, Shire Council Tourism sub-committee and the Australian Inland Fishing Championships. As a "ship's drover", Ian accompanied breeding cattle shipments to Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.