Voices for Repair

“The duo from down under have been leading the charge not only at the community level, but also campaigning nationally, with submissions to public enquiry and taking policy makers to task during open hearings held by the Australian government.”

Read more here in A Modern Remedy’s Limelight Newsletter

An Interview with Mend It, Australia

We started asking questions, and we couldn’t find the answer. It was all so secretive, sideways glances like, ‘why would you want to know that?’.

“Right to Repair is exciting, it’s new, rebellious… a protest movement. It’s about saying, enough is enough!”. Karen Ellis/Activist

We are making noise and people need to voice their concerns. If we stop buying their products, OEM’s will quickly realise… we need to exercise our individuality and the power that comes with it.

Our Right To Repair Advocacy is the excuse!

To our blog followers

We have not been writing blog posts due to our increasing commitment to our volunteering at community repair events and our advocacy and campaign work related to the Right To Repair.

Our blog will not be active for the foreseeable future. However we still remain very active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and in the community when our volunteering recommences at repair events.

You can find us daily over the following social media sites:

Facebook @ruderepair
Facebook @mendaussie
Facebook @r2rAussie
Instagram @menditaussie
Twitter @MendItAussie
LinkedIn ~ https://www.linkedin.com/in/mend-it-aussie/

If you are living in Australia, please consider signing this Right to Repair petition to Josh Frydenberg MP. Thank you.


Running Repairs

Us RUDE Guys aka Mend it, Australia recently posted about textile mends for others in the community. A little bit surprised that we did not get any responses.

These mends would be one on one and free. Simple mends only. Also a few years back we offered running repairs in our own community but received no interest.

What does that say about us? Or what does lack of interest say about others? Or is it due to a lack of interest in mending textiles?

Also, if you are doing running repairs for people you do not know, to go into their homes could be a safety issue for both parties. However, when we made our offer we suggested meeting in a cafe, library etc

A penny for your thoughts.

Here is a podcast featuring us that may be of interest. We share the joys and the barriers to community repair.


Enterprise Essentials

I was thinking about the phrase ‘running repairs’ this weekend while marshaling at Wimpole parkrun (no virtue signalling intended). You know how some TV and radio programmes – To Hull and Back springs to mind – sound like they’ve thought of the title first and then developed the idea behind the title; well, this could be the case with the idea of Running Repairs.

The phrase combines two of my passions – getting free exercise and giving free fixes – which got me thinking… What if runners with relevant skills could be matched with local residents with things that needed fixing. This could be a lightbulb or fuse to be changed, a dripping tap, a button that needs sewing back on, a bike chain that needs adjusting, anything that needs lubricating, gluing or cleaning – the list goes on. It would be a free, non-emergency, accessible service, but only for…

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House of Straw

At Home with Mend It Aussie

Image Source: wwwImage Source:  www

Us RUDE Guys do not live in an eco-designed house.  It is an early 1970s glorified tent!  It has some features that are sort of ‘green’ like roofing insulation and energy efficient globes in our light fittings.  Some rooms have curtains that are lined, and we have outside awnings on the windows.

We do however strive to reduce our carbon footprint in other ways.  We reduce, reuse and repair.  We rarely travel preferring stay at home mending and making do.  We are wary of expensive products that are labelled/certified ‘green’, refusing to be green washed by The Man.

What we do admire is others who owner-build with sustainability in mind.  And we would not rule out buying an already built eco-house on a small parcel of land in some sleepy seaside town.  Time will tell when RUDE Boy retires later in 2018.

On the topic of sustainable…

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The Tinkering Travellers ~ 2019


Us RUDE Guys were busy this year travelling to and volunteering at 42 community repair events around Victoria, Australia.

We know of no other married and retired couple volunteering their time most weekends in this manner, and at their own expense.  If you do, please let us know.

This year we plan to decrease the different repair groups we attend and select those that more meet our needs.  Easy travelling to a location with parking is important to us.  And of course, the event has to fix electrical items as that is Danny’s expertise and best use of his volunteering time.

In winter we prefer the later start events i.e. 1pm to 4 pm however this year we may not attend as many during the colder months.

We are also keen to support any groups that are launching repair events providing we are available and do not have any other commitments.

Sew new bands onto your socks

“A fb group called journey to zero waste and journey to zero waste uk would love to see this.”  Alice / Textile Tatters+Rags

“I do the same thing with cuffs on sweat shirts.” Carolyn / Textile Tatters+Rags



I know most people would have chucked away these old work-issued bamboo socks but it was not going to happen on RUDE Girl’s watch.

Using the tops from RUDE Boy’s old socks that were worn or not being worn, I used these to replace the tops on good ones whose tops had lost their stretch.

The leftover textile will be re-used to polish my little collection of secondhand leather shoes and for other projects.

Also, if bands are okay and socks are not, I have been know to use the bands to lengthen the arms of my long sleeved tops or add a band to them.

Beat The ‘fast fashion’ Man and revamp your socks, if you can!

Fixing a Seized Overlocker [Serger] Online

“Fixedness of purpose is at the root of all successful efforts.”
James Allen




“Hi, I’m trying to fix my “My Lock 534” the balance wheel is not moving it’s seized. I have watched your video about it but I’m still stuck I have oiled everything and opened it all up can you tell me exactly what part you hit with the hammer so I can try that.”

We RUDE Guys aka Mend It, Australia oftentimes get private messages to help people fix their things.

There is only so much help you can give online but we do try to do our best to encourage DIY attempts because we know it’s the best feeling to research the problem and then give it a bash and succeed!

In the above example, we did not recommend that Katherine bash her overlocker with a hammer.  Rather we asked her if the machine had been in storage.  And yes, it had for over a decade.  It had seized because the oil had gummed up inside it.

RUDE Boy recommended that she use a hairdryer to warm up the metal and oil and rock the handwheel back and forth.

Read the outcome here.

Using a hairdryer is a skill most people possess!  Beat The Man and DIY within your capabilities.



Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Recycling and Waste 2019



The report was tabled in Parliament on 27 November 2019.

We RUDE [reusers of unloved discarded excess] Guys aka Mend It, Australia under Karen and Danny Ellis formally submitted to this Inquiry.  Our submission number is 306, page 205 of the report.  Our submission can be read here.

Our submission’s main focus was on reuse, repair and community repair. 

For many years prior to our submission, we had been vocal on social media and in our local community about reuse and repair.  However, we knew we had to make more noise to effect greater change, hence our submission and making contact via social media with several MPs on the committee for this inquiry

Samantha Ratnam MP who was on the committee has listened, replied and actioned [refer screen shot below].  Our hats go off to her!


Sonja Terpstra MP who was on the committee has listened, replied and actioned. [refer screen shot below]  Our hats go off to her!  She even has a repair cafe video featuring on her Facebook page, at the time of writing this blog post.  And in her electorate there is Ringwood Repair Cafe and Warrandyte Repair Cafe – lucky them!

Sonja Terpstra_Waste Inquiry

We also attended a meeting with our local Member for Melton Steve McGhie to inform him about the repair movement sweeping the globe and how local communities are embracing repair and reuse activities.  However, it was disappointing to inform him that his electorate has not been supportive due to bureaucracy and red tape.

On Facebook and Twitter we tagged in Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio, other MPs, governments, councillors, think tanks and the like.

Belinda Coates Councillor at the City of Ballarat [refer screen shot below] is  supportive of Ballarat Repair Cafe having promoted it on Twitter and dropped in to find out more.

Belinda Coates Oct 2019

With the release of this report’s findings and recommendations, we feel our voices have been heard.  They must have been, as these findings and recommendations are in line with what we recommended in our submission.  That’s social democracy at work!

FINDING 24: Built-in product obsolescence exacerbates existing strains on the waste and resource recovery sector and obstructs the principles of waste avoidance and a circular economy.
Recommendation 26: That the Victorian Government work with the Commonwealth Government to consider the introduction of extended warranty requirements for products in order to promote principles of repair and reuse rather than use and disposal.

FINDING 25: The Committee recognises the work and successes of repair cafes and supports the introduction of further initiatives across the state that extend the life of products.

For us, Finding 25 is the pearl in the report.

We recently recommended something similar in our interview with Ballarat Repair Cafe as follows:

What do you envision as the future of Repair Cafes in Victoria?

Mend It, Australia envisions repair initiatives in Victoria having dedicated funding for a Victorian Repair and Reuse Society from Sustainability Victoria [the State Government]. This ‘society’ could help to support this growing movement with much needed funds for venue hire and insurance coverage, for example.

Whilst repair cafes are featurued in Finding 25, it must be noted that not all community repair outfits are registered with the International Repair Cafe movement based in the Netherlands.  There are outfits that choose not to be registered and title their initiatives something different, such as Repair Lab, Fix-it Clinic, Mend It Monday etc

We did notice that MP David Limbrick was not in support of Finding 25, as tabled on page 230 of the report [refer screen shot below]. We will have to contact him to find out why.  He may just need to be invited to a community repair event to be sold on the idea.  It appears that his electorate may not have a repair cafe or similar.  Maybe Frankston does, not sure?

Finding 25 Recycling Inquiry Nov 2019
These findings and recommendations that relate directly to our volunteering give us hope that our travel to 42 community repair events this year, and our mending, repairing and fixing skills are making a difference in the state of Victoria, and that we have much to offer as retired Victorians.

It’s been a good news day!

“When the best leader’s work is done the people say, ‘We did it ourselves’.” Lao Tzu

Volunteering Vision with Action



Us RUDE Guys [Mend It, Australia] volunteering at Highton Repair Cafe in Geelong on 10 November 2018

“Freedom, sanctuary, home-making, risk-taking, scholarship, self-understanding, community-building, democratic self reliance, artisanal pride, low environmental impact – we tinker. therefore we are!”
Tinkering: Australians Reinvent DIY Culture

“Volunteering is not so much about the wins and rewards, but the wonderful other volunteers you meet along the way in achieving your goals”.
Marika Bisas

“When did volunteering change from ” here’s what I have to offer”, to “here’s what you will do”? I volunteered only to be voluntold! Sorry but my experience has been “here’s the list of hoops you will jump through, then we might use you”.

Thank you Ballarat Repair Cafe for interviewing us RUDE Guys for your informative blog, and for sharing our Mend It story.

Read more here