The ultimate man cave

Jamie Dimery. (Pictures: Louisa Jones)

Luke Voogt

After transforming his shed into one of the strangest assortments of “odds and sods” in Little River,
 Jamie Dimery tells LUKE VOOGT about the method behind the madness.

Jamie Dimery’s three-hectare property in Little River had naught but a “plain” 20×40 metre shed and a “modest” cement house when he moved from Port Melbourne in 2000.

“The house had three bedrooms, a laundry and a kitchen, and the dining room and lounge was all one room,” he says.

“That’s probably how the shed ended up what it is, really.”

The shed became a refuge for the father-of-four and wife Sandra to watch TV or have mates over at night.

“We’d put the kids to bed because they were only young then and we’d have parties with friends without waking them up,” he says.

“The bar was the first thing I built when I moved in.

“An absolute monstrosity of alcohol has gone through that bar. I couldn’t tell you how much mate.

“Sometimes the parties went to 8am or 9am the next day.”

A few years later, the shed began its transformation into the eclectic monument of “odds and sods” that it is today.

“I just started hanging a few farm utensils,” Jamie explains.

“I’d been in other people’s sheds and they collect old fuel signs and petrol cans. I thought I’d do something different.”

Jamie started with the usual signs and gas pumps, then went well beyond, hanging an old dirt bike on the wall.

“Then, of course, one bike grew into two, then three and four,” he says.

“I added on three big bays and a veranda. As more people turned up, we needed more room.”

He ran an earthmoving business and worked at demolition sites, where he collected an old urinal.

“I brought the urinal home to hang up in the house as a joke,” he says.

Instead, he attached it to an old phone booth just outside the shed.

“That was for the men so they don’t use the inside toilet. I left that for the ladies,” he laughs.

“There’s $10 fine for men using the indoor toilet. Although the urinal’s just cosmetic, really.”

Jamie also bought a dummy at a garage sale, which now rides a harness racing sulky that he picked up from a farm clearance sale in Macedon, atop the shed roof.

Later, he found an inventive use for the bonnet of a 1963 Holden Ute left over from rebuilding another car.

“Rather than get rid of it, I put a barbecue on the inside of it,” he says.

But perhaps the most impressive – or ludicrous – item is a 1978 Holden HJ perched next to the sulky on the roof.

“A mate asked if I wanted it for parts,” he says.

“Some people put them on their front lawn or in a roundabout in their driveway.

“I thought, ‘it will look alright on the roof. Bugger it, I’ll put it on the roof!’

“My family thought I was nuts – they thought the roof would cave in.

“But I put stiffening beams in to handle the weight and the car’s got no engine, so that makes it a lot lighter.

“Everyone that sees it, they’re blown away.”

Despite Jamie trucking in a much larger house to restump on his property, the shed remained a local get-together spot.

“As the kids grew older they started to join in,” he says.

“All the major kids parties were in that shed. We had 16ths, 18ths and 21sts in it.

“The boys loved it because I built a motocross track out the back. Sandra loves it.”

Jamie missed celebrating his recent 56th birthday in the shed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“I gave up on birthdays after I turned 50 anyway. You go backwards, don’t you, when you hit 50?” he says.

“My son and his mates still use it on the odd occasion but obviously with what’s going on at the moment no one’s using it.”

But he still has an impressive array of boats, bikes and cars in the shed to keep him busy.

The collection includes a 1979 CM Valiant Regal that he bought from an owner in Mt Duneed when restrictions temporarily eased.

“I love ’em all. My ZH Fairlane, my Harley Davidson and now the Valiant,” he said.

“That’s my next project. I’ve got a friend painting it next week. Another friend and I are rebuilding the engine once COVID-19’s over.

“Modern cars don’t interest me, too much plastic. You need them to get around but give me a chrome bumper any day.”

He looks forward to the COVID-19 situation improving so he can again open the shed to his mates.

“A lot of my friends are in Melbourne and they’re in stage four – they can’t do nothing,” he says.

“I’ll have a big shindig, about 100 people, when it’s all over.”

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