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Jimbelunga men’s group ‘Maibinyana’

Maibinyana, meaning ‘men working together’ (derived from the Yugambeh language and a Torres Strait dialect), is a fitting name for the men’s group at Jimbelunga, which is all about connection, community and collaboration. Organised by Community Connections Facilitator Corey Watt, the twice weekly men’s group sees Elders come together for different activities of interest while creating a safe space where stories can be shared without judgement.

“We play games like chess and dominos while talking about any issues the men may be having, reminiscing about the past or talking about family,” Corey said.

This rainy day, ten Elders sit in a circle with cups of coffee and tea and chunky serves of passionfruit slice as they take turns sharing a little about their lives with the group.

Place and belonging were strong themes with the men’s connections to mob spanning as locally as the Yuggera People of Meanjin and the Butchulla People of K’gari all the way south to the Wiradjuri of the Blue Mountains area and the Gunditjmara from south-western Victoria.

In talking about country, stories of disconnection, dispossession and the impacts of the Stolen Generations arose, and the men held a safe space for struggles to be shared.

“I think it’s important for men to talk openly and freely without judgement; the men’s group gives us this space to do so, while showing others that we are not alone with some of the struggles men face,” Corey said. “Knowing that you’re not alone, and having a support network around you, helps us get through the tougher times by having brothers to lean on.”

Conversation spanned from experiences in younger days like living overseas in Asia and career highlights to the ailments that come with older age. Throughout their lives, the men worked in diverse professions and trades, including as a barber, navy officer, truck driver, community leader and actor. 

For example, Uncle Athol, a Minyungbal man from Fingal, acted in television shows like Skippy the Bush Kangaroo and A Country Practice and movies like The Games and The Last Wave as well as theatre productions from around the world. Uncle Noel, a Butchulla man from K’gari, started out in the navy before driving trucks and working on cargo ships and then pivoting to community development and working at Curtin University in Western Australia.

“I enjoy playing chess in the men’s group,” Uncle Athol said. “I love the game and used to play a lot.”

“I think it’s good for men to get together regularly as it gives us a chance to talk about things that we might not talk about in other spaces or with other groups of people.” 

Corey works regularly with different men’s groups across Logan and highlighted how these sessions create informal support networks and have seeded endearing friendships.

Reflecting on the Maibinyana group, Corey shared about seeing individuals who initially expressed reluctance or hesitation now joining in and actively engaging in the sessions. “Witnessing the transformation from scepticism to enthusiastic participation highlighted the positive influence our men’s groups aims to foster — an environment of strength and community.”

Uncle Geoffrey expressed his appreciation for Corey facilitating the men’s group and how important the act of yarning, of sharing and listening, is to anchor us in the shared experience of being human. And just then, a rowdy bunch of rainbow lorikeets fly under the pagoda sheltering from the wet weather as the men’s group finishes for the day and the Elders disband until next time.

If you are interested in getting involved with one of our men’s groups, please reach out on 0447 293 928 or contact

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