A building that was once a clubhouse for the Rebels bikies in Wanniassa has a much different vibe these days, now occupied by a workshop for women and children to learn carpentry skills.
While burnout marks on the concrete and multiple, old security cameras and alarms give away its previous use, the building on Sternberg Crescent, with its fortress-like walls, is now a place for good not, well, the other one.
Two Sheds Workshop is the brainchild of South Coast carpenter Jo Saccomani who first started the classes in Bega in 2014.
Her aim is to give women and children a sense of achievement and confidence in being able to build something and, also, encourage more women into the building trade.
She had no idea about the previous use of the building, which she leases.
"We're hopefully putting a different spin on it now," Ms Saccomani said.
"We've never had anyone pop back in or anything like that. I think it was previously rented by a carpenter as a storage place as well, so there's a bit of distance between us and the Rebels.
"It's definitely got a different feel to it. I'm hoping it keeps the robbers away. It's a great space."
A daughter of "chronic renovators and builders", Ms Saccomani said she fell into the trade, watching her own parents work on the family home in country Victoria.
She initially studied arts at the ANU before moving to Sydney where she was on a program with 36 women working on renovation programs.
She was also a licensed builder in Canberra for 10 years during the 1990s.
"Back then, 10 per cent of all building trades were women. Now, we're less than 2 per cent and carpenters are less than 1 per cent," she said.
She knew there was a demand for women to learn the skills.
"Just about everywhere I went, women would say, 'Oh, I wish I could do that', 'I wish I was a carpenter' but they never had the opportunity or confidence to try," she said.
With her connection to Canberra, Ms Saccomani started classes in the national capital in 2019, initially renting out local halls before creating the base in Wanniassa.
The building is now fitted out with tools and workbenches, stored timber ready to be turned into anything from adirondack chairs, stools and benches, which can be completed by adults in a weekend workshop, to swords, shields, possum boxes, treasure chests, bread boards and candle holders, which the kids can do.
"We've slowly been building up what we offer there," Ms Saccomani said.
"I'd like to build up lots of classes for women and children and then concentrate more on construction stuff, particularly down here [on the South Coast] because of the bushfires, there are a lot of homeless people now.
"It's very empowering building things. I firmly believe working with your hands is the way to heal in a way. I mull when I'm working. And a lot of women who come through the weekend workshops, get to Sunday afternoon and say, 'My God, I haven't thought about work once'.
"It's not hard, but it takes your focus, and I think that's what's really appealing about it. For kids, too, they must be feeling pretty helpless at the moment, with so many bad things happening in the world, and this gives them a focus."
At Wanniassa, the teachers are Canberra mum Leanne Kell, who is starting a carpentry apprenticeship, and Miche Hodgetts who has been a carpenter since the 1990s.
Ms Hodgetts said the kids' classes were about fun as well as acquiring skills.
A big sign in the workshop says "schmickee-doo" which is kind of the standard for the kids' work.
"I ask them, 'Is it schmickee-doo?' meaning is it all sanded back and done properly," Ms Hodgetts said.
COVID-19 impacted the classes, which are now building up for a full suite of programs, including on the weekend and after-school. The children's classes are open to children aged from seven years.
"It only takes a little bit of encouragement to get women along. If they want to do it, they'll do it. They just need the opportunity and a little bit of confidence," Ms Saccomani said.
"And that's what I try to create at Two Sheds, for women to be able to have a go. None of it is very hard. What I hear a lot in the workshop is, 'Is that it? Is that how you use a drill?'. Maybe the mystique around it and women not being giving the opportunity has probably dissuaded them in the past.
"We're also teaching the kids to work hard and to keep going to finish something."
More details are at https://www.twoshedsworkshop.com.au/