Can We Fix It?…..The Repair Cafe movement, fixing objects and ‘repairing community’

Don’t Throw It Away – Fix It!.at a Repair Café – the international movement that is saving the world, one broken electrical gadget or piece of furniture at a time.  In trying to transform society’s throwaway mentality where it’s cheaper to replace than to repair, Repair Cafes are springing up all over Australia and around the world.  The service is free, but you are expected to be an active participant in the repairing. There’s the added big benefits of sharing knowledge and connectedness to the community.

This grass roots movement originally began in Amsterdam.  The Repair Café Foundation was formed to support local groups around the world in setting up their own Repair Cafes.  The idea is that people meet up at these cafes to repair household electrical and mechanical devices like lamps, computers, bicycles, clothing etc, etc, that would otherwise be thrown away.  Expert volunteers are on hand with tools and equipment to help and teach, passing down important ‘repair’ knowledge to the younger generation so they can fix broken goods and pay it forward by teaching others. The main objectives are to reduce waste, maintain and pass down important repair skills and to foster and strengthen community spirit.

Griffin and Harold at the Bower Electrical Cafe

Each repair café tends to specialise on repairing different things and this also depends on the skills of the volunteers they have from their community.  Some focus on household and electrical gadgets, while others may fix furniture or repair clothing, shoes and jewellery.  These places are a great way for retired or semi-retired tradies to give-back and still be involved with their local community. 

After visiting a Repair Cafe to fix a broken lamp and electric massager, (all of which took half an hour), I left with the distinct heart-warming feeling that we’re not only repairing objects, we’re repairing community and culture.  Definitely recommend it!

The cafes are usually held at fixed locations and you can bet that there’s one operating in your local area as the number of repair cafes around the world has grown quickly.

In 2017, the first International Repair Day was announced. It is intended to be an annual event, taking place on the third Saturday of October each year.

Repair Cafes in Sydney area:

Bower Electrical Repair Cafe
Every Wednesday
1pm – 4pm Banga Community Shed
3 Joynton Avenue Zetland (or Green Square)
Access is via Portman Street, Zetland. Head to 130 Portman Street and walk towards an open space where a playground is. Banga will be behind the playground, it is the building with the sloping roof and public toilets next to it. Free parking is available in nearby streets.
Bookings not necessary

Bower Furniture Repair Cafe
Every Wednesday
1pm – 4pm 107 Projects
107 Redfern St Redfern
Entry via Turner Lane at the rear of the building
Bookings not necessary

Parramatta Repair Cafe

Last Saturday of the month
10am – 12pm
At the Bower Parramatta 10 Hunter Street
Parramatta 2150
Bookings are essential – click here to book and please let them know what you are bringing. They can help with both electrical items and furniture.

Please note that parking on Hunter Street is free for fifteen minutes only, so you can bring your item in quickly to see if it can be fixed. If so, you can park in the Justice Precinct Car Park for $3 an hour on Saturdays. Please also note that bike repair is not available at Parramatta.


If you’re interested in working independently on a repair project, with supervision from a skilled woodworker, consider their Rent-a-Bench scheme. Click through for more information on Rent-a-Bench and the Bower’s Woodworks.

North Sydney Repair Cafe scheduled to open on the 1st and 2nd Sunday each month, from 2pm – 4 pm at the Living & Learning Centre, 180 Longueville Road, Lane Cove.