This is something that various friends and I have been kicking over recently, in the context of scoot wrench and hackerspaces. Melbourne does have a hackerspace and "Maker" community of sorts, but one of the issues with the capital-M Maker community, as with many capital-letter communities (I'm looking at you, Poly Pagans) is that they fall prey to cliquism. Whether intentional or not, the very term "hack-space" tends to attract and reinforce a community of people who are perhaps more focussed on rep-raps and Arduinos than fixing lawnmowers. I went to the mini-Maker Faire (yeah, that trailing e is exactly what I'm talking about) last year, and there was some interesting stuff, but if you weren't really interested in LEDs and 3d printing and robots, you were a bit out of luck. There's a token presence from sustainable gardening, but it's all a bit insular.
And that's not really my vision. I'd love a serious geek hackspace, but it's not going to empower the broader community when it comes to making or fixing things, be it lawnmowers, pushbikes or washing machines. So this is a bit of a survey, and I'd love it signal boosted beyond my circle of friends in facebook land, about what a shared skill-space might look like in Melbourne.
I'm trying to get a feel for a few things - "why don't people fix their own stuff" is part of it, but the answer to that is, on the surface, pretty simple. They don't have the skills, they don't have the tools, or they don't have the time. When people say "It's easier to buy a new one", then one of those three things is fundamentally the root cause. But beyond that, there's a deeper question of *why* people don't have the tools, the skills, and the time, which is a little more interesting. And part of it is "technology" - getting rid of CRTs makes a certain amount of sense, and LCD panels with SMD and solid state driver boards aren't really fixable. But the technology behind washing machines, pushbikes and furniture is still pretty accessible, I think.