Axeman, Stand to Your Blocks: Woodchops as Popular as Ever

Thu 13 Jul 23


At Dayboro Show last weekend, I witnessed some enthralling wood chop competition.

The historic town in the Moreton region of Queensland is about 50 km from Brisbane.

It did bring back memories of seeing the tree felling and standing block champion Vic Summers showing his expertise at the Gympie Show in 1964.

Quite a few things have changed since then.

For instance, how the competition blocks are attached to the base now involves a clamping mechanism sans nails.

The blocks for the cross-cutting competition are securely drilled into a metal base.

The ‘tree climb’ competitors now chop through hoop pine thinnings. And … the actual blocks, peeled to perfect rounds, were hoop pine from Blackbutt, sourced in the Benarkin plantations and delivered in plastic covers.

Flindersia australis, commonly known as crow’s ash, was what the Benarkin Reserves provided in 1979-1980.

We also noticed some strapping women at the show making a good fist of the saw and axe handle.

‘Twas most enjoyable.

** ** **

Gary, when I was a forester at Bermagui on the NSW south coast, we supplied spotted gum and blackbutt logs for the Royal Easter Show in Sydney and had done so for more than 20 years, to my knowledge.

Most were from the Bermagui state forest.

We had a koala family that lived happily and healthily there as they moved around the newly regenerated compartments.

Thirty years on, the stupid anti-forest brigade, who think they know everything, but know nothing, led a campaign to stop any forestry activity in forests we had managed for more than 120 years.

Koalas are probably chewing the bark off roadside trees now.

We also supplied many boat timbers and poles for power and boat timbers from those forests.

Carbon culture will mean we now see many of our environmentally simple products replaced by high-carbon materials such as cement, iron, steel or aluminium.

What a stupid society we have spawned.


** ** **

How times have changed?

Hoop pine in the woodchops – grown as peeler logs.

Why did we bother?

IAN BEVEGE, retired forester and R&D manager, NSW


  • Dr Gary Bacon

    Dr Gary Bacon, AM, BSc (For) Hon, PhD, FIFA, respected professional forester. Adjunct Professor at Griffith University and former CEO Queensland Forestry.


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