The first woodchop series was established for the purpose of raising funds to build the footbridge linking the town of Brunswick Heads to the beach front. This series took place between 1928 and 1932.The second woodchop series began in 1961. Noel McGregor, who ran the “Fun at the Fair” in Banner Park, approached 4 major organizations for the purpose of raising money to run a new Woodchop Carnival.The group of Brunswick Heads & Mullumbimby RSL, Brunswick Heads Progress Association and Lismore and District Ambulance contributed £240. Edgar Bashforth donated trees from his property and a team of volunteers felled the trees, then cut and trimmed the logs. 26 axemen competed for the £240 prize money.
By 1970 the Woodchop Carnival had grown considerably, a total of 140 axemen attended the mainland section of the World Centenary of Woodchopping, with teams from all over Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
Prize money has continued to increase each year and the Brunswick Carnival is currently regarded as the biggest woodchopping event outside the Sydney and Brisbane shows.
It is interesting to note that descendents of many of the original organisers, competitors, volunteers and supporters continue to come each year. The 2007 Carnival saw women competing for the first time. The 2010 Carnival, to run 13th-16th January, 2010, will be the 50th year of its operation.
After 4 days of competition the carnival is closed with the State of Origin and it is the crowd favourite. Preceded with a “Mexican Wave” the crowd erupts with vocal support of their favourite team, either New South Wales or Queensland.
The teams compete for the Dave Moss Memorial Trophy, named in honour of Brunswick Heads Woodchop longest serving President and a founder of the Woodchop carnival. Each team of 6 men cut three underhand and three standing block.
One of the most exciting events on the program, only tenths of a second normally separates the teams. Introduced in 1990, the count between the two teams is now tied at 10 all.
The carnival still continues to operate with voluntary labour, so many give of their annual holidays. It is a real community event, strongly supported by the people of the Brunswick Valley and the holiday makers, who spend their time locally and in adjoining towns.
Our committee is strongly mindful of the environmental issues involved.
Written by Historian, the late Reg Byrnes.