GLENREAGH’S seventh annual Timber Festival attracted more than 4500 people to the Orara Valley village for a sun-drenched day of activities on Saturday.
Festival secretary Robyn Wilson said the event had attracted a record field of axemen to compete in the day’s wood chopping events and spectator numbers were ‘well above average’.
The winner of the inaugural Fred Shipman Memorial Point score trophy was Kootingal axeman Graham Galvin , who won the 275mm underhand handicap, was second in the 300mm underhand handicap and also placed second in the veterans underhand handicap.
The trophy was given in memory of the late timber industry identity, a staunch supporter of the Timber Festival, by Andrew Moran’s sawmill at Lowanna.
Program co-ordinator Viv Watts said there was excellent wood chopping as contestants sliced their way through the flooded gum logs, but the outstanding performance was Dorrigo axeman Michael Kellett, who won the championship standing block event.
Michael defeated Australian Under 21 representative Matthew Owen and Glenreagh axeman Michael Shipman after he was earlier beaten into third place by his father Cyril Kellett in the 300mm standing block handicap, won by Dorrigo axeman, Malcolm Taylor.
Watts put down the microphone to pick up his axe and swing his way to a win in the 300mm underhand handicap.
The Wauchope wood chopping identity was followed in the placings by Graham Galvin and Gary Dunn of Uralla.
The oldest competitor, 78-year old Garth Martin
of Grafton, gave a good account of himself, placing third in the veterans underhand handicap final, behind winner Les Pearson of Glenreagh and Graham Galvin.
“It was a magic day with beautiful weather and a helluva crowd,” Viv Watts said.
“We had 26 axeman from Grafton, Casino, Uralla, Kootingal, Glen Innes, Gloucester, Dorrigo, Macksville and Wauchope – almost everyone in the region.”
Terry Kennedy demonstrated squaring-off sleepers, which were sold off to the crowd.
The three heats of post ripping, with the saw-ripped billets split apart with wedges, saw 55 posts sold off for $11 each, netting $605 to add to the proceeds.
The Timber Festival raises funds for causes including the Glenreagh Pre-School, Glenreagh P&C, Glenreagh Rural Fire Service; Glenreagh School of Arts; Sherwood Cliffs drug and alcohol rehabilitation centres and Timber Industries Australia, which helps families of injured timber workers.