TUCK IN: Mark and Karen Pluples of Yatala at the Brunswick Heads Fish ‘n’ Chips Festival on Saturday.
TUCK IN: Mark and Karen Pluples of Yatala at the Brunswick Heads Fish ‘n’ Chips Festival on Saturday. Doug Eaton

Festival of the Fish’n’Chips has little to do with food

IT MAY be called the Festival of the Fish'n'Chips, but the annual Brunswick Heads event has little to do with food.

While explanations of the name's origin come in many shapes and sizes, Brunswick Valley Woodchop committee president Rosslyn Hogan said the carnival started as a way to raise money for a footbridge across the river.

"They needed to build the foot bridge across the river so that people could walk across to the surf and so they said 'let's have a wood chopping carnival'," she said.

"So they did, and one day they were all just sitting around at the pub and wondering what are they going to call it.

"And somebody walked in with a big bundle of chips for their lunch so they said 'fish 'n' chips' because they always used to have fishing competitions on the Saturday before the woodchop. So they called it fish'n'chips because the fish are in the river and the woodchips are coming off the trees."

Now into its 54th year, Ms Hogan said anywhere up to 5000 people could walk through the festival gates.

It has also attracted more than 90 axemen and women from around Australia and New Zealand.

Woodchop committee member Mike Aldridge said Saturday's highlights included the tree felling championship, the two and three man relays and the 'state of origin' woodchop between New South Wales and Queensland.

"Saturday night is always the biggest night because the finals are on," he said.

Merv and Rose Weyer from Morayfield have been making an appearance at the Brunswick Head Woodchop every year for more than 30 years.

Mr Weyer said as a former sawmill worker, he saw many of his colleagues go on to become champion woodchoppers, but never took up the sport himself.

Katie Thomassen said she has made the journey down from Gladstone every year for the past five years to watch her partner Carsen Jones compete in the woodchop.

"We leave the Friday before and spend a few days going to Byron Bay and places like that and then watch the woodchop before we go home," she said.



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