Kel Head, son Kerry and grandsons Jim (top left) and Tom Wilkinson represent three generations of woodchoppers at this week’s Fish ‘n’ Chips Festival.
Kel Head, son Kerry and grandsons Jim (top left) and Tom Wilkinson represent three generations of woodchoppers at this week’s Fish ‘n’ Chips Festival. Claudia Baxter

Sentiment cuts deep as chips fly

EVERYTHING was chipper at the woodchop carnival in Brunswick Heads yesterday, according to veteran axeman Kel Head.

Mr Head, 72, from Redcliffe in Queensland, had every right to be pleased while warming up to go head-to-head against his son and grandson in the competition.

“I didn’t start woodchopping competitively until I was 44. It was my son who got me into it,” he said.

Mr Head, who has attended the woodchop for 28 years, said he was looking forward to seeing his youngest grandson compete for the first time.

“It’s really a family bonding day. I would have given it up by now if it wasn’t for the youngsters pushing me on,” he said.

Mr Head said woodchopping had brought the family together in tough times.

“It was originally my brother who was the woodchopper in the family, my dad taught him. But when he passed away my son, Kerry, stepped into his shoes. That really helped my dad to keep going and recover,” he said.

Emma Maxwell, 38, from Brisbane, said woodchopping was also a healthy contributor to her relationship with her husband.

“Those who chop together stay together,” she said.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Fish ‘n’ Chips Festival’s woodchop carnival.

Col Watson, 60, has been involved with the event since he was 15 and said not much had changed about the carnival since.

“It’s still much the same, although there was no such thing as a tractor back in my day, so moving the wood was hard yakka,” he said.

Woodchop committee president Rosslyn Hogan said this year was an historic milestone for the woodchop carnival.

“We’ve come a long way since 1961. This is a big moment in the proud history of the even,” she said.



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