Axeman to chip in at Ipswich Show
SHAYNE Maxwell loves to chop wood, and it is a hobby that has taken him around the world.
A proud local police officer by day, Shayne has spent almost three decades travelling to compete in woodchop competitions. He's so well known on the show circuit that he's been asked to oversee the popular event at the Ipswich Show this year, and he's excited about the prospect.
Now in his mid-50s, Shayne has been wielding an axe since he was just 15 years old.
"I was a competitor at the Ipswich Show for many years, and the show society asked me to assist with the judging, and I'm happy to help out," Mr Maxwell said.
"I organise the day, like organising the wood and making sure everything needs to be ready. I've been doing these events for so long I know what needs to be done for the event.
"I've made a massive circle of friends over the years, like one big family. The only time there is rivalry when you hear 'axeman, stand to your blocks'."
After chopping wood for the last 27 years, Shayne says that he has a huge collection of axes, and boy, does he know his wood.
"I'm still learning ... you never stop. There are so many types of wood for example. When you look at wood you see the circles to judge the age, but often the circles are close together or further apart, you learn to read the wood and that tells you a lot about it.
"At home I currently have 67 axes. I don't take all of them on the road, but I have axes for all kinds of wood, as it all depends on the type of timber. There are different methods for all types of wood, and different axes for soft or hard wood."
The woodchop events are always popular no matter which show you visit around the country and Shayne thinks it is because Aussies love to see a good contest doing something that we all can do at home.
"People can relate to the woodchopping. They can remember walking into their grandad's shed and seeing a saw, hearing stories about cutting wood ... five or six times a year people will turn up with their saws that their grandfathers have used, and they are happy to talk about it. Some of the saws we compete with are worth over $3000.
"We have travelled all over Australia to compete, we may do about 20 carnivals a year outside the Ipswich Show. We've also travelled to New Zealand, the US to compete and do some demonstrations in Hong Kong. I use all my leave every year to spend doing woodchopping, it's a great outlet and hobby."
Shayne's family has a big connection to the Ipswich Show and woodchopping.
Shayne's wife Emma is a member of the Australian Women's Woodchopping team, plus two years ago Shayne's daughter Chloe was Miss Showgirl.
"She has grown up going to woodchop competitions so it's in her blood. We really do have that connection to the Ipswich Show."
Shayne says that everyone should check out the woodchop at the show, especially if you've never seen it before.
"I'd say to anyone that has never seen a woodchop competition that remember what you learnt at school. What's the first thing someone does when they arrive in a new land? They erect a flag pole. Chopping wood is a part of our history, part of our heritage. Come and check it out, you won't be disappointed!" Mr Maxwell said.