Australian Axemen’s Association News Archive

AAA Inc Report to the Competitors – September 2016

posted Sep 11, 2016, 5:20 PM  [ updated Sep 11, 2016, 5:21 PM ]

A number of the decisions taken at the AAA meeting at the 2016 Adelaide Show have the potential to be of enormous benefit to the sport of woodchopping and sawing.  I want to take this opportunity to explain why that is so, in order that all our competitors, their families and supporters have a clear understanding where we are heading.

Regain NSO status

The delegates unanimously supported regaining our status as an ASC-recognised National Sporting Organisation.

The delegates gave their support in the knowledge that this will require hard work at State level to gain more members (we need at least 1,000 active members), and over time, the adoption of governance arrangements, published by the ASC, which are fitting for a national sporting body.

Collaboration between AAA and Stihl

Again, the delegates recognised that Stihl has a lot to offer in relation to the growth of the sport.  It has been agreed that we will work collaboratively with Stihl to identify things that can be done to our mutual benefit.  We will be looking at ways to spread the benefits to all competitors, not just a few.

Uniform Competition Rules

As a result of a lot of hard work under the leadership of Don Brown, the delegates adopted a uniform set of Competition Rules which will apply to all chops across Australia, conducted by or under the auspices of the AAA, from 1 January 2017. There are a couple of aspects that still require fine tuning, but these should be resolved quite quickly and the new Rules will then be published on the AAA website.

The next step will be to ask all the Royal Show societies to adopt the AAA Competition Rules for their woodchops.

I remember being told, a few years ago, that a uniform set of competition rules would “never happen”.  Well, it’s just happened, which is a measure of the professionalism that we are working to develop within the sport.

Employ an Administrator

It was agreed that if the sport is to grow, and become more professional, we need an employed Administrator who can do what others cannot (whether through lack of time, other responsibilities, or lack of the required skill set).

As a guide, an Administrator could do at least the following:

  • Provide assistance to the State bodies in arranging and conducting membership drives (ie doing much of the legwork that others cannot do).
  • Manage the administration of the growth and development of the national coaching scheme.
  • Keep the AAA website right up to date with latest developments and news for the woodchop family (as well as doing something similar on Facebook).
  • Working with the new operator of the Hall of Fame, and the Latrobe Council, to ensure the Hall of Fame is a viable commercial venture and the woodchop memorabilia is displayed to its best advantage (including creation of some interactive displays).
  • Working with the ASC on the development of the governance structures required for a national sporting organisation that aspires to be in events like the Commonwealth and Olympic Games.
  • Ensuring a good exchange and cross flow of information between the States that is required for an effective national body.
  • Facilitating communications between national woodchop bodies in various countries which engage in the sport, in connection with the formation of an international woodchop association (which is a pre-condition to consideration for inclusion in the Olympic Games).
  • Identify and follow up sponsorship support for the sport.
  • Work with the States in encouraging and developing programs for the recruitment and training of young axemen and women.
  • Assist with and manage the implementation of the various strategic plan decisions that the AAA has previously agreed on.

At least initially, I envisage that an Administrator would be employed on a part-time basis.  I think it would be ideal if the person could come to the role with some knowledge of the sport.

To employ an Administrator, we need funds.  It is for that reason that the delegates agreed to increase the per member registration fee from $18 per member to $50 for anyone under 18 and $100 for anyone 18 or over, with effect in respect of the 2017/2018 year (thus providing the States with time to decide how best to handle this decision).

I completely understand the concerns of a few people (and it is only a few) that this very substantial increase could cause some members to leave.  That would be unfortunate, but consider this:

  • The fees payable to participate in many sports can be in the hundreds of dollars per year range.
  • How else are we going to be able to raise the money to do what needs to be done to raise the profile of the support and secure sponsorship and media coverage?

Rest assured that the AAA is moving towards doing what needs to be done to ensure the growth of the sport in Australia, and the maintenance of the sport’s proud traditions.  If there is some membership loss during this time of change, that will be unfortunate but it will not be a catastrophe: I am confident that with the right Administrator, the membership will grow, as will media interest and sponsorship support, all of which (along with our new collaborative arrangements with Stihl), will attract new participants to the sport.


The decisions noted above provide me with great optimism for the future of the sport.  As I mentioned at the meeting in Adelaide, if this all goes to plan, I can see a time when the numbers of competitors across Australia will number in the thousands.  I think we should all be proud about what we can achieve together.

Adrian Howie
Australian Axemen’s Association.
September 2016

Appointment of Administrator

posted Nov 16, 2016, 7:47 AM

The AAA are very happy to announce that Stefanie Fernandez has been engaged as the inaugural Administrator for the Australian Axemen’s Association.

Stefanie has a strong background in elite sport, not only as an athlete but also as a coach and committee member. She is well aware of what is needed to develop and grow a sport so that it can become a serious contender for Olympic consideration. She is wholly committed to helping the AAA adopt the strategies and achieve the goals set out in our Strategic Plan.

Stefanie is a strong and effective communicator, a high achiever and has an energetic approach: all being essential qualities for this role.

She is committed to a system which encourages every athlete, no matter what age or stage of development, to achieve the very best that is possible. And she is a great believer in the need to grow the sport by attracting and guiding the development of today’s younger people

The AAA strongly believes that the engagement of Stefanie as our first Administrator marks a turning point in the sport: it’s onwards and upwards from here! Stefanie will commence in the role on Monday 28 November 2016.

Many thanks to all the applicants.

Adrian Howie

Australian Axeman’s Hall of Fame Inductions Dinner 2016

posted Dec 14, 2015, 9:07 PM [ updated Dec 14, 2015, 9:12 PM ]

In an effort to honour the men and women that have made substantial contributions to the success of our sport over many years, the Australian Axemen’s Association in conjunction with the Axeman’s Hall of Fame are conducting an Inductions Dinner on 25th January, to honour the 2016 Inductees into the Hall of Fame.

An invitation is attached, extending to all Family & Friends of the sport of woodchopping to attend the dinner.

The AAA are making a financial contribution to the dinner by subsidising the cost per head. Please do not hesitate to contact the Secretary Jillian Stratton if further information is required.

RSVP 17th December 2015

Australian Axeman’s Hall of Fame Update

posted Sep 7, 2016, 8:06 PM

Latrobe’s Axeman’s Hall of Fame will be revitalised as part of a shake-up to lure more tourists to the region and to secure the facility’s future.

To free some space the Visitor Information Centre will move from the hall to the Cherry Shed, off the highway.

The Latrobe Council will also work with the museum curator to revitalise that exhibition and move it into the main hall area.

Announcing the plans on Monday afternoon, Latrobe Council mayor Peter Freshney said the changes at the facility were aimed “at ensuring the long-term viability of the complex”.

“It’s an opportunity for us to grab hold and reinvigorate the Axeman’s and make it once again the centrepiece of Bells Parade like it once was and should continue to be,” he said.

In the hope of starting more community events at the hall, Latrobe’s Australian Championship-winning Federal Band will also relocate to the Axeman’s Hall of Fame from their existing home at the Latrobe Recreation Ground.

It’s an opportunity for us to grab hold and reinvigorate the Axeman’s and make it once again the centerpiece of Bells Parade. – Peter Freshney

The Federal Band’s existing area at the Latrobe Recreation Ground will be converted to a storage area, which is a high priority for other clubs.

Cr Freshney said the Latrobe Visitor Centre would relocate to the Cherry Shed for an initial trial period of one year.

“One of the concerns we’ve had has been the low visitation to the information center so we’re hoping to increase that,” he said.

The council is also still seeking expressions of interest for a new operator of the Australian Axeman’s Hall of Fame. Cr Freshney said the council had received a handful of submissions during the expression period, which will close on Friday September 9.

“The council is looking for an operator that can build on the success of the Sunday market, operate the café and cater for the functions,” he said. Cr Freshney refuted claims the Axeman’s Hall of Fame was not viable, instead insisting the new operator would have the chance to reinvigorate the facility.

“The Australian Axeman’s Hall of Fame is an outstanding asset for both the Latrobe community and the surrounding region and is an ideal venue for large gatherings, weddings and other major functions,” he said.

Per The Advocate Newspaper – Wednesday 7th September 2016

Australian Champions Award 2014-15

posted Oct 18, 2015, 4:19 AM

Congratulations to Laurence O’Toole for winning the Australian Champions Award for season 2014-15. The award is to the axemen that gains the most points throughout the woodchopping season for winning and placings in Australian and World Championship events contested. Laurence won 10 out of the 17 Australian Titles contested and 2 World Championships.

Australian Champions of Champions Award 2015-2016

posted Sep 7, 2016, 7:47 PM [ updated Sep 7, 2016, 7:57 PM ]

Congratulation to Brent Rees, of Western Australia, for winning the Australian Champion of Champions Award for the season 2015-2016.

Born from a family of woodchopping competitors, Brent travelled the country to secure this victory, winning 4 Australian Titles and culminating with a very worthy win at the Royal Sydney Easter Show by winning the prestigious World 375mm Standing Block Championship.

Congratulations on a great achievement.

Increased Member Registration fees

posted Oct 18, 2016, 8:53 PM

Good afternoon all,

I understand that questions are being asked concerning what the AAA intends to do with the additional funds that will be received from member registration fees, starting with the 2017/2018 membership year.

The purpose of this email is to provide you with a document which answers that question and related issues, in a convenient form that can be forwarded to members.

How much will be raised?

Assuming there are about 700 adult members (@ $100 each), 200 under 18s (@$50 each) and 50 associate members (@$60 each), the total raised would amount to about $73,000.

When will the money be payable to the AAA?

The money is not payable to the AAA until the start of the 2017/2018 year.  In the interim, the AAA will fund from its own resources the engagement of a part-time Administrator.

What will that money be used for?

To pay for the engagement of an Administrator, as all Delegates agreed in Adelaide was needed if the sport is to grow and develop.

As an interim measure, the AAA intends to engage a part-time Administrator for about 10 hours per week at $30/hour (ie $300 per week; $15,600 per year).  As the role develops, it is estimated that an annual cost of about $50,000 will be incurred.  However, this will be reviewed during the Administrator’s first year in the role and the daily demands and responsibilities of the role are better understood.

What will an Administrator be doing?

This is the list as described to the Delegates in Adelaide:

  • Assist the States with organising and conducting membership drives
  • Assist in the management and growth of the National Coaching Scheme
  • Keep the AAA website up to date and ensure that it has information on it that is of value to members and informative for the public
  • Work with the new operator of the Hall of Fame to make it a viable commercial venture, including so that the woodchop memorabilia is better displayed and more memorabilia is attracted
  • Work with the Australian Sports Commission to develop a governance structure for the AAA that is appropriate for a national sport that aspires to be considered for events like the Commonwealth and Olympic Games
  • Ensuring a good cross flow of relevant information between all State bodies as is required for an effective national body
  • Develop communication protocols between national bodies with the aim of creating an international woodchop organisation (a pre-requisite to Olympic Games qualification)
  • With the States, identify and follow up sponsorship opportunities
  • Work with the States in creating and developing more effective recruitment and training programs for young people
  • Assist in and manage the development of other initiatives within the AAA’s Strategic Plan.

Other activities that appear in the AAA’s Strategic Plan include:

  • Improve the sport’s profile (thus encouraging new members)
  • Creation of international rules that are accepted world-wide
  • Ongoing development and improvement of elite level competition
  • Bringing the sport into new environments (schools, colleges and universities)
  • Education and training for coaches and instructors
  • Audit our governance structures, especially to ensure that our very best people are elected to important roles within the sport
  • Foster and encourage a national approach to the sport, that is accepted by all State leaders acting in unison
  • Assist with the development of practices and procedures which allow speedy implementation of policies and other decisions
  • Develop an electronic communication system which allows a speedy flow of information and feedback between members, the local clubs and associations, the State bodies and the AAA
  • Ensure meeting minutes and other relevant documents are regularly uploaded and accessible by all club and association members – ie greatly improved transparency.

Obviously, it will take time to develop the Administrator’s role to the extent that all of the above action items, and the others listed in the AAA’s Strategic Plan, can be undertaken – but the good thing is that we have finally started to do something positive and rewarding for the sport

I am happy to attend any meetings, anywhere and any time, to discuss these matters, and my vision for the future of the sport.

Adrian Howie
Australian Axemen’s Association

Passing of Mr Toby Davis

posted Nov 16, 2016, 7:58 AM

To all our wood chopping friends and family

It is with much sadness we wish to advise that staunch woodchopping supporter, Mr Toby Davis, passed away on Friday 11th November 2016.

Toby was a life member of the South Coast Axemen’s Association of New South Wales and shared a great passion for our sport. Toby was a great supporter of woodchopping throughout his life with his generosity being second to none. He will be missed by his family and friends particularly those in our great sport of woodchopping.

Toby will be laid to rest on Tuesday 22nd November 2016 in Nowra NSW.

Rest in peace Mr Davis your legacy will long be remembered.

Members of the Australian Axemen’s Association and supporters globally, send sincere condolences to the Davis family on the passing of Mr Toby Davis.


posted Oct 13, 2016, 8:04 AM

The Australian Axemen’s Association Inc (AAA) has decided to engage an Administrator, as an independent contractor, to help the AAA achieve the goals outlined in the Strategic Directions document (can be provided upon request) adopted some years ago.  We already have one applicant for the role, but before the Management Committee makes a decision, we invite anyone else to express an interest in the position.

If you are interested, please send to the AAA Secretary/Treasurer, Jillian Stratton at , full details concerning your qualifications and experience, including also your views as to what needs to be done to enhance the sport and how you would go about achieving the sport’s goals.

Please note that at the outset, this will be a part-time, 10 hours per week engagement remunerated at the rate of $30/hour. Once appointed, a trial period ending 31st March 2017 will be in place, pending review by the AAA.

The closing date for expressions of interest is Monday 24 October at 5.00pm.  Expressions of interest received after that time will not be considered.

Successful 2015 for Veterans Team

posted Oct 15, 2015, 7:25 AM  [ updated Oct 15, 2015, 7:40 AM ]

The 2015 season was one of success for our National Teams starting with the Australian Veterans at Canberra Show.

The Veterans Team Managed by George Quigg and Captained by Harold Winkle won the International against New Zealand Veterans at Canberra Show.

Other successful team members were: Greg, Baxter, Don Brown, Phil Campbell, Peter Donnelly, Michael Flesser, Peter Tilney, Barry Muskett and Jim Barker.

Successful 2015 for Women’s Team

posted Oct 15, 2015, 7:39 AM  [ updated Oct 18, 2015, 4:08 AM ]

 The 2015 season began on a high with the Australian Womens team winning the annual International Series against New Zealand at the Royal Sydney Easter Show.

Managed by Dale Beams and Captain by Amanda Beams, the team were unstoppable in winning the 3 Test Series against our Trans Tasman counterparts.

Other Team members were: Suzie Coffey, Janette Meyer, Jodie Beutel, Jillian Stratton, Emma Maxwell, Caroline Wassink, Paula Preddy and Shiela Rumley.

The same team also competed successfully in the 3 Nation Test Series at the Royal Adelaide Show. Competing against the strong woodchopping nations of New Zealand and the United States of America, the team completed the Series with consistent performances by all team members.

Sydney Royal Easter Show 2016 Entries Now Open

posted Oct 15, 2015, 8:05 AM [ updated Oct 15, 2015, 8:09 PM ]

The entry schedule is attached or go to for further details

Sydney 2016 Woodchop Schedule

U/21 Men’s Team complete the Year of domination by our National Teams

posted Oct 15, 2015, 7:51 AM [ updated Oct 15, 2015, 7:53 AM ]

The Australian U/21 Men’s team completed the 2015 on a very successful note by winning the 3 Test Series against the New Zealand U/21 team. Managed by Dale Beams and Captained by Brayden Meyer, consistent performances by all team members made for a clean sweep of the series. The comradery. sportsmanship and standard of competition will hold the sport of woodchopping in good stead for many years to come.

Other team members were: Kody Steers, Daniel Beams, Josh Bakes, Jessie Bakes, Jack Argent, Gerald Youles, David Reumer and Daniel Gurr.

World Titles at the Royal Adelaide Show 2014

posted Sep 19, 2014, 10:27 AM

  • Glen Gillam won 2 World Titles in Adelaide namely the Underhand and Standing Block World Titles.
  • Dale Beams and Laurence O’Toole won the 2 man combination World Title
  • Laurence O’Toole won the Elimination World Title.

Congratulations to those axemen on their great victories.