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8 January 2007


We talk to the world champion woodcutter and ask the expert to explain what's going on.

HOWARD: My name is Howard Bane. I'm the Chairman of the Woodcutting Committee, which Liz is a member of, and we're running this 100 Year woodcutting event at the Adelaide Royal Show.

We're wearing traditional outfits and what they wore a hundred years ago, we've got photographs of what they wore a hundred years ago so we've copied those and today is our day that we're doing it. It's our traditional day. We don't normally dress like this but that's how it is.
Well, the first event was the Standing Block, that means the block was standing up and there was also a handicap, where each person starts on a different number to their ability. I suppose it's a bit like a golf handicap, where the better you are at woodcutting the higher mark you start on.

So the first one was a handicap. The second one was a championship which is a straight out event where every competitor starts on three and the fastest axeman wins.

Well, what makes them good is they're usually very strong and they are also very quick in their movements, you know? It's not a slow sport. It's like a hundred metre runner. You've actually got to be able to expend all your energy in a very short period of time, like ten seconds.
Marathon runners are aerobic and woodchoppers are anaerobic.

DAVID Hi. My name's David Foster. I come from Tasmania. I've been woodchopping for thirty years and I'm here competing at this year's Royal Adelaide Show, which is one hundred years of woodcutting in South Australia, so it's a great little show.

Yes, well the one I just chopped in was the underhand event. We have five different disciplines here at the Show and the underhand is one of those. It's all based around our logging, what we did years ago. We used the axe and the cross cut saw to clear our countryside well over a hundred years ago so that's what the sport does today.

story notes

 traditional outfits
old-style costumes

The block is the piece of wood they chop in half.

In a competition, a handicap is a disadvantage given to each person to balance out their chances of winning.
So, in this case, everyone starts at a different time. The slowest chopper gets to start first.

A championship is a high level competition to decide who is the best at something.
A champion is a winner - the person who has beaten all other competitors in a competition.

A competitor is a person who is competing against others.
To compete means to take part in a competition or race. It means to try to be more successful than someone else.

 starts on three
This means an announcer counts ‘1, 2,3!’ and everyone starts chopping when they hear the number ‘3’.

An axeman is someone who uses an axe.

To expend means to use or spend.

Anaerobic means without oxygen. Anaerobic exercise requires short bursts of energy. During anaerobic exercise, the body provides muscles with energy by burning sugar in the blood. The opposite is aerobic exercise. Aerobic means ‘with oxygen’. Aerobic exercise is exercise performed at a high intensity for a long period of time, like running a marathon.

Woodchoppers can also be called woodcutters.

A discipline is an area of study or a subject. We use the word discipline to talk about subject areas at university. For example the disciplines of science or arts. In this case, David uses the word ‘discipline’ to talk about the five types of events he competes in. They require different skills and have different rules.

Logging is the activity of cutting down trees for wood.

Countryside refers to natural land outside cities.