Chop chop! Towamba turns out for community fundraiser: PHOTOS, VIDEOS

The thud of axe of wood and the roar of engines filled the air as a healthy crowd turned out for a community fundraising event at the Towamba Sports Ground on Saturday.

Organised by the Towamba Rural Fire Service, the community fun day acted as a fundraiser for several community organisations, with each chipping in to run different stalls.

The highlight for many was the keenly contested wood chopping events, with 16 axemen and women taking part across nine different events, run by the NSW South East Axemens Association.

Historical engine displays, market stalls, kids’ games, food stalls, a bar and music were also on offer throughout the day.

Towamba RFS senior deputy captain Tony Ovington said the fundraiser is a great way to benefit the whole community, and is the culmination of three months in preparation.

“All the local community groups join in and have a chance to raise money as well, like the Towamba Progress Association and Towamba P&C,” he said.

“We’ve changed our direction a number of times over the years; we used to have a fire and wood day where we’d get about a dozen brigades coming out here and participating in different activities.

“That went well for about four or five years, but it got a bit stale and we ended up having acoustic sessions out here for a couple of years.

“The one-off wood chop is the latest incarnation, and we’ll be using the money raised to purchase new RFS-specific GPS units for each of the trucks, and some new equipment for our members.”

The Towamba Progress Association will also use the funds raised for the benefit of the community.

Secretary Phil Dodd, who manned the barbecue at Saturday;s event, said the group works to resolve any issues that local residents may have.

“We help out with anything, and we’ve done things like sorting out problems with dogs in the area, putting lights up on the bridge and improving the roads,” he said.

“Communication with Council is a big thing – we take peoples’ concerns to them and make sure everyone has a voice.”

Competitors came from far and wide for the wood chopping competition, which represented the start of the local season.

NSW South East Axemens Association secretary Peter Knight said the association would again be partnering with the RFS next month to put on demonstrations at the RFS State Championships at Pambula from September 12-14.

“We’ve had people come from places like Red Hill, Bairnsdale, Cooma and Canberra for today,” he said.

“It’s a great event, sponsored by the Forestry Corporation of NSW and a number of local businesses; without our sponsors we wouldn’t have an event at all, so we really appreciate their support.”

Another aspect of the day’s entertainment was provided by the Bega and District Historical Machinery Club, who displayed several historical engines, including that of a Chevrolet and a 2hp 1915 Cooper.