There is one sport we are really famous for in Tasmania, and it is probably not what you think.
Over the years Tasmania has produced some of the world's best woodchoppers ... just think, David Foster who is a household name.
To me this sport is the one and only cultural heritage sport in Tasmania and why I have fought to keep some of the woodchopping events alive in my area. (I may be a little biased, but woodchopping is an awesome sport)
At one point in time I reckon every world championship title in woodchopping - underhand, standing, treefelling, single-handed sawing and double-handed sawing - has been won and held by a Tasmanian.
And we do not have far to look to find these champions as many are still competing wherever they can today. Unfortunately these days, woodchopping carnivals are few and far between.
Back in the day woodchopping events were a staple of country shows across the nation but with COVID, we are now seeing many of these events, along with many others, cancelled. It's been a very trying couple of years attempting to compete with even international events in Australia and New Zealand cancelled.
Many Tasmanian axemen and axewomen compete at all the major shows in Australia and New Zealand and across the world in Asia and the US.
Today we only have to look at the loss of Launceston show, Scottsdale show and the cancellation of many others across Tasmania to see how many opportunities for competition and to hone our skills have been lost.
But that's not all that is lost for a community when we lose these events and that's why I was determined the events we host here in Break O'Day goes ahead.
Here in Break O'Day we have now confirmed three events that will feature woodchopping; the St Helens Athletic Carnival on January 22, 2022, the Pyengana Woodchopping Carnival which is held on January 25 as well as the St Helens Foreshore Woodchopping Carnival on January 29.
Events like this breathe life into our communities, particularly our regional communities.
Not only is this a big win for our community, it means that if the Trans-Tasman bubble opens in January 2022, Tasmania will host for the first time since 1974, the Australian Veterans Team who will compete against our cousins across the ditch, the New Zealand Veterans at all three Break O'Day events.
This is a big win for our community and Tasmania.
These three events would not be possible without the support of the Tasmanian government, Events Tasmania, Break O'Day Council and our many valued sponsors.
If we as a community do not put ourselves out there and try to keep alive woodchopping, along with many other sports and community events, they will fold.
Events like this breathe life into our communities, particularly our regional communities. Not only do they bring people to our area but they bring our community alive.
Events like this provide opportunities for our community to get involved by volunteering, sharing their products and services and most importantly, giving our whole area a sense of pride in our achievements.
The loss of volunteers seems to be a common problem and unfortunately, in small communities like ours, community events simply aren't possible without them.
We need our community members, young and old, to step up and help with the running of the events that mean so much to our communities.
We have all at one time or another attended a community event and had a wonderful time, whether it was as a small child with our parents, or as an adult now taking our children to them.
Either way, these events make lasting memories for us all, and how sad it would be to have to say to our children that these events are just a thing of the past.
Sometimes we have to fight for the things that are important to us, like woodchopping to me. If we hadn't pushed so hard and found community members to support me to make these events happen they may too have been cancelled.
The old saying goes "If you want something done ask a busy person", but I am here to tell you if something is important to you, don't give up and ask yourself, "What can I do to help make this happen?"
We all need to put our hand up more if we want to see our communities thrive.
If you want to support your community, meet new people and just give back, reach out and ask how you can help.
You get a lot of personal reward for supporting others and in keeping your community alive.
Mick is a proud champion woodchopper who has represented Tasmania and Australia.
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