Veteran axeman steps back from the block

Philip Melbourne has called it a day

The woodchop exhibition was again a popular  feature of the Wee Waa Show this year. From left,  axemen Jim Barker, Barraba, Philip Melbourne, Narrabri,  Lachlan Barker, Gunnedah, Jock Smith and Trenton Woolcott, both of Narrabri,  entertained the audience with an exhibition of the sport.

Veteran axeman Philip Melbourne would not mind being called a ‘veteran’ because he undoubtedly is.

His fellow axemen of all ages respectfully refer to Mr Melbourne as ‘a legend’ in Australian woodchopping.

“I chopped my first competition block at the Narrabri Show when I was 16,” Mr Melbourne said.

He is now 86.

He has enjoyed a long career in the sport he loved, with just a break from competition during the war years.

“But nowadays I am retired from active woodchopping,” Mr Melbourne said.

“I got knocked about by a steer two years ago, with broken ribs and other injuries and had to spend time in intensive care in Tamworth hospital.”

The injuries were in fact life threatening and permanently affected his ability to take up the axe again.

“I haven’t been able to get fit again for chopping,” he said.