For an event to keep growing and developing over a 20 year period says a lot. Last weekend the word certainly got out about Maleny’s Wood Expo 20th as what seemed to an even larger number of wood lovers turned out to celebrate.
Last year’s event was marked by torrential rain that flooded then entire site the day before the expo opened. The morning after however the sun came out and it was if nothing had happened. This year it also looked like there could be a storm before the calm, however the gentle rain that fell on the Friday and Sunday was actually appreciated in times of low rainfall.
In its 20th year the Expo is more like a festival. Pockets of activity and interest are spread out all over Maleny’s showgrounds. Various buildings, halls and tents are focal points for workshops, displays and commercial activity, all related to trees and wood, and the ways of processing and working it. The program noted around 140 exhibitors and on top of that entertainment and food from mostly local producers contributed towards the festival and community vibe.
The idea for the Expo was seeded in 1996 by Ashley Sewell, Qld forester and Department of Natural Resources and Mines extension officer who was one of the founding members of the organisers, Barung Landcare. As Lindsay Kruger, current president of Barung Landcare explained in his Wootha Prize opening night speech explained: ‘The Wood Expo started as part of Barung’s Landcare’s reason for being. The event serves to value and promote sustainable native timber use, to support local economic development and benefit the regional community and to conserve and enhance the rich diversity of natural resources of our region. The Wood Expo promotes the growing of local tree species and farming of trees as an economically viable alternative land-use with environmental benefits.’
Along with those environmental and community aims the Expo also promotes the skills of local artisans many of whom mount independent displays or submit entries for the Wootha Prize exhibition. All exhibitors are bound to comply with the sustainability ethic of the Expo explained Lindsay, ‘displaying works only made from sustainably grown and harvested native timber, recycled or weed timbers.
An earlier news item that detailed the Expo program and another that reports on the Wootha Prize exhibition are at the related links shown right. In the gallery above you can see some snaps taken during the weekend. Click on the gallery to scroll through an expanded view with captions.
The Expo website is at www.malenywoodexpo.com