The Exhibition commenced in 1980 as the initiative of the Yarra Turners who named it the “National Woodturning Exhibition”. Its’ modest beginnings were as an exhibition of members of this group’s work. Under the stewardship of people like Vic Wood, Keith Towe, and Doug Birchall, it grew from purely a single club event to accept entries from other entities.
In 1997 the running of the exhibition was formally transferred to Forest Hill Wood Turners Inc. but there was a division of attitudes within the club and in 1998 the club decided to forgo its’ operation.
Ted Anderson approached Koonung Woodturners Guild and an independent sub-committee was formed with Ted as chair to continue the Exhibition. At this time, for copyright reasons, the Title was changed to “The Australian Woodturning Exhibition”.
Koonung were an enthusiastic group, with people like Rick Gilks, Harold Irving and David Tonkin at the helm and through vigorous promotion and very strong support from members both in submitting entries and providing manpower the Exhibition grew to accept entries from all States.
By 2008 the declining number of members was draining the resources of Koonung and research went to find a replacement entity to run the Exhibition, so a few Koonung members — Ray Dennis, Ken Wraight and Sue Leitch — recruited individuals from kindred clubs to form Whitehorse Woodturners Inc. a club whose sole task was to run the exhibition. The exhibition continues to be run under the Whitehorse Woodturners Inc since 2008.