Well the committee has had a well-deserved rest and now felt an article on the outcome of the 2016 Australian Woodturning Exhibition was long overdue.

Turners from across Australia and New Zealand surpassed all expectations to bring together 369 exhibits for display at The Australian Woodturning Exhibition, which took place in Nunawading, Victoria on 17-19th June 2016.

Every year we believe that we have reached the pinnacle in design and creativity just to be marveled at what is produced for judging in the show.

Our judges had a tough year sifting through the many exhibits but were in total agreement as to the Best of Show sponsored by Dremel, which once again went to Jim McConnachie from Queensland for his amazing laminated/built up made of Red Cedar and finished with lacquer, which was so outstanding, that he has now held this coveted position for 2 years in a row. The craftsmanship on this winning piece is remarkable and despite the number of wonderful exhibits it stood out in the crowd.

Best of Show for Laminated Built up by Jim McConnachie

The Best Intermediate Prize went to Ernest Hunt for his Turned Spheres suspended in Frame made from English Ash Boree. A close up view of this work demonstrates his outstanding talent in producing a piece of art that is amazing in its intricacy and fragility and, as we are seeing more and more, the use of a variety of techniques in one piece of work.


Turned  Spheres by Ernest Hunt

This year we were pleased to present 2 other ‘Best of’ prizes. These prizes were donated by our Sponsors with the idea of encouraging turners who cannot compete for the Best of Show but recognizes items that have pushed the artists to their limits and we hope help and encourage them to surpass their own aspirations.

Firstly, the Best Novice, which was sponsored by Tormek. Two exhibitors won this equally.   Lindsay Rotherham won for his outstanding vase entitled Natures Vase made of Camphor Laurel. Not content with just showing off his turning skills, Lindsay demonstrated how to turn an ordinary vase into something extraordinary using his skills in cutting out to produce an outstanding work of art;


Lindsay Rotherham Best Novice for his piece Natures Vase

and Eric Hillier for a truly beautiful carriage clock made of Redgum and Jarrah and finished with Danish Oil that bore all the hallmarks of top quality turning. The lines and finish made it a worthy winner of this prize. Thanks to Tormek who graciously donated two T4 sharpening tools so that both winners can ensure that they keep their tools in the best condition. Eric Hillier’s piece also attracted The Encouragement Award, sponsored by U-Beaut, to celebrate a Novice Turner that demonstrated the most promise. U-Beaut presented Eric with a ticket to the Philip Island Down Under Turn Around weekend in September. We hope that Eric picked up a lot of tips from the masters that attended!

Best Novice and receiver of the Encouragement Award for his clock by Eric Hillier

Two pieces of wood art also received an accolade. Timbermate sponsored 2 Best of Wood Art awards. The first award was a competition between the open and intermediate wood art entries. John McBrinn won this for his fantasy piece called Beyond Space. This piece used a variety of techniques from spindle turning to built up and wowed the crowd with its vivid colours.


Below left: Beyond Space submitted in the open wood art by John McBrinn                                                                                                         .made of Purple Heart and US Maple and finished with Kunos Oil
  Above Right: After the fire – winner of the Best Wood Art Novice by Lindsay Rotherham

In the Novice Section, Lindsay Rotherham won again with his piece entitled After Fire. It represents the bush fires and one could be fooled into thinking that the wood had been burnished. However, it is his understanding of wood grain that allowed him to give the impression of burnt trees. A worthy winner indeed.

Dremel was also keen to encourage more students to participate this year by presenting a starter kit to the Best Student. This was won by Aiden Bonar of Haileybury School for a superb lamp that gave us an out of space feel with its rocket shape and cut outs that were reminiscent of stars.   With tutelage from Stephen Hughes, our very own Open contender, it is easy to see why the judges chose this piece. Well-done Aiden.



Best Student awarded to Aiden Bonar for his lamp made of Redgum and Huon Pine, finished with Croma Clear Acrylic

The coveted Peter Robson Award went to Brendan Stemp for his miniature lidded container entitled Crab Box. This delightful piece, which could fit into a 50mm square box, made of Blackwood and finished in NC Lacquer not only won this award by also captured the Best Acacia Award in the Open Section.

We were delighted to see a number of newcomers enter for 2016.   One of note swept the board with his highly artistic entries. Jay Osman not only wowed the judges but attracted a lot of attention by the visitors with his outstanding entries:

Novice winner - Item with a natural edge                                                                       Novice Winner – Hollow vessel and Best Eucalypt

No doubt we will be seeing Jay again in 2017 but he will be joining the ranks of the Intermediate Section.


Novice Winner – Bowl over 200mm

Another Novice that stood out in the crowd was Tracey Malady from Victoria, who won 4 firsts in the following categories – Laminated/Built up, spindle turn, Miniature and Lidded Container. We hope that Tracey will also take up the challenge to move into the Intermediate Section as she certainly is a worthy contender.


Winner -Novice Laminated Built up                         Winner -Novice Spindle Turn                              Winner – Novice Lidded Container

Our very own Ex-President, Ray Dennis, was able to find time to get into the shed this year, which running the show did not allow him to do for many years. We were delighted that he was the recipient of an equal first in the Novice Novelty section with his Penny Farthing made of Jarrah and finished with Livos Oil. It was a worthy winner and we hope that now that he has time on his hands he will be a regular contributor!

Penny Farthing by Ray Dennis
The Diamantina Bowl made from Coolabah Burl and finished with Kunos Oil winner of the Intermediate Item with a natural edge and Best Eucalypt Award                                                                                    
The Adavale Vale made of Pink Gidget and finished with Kunos Oil winner of the Vase and Best Acacia Award in the Intermediate Section

Don Kelman took the Best Eucalypt and first prize for an Item with a Natural Edge and Acacia Award and first prize for a Vase in the Intermediate sections. This has pushed Don up into the Open Section and now he doesn’t feel so confident as he has to compete with some true heavy weights.

Joining Don in moving up to the Open Section will be Vince Rush from NSW who provided us with some amazing winners including

Bowl under 200mm made of Maple and finished with Kunos Oil
Bowl of 200mm Green Turned in 4 pieces and Textured made of Red Mahogany and Finished in Danish Oil
Wood Art turned and carved made of Jacaranda

The examples of work shown in this article is just the tip of the ice berg and we wish we had more space and time to show you all the exhibits but there are just too many to mention. In fact, this year the tables were so full we have decided to move to a bigger venue so that we can do justice to the incredible work that is presented year on year.   We thank Whitehorse Council and the incredible staff of the Waratah Room for hosting an sponsoring the Exhibition for well over 10 years. But the exhibition is growing and new and exciting additions are being planned in response to the demand from exhibitors and visitors alike. Our new venue is at Kingston City Hall, 985 Napean Highway (corner of Napean Highway and South Road), Moorrabin, VIC.   This bigger venue will also allow us to add live demonstrations from leading turners and hopefully displays from our Major Sponsors. 2017 show will be held on 16-18 June 2017, so keep this date in your diary. For full details and entry forms please go to our website We hope to see you all in 2017 in Kingston.



Written by Rachelle Leaver

Photos courtesy of Eastern Photographic Society

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