Driving north from Sydney to Maleny for the Sunshine Coast WOOTHA Prize ceremony had me enjoying the pockets of ancient Gondwana Rainforests that are now protected as national parks. A thought that came to mind was that wood is solid sunshine and that some of the ancient trees in these spectacular rainforests have fossilised the sunshine that shone on them a thousand years ago!
It seemed appropriate that The Sunshine Coast was the main sponsor for the richest woodworking prize in Australia. On pages 16-21 you can read about the Maleny Wood Expo and the prize winners in the four categories. The Sunshine Coast WOOTHA Prize was won by Derrek Calderwood with his amazing Queensland maple sideboard. Derek is a chemical engineer whose introduction to woodworking was to buy a Stanley No 7 plane for $35 at a garage sale four years ago. He then went about building a shed, a bench and then a tool cabinet, honing his skills via print media, YouTube and woodworking forums. His first piece of furniture was a coffee table, the second a whisky cabinet and his third was the sideboard for his kids' playdough and toys that won the WOOTHA. Two weeks before the competition he removed the plywood back and installed panels so the sideboard would look good from every angle. A very humble Derek was on hand to collect his certificate. Well done and what an inspiration.