Coverage of the ‘World’s Championship Axeman’s Carnival which took place at Taumata Park, Eltham.
‘World’s Championship. Axemen’s Carnival. Taumata Park Eltham. New Zealand. Within distinctive Maori carved frame with ‘Dominion (NZ) Manufacturing Co’ identified at base of title.
‘Express Train arriving at Eltham’. Gunny sack thrown from train, visitors and axemen alight, paper boy with papers. ‘Views in and around Eltham’. Horse and cart drives towards town and circles back for benefit of camera. Busy main street with holiday crowd, horse and dray with piano [obvious preparations for post-carnival party?]
View of town hall. ‘Some of the Officials’. Formal stilted posed photo of carnival officials for the record.
‘Carnival Wheel Race. Heats.’ Summer crowds surround cycle track as bicycle race heats are run
‘World’s Championship Chop. 2 feet standing blocks.’ Three contestants, No.2 obviously favourite as is the cameraman’s focus of attention. Attentive crowd in background. Official saunters through oblivious to drama of event. No. 2 wins.
‘G McCauley Winning Worlds Championship with The Collie King Axe.’ ‘The Winner G McCauley. Time 5 mins. 0 3/5 sec.’ Staged chop for camera by McCauley, surrounded by friends and officials. Congratulated by fit young man in suit and straw boater who may be previous champion, but obviously a well known identity as he is in almost every scene. [Intertitle advertisement for Collie King gives clue as to who financed the filming]
‘A Typical Chip’. View of above. ‘Final Carnival Wheel Race.’ View from finish line as bicyclists pass.
‘Among the Spectators’. View of crowd, men in stiff collars, suits and bowler hats, women in white with hats, but faces suggest years of hard work and toil. Our lad, well known identity, talks to three ladies while he strikes a match and lights a cigarette. Eltham band with stumps of trees in background.
‘Some Wielders of the Collie King Axe’. Four hard men in black singlets with official. ‘’Underhand Handicap Chop. 18 inch Logs.’ ‘Axeman, nearest in bowler hat underhand chop. ‘First Heat Winner C.O. Rourke’. Rourke wearing ‘Collie King Axes’ on singlet, demonstrated his winning style to camera watched by friends and officials. ‘Another Collie King Boy C. O’Rourke Winner of New Zealand Championship’. O’Rouke shown shaking hands with what seem previous champions.
‘Second Heat Winner. B Newstroski’. Great scene of two rows of axemen doing underhand chop, followed by heat winner being watched by our boy in straw boater and being congratulated by onlookers. ‘Third Heat Winner E H Horne’. Balding axeman and then a full head of hair one watched by our lad, who is always in front of camera. ‘Final Won by J E Richardson’. Intense chopping action with winner being congratulated by obvious previous champions and officials
‘Beauty Sports in Taumata Park’. Three young girls in summer whites skip through the trees and throw stones into the stream.. Girls race and winner is congratulated by our well dressed lad in boater.
‘1 mile Cycle Race’. Officials at finish line watch bicycle race. ‘Single Handed Sawing Hdcp. 2 feet logs.’ Great shot of single saw with sidekicks ready to insert wedge. ‘The Winner W. Weston’. The winner finishes and grazes himself on his saw as the slice falls.
‘Busy Officials’. Officials including our lad, who may be the Collie King Axe salesman perambulate round each other, discussing the programme. ‘New Zealand Axemen’s Cup of #140. 18 inch Blocks’. ‘Ist, 2nd, 3rd &4th Heats’. Series of four clips showing line of axemen chopping as officials watch.
‘The Winner J.E.Shewry.’ Visibly tired winner being congratulated and then doing example chop to camera watched by great faces.
‘A glimpse of the Grounds’. Taumata Park grandstand with crowd and outdoor kitchen fires going in background against a backdrop of New Zealand bush. Our lad directs a ‘bushranger’ on horseback to circle showing advertisement for ‘Starlight’s dance that evening. View of axemen doing underhand chop against backdrop of grandstand. ‘Sawing Championship of the World. W Weston wins in worlds Record time of 1 min. 4 3/5 sec.’ Final scene of winning saw. ‘The Last Stage. Preparing to feed the hungry Champions.’ Women and boys peeling potatoes.
See ‘Eltham Axemen’s Carnival,’ Grey River Argus, December 30, 1911, p.7.
Notes by Chris Pugsley.