CHAINSAW FIGURES CAPTURE WONDER OF WOOD

Chainsaw art… life-saver statues, sculptured from wood by Matt George, keep a silent vigil over Kingscliff Beach.

THE three giant sentinels looked north, east and south from a cold, sand-swept boardwalk at the coastal town of Kingscliff.

Shining brilliantly under a winter sun, the polished wooden figures pay silent tribute to the many hundreds of lifesavers who over the past 80 years have dedicated their services, and lives, to this northern NSW community.

Carved by chainsaw, each from a different log – a brushbox, a tallowwood – and the sinister-sounding cadaghi – they are the products of talented arborist and wood sculptor Matt George who has created hundreds of these timber figures for charities and for display at wood shows, country markets, schools and university campuses across eastern Australia.

“They certainly won’t rust,” quipped timber lover Matt who worked with the Cudgen Headland Surf Club to lay the foundations for his three Kingscliff sculptures.

“They’re washed and rubbed with fine decking oil by club members every month so they’re going to be around for a very long time,” he said.

Matt’s human shapes are popular but his wooden carvings are mostly of Aussie bush creatures – kangaroos, emus, echidnas, wombats and native birds and insects.

Matt, who lives at Noosa, gets most of his timber from a private log yard at Yandina on the Queensland Sunshine Coast. He has demonstrated his chainsaw art on many travels from the coast to the Outback, at times taking his children on the road with him.

“This was something I had to do, to create and donate my work to charities and raise funds for the needy … and also to broaden the knowledge of what life offers my kids beyond their own cabbage patch,” Mark told us from his workshop.

“It also helped me both physically, mentally and emotionally. Wood can do that.”

The chips fly… Matt George in action at a Queensland show.

Returning to the cadaghi (Corymbia torelliana), a tree species endemic to north Queensland … it’s listed as a weed in the southeast of the state – and it kills native bees!

It’s not clear how it does this, but apparently the bees collect cadaghi seeds from clusters of cream-coloured scented flowers which have a waxy appendage, a resin that melts easily, clogging up hives and resulting in bee deaths.

Cadaghi was originally classified in the genus eucalyptus but was reclassified to genus corymbia in 1995.

But the sinister cadaghi wood makes for a fine sculpture.