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By Derek Schlennstedt

At 1pm on Sunday 21 January record crowds gathered at the SkyHigh Mount Dandenong Chainsaw Carving Championships to witness some of the best in the world go head-to-head.
On Sunday, following several days of carving in over 35 degree heart the judges confirmed the winners of the 2018 Australian Chainsaw Carving Championships.
For the second year running Mt Evelyn local Rob Bast once again proved his mettle taking out first place with his work titled ‘Germination’
In second place was Jordan Anderson from USA with his carving work called ‘Garden of the Deep Blue’ and in third, another American, Mike Ayers with ‘St Fiacre, Patron Saint of Gardens’.
The People’s Choice award went to Brandon Kroon, another Mt Evelyn local for his carved tree house called ‘The Fort’.
The most recent win marks Rob Bast’s third Championship win at the event – having won last year in 2017 and in 2014.
The Championships were held over five days at SkyHigh on Mount Dandenong from 16 to 21 January 2018 and, in immense heat, ten of the world’s finest wood carvers from Australia, Canada, USA, and Japan competed in this year’s competition, carving a log of cypress pine into fine sculptures.
This year’s theme was ‘The Garden’ and the competitors had five days in which to carefully hone their sculpture using three different chainsaws provided by event sponsor STIHL.
Rob Bast’s winning sculpture was called ‘Germination’ and he described it as “A beautiful female form like a sycamore sprout reaching for the sun from a sycamore seed.”
I’ve always had a soft spot for sycamore seeds or helicopter seeds as we called them as kids. Melding that with one of the hardest things to do in a competition (the female form) will be one of my greatest challenges yet.”

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