Sunshine Coast Wootha Prize


‘Wootha’ is a local Kabi Kabi / Gubbi Gubbi name for Red Cedar, a beautiful tree that grew in the subtropical rainforests which once dominated Maleny, the Blackall Ranges and much of the East Coast of Australia.

Early European settlers and timber getters who prized the Red Cedar above other species and cleared land for agriculture, were unfortunately responsible for significantly diminishing the distribution of this species. But small remaining remnants of rainforest along with the work of caring community members and Landcare groups such as Barung Landcare, has seen this beautiful timber tree and rainforest species make a comeback to the region and other areas of Eastern Australia. 

Today, Red Cedar is grown and harvested in much slower and more sustainable ways.

2025 Sunshine Coast Wootha Prize - 'Whimsy in Wood'

Welcome to the Sunshine Coast Wootha prize theme for 2025 ‘Whimsy in Wood’ where creativity knows no bounds! 

We celebrate the spirit of imagination and playfulness in every intricately crafted woodwork creation. Our platform invites inspired entries that captivate and delight, showcasing the invented fusion of imagination and whimsy. 

Join us as we journey into endless possibilities, where each piece tells a unique story and sparks joy in every admirer. 

From intricate carvings to fantastical furniture and tantalising Tiny Treasures let your inner whimsy shine through and captivate our judges and audience alike. 

Carve into a world of invented fusion, where imagination and whimsy intertwine to create a tour de force that transcends the ordinary. 

Each piece is a unique story waiting to be told, sparking joy and wonder in every admirer who encounters it. 

Applications will open September 2024 but your journey begins now! 

NB: Please be aware that The Sunshine Coast Wootha is a competitive field and with confined space categories, Furniture, Sculpture & Evolve numbers will be limited. Tiny Treasures is an unlimited category.

Sunshine Coast Wootha Prize 2024

Proudly sponsored by Sunshine Coast Council and hosted by Barung Landcare, the Sunshine Coast Wootha Prize is the feature exhibition at the Maleny Wood Expo.

The competition showcases beautiful and sustainably crafted pieces from wood artisans and furniture makers from all over Australia. 

The 2024 Sunshine Coast Wootha Prize was an open themed entry, inviting applicants to express themselves through their work under any of the categories of Furniture, Sculpture and Tiny Treasures.

This year, a new stand-alone prize category: ‘Evolve’, was introduced, which acknowledged newer craftspeople and seasoned individuals who have dedicated a lifetime to tinkering in sheds or collaborating within wood working groups alleviating the pressure of competing against recognised professionals.

Details of the 2024 winning pieces are below.

Artist: Guy Breay 
The Maiden’s Hair

2024 Prize Winners

Sunshine Coast Wootha Prize $10,000

The overall first prize for the Sunshine Coast Wootha Prize is selected from any of the below three categories, and is awarded a cash prize of $10,000.
This prize is sponsored by Sunshine Coast Council.

'Monochrome Cabinet' by Rick Hayward
Images by Daniel Mulheran

“In 2022 I began a new series of artworks influenced by Kandinsky’s treatise ‘Point and Line to Plane’ in which he describes the straight line “whose tension represents the most concise form of the potentiality for endless movement”. 

These minimal linear works signalled a new and focussed direction for my studio practice exploring the potential of simple linear form. Following on from these new works I attended The Sturt School for Wood in 2023 with the intention of investigating simple forms in the third dimension. 

I was thrilled to discover the work of Gerrit Rietveld whose “intentional miss” junctions that extend beyond point zero are understood to be a metaphor for the infinite, aligning perfectly with Kandinsky’s concept of the straight line and resonating with my interest in metaphysics; the study of human nature in a qualitative rather than quantitive context. 

Subsequently, ’Monochrome Cabinet’ is an exploration of space and relationship within the bounds of rectilinear form. With a focus on hand-cut joinery including half-blind dovetails and secret mitred dovetails, and a shimmering reeded glass back panel made reflective by hand-applied 22 Carat Gold Leaf, the cabinet has a balanced, gentle presence.”


The Furniture category rejoices in all aspects of furniture making, traditional and contemporary, design, artistry and innovation.
This prize is sponsored by Carbatec and Barung Landcare

'Mundi Mundi Entrance Table'
by William Bayliss

Inspired by the sunrise landscape over the Mundi Mundi plains with the sunlight hitting the caps of the highpoints of the topography. The tactile fluted top draws the hand and the eye to explore. suspended by a light but sturdy curved base lifting the energy of the piece.

Prize $2,500


The Sculpture category will highlight carving to its fullest extent from the delicate to the robust, abstract to representational.
This prize is sponsored by Queensland Water and Landcarers and Barung Landcare

by Keith Savage

“Flow” elegantly captures the fluidity of a wooden ribbon winding into a bowl, only to be effortlessly released and drawn back into the form, embodying a seamless flow of movement and harmony.

Prize $2,500

Tiny Treasures

The 'Tiny Treasures' celebrates works of smaller dimensions. It acknowledges work small in scale, but big on design and exquisite craftspersonship.

'King Quail'
by Ted Upton

My love of Australian wildlife goes back many years and these tiny, delicate, beautiful little creatures inspire me.

Prize $2,500

People's Choice $500

The People's Choice is awarded to any entrant in any of the above three categories. Decided over the weekend via attendees voting for their favourite pieces as they view the exhibition. Winners are announced on the final day of the Maleny Wood Expo. This prize is sponsored by Arbortech

'Scimitar Skeleton Clocks' by Trevor Herbstreit

The Scimitar Skeleton Clock design is inspired by the scimitar sword with its convex curved shape and pendulum. The weight driven mechanical mechanism is entirely handmade which includes the driving weight, gears, screws, timber components and slimline case.

Evolve Prize $1,000

Setting itself apart from other divisions, Evolve operates as a stand-alone prize category, alleviating the pressure of competing against recognised professionals.
Works submitted under ‘Evolve’ are not in the running for the other Sunshine Coast Wootha Prize categories.
This prize is sponsored by Maleny Art Direct.

'Our Obi Obi' by Paul Chapman

Inspired to create this piece with the Wootha and Maleny theme in mind. I enjoy watching the platypus in the Obi Obi and the life it sustains as it flows through Maleny. This is my piece of creekwood with platypus swimming, a long-finned eel hiding, a kingfisher hunting the fish.