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A flash of metal glinted in the Sydney sunshine as Curtis Bennett took one last swing of his axe and brought it down hard on the log at his feet.Curtis, 18, is one of the rising stars of Australia's centuries-old sport of wood-chopping, which is enjoying a renaissance, with more women and children competing in the male-dominated activity.The knowledge of how to wield axes and cross-cut saws was handed down from generation to generation, and it was not long before the survival skill became a competitive game in the young, sporting-mad nation.The sport caught on like wildfire and as contests sprung up across the country, Sydney's Royal Easter Show – an annual extravaganza showcasing Australia's rural lifestyle – introduced wood-chopping in 1899 .
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