TEARS FOR TOWN CRIERS
This town ain’t big enough for both of us
HEAR ye, hear ye, all is not well in the town crier community.
A recent ceremony to mark Melbourne’s 182nd birthday resulted in a spat when two town criers turned up to the event.
Ian Morrison had been invited to attend the Melbourne Day flagraising ceremony and was unhappy to see rival Philip Greenbank there dressed in his town crier finest.
“To me, that was embarrassing because the organisers should have let him know that he wasn’t invited,” Mr Morrison told the Herald Sun.
“If he came, it would have been better to have been in ordinary civilian gear rather than with two town crier uniforms.”
Mr Morrison was seen storming off from Enterprize Park near the Yarra River as the August 30 event got under way, and he intends to lodge a complaint with the Melbourne Day Committee.
“Normally I go, Oyez, all is well, but really, not all is well,” he said.
Mr Greenbank is official town crier for Hepburn Shire and also president of the 15-member Australasian Guild of Town Criers — an organisation Mr Morrison once belonged to, but not now.
Mr Greenbank has declined to comment, but it’s understood he attended as a spectator, not in any official capacity on behalf of Hepburn Shire.
Melbourne Day executive officer Sarah Styring confirmed Mr Morrison had been invited in a voluntary capacity. “Totally unprompted and to our surprise, a second town crier appeared on the day,” she said.
“We feel Melbourne Day is big enough for more than one town crier and, in fact, hope that next year more come along. Everyone is welcome.”
The City of Melbourne does not recognise any person as the official town crier of the city, however town crier legend the late Neville Stonehouse was engaged by Melbourne council in 1992 for its 150th birthday celebrations.
“Since this time, there have been very few circumstances where a town crier’s services would be required,” a council spokesman said.
“Council has no plans to consider endorsing an official town crier.”
Melbourne town crier Ian Morrison at Enterprize Park during Melbourne Day ceremonies (main); and Philip Greenbank (right) looking on.