TEARS FOR TOWN CRIERS

This town ain’t big enough for both of us

Herald Sun - - FRONT PAGE - JOHN MASANAUSKAS john.masanauskas@news.com.au @JMasanauskas

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.”

Pic­tures: NI­COLE GARMSTON

Mel­bourne town crier Ian Mor­ri­son at En­ter­prize Park dur­ing Mel­bourne Day cer­e­monies (main); and Philip Green­bank (right) look­ing on.

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