Redland City along with official Town Crier Max Bissett hosted an elaborate display of lace, velvet and gold braid over the weekend for the 25th National Town Crier Championships.
“Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!” was the resounding call heard across the fields of the Redland Showgrounds as 15 town criers from across Australia and New Zealand and an official escort bellowed it out for the championship.
The winners were:
- Champion of Champions – Stephen Clarke, Central Coast Council, NSW; second place Graham Keating, The City of Sydney, NSW; and third place Gavin Barker, Moorabool Shire, VIC
- Loudest Cry – Graham Keating, The City of Sydney, NSW
- Best Cry – Stephen Clarke, Central Coast Council, NSW, second place Graham Keating, The City of Sydney, NSW; and third place Judy Campbell, Campaspe Shire, VIC and Murray Shire, NSW
- Senior Section: Bob Townshend, Southern Downs Regional Council, QLD and second place Fred Krebs, Sandgate District, QLD
- Best Dressed – Stephen Clarke, Central Coast Council, NSW
- Best Scroll – Judy Campbell, Campaspe Shire, VIC and Murray Shire, NSW
- Best Dressed Partner – John Edwards, Central Coast Council, NSW.
- Conviviality Award – Max Bissett, Redland City (as host Max was unable to compete in the cries but was voted most convivial by his peers)
- Vic Garth Memorial Award – Max Bissett, Redland City
Redland City Town Crier and competition host, Max Bissett said: “One doesn’t just announce he or she is the town crier. Criers are appointed by their local Mayor and Council.
“What people may not know is that the crier used to have quite somber duties; it was a rather gruesome job. The crier placed people into stocks, escorted the destitute to the workhouse, administered floggings and officiated at hangings, however, no one was to shoot the messenger.”
These days, town criers tend to promote tourism, making a loud noise for their hometown.
The thunderous voices at Saturday’s 25th National Town Crier Championships resulted in a recording of 93.5 decibels by Graham Keating from The City of Sydney, who took home the title of the Loudest Town Crier for 2016.
The championship unfolded throughout the afternoon and moved into celebrations at Cleveland’s historic Grand View Hotel, Queensland’s oldest licensed hotel, where competitors eagerly awaited the results of the day’s competition.
Redland City’s town crier, Max Bissett, who as host could not compete in the cries, explained that criers are judged for diction and inflection, bearing and confidence, accuracy and content of their cry, sustained volume and clarity and their costume and scroll.
The Champion of Champions Stephen Clarke from Central Coast, New South Wales, was also awarded Best Cry and Best Dressed.
Stephen Clarke’s town crier escort, John Edwards, was awarded Best Dressed Partner, just ahead of Peter Campbell, escort of Judy Campbell who represents two shires – Campaspe Shire, Victoria and Murray Shire, New South Wales.
Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said it was a pleasure to showcase the beautiful Redlands to the town criers who give so much of their time to promote their own home towns.
“We look forward to the town criers spreading the word about how wonderful the Redlands is and congratulate them on their outstanding cries – both about their home towns and the Redlands,” Cr Williams said.
“They not only entertained the crowds at RedFest on Saturday, but took time to visit one of our schools and provide students with an insight into a colourful part of history that still continues today in many areas.
Special thanks to judges Spencer Howson from 612ABC Radio; Pam Tamblyn from Tamblyn Models Australia; Noelene Hill, designer from Queensland Ballet; Mark Overell, former Ipswich Town Crier; and Adam Bright from Redland City Council who recorded the decibel readings.