Southern Downs crier one of the best in the land

CHAMPION CRIER: Warwick town crier Bob Townshend works the crowd like only he can.
CHAMPION CRIER: Warwick town crier Bob Townshend works the crowd like only he can. Adam Hourigan

THE role of town crier is an honorary job in this day and age, but that doesn't stop Bob Townshend from taking it seriously.

Mr Townshend, the official Southern Downs town crier, defended his title of Australian Senior Champion Town Crier at the Australian Town Crier Championships in West Wyalong last week.

He also went one better than his triumphs last year, picking up a third placing in the Champion of Champions overall competition.

"I'm absolutely thrilled. It was a very successful week," Mr Townshend said.

"There were around 20 town criers present from around the country.

"From Queensland, there was myself from the Southern Downs and criers from Brisbane, Redlands, Toowoomba and Maryborough.

"There were a few from NSW and others from Victoria, so it was a great gathering."

Mr Townshend said each crier was asked to deliver two calls in the competition.

"We have to present one about our home district and another about the host town, in the case West Wyalong," he said.

"It's an old gold town and they took us to show us a big hole in the ground where they once mined gold.

"They wanted to us to write about the golden history of the town - so I wrote about the history of the golden days and tied that into the golden heart of the locals in the town."

Mr Townshend said criers were carefully judged on all aspects of their craft.

"We're judged on our cry, loudness, presentation and the mannerisms and fluidity of voice when we're giving our calls," he said.

"It's also important to look the part and have your scroll prominently displayed at all times."

Mr Townshend hails from Whitby in England, the birthplace of James Cook, so when it came to designing his town crier's outfit he drew inspiration from the outfits worn by Cook. He then added an Australian twist having the clothes made up with green and gold fabric.

As for his thoughts about the role he has made his own on the Southern Downs, Mr Townshend is clear.

"I love it," he said.

"And I really enjoy myself when I go away to competitions like this. It's wonderful.

"A bit of hard work but an awful lot of fun."

Mr Townshend became Southern Downs town crier after volunteering to fill the role at an event in 2010.

He made such an impression he was offered the job full-time.

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