Crying out to the world
By DAVID BANCROFT
TUCABIA's Roy Bowling is prone to bouts of crying.
And he doesn't mind doing it in full view of the public, complete with ringing bells.
For the past 19 years Mr Bowling has been the Grafton town crier and now, with the amalgamation of the Clarence councils, is the Clarence Valley crier.
Now Mr Bowling has teamed up with probably Australia's best known milliner and former Ulmarra resident, Peter Jago, for a serious assault on the 11th World Town Criers Championships to be held in Maryborough in September.
Mr Bowling said town crying dated back about 800 years, but almost died out when print media became available to the public.
Since the 19th Century it has made a resurgence.
Mr Bowling, who has competed in Australian town crying championships most years, said that for the world championships he had to 'cry' about his home town or area for at least 75 words and not more than 100 words and then cry about the host city of Maryborough.
The championships last for a week, and involve many activities in and around Maryborough (from the program it seems it is mostly dinners).
The championships may be months away, but Mr Bowling and Mr Jago are already preparing.
Last week Mr Jago was away from his Melbourne studio helping with the costume, and Mr Bowling is confident he will come up with something that will represent the Clarence Valley well and will be distinct from other competitors.
He will have some purple to represent jacarandas, tartan to represent Maclean and other items to represent other parts of the Valley.
"I know Peter pretty well and he is making the hat and helping design the whole thing," he said.
"It will be completely new."
Mr Bowling said that for these championships he would be doing a 'fair bit' of training ... some of it in Clarence business centres and some in the bush where he works.
While crying might be an ancient and interesting pursuit, it is not to everyone's liking.
"I have been accused of training by yelling at the cattle," Mr Bowling said.