Oldest town crier honored

HOBART, Tasmania — A large number of Tasmanians from many walks of life gathered Sept. 20 in the reception room of Parliament House here to honor Vic Garth, the town crier who, at 92 years of age, is the world's oldest working town crier.

At the reception, the Honourable Duncan Kerr, Member of the House of Representatives, Federal Parliament in Canberra for Denison, presented Brother Garth with a portrait of himself by well-known Tasmanian artist Ralph Tiedemann.

Mr. Kerr described Brother Garth as a "great, great, gentle, man."

He also drew attention to the diversity of people who admire this man who has served voluntarily as town crier for the last 20 years. Historically, a town crier announced news and information; now many cities with British roots continue with town criers who welcome visitors and draw attention to public events.

Other speakers included Senator Paul Calvert, president of the Australian Senate; Rob Valentine, Lord Mayor of Hobart; and family members, including his grandson Michael Lampard, an accomplished operatic singer, who sang "Climb every Mountain" as a tribute to his grandfather.

Brother Garth, despite failing health, makes it his business to meet every visitor disembarking from international cruise ships in Hobart, and he finds time to visit the children's ward at the local hospital. He also takes part in many of the festivals held in the city and supports numerous charitable groups. As well as being the world's oldest working town crier, Brother Garth has also been chaplain of the Ancient and Honourable Australian Town Criers Guild for the last 15 years.

Among the guests were senators, members and former members of the Australian Federal Parliament, local government leaders, the mayor of the City of Glenorchy, missionaries, Scouting representatives, media personalities, family members, and representatives of commercial and charitable organizations.

In addition, there were individuals who simply came because they know Brother Garth as a "dinkum bloke," — the Australian equivalent of "a good guy." Brother Garth of the Glenorchy Ward and his family have been members of the Church for more than five decades and have lived and served in callings in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. (See Church News, July 5, 2003.)

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