MCC’s top team short of players

Victorian cricket circles are a little concerned about what’s happening at the top of the state’s most famous club, the grand old Melbourne Cricket Club.

As Westbourne Capital director Fred Oldfield steps into the committee’s presidency, replacing the retiring Michael Happell, an MCC spokesperson has told us that more changes will be made public after they are ratified when the committee meets next week.

Michael Happell is departing the MCC presidency.Credit:Chris Hopkins

And that’s what has got people talking. The 13-strong committee has only one member, Melbourne Convention Centre boss Peter King, with experience of playing elite cricket.

King, who could not be contacted for comment on Tuesday, is a former MCC cricketer, a two-time premiership player and captain coach who also played first-class cricket for Victoria in the Sheffield Shield and one-day formats.

He is also chair of cricket for the Melbourne Cricket Club, on the board of the Australian Sports Museum and chair of the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame. If he pulls up stumps, it will leave just Goldman Sachs banker and former University of Melbourne cricketer Christian Johnston as the only former player on the committee.

The talk in the changing sheds around town is that it is a little weird to have so little cricket experience on the ruling committee of such an important club.

So there will be a lot to talk about when the committee gets together next Wednesday.


Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney has the critical role of convincing the naysayers to vote yes in this year’s Voice to parliament referendum, and it looks like she is trying to bottle some of the winning formula that worked such a treat in the 2017 marriage equality postal survey.

Jacob White knight: Linda Burney is bolstering her team ahead of the Voice referendum.Credit:John Shakespeare

Burney’s office has hired Jacob White, a former Labor staffer, manager at Equality Australia and field director for the Yes campaign, to hop on board until the referendum.

White isn’t the only remnant of that campaign involved with the current government. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s chief of staff Tim Gartrell – the man behind the Kevin 07 slogan – was the Yes campaign’s director back in 2017.

Of course, experience with the Yes campaign isn’t always the most auspicious origin for a political staffer.

Just ask Monique Ryan, currently embroiled in a legal battle with her former chief of staff and leading face of the marriage equality push Sally Rugg.


Thursday brings a sad occasion for Melbourne music lovers with the funeral of the city’s beloved “street pianist” and YouTube sensation Natalie Trayling who died last week, aged 87.

For more than two decades, Trayling entertained passers-by in the city’s streets and sometimes the David Jones department store or the Galleria shopping centre with her own compositions, or pieces by Rachmaninov, Chopin, Mendelssohn or Liszt, which she would “improve” in her own style.

Back in the 1990s, The Age described how Trayling’s “extraordinary talent” would make people stop and stare: “It is not uncommon for people passing the store to hear the music, wander inside, and stand, mesmerised, for hours.”

Trayling will be farewelled at 12.30pm on Thursday at Springvale Cemetery’s Boyd Chapel.


CBD has been keeping an eye on international celebrities as they try to negotiate Melbourne’s dining scene after Hollywood star Russell Crowe was turned away from one of our eateries on a dress code technicality.

Cricket legend Ian Botham in more formal attire.Credit:Eamon Gallagher

One of our tipsters feared another unfortunate incident when they spotted English cricket great Ian Botham front up at the Village Wine Bar in upmarket Albert Park on Tuesday looking very casual in T-shirt and shorts.

But there’s no need for anyone to get into a lather on this one. Beefy sailed through the front door with no dramas.


For a little while there, it was hard for Melburnians to escape Craig Kelly as the former federal MP – who is from Sydney – fronted the eye-wateringly expensive national political advertising blitz funded to the tune of more than $100 million by Kelly’s mate and mining billionaire Clive Palmer.

Craig kelly is taking on his next political challenge without the support of Clive Palmer.Credit:Matt Dennien

But then, almost overnight, Kelly disappeared from our lives, leaving us little to remember him by, except Palmer’s United Australia Party senator for Victoria Ralph Babet.

So we thought we’d update you on what Craig’s up to these days. He’s dabbling in politics again, with a crack at the NSW upper house – they’re having an election over there, you might have heard.

If Kelly’s latest adventure seems a little low-key – especially by his standards – it could be because this campaign isn’t being turbocharged by Palmer’s millions. The UAP has confirmed it is not contesting the election – leaving Kelly to stand as an independent.

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