Is it true or not? Viral story about Melbourne seagulls causes chaos

Emma Canavan

An urban legend or a true story? A comedian’s joke in 1989 or a conniving prankster’s genius in action?

A story of a man inciting a flock of seagulls at one of Melbourne’s busiest train stations went viral earlier this week after it was posted to Facebook and Twitter by Chris Harrigan.

Through his posts, the Melbourne man narrated the “true crime story of the decade,” which he said had been told to him by a friend on Sunday, who had witnessed the event.

To cut a long story short, it goes like this: a man sitting on the ground at Frankston Railway Station lured between 15 and 20 birds with a bag of fish and chips before throwing the entire bag into the train carriage just as the doors were closing.

Pandemonium ensued – both within the (fictional?) train carriage and on social media as the story went viral.

It was picked up by mainstream media also.

AAP reported it and a caller to Triple-J, called Sam, ‘confirmed’ the story saying he had seen it with his “own eyes” but that it had happened in 2007 and “obviously we didn't have smartphones or anything back then,” he said.

Then, Twitter user @NSDedlee added a whole new angle to the story with this comment: 'Someone I know is pretty sure the late Maurie Fields did the story once as a joke on Hey Hey It's Saturday. Haha'.

And Maurie Fields’ son confirmed this was so and that he remembered the joke well.

Maurie Fields is said to have told the 'seagull joke' on Hey, Hey Saturday in 1989. Photo: Album cover
Maurie Fields is said to have told the 'seagull joke' on Hey, Hey Saturday in 1989. Photo: Album cover

'Yep, he did. Circa 1989,” Marty Field wrote, in response to a query from Mashable. “Slightly different form but effectively the same joke.'

Buzzfeed quoted a statement from Metro trains, which said: “We are trying to verify this incident but there is no exact time, date or location.“

“There has been no video, photos or more specific details of the incident and there has been no incident report so we cannot verify that it occurred,” the statement said.

Have you made your mind up yet?

Here is one last point to keep you thinking: Mr Harrigan stands by his story.

"Never in my 30 years have I been accused of watching 'Hey Hey It's Saturday," Harrigan told Mashable.

Perhaps Twitter-user Alan should have the last say on this:

This is not the first time seagulls have caused havoc.