Behind The Big Top

Behind The Big Top
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Wirth's Circus arrives at Geelong and prepares for a performance. The footage shows the circus being transported on train carriages and then being hauled by elephants along the main street, past the office of shipping company Huddart Parker.

Then the erection of the big top, performing elephants and horses, clowns, woman lion tamer Madame Kovar and trapeze artists.

Wirth’s Circus was Australia’s largest and most prestigious circus company. For 80 years Wirth’s was billed as Australia’s own ‘Greatest Show on Earth’, and was a huge travelling circus with an international reputation.

They embarked on significant world tours and were the first Australian circus to perform in England. They boasted an exotic menagerie of animals, ‘beautiful and marvellously trained’, and recruited many star attractions from Europe and America, ranging from Captain McCloud’s Wild West Show (1905) to the Rioguku Japanese Troupe (1917).

This home movie footage was shot by Phillip J Phillips and is part of a much larger collection of home movies recording the history of Wirth's Circus.