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Circus

Australian Circus Shows, Performers and History

Spectacular circus and carnival acts

This collection celebrates Australia's rich history of circus and carnival performers.

It includes footage of Wirth's Circus, which entertained audiences for over 100 years, as well as the Flying Fruit Fly Circus and Circus Oz.

There is also remarkable footage of a police motorcycle chariot race, country musician Smoky Dawson's knife throwing act, acrobats, animals, clowns – and even a cockatoo circus!

The first recorded circus entertainments were given in Sydney in 1833 by two tightrope walkers, one of whom was a former convict. Outside Sydney, Radford's Royal Circus opened in Tasmania in 1847.

Main image: Wirth's Circus Parade (Lord Mayor’s fund), 11 April 1941. Call number Home and Away – 30713. From the collections of the State Library of NSW.

Note: some of these clips feature animals performing in a circus or carnival context. The NFSA does not endorse the use of animals for entertainment purposes and presents these clips as part of Australia's audiovisual history.

Behind The Big Top
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
446734
Year:
Year

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.

Con Colleano home movie: circus preparations
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1292044
Year:
Year

Australian-born and world famous tightrope circus artist Con Colleano (Cornelius Sullivan, 1899 –1973) features in this home movie of informal Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Combined Circus 'backyard' scenes.

The segment begins with footage of Con rehearsing his famous cape dance. Circus equipment is unloaded on the lot and a menagerie of circus animals and performers are seen preparing for the grand parade.

Performers enter and leave the big top during the performance. A clown hangs up clothing on a line. Con is seen dressed in a dapper, pin-striped suit smoking a cigarette near a circus wagon. A young girl with her doll smiles for the camera. John Ringling (circus boss) pays the show a visit.

Con performs another cape dance in full costume and is joined by his wife 'Big' Winnie. The final shot is of Con’s sister, 'Little Winnie' with her hair in ringlets, who is joined by some fellow female performers.

Con was inducted into the Circus Hall of Fame, Sarasota, Florida in 1966. He is in the Guinness Book of World Records as being the first person to ever successfully attempt a forward somersault on a low-wire tightrope.

The location of this footage is uncertain, however shots of ‘The Alamo’ appear on the same film reel so it is possibly in San Antonio, Texas.

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following program may contain images and/or audio of deceased persons
Smoky Dawson's thrilling knife throwing
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1021048
Year:
Year

Smoky Dawson (Herbert Henry Brown, 19 March 1913 – 13 February 2008) shows off his knife-throwing skills with an unknown man serving as his brave assistant.

Dawson is best known as an Australian country music performer who created the persona of the 'happy-go-lucky singing cowboy', however he was also an expert knife and double-headed axe thrower and performed his act at rodeos, circuses and country shows.

This film was shot in a Melbourne park by Frank 'Tex' Glanville. Glanville was a renowned Australian vaudeville performer who specialised in rope spinning and juggling between approximately 1928 and 1965.

He made a range of home movies on 8mm film featuring his vaudeville friends. These are preserved as part of the home movie collection at the NFSA.

Nothing stops 'The Mighty Apollo'
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1021030
Year:
Year

Strongman Paul Anderson, AKA 'Young Apollo' or 'The Mighty Apollo', performs a range of feats of strength.

Stone blocks are crushed on his body with sledgehammers, he is run over by a car and he also performs his famous 'teeth grip' in which he pulls a motor vehicle with his teeth. In one instance the car is also loaded with people to add extra weight.

'The Mighty Apollo' wears a traditional strongman costume, leopard-print tight shorts with belt, gladiator sandals and leather hand cuffs.

This film was shot by Frank 'Tex' Glanville in an unidentified Melbourne suburban street. The little boy seen on top of the car bonnet is his son, Grahame Glanville.

Glanville was a renowned Australian vaudeville performer who specialised in rope spinning and juggling between approximately 1928 and 1965.

He made a range of home movies on 8mm film featuring his vaudeville friends. These are preserved as part of the home movie collection at the NFSA.

Cockatoo Circus
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
15059
Year:
Year

This Cine Service production from 1949 shows Australian stockman Peter Miller with his well-trained sulphur-crested cockatoos performing a remarkable series of tricks, including the cockatoo merry-go-round, high wire and piano playing.

The cockatoos performed in front of packed houses of mesmerised children at the Melbourne exhibition building. 

Learn more about Australian acts in the Circus curated collection.

Fifty Thousand See Great NSW Police Carnival
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
136981
Courtesy:
Cinesound Movietone Productions
Year:
Year

The 1936 NSW Police Carnival, featuring a parade with the 'boys in blue' and stunts involving dogs, horses and a motorcycle chariot race, Ben-Hur style, which needs to be seen to be believed!

From Movietone News, 7 March 1936.

Acrobat Patrick Bradford, Sole Brothers' Circus
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1150823
Courtesy:
Mike Walsh AM, OBE Hayden Productions
Year:
Year

Acrobat and Sole Brothers' Circus performer Patrick Bradford appears on The Mike Walsh Show in 1979 (Ep. 9203).

Bradford was the fourth generation of a Belgian circus family.

Carnival time finds daredevil rehearsing acts
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
66387
Courtesy:
Cinesound Movietone Productions
Year:
Year

International rodeo riders practice for the Royal Sydney Show in 1936.

We also see a team of five Cossacks giving a display of skilled horse riding and three 'reckless Russian skaters' rehearsing their performance before a small crowd on an elevated stage.

Sydney Royal Easter Show attractions
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
63814
Courtesy:
Cinesound Movietone Productions
Year:
Year

This newsreel footage shows the diverse range of attractions at the Sydney Royal Easter Show in 1933. There is no narration; instead, ambient noise from the show fills the soundtrack.

We see glimpses of the often bizarre sideshow entertainers as well as favourites like the giant merry-go-round, Ferris wheel and other rides.

The first Sydney Royal Easter Show was held in 1823 by the newly formed Agricultural Society of New South Wales. In 1881 land was provided for the Royal Agricultural Society at Moore Park where the show was held for 116 years before relocating to a new showground within the Sydney Olympic Park precinct at Homebush Bay.

Bicycle wizard Jimmy Constanto, Sole Brothers' Circus
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1150823
Courtesy:
Mike Walsh AM, OBE Hayden Productions
Year:
Year

The 21-year-old Sole Brothers' Circus performer Jimmy Constanto performs on The Mike Walsh Show in 1979 (Ep. 9203).

Walsh introduces him as ‘the wizard of the silver bicycle’ and Constanto performs a variety of acrobatic two-wheeled tricks and stunts.

A Big Country: Alberto's Circus on Tour
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1544605
Year:
Year

This excerpt from the ABC program A Big Country covers the Tasmanian leg of Alberto's Circus' travels across Australia. It's extraordinary seeing some of the animals in open trucks; the circus must have been quite a sight when it rolled into town to set up at local showgrounds.

It also gives an insight into the logistics involving in transporting a circus consisting of: five trucks, three caravans, ten monkeys, five ponies, four donkeys, three camels, two elephants, one tiger, one wolf and one llama.

For over 20 years, from 1968 to 1991, A Big Country was broadcast on prime-time ABC television, winning awards and high ratings. This clip is a wonderful example of the kind of short documentaries the ABC made, highlighting aspects of Australian life, particularly from rural regions.

The segment gets up close with the circus and gives us a real sense of the long distances they travelled to perform for the public. Despite the decades since this story aired, it's still thoroughly engaging.

Note: the NFSA does not endorse the use of animals for entertainment purposes. This film must be understood in its historical context.

WARNING: This clip may contain animal suffering
Wirth's Circus arriving and performing
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1501791
Year:
Year

This 8mm footage of Wirth's Circus was shot by unknown American tourists who filmed in Australia and New Zealand in the 1950s.

The footage shows the circus unloading their gear from a train with the help of the famous Wirth's Circus elephants. Then the crew undertake the arduous work of erecting the big top.

Behind-the-scenes footage show clowns, costumed elephants and horses. Black-and-white footage shows the elephants and trapeze artists performing.

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.

Note: the NFSA does not endorse the use of animals for entertainment purposes. This film must be understood in its historical context.

WARNING: This clip may contain animal suffering
Circus Oz at Melbourne Town Hall
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
563947
Courtesy:
Nine Network
Year:
Year

This short Nine Network news item heralds the arrival of Circus Oz for a season of performances at Melbourne Town Hall in 2002.

Founded in 1978 in Melbourne, Circus Oz is an animal-free troupe that incorporates circus acts, theatre and music.

The company is also known for its strong social justice agenda, including women's rights, land rights for Australia's First Peoples and strong opposition to the detention of asylum seekers.

Circus Oz has performed in 27 countries across five continents and has broken box-office records at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Evelyn Albrecht and her young acrobats
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1021030
Year:
Year

Acrobat, dancer and performer Evelyn Albrecht poses for the camera. The troupe of young female acrobats then perform routines in a Melbourne park.

This film was shot by Frank 'Tex' Glanville, who uses in-camera slow and fast speed changes in this film to highlight the skilful twists and turns undertaken by these expert acrobats.

Glanville was a renowned Australian vaudeville performer who specialised in rope spinning and juggling between approximately 1928 and 1965.

He made a range of home movies on 8mm film featuring his vaudeville friends. These are preserved as part of the home movie collection at the NFSA.

Elimar, the 'juggling genius'
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1021048
Year:
Year

Juggler and tightrope walker Elimar Clemens Buschmann performs his famous tennis-racket trick, hat tricks and juggling routines with clubs, balls and rings.

Buschmann was a genius juggler as well as a tightrope walker. He was born in Germany and arrived in Australia c.1939, escaping the Nazi regime, where he was interned as an enemy alien.

He spent some of the late 1940s in the US and even toured with the Harlem Globetrotters as the half-time entertainment. Around this time he also married his first wife, a Tivoli ballet performer named Dawn Butler.

In the mid-1950s Elimar began a partnership with Louise Matheson, who was then in the chorus of several JC Williamson's productions. She assisted him with his juggling acts and they formed a double act after some work in local vaudeville musicals, and toured all over Asia and Europe.

Elimar was billed as the King of Jugglers and she was 'Louise, the Queen of Song'. He juggled, she sang, and then he performed on the slack wire. 

This film was shot in a Melbourne park, c.1950 by Frank 'Tex' Glanville. Glanville was a renowned Australian vaudeville performer who specialised in rope spinning and juggling between approximately 1928 and 1965.

He made a range of home movies on 8mm film featuring his vaudeville friends. These are preserved as part of the home movie collection at the NFSA.

The Loretta Twins: lasso cowgirls and acrobats
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1021048
Year:
Year

The Loretta Twins perform lasso and skipping tricks as well as acrobatics, wearing matching cowgirl outfits.

The film was shot in a Melbourne park by Frank 'Tex' Glanville who created the slow-motion sections of the film in-camera.

Glanville was a renowned Australian vaudeville performer who specialised in rope spinning and juggling between approximately 1928 and 1965.

He made a range of home movies on 8mm film featuring his vaudeville friends. These are preserved as part of the home movie collection at the NFSA.

Colleano on Tightwire, Rehearses in Arena: The Wizard of the Wire
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
15064
Year:
Year

Dressed in Spanish matador costume with flowing crimson and white cape, Con Colleano commences his elaborate Spanish-flavoured circus routine. High upon the tightwire, he dances, bounces, twirls and balances, before executing a backward somersault that reveals crimson pants beneath his outer costume. Summary By Poppy De Souza

Learn more about Con in this article and see more of his work in the Circus curated collection.

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following program may contain images and/or audio of deceased persons
Wirth's Circus: Behind the Big Top
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
759317
Year:
Year

The film begins with Wirth's famous circus elephants being dressed in their costume rugs. This is followed by a menagerie of animals: horses, ponies, zebras, more elephants and a caged lion.

The footage shows George Wirth with two women and another shot that shows him with his 16mm motion picture camera in hand – it is assumed that his brother Philip Wirth is filming him. We see a number of performers, including a dancer and a very tall and very short man.

In one scene, all the circus performers and animals are gathered out the front of the tent for a formal photograph; the photographer can be seen setting up his camera at the edge of the frame. The film ends with footage of a performer wearing a Wild West inspired costume holding a gun.

This footage is teamed with a recording of Philip Wirth playing the tin whistle, originally recorded on lacquer disk and digitised by the NFSA. It is unknown what year this music was recorded, however it is known that Philip Wirth took up playing the tin whistle in his older age and would often play it in the circus ring during performances.

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 of international standard and reputation.

It was the sons and daughters of Johannes and Sarah Wirth, of German origin, who formed the circus: John, Harry, Philip, George, Marizles, Mina and Madeline.

The Wirth brothers began performing with their father as a travelling band though they soon advanced their show into a variety troupe and established themselves as a small circus by 1882. The circus grew rapidly; extended family featured as artists, they embarked on world tours, travelled Australia extensively, boasted an exotic menagerie of animals and recruited star attractions from Europe and America.

It was Phillip and George Wirth that continued to manage the circus as Wirth’s Bros Circus from the 1910s. George Wirth retired in 1930, though Philip Wirth and his extended family continued running the business up until its demise in 1963.

The NFSA currently holds approximately 50 x 16mm home movies that document the Wirths' private life, circus life and performances from aproximately 1926 to the 1950s. They primarily cover the period that Philip and George managed the circus.

The majority of the films are thought to be shot by George Wirth, who became a director of Pagewood (Film) Studios after his retirement in 1930.

Note: the NFSA does not endorse the use of animals for entertainment purposes. This film must be understood in its historical context.

WARNING: This clip may contain animal suffering
Flying Fruit Fly Circus
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
48199
Courtesy:
WIN Television
Year:
Year

This item from GMV6 News 1989 records the 10th anniversary performance of the Flying Fruit Fly Circus and outlines its future funding concerns.

The Flying Fruit Fly Circus is located on the Murray River in the twin cities of Albury-Wodonga on the Victoria-New South Wales border. The circus started operations in 1979 and is the only full-time circus school for young people aged 8–19 in Australia. 

In its long history the company has toured internationally to Asia, Europe, Canada and the US and performs regularly at major Australian festivals. They also made a special appearance at the 2000 Sydney Olympics Opening Ceremony and Cultural Festival and the closing Ceremony of the XVIII Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006.

The circus is also currently the resident youth circus at Sydney Opera House.

Wirth's Circus: At Ocean View, Coogee
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
759317
Year:
Year

Home movie footage of the Wirth family at work and play. Performers and family members in costume perform routines for the camera.

We see George Wirth and Philip’s wife Alice Wirth (nee Willis) arrive arm in arm; they are seated and entertained by an exotic troupe of performers. The young woman seen toe-dancing and wearing a tutu is Philip and Alice’s fourth daughter, Madeline Wanda Wirth.

This film was shot on the grounds of Philip Wirth’s famous residence, ‘Ocean View’, which was his home in Coogee. The grand mansion overlooks the Gordon’s Bay and Coogee Bay area of the Sydney coastline and was built in 1926 by Philip.

His wife Alice and seven children lived there and the home stayed with the extended Wirth family up until 2009 when it was sold. Philip Wirth (b.1864) died aged 73 at ‘Ocean View’ in 1937.

Later in the clip we see Philip Wirth, white cockatoo perched on his shoulder, with some of his daughters (possibly, Eileen, Doris & Madeline) walking out the front of his home.

It is rumoured that one of the Wirth’s Circus most famous elephants, Alice (Princess Alice), is buried on the grounds. She was a star attraction with the circus and in 1898 during a tour in England, it was said that the Prince of Wales rode her before her became King Edward VII.

This footage is teamed with a recording of Philip Wirth playing the tin whistle, originally recorded on lacquer disk and digitised by the NFSA (Side A: Cuckoo / Side B: Scottish Medley). It is unknown when this music was recorded however it is known that Philip Wirth took up playing the tin whistle in his older age and would often play it in the circus ring during performances.

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 of international standard and reputation.

It was the sons and daughters of Johannes and Sarah Wirth, of German origin, that formed the circus: John, Harry, Philip, George, Marizles, Mina and Madeline.

The Wirth brothers began performing with their father as a travelling band though they soon advanced their show into a variety troupe and established themselves as a small circus by 1882.

The circus grew rapidly; extended family featured as artists, they embarked on world tours, travelled Australia extensively, boasted an exotic menagerie of animals and recruited star attractions from Europe and America.

It was Phillip and George Wirth that continued to manage the circus as Wirth’s Bros Circus from the 1910s. George Wirth retired in 1930, though Philip Wirth and his extended family continued running the business up until its demise in 1963.

The NFSA currently holds approximately 50 x 16mm home movies that document the Wirths' private life, circus life and performances from approximately 1926 until the 1950s. They primarily cover the period that Philip and George managed the circus.

The majority of the films are thought to be shot by George Wirth, who became a director of Pagewood (Film) Studios after his retirement in 1930.

Notes by Tara Marynowsky

Hal Turner as Bobo the Clown
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1460106
Year:
Year

This clip from Hal Turner's home movies includes footage of him performing as Bobo the Clown with his daughter Gayle as Lenny the Lion. The footage also shows his wife, Pearl, setting up a stall at the Adelaide Show and Turner celebrating his wedding anniversary.

As Bobo, Hal Turner first appeared in an ensemble cast on NWS9’s children’s program, The Channel Niners. In addition, Turner also wrote, produced and acted in the station’s Christmas pantomimes including Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and Aladdin. He was also hosting two radio programs as Bobo and wrote a newspaper column. Bobo quickly became a household name, first in Adelaide and then nationally.

Turner left NWS9 and began a five-month publicity campaign of public appearances, radio interviews, charity work and special events for the soon to be launched SAS10. Meanwhile at NWS9, Bobo’s old station, Rex Heading was developing a new character, Humphrey B Bear. The iconic children’s TV character first appeared on Here’s Humphrey on 24 May 1965 and ran until 2008 as the second-longest-running children’s TV program in the world. 

The Last Circus?: Training circus animals
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
526813
Courtesy:
Phoenix Films International
Year:
Year

We see lions being trained. Trainer Stafford Bullen says the same techniques are used to train lions and tigers and domestic cats.

Summary Damien Parer

WARNING: This clip may contain animal suffering
Behind the Big Top: Inside the sawdust arena
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
446734
Year:
Year

The procession of performers and circus acts passes by the camera to enter the big top arena including horses, clowns and elephants. Some of the acts are filmed including a female lion tamer, a cycling clown, performing elephants, and barebacked horse riders. A boy from the audience is harnessed and tries to ride the horse. The clowns join in the fun as he flies around the circle and steals a man’s cap. Summary by Poppy De Souza

Cold Chisel Last Stand: Circus Animals Tour
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
38071
Courtesy:
Captured Live Productions and NextVision Pty Ltd
Year:
Year

This is an excerpt from the music documentary Cold Chisel Last Stand featuring producer Mark Opitz discussing the Circus Animals concert tour and how Cold Chisel were a band who loved to give back to their fans. 

The band went to great expense for the Sydney shows, which included trapeze acts and circus animals under a big top. 

The clip starts with some unexpected footage of circus performers and dancers to a backdrop of Ian Moss playing his guitar before cutting to an image of the cover of the album and the circus tent where the band performed.

The montage is very effective in setting up the interview with record producer Mark Optiz, appropriately seated by a mixing desk in a recording studio. It's a 'thumbnail' of an interview but sufficient in making the point that Cold Chisel never forgot who their fans were.

Wirth's Circus Film: Philip Wirth and Earl Dudley
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
20755
Year:
Year

A fixed camera positioned on the edge of an outdoor arena captures ringmaster and circus proprietor Philip Wirth rehearsing with his trick pony, Earl Dudley. The pony is led around the arena on a horsedrawn platform as Wirth instructs it to perform various tricks including bowing, jumping, turning, kneeling, sitting and rearing. Circus wagons and a small crowd of circus employees can be seen in the background. At the end of the act, Earl Dudley is led out of the arena and Wirth bows to the camera before following behind. Summary by Poppy De Souza

A Big Country: The Appeal of Alberto's Circus
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1544605
Year:
Year

This excerpt from the ABC program A Big Country traces the very start of Alberto's Circus and Zoo back to the late 1800s when the Perry family swapped their western Queensland pub for a bullock team.

From humble beginnings they created one of Australia's oldest and most travelled circuses which was passed down through the family.

For over 20 years, from 1968 to 1991, A Big Country was broadcast on prime-time ABC television, winning awards and high ratings. This clip is a wonderful example of the kind of short documentaries the ABC made, highlighting aspects of Australian life, particularly from rural regions.

The segment gets up close with the circus owners, who offer refreshingly candid and off-the-cuff responses to the journalist's questions. The footage of the travelling convoy also gives us a real sense of the long distances they travelled to perform for the public, often in hot and dusty conditions. The clip is thoroughly engaging for the insights it gives into the life of a travelling circus.

Note: the NFSA does not endorse the use of animals for entertainment purposes. This film must be understood in its historical context.

WARNING: This clip may contain animal suffering
Orphan of the Wilderness: Chut's Revenge
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
7571
Year:
Year

Shorty McGee (Harry Abdy) has punished his prize attraction, Chut the boxing kangaroo, by denying him water for two days. In the ring, Chut’s thirst and his hatred for the whip-wielding McGee boil over. Chut attacks the drunken McGee, inflicting serious wounds on the trainer. In the ensuing chaos, Chut escapes the circus. Margot (Gwen Munro) rushes to warn Tom Henton about what has happened. Summary by Paul Byrnes

WARNING: This clip contains animal suffering or death
The Circus Comes To Town: The Circus Parade
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
15007
Year:
Year

The members of Wirth’s Circus and Zoo parade down the main street as a large crowd looks on. The parade includes elephants, clowns, performers on horseback and caged animals. In another shot, Shetland ponies are led by boys over a bridge towards the showground. Intertitles are used to describe the action. Summary by Poppy De Souza

The Last Circus?: Circus Song
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
526813
Courtesy:
Phoenix Films International
Year:
Year

A song, 'The Last Circus’, plays under a montage of circus scenes, including clowns, acrobats, animals performing and kids reacting. Summary by Damien Parer

WARNING: This clip may contain animal suffering
Alice has to walk home
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
204272
Courtesy:
Cinesound Movietone Productions
Year:
Year

This silent newsreel clip shows Princess Alice, the most beloved and famous elephant of Wirth's Circus. It's unclear whether the truck has broken down or if Alice in unable to climb back on board. Either way, she has to walk home.

Princess Alice was bought at auction in New Zealand in 1906 for a record sum before being transported to Sydney. Originally she gave rides for children in Wonderland City, Tamarama.

When Wonderland closed in 1912 she was acquired by Philip Wirth and walked to Wirth's home in Coogee which was still under construction. Alice was a local celebrity in Coogee, delighting people on her evening walks along the beach.

It was with great sadness that Alice was eventually euthanised in 1956 and was said to have been buried in the backyard of the Wirth family home.

This footage is from Cinesound Review No. 292

WARNING: This clip may contain animal suffering