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.