Young boys walking beside a Wirth Brother's Circus elephant as it pulls a wagon across the Grey Street Bridge, Brisbane

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Where: Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

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When: 01 January 1953

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Creator: Arthur McLeod.

Location: Brisbane, Queensland.

Description: Elephants. Wirth Bros Circus, Grey Street. (Description supplied with photograph). Photograph from
32086, Arthur McLeod acetate negatives and glass plate negatives

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Owner: State Library of Queensland, Australia
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 379
elephant animal wagon crowds performingelephants circus bridges state library queensland brisbane street boys

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    • 27/Nov/2021 08:52:05

    Wirth Bros was founded by the children of a Bavarian musician, Johannes Wirth (1834 – 1880), who arrived in Australia in 1855. The family worked as itinerant musicians, including for Ashton’s Circus, before establishing a musical and acrobatic troupe that evolved into a travelling circus. By 1887 Wirth Bros Circus was the largest circus in Australia, under the management of Phillip Wirth (1864 – 1937) and his brother George (1867 - 1941). In 1889 they began transporting the circus by train, a practice that continued for the rest of Wirth’s existence. In the 1890s Wirth Bros Circus performed in New Zealand, South Africa, Java, India and England, the first international tour by an Australian circus. Wirth’s Circus (as it was known from 1930) operated a two-year national touring cycle, which included annual visits to Sydney (at Easter) and Melbourne (around the Melbourne Cup, when they presented a gold-mounted whip to the winning jockey). The circus predominantly used imported international acts, with up to 40 performers, 10 elephants and 40 horses, with wild animals and support staff. They also staged a pantomime each year at Christmas time. Wirth’s Circus went into decline with the introduction of television and rising transport costs. On 27 December 1953 Wirth’s Olympia was destroyed by fire, and the circus finally closed in May 1963. Source: