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With over 30 years research into Australia's circus history, Circus historian and author Mark St Leon has produced a range of books covering the history of circus in Australia. Some of these are very limited edition manuscripts covering a depth of history never before compiled or published.

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Circus - The Australian Story - Book
New - Circus History

Circus - The Australian Story - Softcover

In Circus: The Australian Story, author Mark St Leon presents a comprehensive, entertaining and visually stunning history of circus in Australia. His interest was sparked by his insatiable curiosity about his own family’s celebrated past in Australian circus.

Rare colour and black & white photos throughout.

Quality large paperback with flaps
288 pages

$49.99


               



Circus - The Australian Story - Book
New - Circus History

Circus - The Australian Story - Hardcover

In Circus: The Australian Story, author Mark St Leon presents a comprehensive, entertaining and visually stunning history of circus in Australia. His interest was sparked by his insatiable curiosity about his own family’s celebrated past in Australian circus.

$135.00


               



Mr Ashton and Master Gaynor at Royal Ampitheatre York Street

Wattle in the Sawdust - The History of Circus in Australia

Volume One - Circus in Australia: Its Origins & Development to 1856

by Mark St Leon , MA (Hons)

  • Limited to 200 numbered copies, each signed by the author
  • Strongly bound in bonded leather
  • 300mm x 215mm
  • Printed on archive quality, acid-free paper
  • Approximately 350 pages, with page marker ribbon
  • Comprehensively indexed and annotated
  • Illustrated with contemporary pictures and documents
  • Receipted invoice provided
  • Over 30 years research
  • Projected publication date: November 2004
  • ISBN 0-9581557-1-2


$195.00


               



ay Wirth Australian Bareback Rider

Wattle in the Sawdust - The History of Circus in Australia

Volume Two - Circus in Australia: An Index of Show Movements, 1833-1969
Circus, Variety, Theatrical, Musical & Allied Arts

by Mark St Leon , MA (Hons)

An invaluable reference work for performing arts research, genealogy, local and economic history.
  • Limited to 200 numbered copies, each signed by the author
  • Strongly bound in bonded leather
  • 300mm x 215mm
  • Printed on archive quality, acid-free paper
  • 417 pages, with page marker ribbon
  • Includes searchable CD-Rom (Windows & Mac)
  • Annotated & extensively indexed
  • Receipted invoice provided
  • Over 30 years research
  • Projected publication date: November 2004
  • ISBN 0-9581557-2-0 (Some details may alter slightly by publication date)


$195.00


               



Cooper, Bailey & Co's Circus, Sydney, 1877. Courtesy McCaddon Collection, Department of Rare Books & Special Collections, Princeton University Library, Princeton, New Jersey, USA

Wattle in the Sawdust - The History of Circus in Australia

Volume Three - Circus in Australia: The American Century, 1851-1950

by Mark St Leon , MA (Hons)

This is the third volume in my project to document the history of circus in Australia. This is Circus in Australia: The American Century, 1851-1950. This work chronicles the rich history of interaction between the circus of Australia and that of the United States of America, specifically -

  • Australian (and New Zealand) tours by American circus companies
  • American circus people who pursued careers in Australian circus
  • American tours by Australian circus companies
  • Australian circus people who pursued careers in American circus

The American circus, like the Australian, owes its origins to Astley's Amphitheatre, London, and traditions of the English circus which emerged towards towards the end of the 18th century. But the American circus soon took on a life of its own and was to become a major influence on Australian circus and culture.

  • Limited to 200 numbered copies, each signed by the author
  • Strongly bound in bonded leather
  • 300mm x 215mm
  • Printed on archive quality, acid-free paper
  • 600 pages, with page marker ribbon
  • Annotated & extensively indexed
  • Receipted invoice provided
  • Over 30 years research
  • Approximately 100 rare images, many in full colour
  • ISBN 0-9593315-2-2


$295.00


               



Ella Zuila, The Australian Funambuliste (1885) Courtesy: British Library,
London. Shelfmark EVAN.373.  British Library Board. All Rights Reserved.

Wattle in the Sawdust - The History of Circus in Australia

Volume Seven - Circus in Australia: Printed Ephemera, 1833-2007

by Mark St Leon , MA (Hons)

This is the next volume in my project to document the history of circus in Australia. This brings together a rich collection of items of printed ephemera, about 200 images in all, that chronicle and summarise the rich history of Australian circus. The volume comprises reproductions of images of;

  • Posters
  • Advertisements
  • Program covers
  • Handbills
  • Tickets
  • Letterheads
  • Business cards
  • Medals, tombstones

To prepare this volume, I have scoured public and private collections throughout Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Japan, Britain and Europe. Most of the images are in colour, many are in full colour, and most have not been published in book format before. Each image is accompanied by details of the source, creator, dimensions and technical specifications, as well as explanatory descriptive and historical data.

The whole work is thoroughly annotated and indexed. It includes an extensive bibliography and is strongly bound in bonded leather. Most of the images describe Australia's circus history as it developed within Australia.

A number of images describe the activities of Australians overseas including famous performers such as the Indigenous tightwire artist Con Colleano (1899-1973) and the equestrienne May Wirth (1894-1978).

  • Limited to 200 numbered copies, each signed by the author
  • Strongly bound in bonded leather
  • 300mm x 215mm
  • Printed on archive quality, acid-free paper
  • 400 pages, with page marker ribbon
  • Annotated & extensively indexed
  • Receipted invoice provided
  • Over 30 years research
  • Approximately 200 rare images, many in full colour
  • ISBN 978-0-9581557-3-1


$295.00


               



Pretty May Wirth, Australian Somersault Bareback Rider, a liftout broadside in
the National Police Gazette, New York, 3 January 1914. Inside image: Ringling Bros and Barnum
& Bailey Combined Shows - Miss May Wirth: The Greatest Bareback Rider of all Time, c.1919,
courtesy National Library of Australia, Canberra, ACT.

Wattle in the Sawdust - The History of Circus in Australia

Volume Thirteen - Circus in Australia: May Wirth, The Bareback Queen

by Mark St Leon , MA (Hons)

Here it is! At last! The first and only full length biography of one of Austrralia's finest contributions to the annals of international circus, the great bareback rider, May Wirth. Born May Zinga at Bundaberg, Queensland in 1894 into a family of circus people, May was adopted at an early age by the Wirth family, the owners of one of Australia's largest circus companies. Under the Wirths' guidance May developed into a superlative, all-round circus performer. She took the name of 'Wirth' as her own.

Acrobatic work on a bareback horse was her specialty. In 1911, May and her troupe of riders were engaged to tour the United States with Barnum & Bailey. May was given a conspicuous place on the Barnum & Bailey program when she made her American debut at New York's Madison Square Gardens in 1912. For the next 20 years, May appeared in circus, vaudeville and at county fairs throughout the United States. She also appeared in vaudeville and the great indoor circuses of Europe.

May is regarded today as one of the greatest circus performers of all time.

  • Limited to 200 numbered copies, each signed by the author
  • Strongly bound in bonded leather
  • 300mm x 215mm
  • Printed on archive quality, acid-free paper
  • 300 pages, with page marker ribbon
  • Annotated & extensively indexed
  • Receipted invoice provided
  • Over 30 years research
  • Approximately 120 rare images, many in full colour
  • ISBN: 978-0-9581557-1-7


$195.00