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The Australian Story

written by Mark St Leon

Melbourne Books | ISBN 9781877096501

Paperback – 271 pages


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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. You will read how a colonial circus industry developed out of its Old World roots; how the saga of circus is woven into the historical fabric of modern Australia; how circus in Australia absorbed influences from as far afield as America, Japan and Europe; how Australia has been visited by some of the world's major circus companies; and how Australia's circus people have coped with unrelenting social, cultural, technological and economic change. You will also read how Australia has been a significant developer and exporter of circus talent. The 'world's greatest bareback rider' May Wirth and the Indigenous wirewalker Con Colleano, although forgotten in Australia, are regarded internationally as among the finest circus artists of modern times. The author shows how circus in Australia today, in both its traditional and contemporary genres, is the outcome of a continuum that extends, not only over some 175 years of modern Australia's history, but back to its London, medieval and ancient roots.

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