The FitzGerald Brothers’ Circus: Spectacle, Identity, and Nationhood at the Australian Circus

Caroline Daley

Abstract


Whangarei is not the most obvious starting point for a book about the Australian circus, but that is where The FitzGerald Brothers’ Circus begins. On a cold and windy night, back in May 1898, hundreds gathered in Whangarei, waiting to be entertained. But bad weather delayed the coastal steamer bringing the circus to town. The FitzGerald company finally arrived at 11 pm. Rather than disappoint their audience, the company got straight to work, erected their tent and began their much-delayed show at 2 am. Their performance was a success, as were their shows at 2 pm and 7 pm that same day. Within 24 hours, having performed for 2,000 people, the circus moved on.


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