History of the Circus
Madame Jenny La Rosiere


In 1884 William Woodyear promoted his circus as Madame Woodyear’s Electric Circus and Great London Equesquiriculum. His wife, famed equestrian Jenny La Rosiere was “a splendid and fearless rider,” (and sister in law of the earlier colonial circus identity Edward La Rosiere).
Milk White Charger


Ashton opened his Circus in 1851 making it possibly the oldest circus in more or less continual operation in the English speaking world. Mr and Mrs Ashton performed athletic, gymnastic and olympian exercises on their horses; Mr Ashton on his bare back steed and Mrs Ashton in a flowing knee-length gown atop a padded horse.


The Astley Circus. First Hippodrama, at Lambeth – south end of Westminster Bridge.

In 1768 Philip Astley as instrumental in establishing the first trick equestrian entertainment in an enclosed arena. ”Mazeppa and the Wild Horse”, a hippodramatic adaptation from Lord Byron’s poem “Mazeppa” was presented by famous rider Andrew Drucrow.

John Jones – equestrian rider (partner of Edward La Rosiere) performed the Hippodrama in Australia near York St, Sydney in 1851 at the Royal Australian Equestrian Circus. “…his horse appeared in its natural untrained state at full speed, with the miscreant lashed to his back.”
Brisbane's First Circus-1847 George Croft


In 1847 George Croft set up a small amphitheatre in Russel St, South Brisbane. He performed “a series of evolutions” on a tight rope as well as standing on his head on a candle stick while dancing to the Sailor’s Horn Pipe. He as accompanied by to clowns, Benson and Feathers. (George Croft Lane links Cordelia St and Merivale St). When it became known that “improper songs were sung and aboriginal people were allowed in – patronage waned and the amphitheatre was closed.