Friday, January 13, 2012

Interesting Account of Wirth's Circus 1901-1906

From Mad Bush Farm Blog:

The Elephants of Wirth's Circus - A living timeline

Prince and Pasha are harnessed to the chariot, with Kitty the Tigress playing the part of ‘Jehu’ The trainer was known by the name Monsieur Ragoul or Rogalle in some publications.

The act debuted as a finale on 28 August 1901, where Wirth Brother’s Circus and Menagerie were conducting performances at Rockhampton in Queensland Australia. The trainer at the time was referred to as ‘Monsieur Soueki’. The Bengal tigers Prince, Pasha and Kitty performed with the two male tigers harnessed to the chariot and Kitty riding in the vehicle.

“…A new act is to be put on to-night as a finale to the programme M. Soueki who has entered the tigers' cage nightly, will show his animals in a sensational act in the centre of the ring. A large wire cage has been erected around the ring and M. Soueki will enter it with the three tigers. After repeating their various tricks, two of the tigers will be attached to a chariot and draw it round the ring, and the third will jump on to the box seat and act as driver…” wrote The Morning Bulletin (28 August 1901).

Philip Wirth later wrote from Queensland, to his brother George advising him that the act had been successfully performed at Rockhampton and had gone off ‘with a hitch’.

During the latter part of 1901 the circus traveled extensively through Australia to showcase this spectacular act.

“…Royal Bengal tigers, Prince, Pasha, and Kitty, ferocious forest-bred animals that perform on awe-inspiring act. The entire circus arena is enclosed with a steel cage, the tigers are let loose, Mons. Ragoul, their trainer, enters the cage and makes them seesaw, play leapfrog, jump hoops, roll barrels and globes, and finally harnesses two tigers like horses to a chariot, and a third drives them rapidly around the arena..”.

In 1902 during the New Zealand tour, the trainer had some trouble with one of the male tigers, when the animal refused to stand up during a performance in Auckland.
The act was performed in New Zealand tours in the years 1902 and 1904 respectively. No further performances using the tigers in this manner were seen in this country after 1904.

The Act was discontinued around 1906 when the last advertisement of Wirth Circus mentioning the performance appeared in January of that same year. After 1906, no further references are made.

‘Pasha’ who was reported in May 1901(Taranaki Herald 16 May 1901) attacking Carl Wirth. Wirth had sat on the tiger during a performance in Queensland. The tiger inflicted serious injuries to the trainer’s leg. The animal was apparently to be held for exhibition purposes only. Pasha had 5 previous incidences of attacking his trainer.
Jehu was a 9th century b.c. biblical king of Israel
When, the act was first reported by the Morning Bulletin (28 August 1901) the trainer was referred to as Mons. Soueki
Morning Bulletin 28 August 1901
Brisbane Courier 31 August 1901
The Register 14 December 1901
Hawera and Normanby Star 20 June 1902
Advertisements The West Australian 20 January 1906

1 comment:

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