On this day …….. 12th of December 1912

Eroni’s Circus has been staying in North East Victoria for a day or two, weather bound, and many of the horses have been greatly affected by the roaring of the wild animals in the menagerie. No doubt thinking they would be eaten, standing in their stalls trembling with fear. A horse owned by Thomas Haywood was badly affected, and was with difficulty made to do his work. Will passing the circus camp on this day in 1912, the horse caught sight of an elephant, and stop and trembled. After a few moments it dropped dead, evidently with fright The horse was valued at £20.


On this day …….. 9th of December 1938

An elephant escaped from a circus at Bentleigh on this night in 1938, and walked into the yard of Mr. and Mrs. Mall. The elephant made a great mess of the garden before mounting the front verandah and tried to turn around an electric light fitting. While It stood there Mr. and Mrs. Mall made “shoo” noises and tried unsuccessfully to raise the local police. The elephant walked off and entered Mr. F. E. Humphrey’s garden next door. There it was secured and was taken home.

On this day …….. 4th of December 1886

Dangerous circus elephant

Abu, the circus elephant which crushed a 22-year-old woman to death on Thursday, will not be destroyed. The owners of Ashton’s Circus were allowed to decide Abu’s future after Victorian authorities decided that they did not have the power to order it to be destroyed. Circus clown Miss Debbie Wirth, 22, was killed when Abu grabbed her in its trunk while she was walking with the elephant at the circus site in Vermont South. Circus part-owner Mr Mervyn Ashton, said: “It is everybody’s decision, including Debbie’s parents and her fiancé, Douglas Quay, not to destroy Abu. We’ve had a great deal of support from a hell of a lot of local people who have come asking us to let Abu stay in the circus.” The Victorian Minister for Agriculture, Mr Kent, said existing legislation did not cover incidents in which circus animals killed an attendant.

On This Day ……. 29th October 1954

Escaped Elephant – Richmond

An escaped elephant from Wirth’s Circus’ temporary camp outside Olympic Park in Richmond, Melbourne caused a mild panic on the 29th October 1954. At 9.30 p.m. a check was made by the boys guarding the elephants, and it was found that one was missing. Telephone calls started to pour into Russell St. police station from people on their way home from the city saying that they had seen an elephant walking along Batman Ave. A police car was rushed to the scene and after a two and a half hour search they found the missing elephant. It was standing under a tree about 200 yards away from the camp.

On this day …….. 1st September 1894

A panic occurred in Bourke street, Melbourne on the 1st of September 1894, owing to the elephants drawing the lions cage in Fillis Circus procession taking fright. The animals bolted down the street at a great pace, dragging the roaring lions after them, and finally came to a stand still by contact with a lamp post which was dragged away. The cage was uninjured and the lions including Pasha the one eyed lion although greatly excited was unable to Succour their liberty.


On this day …….. 1st September 1936

Claimed to be the world’s largest performing elephant, Cissie, owned by Ashton Brothers travelling circus, nearly ended her career at Buninyong on the morning of the 1st of September 1936. The elephant was entering the circus allotment behind a line of 45 horses, when she fell through a shell of earth covering what appeared to be the subsidence of an old mining shaft, nearly 10 feet deep. The elephant gave a wild bound upward, and scrambled, out of what appeared to be an Impossible predicament. In the sudden fall, the elephant’s rider was tossed 20 feet away, but escaped with abrasions and bruises. Cissie’s tusks were broken in two pieces.


On this day …….. 23rd of August 1930

Topsy, the star performing elephant of Sole Brothers Circus, caused a sensation in South Brisbane when she broke from her tether, ran amok, pushed her head through the plate-glass of a shop window, and did a clumsy waltz like she does in the ring.” Attendants finally led her away. “Too much good feed” was the explanation for Topsy’s jamboree.


On this day …….. 4th May 1972

A runaway circus elephant charged a truck and tore up fencing in a four-hour chase across farms and along back roads in the Adelaide hills today. The elephant, Gi Gi, from the German National Circus, eventually surrendered quietly when her mother, Abu, and sister, Kinder, were led to her side. An earlier attempt to lure the runaway with the two other elephants failed when blasting at a pyrites mine sent Gi Gi running across the countryside again. Mr Merv Ashton, of Ashtons Circus, which was carrying Gi Gi for the National Circus, said Gi Gi had got out of a safety chain and had jumped from the back of a slowly-moving truck. Gi Gi, a 14-year-old Indian elephant, weighs three tons. Mr Ashton said she could run at between 30 and 40mph.

On this day …….. 26th April 1974

Mr Doug Laing-Smith, 38, died in hospital on this day in 1974, 27 days after he was crushed by an elephant while working for Ashton’s Circus in Melbourne. He was knocked down and crushed by Abu the elephant after it was frightened by children playing on mini-bikes, Mr Laing-Smith, who is survived by his wife and five children, had been unconscious since he was admitted to the Preston and Northcote Community Hospital after the accident.


ON THIS DAY ……… 16th March 1883

The elephant at the Melbourne Zoo is thriving splendidly, and will be ready to carry children on the 16th March 1883.



On this day …….. 26th of January 1954

On this day in 1954, wandering elephant, crashed its way through a Sydney church hall and broke up a meeting of Scottish pipers. According to the Rev. R. A. Hickey, of St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Redfern. The pipers literally picked up their skirts and ran for their lives. The nine-year-old elephant an escapee from a nearby circus, lumbered along Cleveland Street pursued by two keepers. She saw the open doorway of St. Paul’s Hall, and made straight for it. The doorway and part of the wall were shattered as the elephant pushed her way through. But the pipers were making such a racket they did not hear the visitor until she was in their midst. To get out of the hall, ‘Topsy’ retraced her steps and took some more of the wall with her. Last week ‘Topsy’ escaped, and ambled for a mile before being caught.


On this day …….. 20th of January 1933

A heavy loss was sustained by Wirth’s Bros, at Hamilton, on this day in 1933, when one of their circus elephants died after having eaten a poisonous weed. The animal, which the proprietors estimated as having been worth £2000 to insurer, was not insured. The weed was also eaten by two other elephants, but they responded to treatment.