Sunday, December 23, 2007

Life and Circuses

Photo: Gordon Smith, grave of Mary Ashton, Hanging Rock.

To quote Gordon's post:

I hadn't realised that the hamlet of Hanging Rock holds a link to a well known Australian Circus. Ashton's Circus still tours the country, but here at Hanging Rock, lies the grave of Mary Ashton, the young wife of circus founder James Ashton. She died in 1852, just days after giving birth to a daughter - the baby died a few months later. At that time Hanging Rock was a hive of activity due to its gold mining activities. It must have been a sizeable place as the circus performed over a period of 14 nights.

As a child I used to dream of running away to join a circus. It was one of those silly dreams, my hand-eye coordination is dreadful and I have no feel for heights. Still, it shows the the romance of the circus.

Circuses such as Wirth's and Ashton's toured on a regular basis, playing in big towns and small. This was a world of excitement and romance. Small kids would gather around as the tent went up, thinking how to persuade their parents to take them.

There is so much more entertainment today, but the romance lingers.

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