Pagels Circus (William Pagel) in South Africa

Pagels Circus (William Pagel)
Friederich Wilhelm August Pagel
Friederich Wilhelm August Pagel


First elephant arrived1906
Closed down1948
Country South Africa


Key People


Elephant department

Head keepers
of elephants

Elephant keepers
Relevant literature

Pagels Circus (William Pagel), South Africa , was founded in 1904 and the first elephant arrived in 1906. Pagels Circus (William Pagel) closed down in 1948.

Comments / picturesPagels Circus (William Pagel) in South Africa South+Africa
Pagels elephant and Hermann Goerner.

Pagels Circus was founded in Australia 1904 by the german strongman and lion trainer William Pagel and his wife Mary Dinsdale.

Frederich Wilhelm August Pagel was born in Plathe, in Pomerania, 1878, as the second of eight children to Antonie Fraudnich and August Pagel.

1899: In Tasmania in 1899 he met and married Mary Dinsdale (1865 to 24 December 1939), a Yorkshire woman from Leeds.
1902: Wilhelm joined the Worth Brothers Circus in Australia as a strongman.
1904: Pagel bought a tent holding two hundred people.
1905: In February 1905 the circus sailed for Natal, and began touring South African centres.
1906: Pagel and his wife went to India and Burma early in 1906 to purchase tigers, elephants and other animals for a new circus.
1910: In 1910, a list of animals he brought into Natal from Transvaal included 5 horses, 9 ponies, 2 zebras, 1 camel, 4 elephants, 6 tigers, 3 lions, 5 leopards, 3 polar bears and a kangaroo.
1933: William Pagel retired, partly due to wounds and infections from the cats.
1939: Madame Pagel died, aged 74.
1940: William Pagel Pagel married Miss Cecil Schulz (died on 26 May 1976), daughter of Dr Aurel Schulz, the woman who had nursed his former through her last illness.
1948: William Pagel died in Knysna, of a heart attack brought about by an attempt to lift two horses, 70 years old.
1948: Mrs Cecil Pagel took over the circus, assisted by Hermann Pagel. (Billboard 27 Nov 1948)
1948: The circus subsequently became known as Wilkie’s Circus after it was sold to Whilma Howe Wilkie.
1954: The show added an african male elephant.
1976: Cecil Pagel died.

References for records about Pagels Circus (William Pagel)

Recommended Citation

Koehl, Dan (2021). Pagels Circus (William Pagel), Elephant Encyclopedia. Available online at (archived at the Wayback machine)

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