Bullen's Circus in Australia

Bullen's Circus

Local name Bullen Bros. Circus

Owner 1920-1969: Perc Bullen
1922-1965: Lilian Bullen
Closed down1969
Country Australia

Directors 1965-1969: Stafford Bullen (director)
1965-1969: Cleo Bullen (assistant director)
1965-1969: Ken Bullen (director)

Key People : Brenton Bullen (animal trainer)
-: Mark Bullen (animal trainer)
-: Craig Bullen (animal trainer)
-1969: Greg Bullen (animal trainer)
1960: Frank Gasser (artist)


Elephant department

Head keepers
of elephants

Elephant keepers -: Bill Cruickshank
-: Del Fisher
-: Ray Cherrie
Record history
History of updates2023-08-22

Latest document update2023-08-22 23:45:50
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Bullen's Circus, Australia , was founded in 1920. Bullen's Circus closed down in 1969.

Comments / picturesThe couple Alfred Bullen and Lilian Bullen founded Bullens Circus in 1920.

Their sons Stafford Bullen and Kenneth Bullen were circus proprietors and co-founders of the African Lion Safari (Warragamba).

Bullen's Circus in Australia Australia
Stafford Bullen, far right Cleo, my aunty Betty, unidentied person, aunty Jean.
Craig Bullen

Bullen's Circus in Australia AustraliaFront elephant is Jumbo of Bullens Circus, Del Fisher walking the elephants

1941: Alfred Percival Bullen bought the first elephant, a bull with the name Ghandi. (Ray Bullen through Tony Ratcliffe).
1946: 3 elephants; Ghandi, Mandy, and a second female.
1947: import of 5 elephant babies from Thailand, and the circus now had 8 elephants:

The elephants imported from Thailand in 1947 were Peggy, Jenny, Zara, Sue and Betty. They were all 2-3 year olds when they arrived.
Craig Bullen (email 2014-05-26)

1957: Kassala arrived from Auckland Zoo, Bullen had now 9 elephants.

Bullen's Circus in Australia AustraliaStafford Bullen with the nine circus elephants.

(Baby Betty may have arrived this year, making the Bullen Herd 10 elephants.)
1957-1961: Another 2 elephants; Minyak and Dolly, were added from Greg Bullens Pagels Circus that folded. (12 elephants) They had 6 elephant babies: Bimbo , Sabu , Birma , Siam , Minyak, and Dolly. (Tony Ratcliffe)

Film from Bullens Circus, 1958

1961: import of 5 elephant babies from Mayfields Kennels and Zoo (H.H. de Souza): The following arrived quarantene in Sydney 21st of August 1961, and arrived Bullens circus 23rd of October 1961: Bimbo, Sabu, Siam, and Birma.

Five elephants were imported in this batch, one was recorded as dead on arrival and the remaining four toured Australia and New Zealand for many years with Bullens Circus. Burma was sent to Taronga Zoo on "loan" after she flogged Mark Bullen on the circus' return from New Zealand in 1982. The remaining 3 - Sabu, Siam and Bimbo remained with Bullen\'s Circus until it folded and then spent much time at various Bullen parks and on hire to other circuses.
Steve Robinson on Wade Burcks blog

When i first joined Bullens they had Alice, Jumbo, Peggy, Betty, Sue, Jenny, Zara, Bimbo, Sabu, Birma, Siam, Minyak, Dolly. Before that i know they had: Baby Betty , Mollie, Sally , Kassala, Mandy, Ghandi, and Topsy. Topsy came from Goldwyns circus..Tony Ratcliffe, 2013

1963: Bullens had 11 elephants: 1. Jumbo, 2. Alice, 3. Betty, 4. Sue, 5. Peggy, 6. Jenny, 7. Zara, 8. Bimbo, 9. Sabu, 10. Birma, 11. Siam. They had 11 elephants on tour, then they returned to Australia and after a season in Wentworth Park Sydney they took Betty to Taronga Park and had her put down, that left 10 elephants. Then a year or so later Greg Bullen who had Pagels Circus, folded his show and bought his two elephants Minyak and Dolly to the big Bullen show , that gave us 12 elephants , then not long after that Alice died at Box hill , and we were down one elephant, to 11. When i resigned several years later they had 11 elephants, a year after that they contacted me and asked me to see if i could help get a buyer for Minyak and Dolly. Soles got Minyak and Dolly from Bullens Herd of 6 babies.Tony Ratcliffe, 2013

1965: Stafford Bullen became director. Minyak and Dolly were sold to Sole Bros.(9 elephants)

1966-1969: Jenny died in Victoria.(8 elephants), and Zara must have died sometime between 1966 and 1969. (7 elephants)

1969: Bullen\'s Circus gave its final performance on 25 May 1969 at Parramatta. Percival Bullen happily retired to the family estate at Wallacia.

When Bullens Circus went off the "road" we had 7 elephants. Jumbo, Sue, Peggy, Bimbo, Sabu, Burma, Siam. Over a 12 month period Jumbo went to our African Lion Safari in Beenleigh Queensland. She spent the next 12-15 years there before returning to our home park Bullens Animal World at Wallacia New South Wales. Sue went to our African Lion Safari in Rockbank Victoria for about the same period of time, then returning back to the Animal World at Wallacia. Both lived out their remaining lives at Wallacia.
Craig Bullen

1974: Percival Bullen died on 11 August 1974 at Penrith and was buried in Eastern Creek cemetery.

When Bullens pulled their Circus off the road in 1969 they still had a Herd of (7,8, or 13??) Elephants, which was kept at a large property at Wallacia outside Sydney, called Bullens Animal World: 1. Jumbo, 2. Peggy, 3. Sue, 4. Bimbo, 5. Sabu, 6. Birma, 7. Siam.

Bullen's Circus in Australia Australia
Bimbo, Craig Bullen, Sabu, Stafford Bullen, Siam, Brenton Bullen. Brenton Bullen lived at Australia Zoo with three of the elephants that he grew up with: Siam, Sabu and Bimbo. Two of the Bullen elephants died during 2013, and the last Bullen elephant were relocated back to the Circus shortly afterwards, but died in 2019.

Mr Bullens elephants : a tribute to Bullens circus elephants and all the Mr Bullens who were their trainers : recollections of members of the Bullen family, former employees and friends / compiled and written by Bob Cunningham in collaboration with Brenton Bullen.

References for records about Bullen's Circus

Recommended Citation

Koehl, Dan (2024). Bullen's Circus, Elephant Encyclopedia. Available online at https://www.elephant.se/location2.php?location_id=558. (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

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