Sole Brothers Circus in Australia

Sole Brothers Circus

Owner: Eliza Jane Sole
-: Robert Perry
-: Albert Lindsay
-2016: Joe Perry
1991-2009: Jean Perry
Closed down1993
Country Australia


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Elephant department

Head keepers
of elephants
-: W. Carlisle
(elephant trainer)

Elephant keepers
Record history
History of updates2023-12-10

Latest document update2023-12-10 11:13:45
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Sole Brothers Circus, Australia , was founded in 1915. Sole Brothers Circus closed down in 1993.

Comments / pictures
From From Kelshall to The Sole Bros Circus by Linda Butler
1856: Two brothers, Daniel Sole (age 24) and Edward Sole (age 18) arrived in Sydney on board the "Sultana" on 27 June 1856, as farm labourers from Kelshall, with no relatives in Australia. They were sons of Goodman Sole and Ann Wilmot of Kelshall.

1860: Edward was married to Margaret Breen on 8 October 1860 in St Andrew\'s Church, Braidwood. There were 8 children from the marriage of Edward and Margaret, all surviving to adulthood: 1. James b.29 March 1862, 2. Edward Goodman b.21 August 1865, 3. William Alfred b.1869, 4. Amy Elizabeth b.1872, 5. Walter Henry b.1874, 6. Josephine Gertrude b.1877, 7. Mabel b.1880, 8. Maude Ethel b.1883(or 4).

1891: On 1 May 1891, Margaret and Edward\'s third son, William, married Eliza Jane Perry in Thargomindah. Eliza was the daughter of William Perry who, legend has it, swapped his pub for a small circus in the 1870's. Bill and Eliza Sole had 6 children: 1. Mary m Bert Lindsay (1 daughter - Jean Marie), 2. William - died of pneumonia at 41, 3. Maggie - married, but no children, 4. Jack -died when his son (only child) was 1 or 2, 5. Andy - married with 1 son, 6. Ethel - m Stan Walker, children Bill, Stan Jr & Patsy.

1892: the four Sole brothers joined the Perry circus in 1892 from Eidsvold.

1893: By 1893 this branch of the Perry family had adopted the pseudonym of 'Eroni' to avoid confusion with Perry\'s Jubilee Circus, run by William\'s brother Charlie.

1914: The Sole family remained with Eroni\'s Circus until 1914 when they went to work for the St Leon Circus.

1915: Late in 1915 Mrs Sole took her family away from the St Leon Circus to start an exhibition of animals on the show circuit.

1923: 1923 was not a good year for the Soles, with the exception of Bill Sole\'s purchase of the stock and gear of Eroni\'s Circus from Eliza\'s brother Charles; In February of that year Margaret Sole died in Gayndah. In June, in the New South Wales town of Blayney, Bill Sole and Charles Perry were both killed when the petrol-run lighting plant they were checking exploded. At the time Mary Sole was appearing in England, but returned home to help her brothers and sisters and her mother Eliza run the circus. To round off an unhappy 1923, Edward Sole died in Gayndah on 8 November.

1927: In 1927 the circus left Australia and toured South Africa. They played there for 3 seasons.

Sole Brothers Circus in Australia Australia

1960: Stan Walker\'s brother Bill was killed by an elephant when he was 32. He was working as a journalist for the Newcastle Sun and had gone down to South Australia to stay with the circus for 2 weeks holiday - he had worked for the circus on a number of occasions. He'd taken his camera with him and was planning to write a children\'s story about circus life. He went to see the elephant early one morning and it\'s thought it became excited at seeing him again. It picked Bill up in its Trunk and must have knocked his cheek hard (giving him a "welcoming hug"). A piece of fragmented bone pierced his brain. The elephant laid him gently on the ground and that was how Jean found him. There wasn't a mark on him apart from a slight bruise on his cheek.

Sole Brothers' elephants, Betty and Jodi, have killed a journalist and a spectator respectively?

1983-02: 2 elephants belonging to Sole Brothers' Circus were killed in a road accident.

1991: Jean Perry proprietor of Sole Brothers' Circus.

1993-05: Werribee, VIC
A Sole Bros' elephant was lucky to escape injury when the circus wagon she was chained to caught fire. After escaping the fire, the elephant ran around the streets of Werribee for 40 minutes before circus staff were able to recapture her.

References for records about Sole Brothers Circus

Recommended Citation

Koehl, Dan (2024). Sole Brothers Circus, Elephant Encyclopedia. Available online at (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

  • "The Circus in Australia" by Mark St Leon, 1983, Greenhouse Publications
  • "The Silver Road - the Life of Mervyn King, Circus Man" as told to Mark St Leon, Butterfly Books
  • "The Circus Comes to Town - Nostalgia of Australian Big Tops" by Geoff Graves, 1980, AH & AW Reed.
  • Tony Maynard, Geelong, Victoria, Australia

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