Martini’s Buckjumping Show to be Sold

© Chris Woodland

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At Goulburn the great travelling Martini’s Buckjumping Show held its Farewell Season.

The Goulburn Evening Post of 3 February 1910 announced:

It is announced that this famous and well-established company is to give its farewell season in Goulburn, opening on Saturday next. The company since its appearance here last has met with the best of success throughout its Victorian tour, giving a record season in Melbourne during last Cup week. The stud consists of 40 notorious outlaws, including the champion Bobs. The pick of Australia’s best riders will be headed by Billy Jonas. The Meryl Bros. give a clever sharp-shooting performance, and Mena Val performs a pleasing trick cycling and wire-walking feat. Any local outlaw which is brought to the show will be ridden, and £5 is still to be got by any person riding Bobs for one minute on condition that the horse is ridden the same way as all the local horses and the horses belonging to the show are ridden by the showmen. The box plan is now open at William’s. The show is to be given in a paddock, opposite the railway station.


Martini’s Buckjumping Show to be Sold

The shock announcement came on Wednesday 4 May. The Referee advertised that Martini’s Buckjumping Show was for sale as a going concern and applications were to be made by letter to the Referee office. The great Australian travelling show had reached the end of the road.

Performers now had to find other employment as noted in August of that same year when the press stated that:

Miss Mena Val, trick cyclist, is noted as: a performer for Barton’s Circus … late of Martini’s buckjumping show.

It was not until 6 February 1911 that the Newsletter of Sydney reported:

The ‘whole stud’ of Martini’s celebrated buckjumpers have been purchased by a syndicate, and are now in charge of Mr Fred Harvey, of St Marys. They are shortly to be shipped to England, where the syndicate intends giving an exhibition at the Coronation of King George V.

Saltbush Mills was already performing in England and was now astonishing the English in the old country with his whip cracking abilities, such as putting out a candle and playing God Save the King. Whether he had exchanged his long whip for one of shorter length or not is questionable because he was said to be using a ’40-ft stock whip’. His 54 or 55ft stockwhip must have either shrunk or been replaced by a shorter one. A whip of that length would normally be referred to as a bullock whip, such a whip requiring two hands to operate, whereas the stockwhip only requires one hand and is usually used from horseback.

The contingent set sail for England on 13 March complete with 24 horses, including the invincible Bobs. The former Martini’s show was to meet up in England with Phillip Lytton’s Australian Buckjumping Show, in India. The combined show consisted of riders Jack Morrissey (also a whip cracker), Jonas, Lee, Thorpe McConville (NSW), Hawkins (Qld), E Lloyd (Vic) and Pascoe (NZ). Their star rider was the capable and popular Billy Waite. They now had 56 horses, mules and ponies, along with associated gear.