The Days of Martini’s Buckjumping Show

© Chris Woodland

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Queensland – Ipswich – Cairns – Sydney – Melbourne

In February 1891 we learn that Martini, with Harmston’s Wild West Show, were performing in Ipswich. The Ipswich Herald noted that:
… one of the Martini brothers executed some exceedingly clever feats on the horizontal bar, for which he was deservedly applauded.

This is the first suggestion that Martini had a performing brother who possibly learnt the skills along with Martini.

Following their performances in Ipswich and possibly other areas, Harmston’s hired a special boat to take their circus – now called American Circus and Wild Life in the Far West – to Cairns to exhibit in May. Also aboard the SS Fitzroy were Martini and Texas Jack.


Sydney – Melbourne

It was not until July 1892 that Martini’s name next appeared, when he performed in Sydney at the Alhambra Music Hall which featured dancing and singing, with M F Spencer singing a treat, In Old Madrid, and Martini, Frances and Trevo appeared in new horizontal bar and acrobatic acts.

No doubt Martini was performing at many venues that have not been listed in the ever-developing press of the day. Advertising still had a long way to go before it expanded into the vociferous language and graphics it was to become.

In August 1893 Martini was listed as a performer in the Miss Aimie Moore’s Testimonial Entertainment in Melbourne. The Melbourne Punch stated that Mr Martini was a member of Fillis’ Circus”.


Western Australia – New South Wales – Brisbane – Sydney – Queensland.

It was three years later, in December 1896, that Martini appeared in Perth with the New Tivoli Variety Company at Perth’s Town Hall. The following week he was advertised as, the Rage of Perth. These and other accolades would continue to be lavished on him until the end.


Bathurst – NSW

Our acrobatic celebrity’s movements are not known until he was seen on the performers’ list of one Miss Kate Howarde who had formed a burlesque company. They are performing in Bathurst NSW in the November of 1897 where Martini was also giving boxing lessons. He was adding to his marketable talents.


From Newcastle to Brisbane – Return to Sydney

There is another gap in Martini’s activities during this period as he is not mentioned in the press again until the Newcastle Morning Herald informed its readers that, two days after Harmston’s completed their season at Newcastle, they sailed for Brisbane on 27 February 1898. In the Queensland capital, Martini, Bysuck and Aldean had met with warm approbation on their triple bar performance. Within days Mrs Harmston Love, (the circus’ proprietoress and sole manager) and her husband Robert Love, advertised that Harmston Circus would not perform in any other Queensland town other than Brisbane. There must have been a serious upset to the circus’ plans for them not to exploit the obvious potential of Queensland, as Martini would in the future. The circus would have shipped back to Sydney because the performers, along with Martini, were showing at Belmore Park in Sydney (across from Eddy Avenue at what was to become Sydney’s Central Railway station) by the last week in April.