CLICK HERE FOR THOUSANDS OF FREE BLOGGER TEMPLATES »

Thursday, November 03, 2011

..DOUG Ashton, the patriarch of the world's longest family-run circus, died as he lived his life - on tour, in his caravan..


  • From: The Daily Telegraph
  • November 04, 2011 12:30AM
  • Charissa Ede


  • Mr Ashton passed away yesterday aged 92, after a year-long battle with cancer.

    Friend and spokesman John MacDonnell said Mr Ashton died in his caravan in Perth, on tour with his grandson's Circus Joseph Ashton.

    "He wanted to die in his caravan and he succeeded, he didn't want to die in hospital," Mr MacDonnell said.
    Mr Ashton never had to run away to join the circus. He was born into the family business and went on the road when he was just six days old.
    Ashton's Circus was started by his great grandfather, James Henry Ashton, in 1847.
    Mr Ashton lived most of his life in a caravan, only moving into his granddaughter's home in recent years and, as a child, used to ride the circus elephants in the street.

    Through the circus he met his wife, Phyllis, whose parents were members of the company. They married when he was 16 and she 17.
    Together they toured the country and had three children while on the road - Lorraine, Mervyn and Jan.
    After World War II, they took the helm and turned Ashton's into Australia's biggest and best-known circus.
    In the 1950s, '60s and '70s, they had an enormous entourage of elephants, tigers, lions, monkeys, parrots, a giraffe, bear and even a hyena.
    At its peak there were more than 120 people, 80 animals and millions of dollars worth of equipment. There were also trips to New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.


    Mr Ashton and his wife, who died 10 years ago, performed as many as 12 acts in the ring, including elephant rider, clown and trapeze artist.
    At one stage there were 38 family members working for the circus.
    Mr MacDonnell said it was accepted that Ashton's was the longest-running family-owned circus in the world.
    Mr Ashton also started Australia's first lion parks - in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, Loganlea in Queensland and Raymond Terrace.
    For many years they bred and supplied lions and tigers for many parts of the world.
    Mr Ashton represented Australia at the Festival of the World's Greatest Circuses in Monte Carlo. In 1996, he and his wife were awarded the Order of Australia Medal.



    1 comments:

    lampros lampinos said...

    sorry to hear... a man divoted to circus ...