Friday, May 08, 2009

From Don Covington

coogeehome-420x0, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Australian Circus Mansion For Sale.

MUCH-LOVED pets are often laid to rest in their owner's back garden, but the four-legged friend rumoured to be buried in the grounds of a Coogee mansion was considerably larger than a terrier or tortoiseshell.
Her name was Princess Alice. And she was once the most famous elephant in Australia.
A star attraction at Wirth's Circus, Alice is said to have been ridden by the Prince of Wales before he became King Edward.
In The Wonder Of Wirth's by Jim Fogarty, she is also credited with saving a baby who had crawled into the path of an oncoming herd of elephants at a show.
When Marizles Wirth, the youngest daughter of the renowned ringmaster who built the house, died two years ago, aged 88, her estate included an elephant's foot marked Alice.
The real estate agent handling the sale of the six-bedroom Federation Filigree-style home said local legend had it that there was a whole lot more elephant underground.
Someone at the estate auction said they thought Alice was buried in the backyard, said Terry Brandtman of Raine & Horne Randwick.
While mystery surrounds Alice's fate, other aspects of the home's extraordinary history are undisputed.
Ocean View was built in 1916 by Phillip Wirth, a prominent member of the Wirth circus dynasty. Because of the cramped conditions associated with circus life, the Australian Heritage Database states, "he was determined that his house would be of a grand nature, providing his family with all the creature comforts and conveniences that life on the road had deprived them of."
Perched on a ridge with panoramic coastal views, the two-storey home has an ensuite in each bedroom - one of the earliest houses in Sydney known to have such mod cons.
There was even a private zoo on the original 3693 square-metre block. When the circus was in town, residents would witness a parade of animals moving between the eastern suburbs and the city.
Ocean View at 370 Alison Road is to be auctioned on June 4. The agent hopes it will fetch more than $10 million. After subdivisions, it now sits on a 1693 sq m parcel of land - still one of the largest in the area at more than three times the average lot size. Flats were built on the northern side of the original grounds in the 1960s. Townhouses are likely to be built next to the house.
Wirth's Circus, billed as "the land of sawdust and spangles", was finally disbanded in 1963, nearly 30 years after Phillip Wirth's death. In a press statement at the time, Marizles's sister Doris summed up its demise in one word: television. "It's not only the enemy of the circus, it's the enemy of Australia's entire social life."


Anonymous said...

Have been in this great house many times i guess George Wirth's 2 Daughters i think they are the only
2 wirths left will end up very wealthy. Robert Perry

Steve said...

Had a great afternoon here with Rill Wirth and Micky Wisbang and noted Aussie fan Geoff Greaves while Mr Greaves was researching one of his books.

The loft at the top of the house held circus treasures you wouldn't believe. Wonder if they'll go to auction or if they've already been plundered.

Are you bidding Robert???

Anonymous said...

hey steve what about we both buy it only 5 mil each maybe we can do pony rides there.

Steve said...

You're on if they'll take a cheque!!

Anonymous said...

Steve your on but only if the do Circus Terms
Robert Perry