Monsieur Aymotte

The Sydney Herald, November 7, 1840

“Port Macquarie”. October 27 - The juveniles of the town have during the past week been gratified by an exhibition of a novel kind in the performances of a Mons. Aymotte, who displayed a variety of amusing tricks and feats of legerdemain, ventriloquism &c. three nights, in  Mr. H Cohen’s new store, which was gratuitously offered him for the purpose; we hear he netted about 9.


Of most interest here, is whether Mons. Aymotte may have had other names or connections to magicians elsewhere in these pages. I  cannot locate any further references to a Mons. Aymotte. The more common spelling of this name is Aymott.

Robert Jordan's book, "The Convict Theatres Of Early Australia 1788-1840" (1) documents a touring performer, Thomas Arnott who, in the latter part of the 1830s, 'was touring to townships as far apart as Kiama and Port Macquarie and as small as Freeman's Reach. At one stage his entertainment consisted of 'Illusions, dancing, Singing, Recitations on logic - Imitations of the Principal Actors in England, Ventriloquism[,] balancing with various feats of Salamandering termed Fantoccini." Whether 'illusions' means conjuring is not known. These performances may well be later than those of Monsieur Du Pree, but we cannot say with certainty that Arnott was not touring well before 1836. At present I cannot locate any documentation of this performer.

On a purely speculative basis, it might be interesting to consider that Aymott’s performance is around the same time and location as Arnott’s. If he performed, for money, three nights running, this would indicate someone more than a mere local amateur.


(1) See pages 180-1, "The Convict Theatres Of Early Australia 1788-1840" by Robert Jordan, pub. Currency House 2002. ISBN 0 9581213 0 3.