Wizard Joseph Jacobs

Australia, in terms of the land under white colonisation since 1788, is a relatively young nation. Even so, there are many intriguing tales of magicians and their adventures, dating from the early 1800s until today.

This focus of this research is presently on the earliest performers to appear in Australia. Some of these stories are bare-bones reports of single appearances, amateurs, or names which require clarification.

Stories will be updated gradually; the more detailed or major stories are marked with a diamond . The date shown indicates the performer’s first appearance in Australia.

Check the UPDATE LOG for details of major and minor story updates.
Latest update - March 2018.

A guide to the focus of this site, and the main resources used, can be found here.

Prof Horace Sidney

1788 - 1850

1788 William Fraser, the Convict Conjurer - Not Australia’s first performer, but probably the first mention of a conjurer in this country.

1826 Sydney Smith - Salamander - Who was the first recorded magician to perform in Australia? Smith and other elusive candidates.

1836 Monsieur Du Pree, The Wizard Of The South - The first definitive record of a magic performance in Australia.

1839 Joseph Masters - Tantalising references to legerdemain performances

1840 Monsieur Aymotte

1841 Powell Courtier, Necromancer and Fire King - From convict to magician to murder; the story of one man's struggle.

1842 - Professor Thomas Rea - Ventriloquism, Magic, Aerial Balloons and Scandal

1842 Robert Corney - a magician outside his territory

1842 Antonio de Hesperio

1844 Khi Kan Kruse - tight rope walker and Wizard of the North for one night only.

1846 Anonymous - Maitland Races

1846 Mr W.C. Wainwright - a brief association with Powell Courtier

1847 Arrup

1848 Joseph Gardiner, actor, magician, moralist and author

1848 Dr. Charles Meymott, ship’s surgeon and gentleman conjurer

1850 Chas. Jingle


1851 - 1870

1852 Bennett Clay, a determined adventurer

1852 W. D. Ford - the vanishing Wizard

1853 - Mr. Hall, Wizard of the South, and swordsman Professor Parker. Was he also “Signor Blitz”?

1853 Professor Le Berg - apparently not one of the better magicians.

1853 Berkeley Lennox, son of a Lord, and a young gentleman going places.

1853 Professor Charles Rignold, the Wizard of Australia, and his appalling death in 1859

1854 Professor Horace Sidney at the historic Royal Hotel

1855 Signor Recanati and the demise of the Royal Lyceum Theatre

1856 Professor James Eagle, Wizard of the Gold Rush

1856 Monsieur Theo, the French Magician

1857 M. Chabert for one night only

1857 Professor Franzheim

1857 Sander, Wizard of the East

1857 Testo - Fire and Water

1858 Monsieur Philippe De Barr

1859 Professor Ericksen, Scandanavian Wizard

1859 Professor Hermann

1859 Herr Wolff

1860 Mr. Charles, ventriloquist and Professor of Natural Magic, in Australia decades late.

1862 Mr. James - A private entertainer and teacher

1862 Herr Arnold

1863 Professor Sams

1864 Thomas Carr

1865 Herr De Barr

1866 Professor Hennicke, a.k.a Abda Shah, touring Australia and New Zealand with his wife, Madame Stella


1871 - 1899

1875 Lu Zeera, Circassian Lady Magician and Fire-Queen, in a horse-whipping incident with her audience.

1877 The Mystery of William Davenport - William Davenport, of the famous Davenport Brothers pseudo-medium act, died in Australia. His gravestone is in Sydney; but is there a second monument to his name?

1877 Gordon A. Barker

1898 Oscar Eliason, the original ‘Dante the Great’ - The life and death of a talented performer.


1900 ->

Maurice Rooklyn, The Human Target - The magician who survived performing the Bullet Catch.

Theodore - Crawling Through a Keyhole - Juggler, Magician, Contortionist, Hypnotist over 46 years, but lost to history.

1937 Rayman Bey - Showman. The tale of a Bullet-Proof Girl gone wrong.

1942 Udinis - Daredevil Stirling and Joan Moore, the female escapologist



Assorted Wizards of the North, South, East and West adding to the problems of historical research.

An examination of the Royal Lyceum Theatre - the many circuses, hotels and theatres connected with this site from 1833 - 1882.



Oscar Eliason - Dante
Davenport Brothers
Les Levante
Thomas Rea
Maurice Rooklyn