Bullens Circus in Australia

Bullens Circus


Typecircus
Founded1920
First elephant0
Closed down1969
CountryAustralia

Alfred Percival Bullen and Lilian Bullen founded Bullens Circus in 1920. Their sons Stafford Bullen and Ken Stafford was circus proprietors and co-founders of the African Lion Safari, Warragamba. Stafford married Cleo Rinaldo; Cleos father Joseph Rinaldo, was an Austrian stuntman, and her mother Freda Cuthbert, was a snake charmer and lion tamer with South African Bostock and Wombwell's Circus. Stafford and Cleo had four children: Mark, Brenton, Sonya and Craig.

1941: Alfred Percival Bullen bought the first elephant, a bull with the name Ghandi. (Ray Bullen through Tony Ratcliffe).
1946: 3 elephants; Ghandi, Mandy, and a second female.
1947: import of 5 elephant babies from Thailand: The elephants imported from Thailand in 1947 were Peggy, Jenny, Zara, Sue and 1 more (which?). They were all 2-3 year olds when they arrived. (Craig Bullen)(8 elephants).
1957: Kassala arrived from Auckland Zoo, Bullen had now 9 elephants.
Baby Betty may have arrived this year, making the Bullen herd 10 elephants.
1957-1961: Another 2 elephants; Minyak and Dolly, were added from Greg Bullens Pagels Circus that folded. (12 elephants) They had 6 elephant babies: Bimbo , Sabu , Birma , Siam , Minyak, and Dolly. (Ratcliffe)
1961: import of 5 elephant babies from Mayfields Kennels and Zoo (H.H. de Souza): The following arrived quarantene in Sydney 21st of August 1961, and arrived Bullens circus 23rd of October 1961: Bimbo, Sabu, Siam, and Birma.

Five elephants were imported in this batch, one was recorded as dead on arrival and the remaining four toured Australia and New Zealand for many years with Bullens Circus. Burma was sent to Taronga Zoo on "loan" after she flogged Mark Bullen on the circus' return from New Zealand in 1982. The remaining 3 - Sabu, Siam and Bimbo remained with Bullen's Circus until it folded and then spent much time at various Bullen parks and on hire to other circuses. Steve Robinson on Wade Burcks blog


When i first joined Bullens they had Alice, Jumbo, Peggy, Betty, Sue, Jenny, Zara, Bimbo, Sabu, Birma, Siam, Minyak, Dolly. Before that i know they had: Baby Betty , Mollie, Sally , Kassala, Mandy, Ghandi, and Topsy. Topsy came from Goldwyns circus..Tony Ratcliffe, 2013


1963: Bullens had 11 elephants: 1. Jumbo, 2. Alice, 3. Betty, 4. Sue, 5. Peggy, 6. Jenny, 7. Zara, 8. Bimbo, 9. Sabu, 10. Birma, 11. Siam. They had 11 elephants on tour, then they returned to Australia and after a season in Wentworth Park Sydney they took Betty to Taronga Park and had her put down, that left 10 elephants. Then a year or so later Greg Bullen who had Pagels Circus, folded his show and bought his two elephants Minyak and Dolly to the big Bullen show , that gave us 12 elephants , then not long after that Alice died at Box hill , and we were down one elephant, to 11. When i resigned several years later they had 11 elephants, a year after that they contacted me and asked me to see if i could help get a buyer for Minyak and Dolly. Soles got Minyak and Dolly from Bullens herd of 6 babies.Tony Ratcliffe, 2013

1965: Minyak and Dolly were sold to Sole Bros.(9 elephants)

1966-1969: Jenny died in Victoria.(8 elephants), and Zara must have died sometime between 1966 and 1969. (7 elephants)


1969: Bullen's Circus gave its final performance on 25 May 1969 at Parramatta. Percival Bullen happily retired to the family estate at Wallacia.

1974: Percival Bullen died on 11 August 1974 at Penrith and was buried in Eastern Creek cemetery.


When Bullens pulled their Circus off the road in 1969 they still had a herd of (7,8, or 13??) Elephants, which was kept at a large property at Wallacia outside Sydney, called Bullens Animal World: 1. Jumbo, 2. Peggy, 3. Sue, 4. Bimbo, 5. Sabu, 6. Birma, 7. Siam.




Bimbo, Craig Bullen, Sabu, Stafford Bullen, Siam, Brenton Bullen. Brenton Bullen lives at Australia Zoo with three of the elephants that he grew up with: Siam, Sabu and Bimbo.

Litterature:
Mr Bullens elephants : a tribute to Bullens circus elephants and all the Mr Bullens who were their trainers : recollections of members of the Bullen family, former employees and friends / compiled and written by Bob Cunningham in collaboration with Brenton Bullen.

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