City of Sydney Historical Association
COSHA
2nd March, 2013 - History of Surry Hills & Darlinghurst
9th February, 2013 - Chinese New Year
12th January, 2013 - Tour of St Barnabas Church, Broadway
8th December, 2012 - Colonial Land Use and the Coxes of Mulgoa Valley
7th November, 2012 - Guided Tour of the Town Hall Vaults
3rd November, 2012 - 1954 Royal Tour
13th October, 2012 - Rise of Sydney's Department Stores
14th July, 2012 - Life & Times of Tommy Townshend
9th June, 2012 - "Reynolds" Cottages
19th May, 2012 - St Paul's College Tour
14th April, 2012 - Motorised Mayhem
10th March, 2012 - The Flying Fruit Fly Circus
4th February, 2012 - Quong Tart: High Tea and Scottish Ditties
14th January 2012: Dictionary of Sydney
10th December 2011: Admiral Arthur Philip - The Man
12th November 2011: Glebe Walk
8th October 2011: Bob Carr at the Annual General Meeting
3rd September 2011: History Week
13th August 2011: Tom Wentworth Wills –Visionary Sportsman
9th July 2011: Henry L'Estrange - Funambulist and Aeronaut
11th June 2011: Afro-American Servicemen in WWII
14th May 2011: Government House Tour
9th April 2011: Amazing Stories from Randwick
19th March 2011: The Ones that Got Away
12 Feb 2011: Chinese Market Gardens of Sydney
8 Jan 2011: St Andews College Tour
11 Dec 2010: Garden Palace Scandal
13 Nov 2010: Cumberland Digs
9 Oct 2010: Painting the Rocks
4 Sep 2010: Celebrate History Week
14 Aug 2010: Whaling, Wool and Wealth
10 Jul 2010: The Ones that Got Away
12 Jun 10: Percy Lindsay
8 May 10: Sydney Tramway Museum
10 Apr 10: Making of our nation
13 Mar 10: Reading photographs
13 Feb 2010: Macquarie Place
9 Jan 10: Sydney's Astronomical History
12 Dec 09: The colony
14 Nov 09: Women of The Rocks
10 Oct 09: History of Kent Brewery
5 Sep 09: Scandal, Crime & Corruption
15 Aug 09: Walk-Darling Harbour
11 Jul 09: Redfern Alexandria & Waterloo
06 Jun 09: Pubs & Publicans of Sydney
09 May 09 : C19th Sydney Firemen
18 Apr 09 : History of Darling Harbour
14 Mar 09: Bewitched!
Annual General Meeting 2009
Jan 2009 - Trade Hall
10th March, 2012 - The Flying Fruit Fly Circus


2PM SATURDAY 10TH MARCH 2012
A History of “Circus Oz” and
"The Flying Fruit Fly” Circuses

Lorraine Hughes spoke to COSHA about this not-for-profit company that for 30 years has played an important role in the development of contemporary circus in Australia. Founded in 1979 during the International Year of the Child, it is now one of the world’s premier youth training and performance arts companies. Flying Fruit Fly is Australia’s only full time circus training institution for children. Today its graduates are working, teaching and performing in many new and emerging professional companies here and abroad.  During the 1970’s, Albury-Wodonga became a growth centre, and the Development Corporation was keen to foster cultural and social initiatives in the area. In 1977 a street actor and mime artist, Robert (Bomber) Perrier was in Albury. He met Anne Gorman, the Albury-Wodonga social planner. As a result, The Murray River Performing Group (MRPG) was founded, and the members began writing and performing plays in Albury. 1979 was the ‘International Year of the Child’and the MRPG was keen to work with children.

 

Following the example of Circus Oz (a contemporary circus), Robert Perrier decided it would be wonderful to create a children’s circus. Despite resistance from schools and parents, a children’s circus, called The Flying Fruit Fly Circus (FFFC) began training. The main aim was to get kids together, teach them circus skills, and in the process help them develop confidence, pride, self-respect and self-discipline in a spirit of cooperation rather than competition. The older kids helped train the younger ones, and learnt to accept responsibility for their involvement. In May 1979, performing in a tent loaned by Circus Oz, the Flying Fruit Fly Circus was a great Success. In May 1980, during the Albury performances, a representative of the Canadian Children’s Festivals saw the FFFC, and invited them to to Canada to perform in Vancouver and Edmonton for the 1981 festivals. The FFFC performed in Albury, Wagga and Tumut in preparation for Canada.

Thirty-three children (aged 5 to 16), seven staff, five musicians (the Banana Band), and eleven parents ( who all paid their own way), travelled to Canada. 60,000 people came to the Festival, which featured many adult performers, and the FFFC tent was always filled to overflowing. The children performed over four weeks in Vancouver and Edmonton. One reporter said: ‘The Australian kids have an unfair advantage, because they are made of spaghetti’. This was the first time children had been the performers for a festival, and they were the ‘must see’ event. When the circus returned it was asked to perform in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. At the end of 1983, a Melbourne entrepreneur (Carillo Gantner) brought seven members of the Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe to Albury to provide a three-month training program for the Fruit Flies, Leapers, Circus Oz and 25 other Australian circus performers. They were taught skills in juggling, balancing, human pyramids, aerial acts, contortion and clowning. Later in 1984 the Leapers joined Circus Oz and performed with them at the Olympic Festival of Arts in Los Angeles, San Diego and New York.  The Leapers were chosen in 1985 as Commonwealth representatives for the Peace Conference in Beijing. They also spent four weeks in studying with the Beijing Acrobatic Troupe. In Albury, the FFFC has continued on a firm foundation, running its own school and recently moved into its new home – a building  specially designed for  the training and development of circus skills.