||Biography of an Aboriginal acrobat, known as "The Wizard of the Wire', who performed with circus troupes in Australia, Europe and the US from the 1920s to the 1950s. Illustrated with photographs and circus memorabilia, and also featuring a glossary of circus slang and bibliography. The author, a member of a well-known circus family, has also written "Spangles and Sawdust: The circus in Australia'.
Con (Cornelius) Colleano (1899-1973), tightwire artist, was born on 26 December 1899 at Lismore, New South Wales, third of ten children of native-born parents Cornelius Sullivan, showman, and his wife Vittorine Julia, n©|e Robinson. Julia's father came from the Isle of St Thomas, West Indies, and her grandmother was an Aborigine; boxing and gambling were among her husband's sources of income. About 1907 the family settled at Lightning Ridge where the children received schooling and learned circus skills. He was the first person to successfully attempt a forward somersault on a tightrope and became one of the most celebrated and highly paid circus performers of his time. He was known as "The Wizard of the Wire" or "The Toreador of the Wire".