Brophy and Bibby family.
More than 150 years of entertainment in Circus, Rodeo and Sideshows.
1906 - 1940's
Albert "Bert" Bibby came to Australia in 1906 from New Zealand with his two brothers, John and Ted. All brilliant horsemen, they operated a Buckjump Circus Show. The three Bibby Brothers traveled their circus by horse and wagon until 1914, when the three brothers enlisted in what became known as the "Great War".
After the War Bert built a 2 pole calico canvas tent called the Cannon Top. This tent was open to the sky, directly above the circus arena and was first used by Bert for his cannon act, where a performer was fired from a cannon through the top opening of the tent, into a safety net outside the marquee. This tent proved to be a windfall for the buck-jumping shows where the dust from the horses could easily disperse, although not so good for the performers on a wet night.
Bert Bibby had two daughters with his second marriage, Francis and Norma. When Norma was born her mother passed away thus leaving two young daughters to raise alone during the war and depression years.
1950's - 1975
Norma later showed great skill on the motorbike with the "Wall of Death" which was an original version of the motorbike's in the "Globe of Death" today. She married showman Alfred "Mick' Brophy and together over the years they ran several businesses , including the first established Night Club in Perth "Lindy's" with many popular musicians and vaudeville acts. They also toured on many agricultural show circuits with their side shows . They had shows such as "The girl in the gold fish bowl", "Zarack the Strongman" , "The half man half woman" even striptease shows and burlesque which has again made a huge resurgence in recent years.
One of the most popular shows was the "Snakes Alive" show with live venomous snakes first handled by Norma and then later by 16 year old daughter Shayne. The Snakes Alive show was well known throughout Western Australia and was being shown in agricultural shows and circuses around the West. It was during this time mixing with other circus kids that the new generation of Brophy kids had started learning their circus arts.
1975 to present
After the Sideshow era Mick and Norma became more heavily involved with their sons' upbringing in circus. Gary, Warren and Ashley showed a keen interest to stay and perform in Circus.
Ashley Brophy: "Even though it was probably not the best financial decision at the timel, they persevered and established a succession of performances to keep the training going. I am eternally grateful that Mum and Dad did this"
First the road show Hoyland Bros Circus and then later Brophy Bros Circus was established. Later came the production company , Brophy Bros Attractions. After the brothers left home Mick and Norma retired on their country property in Neilborough Victoria. Mick passed away on Melbourne Cup day 1st November 2005 aged 81 and will be forever missed and remembered by many people. Norma now spends much of her time in her new house in Brisbane as well travels around Australia visiting family and friends painting scenes from Circus, Sideshows and Rodeo using the original canvas from Brophy Bros Circus tent.
Director Brophy Aerial Theatre Company Pty Ltd
Please see Ashley's bio in detail on the page About Us
In 1987 Warren and Ashley along with three other Stuntmen and women performed a never tried before Carousel on the High Wire over the famous Yarra river at Melbourne's Moomba festival this included 5 people with a motorbike and Carousel with full sized fibreglass horses 80m above the river . This show "The Flying Angels" then did a two year tour of Capital shows and events as the major centre ring attraction around Australia.
After the Flying Angles finished touring Warren went on to marry Yasmin from another big Circus family , Perry Bros Circus.
Warren is now in a management position with Perry Bros Circus and their children Warren jn, Andrew and Mathew are continuing the tradition and becoming great circus performers.
Gary has performed in many parts of the world with his renown western act. In 1985 he took out the Guiness world record for Cracking the Worlds Largest Whip at 42.67m or 140ft long. That record still stands today as the worlds largest "Leather" whip. He married Caroline Belli who is from a long line of circus performers and can trace there circus heritage back 15 generations. Together along with Caroline's sister and husband, Rosita and David, they own and operate Circus Sunrise. Gary and Caroline;s kids Bonita and Jessinta continue the Circus tradition with their performances.
Fred, Mick Brophy's second son (Ashley's half brother) runs the last of the Outback Boxing Tents in Australia. He is an Australian icon in Qld and the outback. In 2010 he was inducted into the QLD Boxing Hall of Fame.
Fred at the time said "Nothing can top this" However this Australia Day 2011 Fred received the Order of Australia Medal "OAM" for his services to charity and bringing his boxing tent to the outback and entertaining to hundreds of thousands in a very Australian way over the past 30 odd years.