Black and white image of a group of men repairing a Model T Ford motor car that has broken down on the side of the road in the 1920s.

The car was being used to transport the Holden Brothers Circus from place to place for performances. This photograph demonstrates one of the difficulties of travelling with the circus after it began to use cars and trucks for transport: break-downs 'out in the middle of nowhere.' The family believes in this case there was probably a front axle problem, not a flat tyre.

The group included, left to right: unknown man, Ernie Gordon Holden, Harry McKenzie, Adolphus Holden, unknown man. The boy in foreground is probably another of the Holden brothers, Lenny Holden.

Adolphus Holden was the founder of Holden Brothers Circus. Adolphus and his brother Ernie performed as the Flying Gordons, and Harry Mackenzie also sometimes performed with the Flying Gordons, doing a three bar trapeze act. Harry Mackenzie also travelled for performances with Perry Brothers Circus, Wirths Circus and Ashtons Circus.

According to the Holden family, the Holden Brothers Circus was founded in Melbourne in 1892 by Adolphus Holden. As a youth, Mr A Holden lost a leg in a railway accident near the Royal Melbourne Zoo. His family note that 'He overcame that hardship to achieve fame as an athlete, circus proprietor, animal trainer, acrobat and sensational aerial loopist and triple horizontal bar performer.' His family consisted of 10 sons and 1 daughter. In the early days the circus was transported by horse and wagons, then in the mid-1920s the circus began using motor vehicles. The original members of the Flying Gordons were Adolphus Holden and Ernie Holden. Ernie Gordon Holden was acclaimed as being the first and greatest rope spinner in Australia, in one cast of the lassoo he roped in as many as seven horses and their riders. The world famous Flying Jordans Troupe also toured with the circus for a time. The family state that 'Over the years Holden Bros Circus gained a great reputation and goodwill throughout the country.'

Description of Content

Five men clustered around a Model T Ford on the side of the road. Two men are making repairs and the other three are watching. A small boy crouches on the ground, head in hands, in the foreground. All are wearing hats. A tyre is lying on the ground in left foreground. A shovel and pieces of wood are lying on the ground near the boy. A piece of wood is being used as a block in front of the back tyre to prevent the car from moving. Fences and trees are in the background.

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