Historical information

Depicted is James Ashton (also known as Jim Ashton), a circus proprietor, crouched beside a seated small girl (or a lady with dwarfism). The two are dressed in formal attire, James is wearing a wide-brimmed hat, and together with the girl holding a small bouquet of flowers.


James Ashton was the son of James Henry Ashton. James Henry Ashton founded Ashton Circus in the early 1800s, well before Federation. For over 160 years Ashton Circus has travelled to both regional towns and big cities, bringing joy to the people of Australia. Generations of the Ashtons crossed desserts and flooded rivers, drove over snow-covered mountains, fended off bushrangers, and even ventured where there were no roads to reach the communities that have loved and inspired our family of performers for over a century. People came from all around to enjoy Ashton Circus. In the 1800s, Ned Kelly watched our show on a number of occasions and even enjoyed tea with the performers after the show. The Ashton Family has grown and changed over eight generations since James Henry Ashton started his circus. Our family continues this great tradition, proud that we still bring affordable family entertainment to our fellow Australians. Today, the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th generations of the Ashton family are still on tour, operating three individual circuses throughout Australia- each of having grown from the same roots.

Physical description

Black and white oval reproduced photograph printed on rectangular paper mounted on cardboard

Inscriptions & markings

Obverse: Jim Ashton was the first generation in Aus-/ tralia. His father came out in the 1840's and/ established a circus that toured the country. (printed)/ Reverse: 1997.2560 (in pencil)/ about 1860 (in blue pen)/ A02560 (in pencil)/