July 27, 2013
THE “elephant in the room” of Winsor Park Bowling Club’s history could finally be uncovered when its old green is dug up next week.
The Albury club’s ground has long been rumoured to be the burial ground for a circus elephant that visited in the years before the bowling club was established in the 1950s.
This month, a crew from Albury Demolitions has been knocking down the 1956 clubhouse and it has heard from several old-timers about the elephant bones that are meant to be in the ground.
On June 18, 1943, Wirth’s Circus, which had its own circus train, was forced to travel from Melbourne to Sydney by road rather than rail as the railway was inaccessible due to World War II.
They travelled the distance by wagons drawn by elephants before arriving in Sydney on July 24.
Circuses were held on the site in the late 1930s and early 1940s before the block became a bowling park for people who worked on the Albury railway.
Albury councillor Ross Jackson, who is also an administrator at the railway station, said there were conflicting reports in newspapers at the time about how many elephants were in the convoy.
“There were reports of there being five elephants and then seven,” he said.
“It’s possible one could have died on the way.”
The rumour had been circulating since the bowling club was built and some said the reason the No.1 green drained so well was because of the elephant buried below.
Cr Jackson had a theory the circus would not have been willing to advertise the death of one of the elephants.
A circus in Sydney at the time had its licence revoked because of the high number of tiger attacks.
“The Wirth’s Circus wouldn’t have wanted to risk having their licence revoked as well,” he said.
Cr Jackson said if a record could not be found, it did not mean that it did not happen.
“Hopefully something will be found when they start digging,” Cr Jackson said.