In the burial register at the Mangere Lawn cemetery is an unusual name and an equally unusual occupation as one of the earliest burials.
Charles Thomas Brillianso was said to be an acrobat, but that doesn’t begin to explain his life and story.
In fact Charles came from a family of performers - which started in Europe and ended here in New Zealand.
His father William - called Wilhelm - was from Berlin in Germany and was also a performer.
Europe had a long history of circus folk - whole families who spent their lives travelling and entertaining under a Big Top.
Wilhelm and his wife Emma had Charles in Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa in 1876.
By 1891 Charles and his partner Dick Hayes had their own circus and were touring New Zealand, although the seven horses they relied on for their performance had trouble coming through quarantine. They were able to rejoin the circus early in 1892.
Their huge tent could hold 2000 people and the show featured globe walking, dancing ponies, plate spinning, juggling, clowns, contortionists and a trapezist from around Australia, South Africa and England.
While not hugely popular in Auckland, the circus usually showed to sell out crowds around the country. The stars of the show were the horses.
Charles himself was indeed an acrobat - but he was so many other things, bareback equestrian, high wire artist and tumbler. He was able to leap on to a horse while at full gallop.
He performed with several circuses while in New Zealand.
Charles was born in Kwazuliu-Natal in South Africa in 1876, shortly before his father died in April that same year.
He married Emily Childs and had two children, Charles who died young and Ruatara, who was born in Auckland and also was a showman.
In 1895 Charles suffered an accident while performing, badly injuring his leg and putting an end to his career. He was in hospital in February 1896 having contracted what the papers called inflammation of the lungs.
Charles died on March 6, 1896 and is buried in an unmarked grave, one of the earliest burials at the Mangere Lawn Cemetery.
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