Throughout the 1890s and early twentieth century, the FitzGerald Brothers' Circus was the largest homegrown circus touring Australasia. Headed by two brothers, Dan and Tom, the FitzGeralds' Circus came to braod colonial attention as a result of its huge first season in Melbourne in 1892 when it played for fourtenn consecutive weeks at a city site, then performed through the suburbs for ten more weeks. Other circuses visiting Melbourne in the period 1890-92 - even large international companies such as Harmston's American and Continental Circus or the Sells Brothers' Circus from America - could sustain runs of no more than four consecutive weeks in the Victorian capital. The length of the FitzGeralds' first season in Melbourne seems particularly contradictory when framed by the prevailing socio-economic situation: the city was experiencing the worst fiscal depression in living memory and the years 1892-93 have been recognised by historians as the toughest of the depression. It was also the leanest of times for Melbourne's theatres and during this period some of Australia's best known circus organisations departed overseas or faltered due to financial difficulty exacerbated by the state of the national economy.