The circus mosaic in Melbourne's Victorian Arts Centre commemorates the important association between the site now occupied by the Victorian Arts Centre and the development of circus in Australia., The area referred to as "near Princes Bridge" was favoured as a circus location and "outdoor Playground" from the 1870's. One of the first tenants was the American circus, Cooper and Bailey`s which pitched its tents on the banks of the Yarra in 1877. Wirth Brothers Circus took over the lease in 1907 and demolished the existing temporary building erected earlier by Fitzgerald Brothers Circus. They built their own Olympia on the re-named Wirth Park, complete with a circus hippodrome, roller skating rink, race track, water chute and lake. It remained Wirth's Melbourne headquarters until 1953 when the buildings were destroyed by fire.
Wirth Brothers` Circus was billed as "the greatest show on earth" and became an Australian institution during its long history ( 1858 - 1953). Conveyed by its own special trains and drawing upon the major circuses of the world for its performers, it was a circus in the grand style. May Wirth ( 1895 - 1980 ) first performed with Wirth`s as a child and displayed an outstanding talent for horseback acrobatics. She went on to great international acclaim and was widely acknowledged as the finest circus equestrienne in the world. Unveiled on 7 June 1988 to mark the 150th anniversary of circus in Australia. A joint project between the Circus Fans of Australasia Inc. and the Performing Arts Museum, Victorian Arts Centre. Created by Joe Attard and David Jack of the Melbourne Mural Studio. Supported by the Commonwealth Department of Communications and the Arts.