The ‘Jugglers’ Mutiny’
On 7 November 1889, an unusual procession marched down the main street of Melbourne. Watched by thousands of curious onlookers, the troupe of Indian magicians wearing turbans and brightly coloured flowing robes, accompanied by a trio of ‘nautch dancers’ and a pair of ‘monkey boys’ made their way to the city’s courthouse demanding their wages and a passage home.
The ‘jugglers’ mutiny’ as it became known, was perhaps the most unusual protest the colony of Victoria had ever seen. Six months earlier a man named Charles Bastard, the manager of a Calcutta skating rink, had recruited the troupe to perform in his ‘Museum of Indian Curiosities’.