Nairn's famous, lifelong love affair with the circus
EVERYONE dreams of running away to join the circus sometime in their life and my grandfather's brother did just that - twice.
Northern Rivers residents saw renowned Australian juggler Lloyd Nairn perform several times in the region during his career with both Lennon Brothers and Perry Brothers circuses.
Mr Nairn, now 81, was one of nine children born in Brisbane in 1933 to Benjamin and Ursula.
At the age of 13, while living at West End, Mr Nairn learned to juggle and spent his afternoons after school practising.
After finishing school Mr Nairn moved to Sydney and lived with family until his juggling career took off and he began touring.
Mr Nairn made a name for himself on the Sydney theatre scene, performing regular gigs at venues including the famous Tivoli Theatre.
In 1958, while performing at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, Mr Nairn met legendary country music singer songwriter Slim Dusty.
Dusty was so impressed with Mr Nairn's performance he asked him to join his Australian tour.
It was on the tour that Mr Nairn's talents were recognised and he was asked to go on the road with Lennon Brothers Circus as their juggler.
For more than a decade Mr Nairn wowed audiences all over Australia performing tricks including juggling five tennis rackets and balancing golf clubs while ice skating.
But the physically demanding performances finally took a toll and Mr Nairn was forced to give up show business in his 40s due to chronic neck problems.
Over the next decade Mr Nairn underwent several operations in a bid to correct his neck problem.
He eventually had a breakthrough and within a month of his neck improving he was practising daily and was soon offered a chance to perform at a charity function.
Current affairs TV show 60 Minutes got wind of Mr Nairn's intentions and broadcast his comeback on national TV.
Within three days of the 60 Minutes episode airing, Mr Nairn had accepted an offer to work in Western Australia.
When Robert Perry of Perry Brothers Circus learned of Mr Nairn's comeback he offered him a job.
Mr Nairn continued to tour Australia with the circus for more than 15 years, until he retired when he was 68.
His legacy continues today with his daughter Llynda travelling Australia juggling and performing in schools and nursing homes.