Performing Arts Collection
Adventure Island
Adventure Island


In 1965 producer Godfrey Phillip and writer John-Michael Howson created a children's television programme known as The Magic Circle Club. The show which screened on ATV-0 during 1965-1966 was set in The Magic Forest and featured many fairytale and pantomime-inspired characters. Although popular with audiences the programme was cancelled after three seasons with ATV-0 citing high production costs as the reason for its decision. 

Following The Magic Circle Club's demise, Phillip and Howson were approached to create a similar programme for the ABC. The result was the highly successful Adventure Island (1967-1972) set in the fantasy world of Diddley-Dum-Diddley. Across Australia children waited eagerly each day for host Sue Donovan to open the magic storybook and set the scene for the adventures of Liza (Liz Harris), Percy Panda (Jack Manuel), Clown (John-Michael Howson), Flower Potts (Brian Crossley) and their adversaries, Fester Fumble (Ernie Bourne) and Miser Meanie (Colin McEwan).

The show went on to develop a large and loyal fan-base, however, high production costs continued to plague the programme and in 1972 it was controversially axed to make way for the American children's programme, Sesame Street.

Collection Holdings

Puppets, props and accessories made by Axel Axelrad, c.1967. Photographs by Laurie Richards.

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Magic Circle Club