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To get a thrill out of something, you feel it in your body. A throb. A nervous tremor. It can be a thrill of joy, excitement, anticipation. Or you can experience fear thrill through your veins by living dangerously, flirting with the forbidden and outrageous. Whatever it is  thrilling yourself, causing a thrill  be moved.

Ron Muncaster and the thrill of the gay mardi gras

Born 1936

Ron Muncaster's spectacular costumes are one of the highlights of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. He has won the best costume award at mardi gras 14 times since the award's inception in 1982.

Ron Muncaster, Courtesy Ron Muncaster and Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. Photo: Penny Clay.
Ron Muncaster. Courtesy: Ron Muncaster and Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. Photo: Penny Clay.

Ron's Queen Sequina winning costume from the 1993 mardi gras is on display in the Eternity gallery

I first entered the Parade in 1980. The first two I watched, thinking 'We can do better than this'. It's amazing how Sydney has taken Mardi Gras to its heart. I am always overwhelmed when I walk up Oxford Street and reach Taylor Square to hear the cheers from the crowd and see the smiling faces. That's the reward for all the worry and work I put into my costumes.

Back in 1982, I made a Carmen Miranda frock with a very long train. There were no barriers in those days, so the street was littered with beer cans. As I walked along I collected all these beer cans under my skirt and it made the most awful noise. Eventually, some kind gentleman lifted the skirt to let the beer cans out. I was very flattered to be named Queen of Mardi Gras, but I get embarrassed when people curtsy to me.

Ron Muncaster, 1999

Tom Wittingslow and the thrill of sideshow alley


Tom founded the Wittingslow amusements dynasty, at one time the largest travelling carnival operation in Australia. He began his career as a showman in the early 1930s running a 'Guess Your Weight' game at shows and carnivals in country Victoria.

During World War Two he was a prisoner of war at Changi, where he ran a two-up school and worked as a cook on the Thai-Burma railway.

Tom worked with his son and grandchildren to provide thrilling rides at the Melbourne Moomba Festival for over 40 years and to operate carnivals at seaside fairs, street parties and all major eastern states agricultural shows.

Tom's Eternity story focuses on the thrill of life in the show business, and the thrills the Wittingslows have given to generations of Australians. A Wittingslow laughing clown from the 1950s is on display.

Olive King and the thrill of serving overseas in World War One


Olive King was the youngest daughter of Sir George Kelso King, a wealthy Sydney businessman and philanthropist. She was an adventurous and unconventional woman, a difficult combination for someone of her social position in the early 20th century.

Olive was visiting her sister in London when war broke out in 1914. She immediately purchased a second-hand lorry and had it converted into an ambulance. 'Ella the Elephant' could transport 16 patients or four stretchers in bunk beds. Olive served in France and Greece, ferrying wounded soldiers from the battlefront to field hospitals. She later joined the Serbian Army and was decorated for her bravery.

Olive's letters to her father and sister did not dwell on the horrors of war or the dangerous situations she often faced. What is evident is the thrill of visiting new places and meeting new people. The war offered Olive the independent, exciting and purposeful life she craved. She kept commemorative medallions from her war service and these are on display in Eternity.

Bree Le Cornu and the thrill of the circus

Born 1992

The Flying Fruit Fly Circus, founded in 1979, is Australia's most prominent youth circus school and group. Based in Albury Wodonga, it has built a reputation as an innovative and exciting training ground for young performers. It regularly travels overseas and around Australia with new productions. Many former members have gone on to work for Cirque du Soleil, the Montreal based travelling circus phenomenon, while others have excelled in sport.

Eternity profiles young circus member and trapeze artists Bree Le Cornu. It explores Bree's feelings about belonging to the circus and especially her sense of the thrill of performing. A trapeze from the Flying Fruit Fly Circus is on display.

Stories previously on display

Nancy Bird
An Australian aviation pioneer, with a passion for flying.

David Vretchkoff
The thrill of the ocean inspired him to become a surfboard artist.

Eddie Gilbert
In 1931 he experienced the thrill of bowling Don Bradman for a duck in a cricket match.

Joan Russell
Found thrill in the landscape, adventure and challenge of life at Casey Station in the Antarctic in 1990.

Lady Jane Franklin
A traveller and explorer along with her husband, Sir John Franklin, Governor of Tasmania from 1836 to 1843.

Miss Cindy Ray
Tattooed her body and appeared at agricultural and royal shows in the 1960s.

Reg Mombassa
An artist who explores the irreverent thrills of youth culture and creativity.