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Boxing tent banner

'I could hear the caller throwing out challenges to "any mug brave enough to step into the ring with my fighters" and promising ten dollars if he could last three rounds. I could feel the drum they pounded to get your attention - "Boom, boom, boom" - long before I reached the tent, long before I saw the fighters standing on a raised platform stripped to the waist, arms folded, glaring down at the audience. Behind the boxers, stretching the length of the tent, hung a two-metre-high canvas mural …


Object No.


Object Statement

Boxing tent banner, 'Jimmy Sharman's Troupe', oil paint and varnish on canvas, painted by Harry Paterson, Australia, 1940-1955

Physical Description

Canvas boxing tent banner, suspended from a timber pole. The banner is titled 'International Stars' at top centre and 'Jimmy Sharman's Troupe' at centre. The banner depicts in cameos and action portraits the 'World Heavyweight Champions' Joe Louis and Jack Dempsey. The images are framed by furled US flags.


Signed by artist in lower right corner, 'Harry Paterson'



1870 mm


2495 mm




The banner is signed 'Harry Paterson' at lower right. The banner was made between 1940 and 1955.



Jimmy Sharman was lightweight champion of the Riverina district when he formed a boxing troupe at Ardlethan in 1911. The Sharman troupe performed at forty to fifty shows every year until 1969. From 1955 the troupe was run by Jimmy Sharman jr, a former Western Suburbs rugby league player and journalist.

As well as its longevity, the Sharman troupe was notable for the number of leading boxers it employed, including Dave Sands, Frank Burns and Jimmy Hassan. Other notable Australians to fight for Sharman included Douglas Nicholls (later Governor of South Australia) and Geoff Clark (later chairman of ATSIC).

The US heavyweights Joe Louis and Jack Dempsey were two of the most famous fighters in the world when this banner was created, probably during the 1940s. Louis' 1938 first round defeat of the German (and Nazi favourite) Max Schmeling is one of the most celebrated sporting triumphs of all time. Louis fought until 1949, although his last years were a pale shadow of his 1930s heyday.

Jack Dempsey was world heavyweight champion for most of the years between 1917 and 1926, although he did not retire from the ring until 1940.

Charles Pickett, curator Design & Society.


Credit Line

Purchased 2007

Acquisition Date

14 September 2007

Cite this Object


Boxing tent banner 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 7 May 2021, <https://ma.as/367857>


{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/367857 |title=Boxing tent banner |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=7 May 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}


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