The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences acknowledges Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and gives respect to the Elders – past and present – and through them to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are advised that the MAAS website contains a range of Indigenous Cultural Material. This includes artworks, artifacts, images and recordings of people who may have passed away, and other objects which may be culturally sensitive.

No image is publicly available for this object

Due to the age of the Museum's collection, some objects have not been digitised yet. Images may also not be available due to copyright, cultural or privacy reasons.

Circus elephant’s tooth

Made 1941

This tooth, taken from the corpse of the Asiatic elephant Princess Alice after she died at Wirths’ Circus headquarters in Melbourne, is a reminder of the attachment felt by members of the Wirth family to their long-serving circus animals.

The inscription on the plaque attached to the tooth states that Princess Alice died in 1941. A great deal of mythology surrounds her origins. The Wirths liked to publicise her as the oldest elephant in captivity. She was reported to have been born in 1787 but...


Object No.


Object Statement

Elephant's tooth with label, made by Princess Alice, used by the Wirths' Circus family, Australia, 1941

Physical Description

Tooth of the elephant 'Princess Alice'. Small metal plaque attached with the text 'To Miss Doris from Charlie. In memory of Princess Alice Who died Melbourne Nov 24th 1941. Aged 159 Years'.



180 mm


120 mm


135 mm



Presented to 'Miss Doris' Wirth, manager of Wirths' Circus, by Charlie West after the death of the elephant Princess Alice in 1941. Held by the Wirths' Circus family at their Coogee mansion. Kept by Marizles ('Rill') Wirth, the youngest child of Philip Wirth, until her death in 2007. Donated to the Powerhouse Museum by her nieces Margaret and Georgina Wirth.


Credit Line

Gift of the Wirth family, 2012

Acquisition Date

3 September 2012

Cite this Object


Circus elephant's tooth 2019, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 19 September 2019, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Circus elephant's tooth |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=19 September 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}


This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.

Know more about this object?


Have a question about this object?