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Professor Rea

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Professor Rea
BornThomas Rea
circa 1811
DiedJanuary 10, 1889 (age 77)
Resting placeSandhurst Cemetery, Australia

Thomas “Professor” Rea (1811-1889) was one of the earliest performers of magic in Australia[1]


Rea's primary talents were ventriloquism and puppetry, but he was a conjurer as well.

He first spent seven years as a journeyman, learning his trade as a gun maker.

From advertising, it appears that Rea made appearances as a magician and ventriloquist in Dublin and in England, then arrived in Australia by 1842.

By 1844, “Professor” Rea was performing on the public stage.

In 1873, Rea was charged with having ‘criminally assaulted’ two girls of under twelve years of age. He was found guilty and sentenced to two years imprisonment.

After being released from prison, Rea made his re-entry to society and was back to performing puppetry and ventriloquism by 1882.

In 1886 he announced that he was retiring. Rea died on January 10, 1889 and was buried at Sandhurst Cemetery.