After years of touring the country with their funny, acrobatic show that
celebrates larrikinism, the Crackup Sisters have found a home for their act.

Story Kirsty McKenzie  Photos Ken Brass

It’s just on sunrise and Amanda-Lyn Pearson is dragon breathing in the frosty morning air as she hoists herself up on the ropes to check the windmill rigging for the aerial work, she and her showbiz partner Bianca Mackail will do later in the day. Bianca is similarly focused, shifting props onto the set, and warming up her kelpie DeeDee Diamantina for the tricks she will perform during the show. 

The duo, or more accurately their characters S.T. Ruth (Struthie) and Rowdy Rose Ruth, aka the Crackup Sisters, is holding one of its events in the backyard of their home in Winton in central western Queensland and there’s much to be done before what feels like half the town, population about 1,100, rolls up to enjoy the gig.

The Crackup Sisters have worked their way around Australia since 2009, when they started with a borrowed ute and a camper trailer and the aim of creating a show that celebrated the larrikin behaviour that so resonates in the bush, where everything from the climate to the working conditions is tough and you need a good laugh to keep you going. The wise- and whip-cracking team has hit on a mix of clowning, knockabout acrobatics, aerial stunts, and the odd fart joke for a high-octane performance that tours to rodeos, camp drafts, rural and regional shows, festivals, and events all over the country. Pre-COVID, they routinely covered 70,000km a year, towing their entire stage and set and doing most of their own bump in and out as well as all the stage-managing of the shows. 

This story excerpt is from Issue #151

Outback Magazine: Oct/Nov 2023