Stardust Circus' Wonona West with Millie and Cleo, two of the monkeys involved in a car accident on Thursday last week. Photo: Rohan Thomson
They're the monkeys whose ''road-side sideshow'' caused mild pandemonium for holidaymakers.
But according to their ringmaster Milly, Cleo and Goldie are consummate professionals who got back on their bikes - and ponies and dogs - within days.
Stardust Circus' star simian attractions got up to a bit of monkey business along the Princes Highway in the lead-up to their run of Batemans Bay shows.
Behind the scenes at the Stardust Circus in Batemans Bay. Photo: Jay Cronan
The rhesus monkeys' big adventure began near Bombo, south of Wollongong, on December 27 when the towing four-wheel-drive jackknifed in traffic.
Chaos ensued when the trio's trailer flipped on its side and the monkeys escaped their travelling compartments.
''On the move, and the first thing that happens is a crazy Christmas driver in traffic decides to cut in on a moving vehicle,'' ringmaster Adam St James said.
Stardust Circus' Wonona West with Millie, one of the monkeys involved in a car accident on Thursday last week. Photo: Rohan Thomson
''You've got nowhere to go, really.'' Milly, Cleo and Goldie ran onto the highway but were quickly rounded up for the rest of the journey.
''That created a bit of a road-side sideshow,'' Mr St James mused.
''The main thing was the driver was unharmed and the monkeys were unharmed.'' Two lanes of the highway were blocked as authorities worked to right the trailer.
The monkeys were ''a little shaken up'' by the ordeal but handled the incident with good grace, according to the ringmaster.
When the circus crew went to their aid after the crash they found two of the animals sitting on top of the upturned trailer watching the passing traffic.
''Our staff brought them up since they were babies, they have a lot of trust for the people around them,'' Mr St James said.
Rhesus monkeys are native to south-east Asia but these three were born and raised in the circus.
Now aged between six and eight, they've got an established repertoire of tricks.
Cleo has a small pony, Milly rides a bike and Goldie is part of the performing dog act.
And the three performers were back on stage within two days of the crash.
Stardust, formed in 1985, is now the country's largest traditional circus and one of only two with exotic animals. ''A lot of little towns appreciate you've come to town…we've got to compete against technology, computers and television,'' the ringmaster said. ''But live entertainment will never die.''
The big top is in town at the Bay's Mackay Park until Sunday, after which the circus will travel up the highway to Ulladulla before heading on to Narooma. ''Since the circus last came through here three years ago we've had a lot of changes, there's a lot of new acts, new things that people won't have seen before,' Mr St James said.