Lloyd Nairn was born in Brisbane, Australia in 1933 to Benjamin and Muriel Nairn. Llyod had eight siblings. He taught himself to juggle at the age of 13 and began his performing career at age 14, when he joined a troupe called Centaur. Lloyd worked at Brisbane Cremorne Theatre, billed as the “Boy Juggler,”joined the ‘Lester’s Follies’ followed by touring with the prestigious magic show ‘The Great Levante’ at age 18. He also toured with Barton’s Follies and the Sorlies Revue.
Lloyd Nairn at age 18
Lloyd was a very talented juggler, specializing in ball juggling, tennis racket juggling, bottle and mouth stick, and the golf club trick.
During the 1950s Llyod married and had two daughters.
Lloyd joined Ice Parades in the mid 1950s and toured NZ as well as Australia with them. He performed his act on ice in skates. Ice Parades was an American production, and he was offered a contract to tour in the US, which would have included a spot on the Ed Sullivan show. His wife Marion was not well, so he did not accept the contract. He also performed in a show called Ice Capers.
In the 50s and early 60s Lloyd worked the Tivoli Theatre in Sydney and also in Melbourne. In 1958, Lloyd met famed Australian country singer Slim Dusty while performing at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. This led to Nairn joining Slim on his national tour. Lloyd then worked in the Lennon Brothers Circus.
In 1956 Lloyd appeared on Australia’s first TV broadcast. He regularly appeared on TV variety shows including Australia’s ‘In Melbourne Tonight,’ also known as the Graham Kennedy Show. Lloyd worked the Sydney club scene and famous nightclubs such as Chequers in Sydney. He went to Asia in the late 1960s, touring Japan and appearing in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
In his mid 30s, Lloyd developed serious problems with his neck that forced him to retire from juggling. Over the next 17 years, he endured several operations that still failed to fix the problem. He took work in a factory, believing his life as an entertainer was over. Eventually his muscular problems improved. Within months of practicing his act, he was back at work when he was offered the opportunity to perform at a charity event that was two months away. He continued to practice daily and regained much of his previous skill. The television show 60 Minutes heard of his comeback and filmed it as part of a segment that aired on national TV. The show was a tent show reunion, and it signaled a new beginning for Lloyd in his mid 50s. Three days after the broadcast, Lloyd Nairn was offered a new contract working as a juggler again. In January 1987, Lloyd toured Tasmania with Sole Bros Circus and then joined the Perry Brothers Circus, which he stayed with for the next fifteen years.
Lloyd retired from performing at the age of 68, but he still juggled into his 80s. His final years were spent suffering from emphysema and Parkinson’s disease. He passed away on April 20th, 2017. His performing legacy was carried on by his daughter, Llynda Nairn, who began performing in the early 1970s and continues to this day.
He is also survived by his other daughter, Glynis Clarke, as well as several grandchildren.
Lloyd and his daughters
Our condolences go out to his family and friends.
You can see Lloyd juggle in the following videos.