Fred Brophy

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Fred Brophy, owner of the Cracow Hotel, 2014

Fred Brophy OAM is an Australian tent boxing promoter who regularly tours around Queensland with the eponymous Fred Brophy's Boxing Troupe.

Brophy organises and then referees the tent boxing bouts between the boxers that travel with the troupe and willing local participants at such events at the Birdsville Races and the Mount Isa Rodeo.[1][2] Brophy puts the call out to interested local challengers by banging a drum.[3][4]


Born in Perth and growing up in Queensland, Brophy is a fourth-generation showman. His father was a sideshow operator while his mother was a trapeze artist. Brophy claims to have been boxing since he was a young as four years old when his father and his uncle toured with their own boxing tents.[5]

As a young man, Brophy served jail time.[6] He served time in both Pentridge and Fremantle Prisons.[7]

Hall of Fame[edit]

Brophy was inducted into the Queensland Boxing Hall of Fame in 2009.[8]


In 2010, Brophy was the subject of an SBS documentary called Outback Fight Club which detailed Brophy's supposedly last outback tour.[9] Brophy had planned to retire in 2012 but after encouragement from the general public, he decided to continue touring.[6] Outback Fight Club was nominated for a Logie at the 2012 Logie Awards for Most Outstanding Factual Program but lost to Go Back To Where You Came From.

The program was also nominated for an AACTA Award for Best Documentary Series at the 1st AACTA Awards in 2012 but lost to SAS - The Search for Warriors. Brophy was also featured on the SBS program The Feed in 2016.[10]


Brophy was awarded with a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2011 for his efforts in raising money for charities in Birdsville through his tent boxing work, and for services to the entertainment industry.[11]


In 2014, Brophy released an autobiography he had written with journalist Sue Williams called The Last Showman: The Life and Times of an Outback Tent-Boxing Legend.[12] The book originated from decades of Brophy recording stories about his life in notebooks despite having dyslexia. The stories were typed up by a former secretary who once worked for politician Bob Katter as Brophy believed she was the only one who could decipher his handwriting. Williams then assisted Brophy in compiling the material into a book.[6] As part of her research for the book, Williams visited Brophy's boxing tent and took part in a fight.[13] Brophy said that although Williams didn't win her fight, she had performed well.[6] Brophy has said he has allowed women to fight in his tent following the women's liberation movement.[14] Another female writer, Helen McInerney, had previously documented her experience in 2010 on what it was like to be a woman fighting against one of Brophy's female boxers.[15]


Brophy's boxing tent made news in 2017 when Senator Pauline Hanson was seen making an appearance as a ring girl before a fight at the Birdsville Races.[16] During Hanson's appearance, Brophy endorsed the politician by declaring that the people in the outback loved her and describing her as a "fair dinkum Australian".[17]

While Brophy's tent boxing has continued to be a popular attraction at Birdsville and Mount Isa, Brophy does take his troupe to other events throughout Queensland.[18][19][20][21]


As of 2018, Brophy continues to tour Queensland with his boxing troupe.[22] However, Brophy also now spends much of his time at pubs he owns in Kilkivan and Cracow.[4] Brophy's troupe is based out of the Cracow Hotel. He has said he decided to get into pubs because he enjoys meeting people.[11] Brophy has also said it was always ambition to own an old Queensland hotel and bought the Cracow Hotel, built in 1935, because of how cheap it was due to Cracow being a ghost town.[23]


  1. ^ Margan, Max Blood, beers and bulldust: Inside the tent at the world's last travelling boxing troupe where rough-as-guts fighters take on all comers in the Australian outback, Daily Mail Australia, 12 September 2016. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  2. ^ Anderson, John Mt Isa boxers show fighting spirit, Townsville Bulletin, 13 August 2017. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  3. ^ Lamond, Scott; Kay, Ross Inside the outback boxing tent, ABC Wide Bay, 17 November 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  4. ^ a b Fred keeps 'Outback Fight Club' alive, Outback Queensland, 28 October 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  5. ^ Harris, Julia; Lyons, Leonie Fred Brophy: An Aussie boxing tent legend, ABC Western Queensland, 29 July 2008. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d Ziniak, Amy Shot, speared and bitten by snakes: Life on the road with the world's last boxing showman, a gypsy gladiator of Australia's outback, Daily Mail Australia, 26 August 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  7. ^ Hall, Edwina Bookshelf: The Last Showman next best thing to Fred Brophy bush boxing tent, The Weekly Times, 17 March 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  8. ^ Brophy to find Bundy boxing champ, NewsMail, 6 October 2017. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  9. ^ The Screen Guide: Outback Fight Club, Screen Australia website. Accessed 9 February 2018.
  10. ^ "I'm keen to find my place in this world": Travelling fight club, The Feed, SBS Television, 16 September 2016. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  11. ^ a b Wilson, Karyn; Harris, Julia Fred Brophy, boxing tent legend, awarded OAM, ABC Western Queensland, 28 January 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  12. ^ Books: The Last Showman, Penguin Books website. Accessed 9 February 2018.
  13. ^ About Sue Williams, Sue Williams website. Accessed 9 February 2018.
  14. ^ Crawford, Sarah Rolling with the punches inside Fred Brophy's famous Fighting Tent as it brawls into Birdsville, The Daily Telegraph, 8 September 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  15. ^ McInerney, Helen Fred Brophy's boxing tent worth doing the rounds, The Courier-Mail, 14 January 2010. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  16. ^ Pauline Hanson takes a turn as ring-card girl in Fred Brophy boxing tent, The Courier-Mail, 31 August 2017. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  17. ^ Brown, Vanessa Pauline Hanson's bizarre cameo as boxing troupe 'ring card girl' in Birdsville,, 1 September 2017. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  18. ^ Fred Brophy's Boxing Tent, Tree of Knowledge Festival website. Accessed 9 February 2018.
  19. ^ Tacon, David The last tent, R.M. Williams Outback, Issue #60, August/September 2008. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  20. ^ Brophy's burly boxing troupe is headed for the Rose City, Warwick Daily News, 9 January 2013. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  21. ^ Gleeson, Anthea Fred Brophy's school of hard knocks, The Chronicle, 19 February 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  22. ^ North, Melissa Fred Brophy confirms he will return for the Isa Rodeo, North West Star, 7 February 2018. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  23. ^ McCord, Melissa Fred's fighting for Cracow, R.M. Williams Outback, Issue #15, February/March 2001. Retrieved 9 February 2018.