Every trick in the book: Col Newman is looking to mentor in the art of magic.
Every trick in the book: Col Newman is looking to mentor in the art of magic.

Wanted: one magician's apprentice

HIS days of sawing people in half and pulling rabbits out of hats might be well behind him but master illusionist Col Newman has one last trick up his sleeve.

Now retired to Nambucca Heads after decades travelling Australia as Mandrake the Wizard, Mr Newman wants to pass on the secrets of his trade.

“I had a great life as a magician, illusionist and ventriloquist and now I want to mentor someone else into my world of magic,” Mr Newman said.

Now 84 he admits that while his sleight of hand is still as deceptive as ever he can’t conjure up an antidote to his advancing years.

“My back’s buggared and I’m starting to feel old so my days of performing are probably over but I’ve still got the passion for magic and for passing on my skills to someone else,” he said.

“Young kids get too easily distracted these days so preferably a boy or girl 18 years or over would be good. I reckon that if they are keen and focused I could have them performing in a few months or so.

“I believe magic and illusion are about to make a big comeback, so this could be a great break for someone.”

Mr Newman’s own story is in part a tale of a charmed life.

“I got the bug when I was kid growing up in Wingham and became an official Wizard of Magic in 1947. By the time I had gained my professional certification in 1959 I was already travelling around Australia in my caravan and performing to packed houses.”

“In those days cabaret and vaudeville were king. I opened for Winifred Atwell and toured with the Joye Boys and the Ink Spots. I did TV shows and telethons. They were exciting days.”

Mr Newman said while be believes there is a good living to be made out of magic he never cast a spell to make myself rich.

“I guess I spent most of my life working for charities. Over the years I’ve bought hundreds of hospital beds and resuscitators and paid for operations for lots of sick kiddies,” Mr Newman said.

“I never made a packet but I found it fascinating and I loved it.”

If you are interested in becoming this sorcerer’s apprentice, call Mr Newman call 0419 837 727

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