Paul Anderson, The Mighty Young Apollo

In Strongman Mastery by Admin67 Comments

He nearly died several times while performing, broke 30 world records in feats of strength, held 50 weightlifting records, got injured dozens of time and you’ll barely find anything about him online. The Man You Cannot Hang, the God of Steel, the Mighty Young Apollo, The Greatest Strongman of the Century – so many names for the magnificent Paul Anderson, a strongman from Australia. (Note that this is a different man than the other more well known Paul Anderson.)

He was born into a family of great athletes, with strength and agility running through his veins. Paul stood at 5’5 and while he wasn’t a giant, he belonged to an era that bred incredibly strong men, without the steroids or supplements we have available today.

The Mighty Young Apollo

The Mighty Young Apollo

Paul Anderson was brought up to be unique which later transferred to his strongman acts. He sought to be unique and not replicate others, but create unique feats, setting standards of his own and branding himself instead. Thanks to his extraordinary mental abilities, Paul was able to achieve that goal quite easily. Paul was a great teacher who trained many fighters that later became experts in their own careers. He invented his own self-defense method called Combat, which was very successful. It emphasized the practical use of martial arts, especially on streets.

Throughout 1930’s, The Mighty Mighty Young Apollo was in the best shape of his life and this is the time during which he performed the most dangerous feats of strength. Paul was aware that most of his feats were highly dangerous, but he did them anyway as the sensationalism was expected from someone as powerful looking as he was back then. As shown in the video below, Paul used to perform a two hand snatch with an old-school barbell and then drop it behind the back into his hands. He often did a similar stunt where he would drop the weight in front, catching it with his arms.

The Mighty Apollo Lifting a Girl

The Mighty Apollo Lifting a Girl

Paul Anderson admitted he was pretty nervous during times when his assistant would break a bluestone block (a material much tougher break than concrete as it is not a composite but  solid rock) which laid on the upper portion of Paul’s back, but only for one reason – he could not see the hammer going down. The Mighty Young Apollo was involved in a number of stone-breaking feats, including the ludicrous one where he would hold the block on his arm while two sledgehammers attempt to break it. He was actually injured during this feat you can see in the video, but decided to carry on and finish the job.

Apart from less serious injuries Paul suffered during this feat, at one time he had his arm broken in two places. What makes this feat even more dangerous is the fact that his skull is only one slip away from being crushed by a 20 lb sledgehammer.

These feats were just the tip of the iceberg. The Mighty Young Apollo was capable of incredible jaw and teeth feats of strength. He was capable of lifting a 200 pound man with his teeth while having another one on his shoulders, without breaking a sweat. As opposed to other strongmen who were pulling airplanes using their teeth, Paul Anderson actually pulled a 30 ton tram…up hill…while walking backwards!

Paul claimed that physical and mental power weren’t enough to perform this feat, but that he was given a spiritual power by the God to perform it. He also used to say “The mind is the king and the body is only a subject,” which certainly holds true in my experience.

Paul Anderson Pulling a Tram

Click to enlarge

Check out these other unbelievable feats of strength that this man, in a pre-steroid era, achieved without any tricks whatsoever:

  • Had a regular slip knot around his neck while many men / cars pulled the rope in opposite directions
  • Carried a horse up ladder
  • Set a record for most times being run over by cars on a bed of nails
  • Had a 8-ton elephant stand on him with all four legs, while laying on a bed of nails!
  • Set a world record by pulling five cars with his teeth
  • Pulled cars with teeth while carrying a man on his shoulders
  • Resisted the pulling power of two men with his teeth on a wet grass
  • Pulled a fully loaded tram (35 tons of weight)  67 yards up hill by teeth
  • Not only that, but he performed many of these feat to raise money for various charities through the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s

Mighty Apollos tent

Throughout his career, Paul Anderson showed extraordinary creativity by inventing numerous dramatic feats of strength. Check out this crazy feat performed by the Mighty Young Apollo.

At that time of my career, which was in the 50’s around 1954 I had performed this feat quite a few times. The balance of the helmet on my head is probably pretty essential. It’s a 300 lb barbell and if anything happens, especially with the centrifugal power that is developed by spinning around…

During this time Paul made appearances on many TV shows including the Bob Crosby show, where he demonstrated various feats that made him famous, including getting run over by a car (with several beauties in it, for added sensationalism). Paul injured his knee at this time, but like every other time he just kept going like nothing ever happened.

Paul Anderson Car Pull

He also starred in movie called “The Man You Cannot Hang”, among others, and took part in more “ordinary” feats like bending iron and steel bars. As if some of his feats weren’t sensational enough, he improvised and made them even harder. For example, while four men strangled him with a slip knot around his neck, he had one more hit his stomach with a sledgehammer. The other dangerous stunt with a bluestone block on top of his back smashed by sledgehammers was made more difficult by having another person hold a razor-sharp Samurai sword under his neck.

Mighty Young Apollo Iron Bending

Click to enlarge

Paul Anderson received the International Champion of Champions belt in 1975, which was the highest award any athlete could receive at that time. It’s a custom made belt with several shields which are illustrated in pictures and words with feats achieved by the athlete. Paul admitted that he didn’t dream of reaching such heights to receive this prestigious award when he started his career. What was written on each shield of the belt says a lot about this legendary strongman.

  1. Greatest Feats 1954 – Pulled two elephants and 50 people on a semi-trailer uphill by teeth
  2. The Honors – 1975 World Records – Enlisted in a Guinness Book of Records & Encyclopedia of Sports
  3. Official Champion of Champions belt, presented to Paul Anderson, The Mighty Apollo
  4. Weight Lifting and Feats of Strength State Champion – Featherweight, lightweight, middleweight, light heavyweight, heavyweight and super heavyweight

Paul Anderson held around 50 weightlifting records.

After receiving one more award in 1988, Paul Anderson retired. The Greatest Strongman of the Century, the Living Legend was the name of that title, presented by the president of the Pacific Bodybuilding International and publisher of the Muscle Australian magazine in front of thousands of people. But even after he retired, Paul Anderson still performed many feats of strength just for the heck of it, even into his eighties.

Young Apollo Elephant Feat

Click to enlarge

Apart from substantial physical strength, Paul was obviously using mental strength and even visualization techniques, similar to those I write about in my Strength Health Mind Power Inner Circle, to perform as good as he did. He would “dream” about certain feats, convince himself that he is able to perform them and then just go and do them, while imagining that he is 16-foot tall Apollo with all the strength that comes with that. The legendary strongman Paul Anderson passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 84.

The Mighty Apollo Poster

I would like to say special thanks to Paul Anderson’s son, Mark Anderson, for providing me with information and material to create this article. Without his help, this article wouldn’t exist. Thank you Mark!


      1. I had the honour of witnessing one of Paul’s most amazing records back in 1983… in a Footscray car park. He had been “called” …I think he said to help a sick young boy who needed an operation… he’s also said that he would not stop until he broke the world record for the number of times a car ran over his body, while on a bed of nails. Despite thinking it impossible I stayed and witnessed it myself! Dozens of times, over his chest, even slipping off the planks and running over his legs more than once! The crowd would surge in expecting to see his broken legs , but after helping Paul to his feet… he would continue. I recall after the second time the car ran over his legs I was in awe of him, because this was no trick and despite being in real pain, he resumed the record allowing the car to ru over him dozens of more times. Just before the record was set, Paul asked for donations for the little boy…. like everyone else there in that Car park that day I put my hand in my pocket. Believing that I was there to see a show, or entertainment, I left with the notion that I had just witnessed the greatest human in the world!

    1. A true LEGEND OF ALL TIME!! I had the great honour of meeting and talking in length with Paul, back around 1972. He had a “Gym”, I think up the top of Swanston Street. He was a unique man, indeed!! I had the great honour of training with Paul’s Nephew, Malcolm Anderson in the Elizabeth St Dojos of the famous and great Bob Jones. Malcolm, apart from Richard Norton, was the best Martial Artist in my Style Of Zen Do Kai (or any Karate Style) that I have ever seen.

      R.I.P. The Mighty Apollo.

      Terry Hall (San Dan).

      1. osu – would you know the exact address of the dojo in Elizbeth st, i am sure Kato sensei (kyokushin) took classes there in 1967 – any help would be appreciated – thanks, osu rod

  1. Holy hell, that is amazing. Very inspiring. Didn’t know we had any strongmen down here, either!

  2. Incredible!

    Thanks for this Logan, I love reading about the old timers and this is one cat I haven’t heard of before.
    Amazing accomplishments. His back development in the video where he behind the neck presses the globe barbell is friggin great.
    And best of all…he has a moustache!
    Lets hear it for stache power man.
    Benny. T.

  3. Wonderful memories. I trained with him in Unarmed combat the 1960’s.
    I believe his wife was Rhonda but i cannot be certain. Apologies if i am wrong.

    He was a true gentlman.

    1. Hi Steve, I’m making a documentary about ‘The Mighty Apollo’ with permission from his sons, Paul Jr, Mark and Bruce, and would love to have a chat to you about your time training at the gym. What’s the best way to contact you? Many thanks Nick Barkla

    2. Yes. Rhonda ran the gymnasium in the city of Melbourne, I used to workout there in 1964.

    3. Yes the young Apollo’s wife was Rhonda. I went to his gym in the fifties. A pure gentleman always greeted you in the same manner every time you visited his gymnasium. Mingled with everybody when they were doing workouts. Had an infectious smile and from what I can remember a quiet voice. Can’t recall the laneway in Melbourne the young Apollo gym was in. But it was only a short distance from the museum. It’s a pity the world doesn’t have more gentleman of the character and charisma of Paul Anderson. John Tierney

      1. The Apollo and Rondahe gym in the 60s was in Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne. My sister and I trained there, and also at the dojo in Kyokashinka (Oyama) karate (at first the only female in a sea of men) . I was at a different location. When the Japanese instructor left, Apollo took over the classes switching to Korean style karate.

  4. One of the highlights of my life is being one of the dancing girls in some of Mighty Young Apollo’s travelling shows around Melbourne & suburbs when I was a teenager. I clearly remember all of us being on the back of a truck and Apollo pulling it by his teeth down the street outside the Oakleigh Theatre before the show began. I often stood in the wings offstage to watch his feats of strength. I was always amazed by him laying on a bed of nails and two men smashing rocks on his chest. He then stood up turned his back to the audience to show the marks on his back. He never even flinched. He was the real deal. Great man.

    1. Hi Merle, I’m making a documentary about ‘The Mighty Apollo’ with permission from his sons, Paul Jr, Mark and Bruce, and would love to have a chat to you about your time training at the gym. What’s the best way to contact you? Many thanks Nick Barkla

  5. It is sad to hear that Paul has passed away, in the 1960’s I learn Karate at his Gym

    in West Melbourne, also on Saturday mornings did lessons in Unarmed Combat,

    When it came to Unarmed Combat, Paul knew what it was all about,

    1. sorry you are miss informed uncle Paul did not pass away in the 1960’s. He still had a gym in the early 70’s. he passed away in the 80’s.

      1. Maybe I’m missing something, but where does it say he passed away in the 80’s? The article indicates Paul won his last award in 1988, for instance.

    2. Just to let you know, in my reply – April 14, 2016, I meant I did my training

      lessons in Unarmed Combat with Paul in the 1960’s

    3. Hi Ray, I’m making a documentary about ‘The Mighty Apollo’ with permission from his sons, Paul Jr, Mark and Bruce, and would love to have a chat to you about your time training at the gym. What’s the best way to contact you? Many thanks Nick Barkla

  6. Is there anywhere I can read more in-depth about The Mighty Young Apollo and/or Valentin Dikul’s methods?

    1. Unfortunately, I haven’t found much specific training information on either of them.

      1. I didn’t know Paul was a martial arts instructor. Are there any pics of his stay in Japan, or anything at all like that?

        From what I’ve seen, Paul had tremendous mental focus/energy/power, to perform his feats; such as the elephant feat.

        It’s a real shame there’s nothing much about that side of his abilities, as he could have taught us so much.

        Or at least to leave behind his memoirs or something … We have lost a very rare individual indeed.

        It’s just crazy, that there’s not much about him.

  7. What an absolute Legend. I was taken to the Mighty Apollo gym in the early 70’s by my Shito-Ryu Karate instructor ‘Sensei Lucky Condos’ another absolute legend, whom was taught by the Mighty Apollo, and remember all the martial arts memorobilia he had collected and had on display. I was in complete awe of the Mighty Apollo.

    1. Hi Arthur, I’m making a documentary about ‘The Mighty Apollo’ with permission from his sons, Paul Jr, Mark and Bruce, and would love to have a chat to you about your time training at the gym. What’s the best way to contact you? Many thanks Nick Barkla

  8. My father trained with Paul, my siblings and I would often hang out at the gym. I remember Mark and his mother’s beautiful long black hair. A lifetime ago. He was a lovely man.

  9. I worked with Paul Anderson Junior in the mid 80’s and always respected his father when I was a child viewing his feats. I had the privilege of training at his West Melbourne gym in the early 1990s and would speak with Mighty Apollo on the phone for sometimes about 2 hours and even though I had an ego as being strong myself, I always marvelled at his recollection of feats and stories and advice he’d tell me. His passing in 1995 saddened me and during his funeral discussing with Paul junior that a movie and monument should be made for The Might Apollo. I’m so glad that a documentary is finally underway.

  10. I started weight training at the Mighty Apollo & Rhonda gym in West Melbourne in 1961.
    i was about 90 pounds wringing wet.After 3 months I was 125 pounds with Paul’s instruction.
    He changed my life from a skinny 18 year old to a confident 140 pound 20 year old who could finally approach girls.
    Rhonda must have been a pioneer in the ladies gym downstairs.
    i was there the night they bought their son in a basinet into the gym – proud parents..
    A great couple – fond memories

    1. Hi Mal, I’m making a documentary about ‘The Mighty Apollo’ with permission from his sons, Paul Jr, Mark and Bruce, and would love to have a chat to you about your time training at the gym. What’s the best way to contact you? Many thanks Nick Barkla

  11. Hi, l tonight decided to Google Young Apolo, l myself. Am 71 years old, the reason being our Mother knew Young Apolo, & we have a photo of her with him with his arm around her, he & she was young & single at the time, we loved that story, & thought it was very special, so he passed in away in the 90s l believe, we believe she was seeing him at that time going back to the 1040s sometime, Our dear other passed in 2004. Maybe l can get hold of those photos of Paul with our Mother, & Paul passed in the 90s?? Many Thanks Jill

  12. Hi there., l.would like to know when did Paul pass away?? & what from ??? .I hope he didn’t suffer , did Paul write any books?? & his birth date please xxxx,

  13. Fantastic achievements of the Mighty Apollo,
    l witneesed some of these feats personally at the Wangaratta Shogrounds in the early to mid 60’s..
    My father James McNab(1904-1998) knew him personally where they lived in Peel St Kew.before W11.
    In the ealy 70’s while my farther was visting me in Melbourne he took me to Apollo’s city gym where l met him and had a brief workout.

    Thanks for the memories.

  14. What an honour it was to know the mighty Apollo and train under his guidance at his gym in west Melbourne in the 80,s as a young kid. I always looked forward to training and chatting with Apollo and his son Paul. I learn’t so much about weight training and martial arts from Apollo. I would always dredd the first greeting as Apollo would nearly break your hand when he shook it. A great humble mentor to have as a young kid.


  15. I trained at the Mighty Apollo Gym in West Melbourne in the late 80s early 90s and got to become close friends with Paul and his 3 sons.

    Paul was way ahead of his time i would regularly spend time with Paul and listen to his stories and philosophy about training and getting into the right mind set .

    I was privileged to be allowed to look at his personal books and he would explain in great detail the feats he had done .

    On a regularly occasion i would see Paul lifting enormous weights at the age of 80 plus years .

    I actually was one of the coffin bearers at his funeral which was a very sad day. R.I.P. Apollo

  16. I trained for a year at his gym when his son Paul Jr was running it in 1993 while I was a young undergraduate student from Malaysia. He didn’t speak much at that time but I remembered his iron vise-like handshake 🙂 He will be missed.

  17. SENSEI, I draw on your teachings whenever I need to go that extra 90%.
    Whether it is in RESOLVE,
    BREATHING (we only use 10% of our lung capacity), or
    The fact that you instilled the discipline of repetition until perfect, (it never was).
    Just remembering our chats before classes on the 2nd floor of an Elizabeth St. Melb. classroom before the crowd got there..
    Thanks Paul. from Laurie.

  18. I just came across some old photos I took of the Mighty Apollo and Rhonda and the “American Ninja”, Don Draeger during the 1960’s when he and his associate came from Japan to teach jodo and kendo at Apollo and Rhonda’s dojo which was then on the second floor of a building on the corner of Elizabeth and Little Lonsdale Streets, Melbourne. Don Draeger was an American living in Japan many years who had advised the film makers of the James Bond movie You Only Live Twice on Japanese martial arts including ninjitsu.

    I was there learning karate and jodo at the dojo for about three years in the mid 1960’s. I think many of us young men fell in love with Rhonda including myself, but there were also a few young women learning karate to flirt wirh too.

    When I found the photos I thought of looking online to see if there was anything about these larger than life people and found this site.

    I would be happy to share the photos and talk about those days.

    1. hi colin
      i hope you and everyone close to you are well. i am doing the history of kyokushin. during 1965 66 there was a Japanese instructor who training there. if you had any photos it would be appreciated – rod purcell – kyokushin2 thanks rod

  19. Paul Anderson, real name Alexander McPherson Anderson was my father’s cousin.
    I am surprised to see so much online about him as we didn’t know a lot as we lived in NSW.

  20. My boss showed me a youtube video:

    My boss recalls his mother, Connie, taking him to Myer to see The Mighty Apollo have a bluestone block broken by sledgehammer on his stomach. When the bluestone block broke a fragment flew and hit my boss in the leg. He was 6 years old. He said he didn’t cry as he’s a Brunny Boy (Brunswick). Myer gave him a new tennis racquet, which made him happy

  21. I started training karate with Paul in 70, I was 11 at the time, that’s when he had his gym/dojo on the corner of Elizabeth & little Lonsdale Streets and another smaller gym just about 25mtrs away in Little Lonsdale St that housed the boxing*wrestling ring, punching bags and weights.. I knew his 2 young boys, they would have been about 5-7 years younger than me at the time and we used to play together at the Soho during the weekends when Paul Snr ran the unarmed combat classes.. Looking back on those classes I can see a lot of what now is called MMA in them.
    As a young teenager at the time I couldn’t get enough and would train 5 times a week, I still remember the 2nd floor Elizabeth St & little Lonsdale St the most as thats where all the paraphernalia was and I was mesmerised by it all.
    The gym was full of the most amazing pictures and murals, many of the mighty Apollo performing his feats, some of his wife Rhonda with her samurai gear and some of other karate legend Mas Oyama.
    During my time with him , we went to a number of weekend fairs were I would just one of about 6 to perform the karate demonstration and Paul would get up to his old self (must be in his 60’s ) and then he would perform 3 of his feats.
    1st: With a rope around his neck 6 of us,
    3 either side would try to pull the rope tight and try to choke him for what seemed eternity but maybe 2-3 minutes , sure he would go red in the face but that was all that happened, he certainly didn’t choke or give in,
    2nd: Breaking of concrete blocks on his chest by 2 sledge hammers while lying on a bed of nails..
    3rd: he told me this worried him the most as it realied on others making sure they drove the cars straight over the planks as he laid on the ground and the 12 cars drove over planks that were supported by his chest.. All it would take was for one driver to miss the plank and the car would drive over his face… That was scary and I was always worried when he performed this feat, not only very dangerous but also Paul was in his mid to late 60’s at the time.
    I so wanted to emulate him in so many ways, he definitely was my hero.
    About 10 years after I started training with Paul, the gym/dojo shifted to Abecket St, still in the city and I continued my training with him until I was badly injured at work which kept me away for 18 months…
    By then the injury had affected me mentally and I had lost the drive to workout..i took me a number of years before I trained in karate or other martial arts again, but probably the worst thing is that I had lost touch with a living legend… I certainly cried when I learnt of his death. …..I always knew that he was just a mere human, but he lived like he was more of a ancient god or titan. There will never be another Mighty Young Apollo., Paul Anderson

    1. hi nick, i am very interested in the karate training in the mid 1960’s. would you help??? thanks rod

  22. I was in the city at that time in 79′ something in a phone book caught my attention the elephant feat of all four paws standing on this man
    So was this phone number staring at me so I decided to ring that number a friendship formed between us that first day he introduced me to his three sons very young at that time it was a sad day in 95′ I was proud having Paul meat my wife Cassandra in 91′ she would cook him a hearty meal fit for a king knowing this man in a personal way totally different way that 16yrs together!! Regards Colin Dunn.

  23. Ray Henchel again, I would like to know is the gym still operating, I have just turned 75 years old this year, I have finally retired from work,

    I would like to do some weight training again, I am on the age pension now, would anybody know a gym in the Melbourne CBD or Melbourne outter

    suburbs, that their membership fee’s are reasonable, and have an age pensioners discount.

  24. My father ROSS COLOSIMO(BOXER), also trained with Paul (Mighty Apollo) in the 1960s and 70s.
    In the early 1980s , my father also did a feat, on the back of a truck at the Corowa Federation Day Parade.
    In which he lay on the back of the truck with large granite rocks placed on top of his chest and being hit with a slegde hammer
    on top the granite rock, During the parade down the main street of Corrowa, this lasted just over an hour.
    This was all recorded in the newspapers and TV stations.
    This feat not long after was put to the Guinness Book Of Records, they wrote back and said that this feat was to dangerous to document.

  25. This guy taught me karate in the 60’s when I was 15. He was as tough as nails. He asked the students if they had any questions. I made the mistake of responding and proceeded to get him in what I thought was an impossible hold. He asked if “that was it?”. I said “Yes”. In a split second I was sailing through the air and landed on the wooded floor. I never asked another question! His wife was a beautiful Goddess too.

    1. hi greg, i am very interested in the karate training in the mid 1960’s. would you help??? thanks rod

  26. When emerging from the Rivoli Theatre, East Hawthorn, on a Saturday afternoon sometime in the early Fifties , we noticed a crowd gathering near the tram depot next to the theatre. The press and newsreel people were there to witness Young Apollo’s feat of dragging the tram along with his teeth. This memory has stuck with me ever since,

  27. Does anyone remember a TV interview with Paul in the 80’s, and could’ve been in response to his death? It was one of the ‘current affair’ shows where
    performs one feat and talks about many experiences, including the 8 ton elephant, that I remember on black and white film. Perhaps, my memory is wonting, but I’ve seen the one on youtube and it’s not it…

    Thx in advance

  28. Ok, what I meant, was that an earlier 80’s interview with Paul was aired in re response to his death…

    Also, when is was about 10yrs old, early 60’s, I remember buying a ticket to a strongman tent where, among other feats of strength, the guy had a car drive over his body exactly how Paul did it. I wonder if it was him? Though it was in Forbes, NSW???

    1. In his world record breaking feat in Footscray back in 1983 he gave advice to anybody thinking of practicing this to exhale all the air out of their lungs before allowing the car to run over them! That way they would not get lung damage… ribs and spine were another matter I thought, but lungs would be okay! Just WOW I watched in disbelief as he took car after car, twice accidentally over his legs as well! This guy was special, no doubt in my mind.

  29. Hello, I have found two pictures of “The Young Apollo of Daring Devoes” amongst my family photos that were given to me. Wondering if you would like a copy of them?

    1. When I was an apprentice in Little Lonsdale St , I often saw Apollo coming out of a gym that had Apollo and Rhonda on the front window. Could anybody tell me , who was Rhonda?

      1. Rhonda was his wife. She was a beautiful lady with long black hair that went right down to her feet. My sister worked for them and would let me stay there. Magical

  30. Ken Kirwin the mighty Apollo trained me in combat for just over three years around 1985 upstairs in North Melbourne sometimes after training he would invite me for a cup of tea one story he told me was the many bones he broke up his opponents in Japan and in his hayday used to wear his trenchcoat draped over his shoulder I think he said like a gangster or a movie star I am honoured to have met the mighty Apollo a true gentleman and I will never forget him

  31. I remember, in the interview I mentioned in a earlier post, that one of the TV staff asked Paul (Apollo) that he would never be able to perform that feat (having men on either side pull a rope that was wrapped around Paul’s neck, while two others hit Paul in the chest with sledge hammers. Paul responded with, ‘Perhaps, I’ve a stronger mind than you!’.
    Now that’s for sure, for how else could he have performed all those feats of strength, especially having an 8 ton elephant stand on his chest, phenomenal…

    Does anyone have any of those photos? I would greatly appreciate it if you would send to my email [email protected]
    Thank you,

  32. Unless I missed it here, there’s a book out about Mighty Apollo by Jon Fain.

    A search on Google should give more detail. It’s in my local library as well so I should grab hold of it.

    1. Thank you Bob,

      I bought an online copy and it’s great. Very well written, a good yarn and plenty about Apollo and his family, with their permission, of course.


      1. Great! Sure it was an interesting read. I’ve been looking into his martial art training, I’m sure he showed the Japanese a thing or two with his amazing strength.

      2. Jay,

        I’m still reading the book, one thing that confuses me is Apollo’s wife basically walked out on him and their 3 young boys around 1972 (?).

        Thing is when I was in Melbourne around 1975 he still had her name on the gym (Mighty Apollo and Rohdahe).

        I thought this was unusual now that I’ve read what happened to him and to the poor boys who went through a shit of a time after that happened.

        1. Bob,

          Grief affected people in different ways. Some (like myself), get rid of everything, photos etc., but others hang on to the memories…

          And from a business perspective, people knew his gym under that name, so perhaps that was the reason.

          There’s not much about his karate, only that the Japanese colleagues had great respect for him and that he was probably the first to demonstrate karate in Australia. Ha, I doubt they could have hurt him anyway.

          I can’t find any of the records he held, or the 8 ton elephant feat that’s supposed to be in the ”Guinness book of records.

          Have you found any, or know where to find them Bob?

          1. Jay,

            Good point re: Guinness Book of Records. I’ve just finished Jon Fain’s book and nothing is mentioned in it.

            I’ll see if good old Google can help.

          2. Thing about Guiness is their number of editions so if you don’t know when you may never find it as some strength record categories are deleted and some replaced. How many people can even get an elephant let alone think they can withstand the pressure of it standing on them? I know he holds or at least held the world record for the number of cars driven over a man… because I witnessed it happen and it was no show. The car ran over his legs a couple of times. I was sure he would have two broken legs and would not be able to stand but stand up he did and both times he continued, until the World Record was broken! I have never seen anyone before or since who could even remotely do what he did, despite being around strong men and gyms for over 25 years.
            Cheers Doug

  33. My father John Duffie was an asisstant to the Mighty Apollo. Dad had polio and had a severe limp and him and his brother Harry Duffie were bodybuilders and bouncers and carlton night clubs. Dad become good friends with Apollo and would drive the car over the top of him in his stunts. dad is in one of the picturesonnline and my two brothers sitting on kerb as dad driving car over him.

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