In 1873 another funambulist appeared on the scene in Niagara. His name was Henry Balleni (or Bellini), and he was known as the “Australian Blondin”, although he was Italian, not Australian as he claimed.
In 1873 he set his 2.25 inch rope up from the Clifton House to Prospect Park. On the morning of August 25, 1873 he attempted his walk. Although the location that Balleni had selected was scenic the winds that were created by the large amounts of falling water would greatly affect his performance.
Henry Ballini (or Bellini) dropping from his tightrope into a boat
Balleni performed his tightrope walk many times. He completed the same stunts as Blondin and Farini before him. He crossed blindfolded, in a sack, and pushing a wheelbarrow.
Balleni did however complete a stunt that none of his predecessors had managed to perform. He was the only tightrope walker that actually jumped from the rope. In fact Mr. Balleni may have been the first 19th century bungee jumper.
To help break the fall from the tightrope Mr. Balleni used a 12 ft. rubber cord, which he attached to the tightrope. If everything was timed correctly, Mr. Balleni would release the cord at just the right moment and help break his fall.
Two attempts at the jump proved successful and the crowds went wild. On the third jump on August 31 the rubber cord broke and wrapped itself around his leg. Balleni was rescued that day but narrowly escaped with his life.