EVOLUTION OF A TROUBLED ICONIC AMUSEMENT PARK
It’s instantly recognized as Sydney’s iconic much-loved fun attraction.
But the smiling face of Lunar Park has had to weather the storms on several fronts – the latest being from local residents who complained about the potential noise of the rides.
Despite noise concerns the owners of amusement park — which attracts more than a million thrillseekers a year — announced they would pump $20 million into improvements.
The improvements promised six new hi-tech rides and updates to classic Luna Park favourites such as Coney Island, The Rotor, The Ferris Wheel and The Wild Mouse rollercoaster.
The new rides were designed for thrillseekers using virtual reality and 5G technologies.
The first of the new rides, the Flying Carousel, is the centrepiece of a “family zone” designed to appeal to small children.
Luna Park Sydney Pty Ltd then took NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts to court after he rejected the amusement park’s assertion that the first of three phases of planning regulations governing Luna Park meant new rides could be installed without seeking development approval.
Controversy has been part of Luna Park Sydney’s evolution that was built with the Art Deco architecture of the 1930s.
American entrepreneur Herman Phillips brought the idea to Australia for New York and opened Luna Park in Melbourne in 1912 and Luna Park Glenelg, Adelaide, in 1930.
Despite initial success, the Sydney attraction was earmarked to be turned into a multistorey trade centre in the 1960s. However, the bid was unsuccessful.
A tragic ghost train fire, forced the closure of the attraction until 1982 and reopened under a new name and new owners.
However, the fun park closed again in 1988 for renovation after an unsuccessful attempt to redevelop the site as an adult entertainment centre.
In 2002 Luna Park Sydney Pty Ltd won a 40-year lease for the attraction and it reopened in 2004 after a lengthy refur- bishment.
In February, 2010, the fun park was put on the NSW Heritage Register.
Luna Park received the 2018 worldwide IAAPA Brass Ring Award ‘Most Creative Property-wide Event in recognition of the fun park’s participation in Sydney’s 2018 Vivid Festival.
The entire amusement park came alive with brilliant shapes, patterns and colours that lit the Midway promenade and enhanced high-octane rides such the aptly named Hair Raiser.
2018 also marked the first time Luna Park’s iconic Ferris wheel was lit for the festival following a refit, which included a massive boost in the number of lights adorning the wheel.